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The Baby Business

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Holt records E - blog

As you can see above my family background information contains eight sentences. I’ll go over each sentence to show how a so called reputable agency creates an adoptable orphan.

1) Myung Sook’s mother is deceased.

Indeed, my mother died when I was six.

2) Sometime after her mother’s death, the child came to Seoul with her father, who left his hometown due to financial hardship.

Our hometown was Seoul.  I was born in Seoul. I lived in my birthplace with my family until the spring of 1974. My mother died in 1972.  My father and I moved to the countryside, Suwon, in 1974 because of financial hardship. My elder sister and her family still lived in Seoul near our former house. My brother still lived in Seoul at his workplace that was a few minutes away from our former house by walk. My second sister had left home to work as a maid in another part of Seoul.

3) For a while he worked as a labourer, but his income was very low.

My father lost his job in 1970 following a work accident that left one arm paralyzed. Since then he worked only one day for the landlord, one week as street vendor, and a day to sell cigarettes. I wouldn’t count these as a job. He didn’t work during the four to five months we lived in Suwon.

4) Then the father disappeared leaving Myung Sook in a boarding house.
5) After waiting in vain two or three days for the parent to return, the landlord transferred the child to the Lost Children’s Center; it was on 9/10/74.
6) She was in turn transferred to St. Paul’s Orphanage on 1/28/75.

The last time I saw my father was near the place where my second sister lived and worked as a maid. He wanted to get some money of her pay. He had told me he would wait for me while I would go meet her boss to tell him  that if he didn’t want to pay my father would take my sister back. When I returned, my father was not at the place he was.  I left the place thinking that he had abandoned me.  I didn’t even wait a second for him to return.(It was not the first time I thought I was abandoned. I feared abandonment since my mother’s dead.)  When I thought of going back to the place where my father was supposed to wait for me, I realized I was lost. So the one who disappeared was me, not my father. (While I was lost, my father was scolding my sister for my disappearance, and then they were searching for me.)

I ended up in a police station which transferred me to another police station, which in turn transferred me to a place for lost children. After a day or two the lost children’s center transferred me to a children’s shelter on 9/10/74.

A man (from St. Paul’s orphanage) came to take a few girls. The second time he came, he asked those who knew their address to raise hand. I raised mine. I told him what I had already told to an office worker of the orphanage, that I lived in Suwon, but I didn’t know my new address yet and I gave him my former address, and  told him to bring me to my former address in Seoul, that my elder sister and brother were still living near that place, and that I even knew how to go back  home by myself alone from there, etc.  The man promised me he would search for my elder sister and would come back.

He came back a week later to bring us home. In fact he just transferred us to his orphanage, St. Paul’s orphanage, on 1/28/75. He put me up for adoption without searching for my elder sister and my father.

7) Myung Sook says she has neither brother nor sister. 

I talked about my elder sister, brother and/or second sister at each place I went except at the second police station where I didn’t stay long enough to talk. I talked  about my brother at the first police station, I told the policeman how I lost my father after visiting my second sister. I told the same thing at the lost children’s center. I gave my former address to the first orphanage worker and the second orphanage director and told them my elder sister and brother lived there. I often talked about my siblings to other kids in front of the nuns and the housemother while living at St. Paul’s orphanage.

8) She does not remember, either, where she lived before her coming to Seoul.

Read  what I wrote for #3, 4, 5  and 6.

Remark: I found the  correct dates 9/10/74 and 1/28/75 on the record of the first orphanage. I also found the former address and the name of my father.

ibyangThe image above shows Korean words written on the back of a photo. It’s a black and white photo of a Korean girl/me holding  a piece of paper with an identification number K-6714 written on it like a prisoner.

The Korean girl K-6714 had written it in her last days while she was being emptied of her words and filled with foreign words.

Every word of her mother tongue was  extirpated from her until it became a foreign language and the foreign words become her mother tongue.

My mother tongue is French. I’m an old-stock Quebecker who was born in her body with her memories.  I remember my life as her, a Korean girl, my real self. I remember losing  my words. I remember some time having no  language at all which made me unable to think. And I remember having written something on the back of that black and white photo but I feel like I had written it in French.

When I think of the Korean girl, I feel like my body is her coffin.

Her family was removed from her
Her country was removed from her
Because she didn’t matter.

She was exported to a foreign land
She was sold to a new family she didn’t look like at all
Because she didn’t matter.

Her birth date was removed from her
Her name was removed from her
Her manners were removed from her
Her words were removed from her
Her ways of thinking were removed from her
Because she didn’t matter.

She was given a new birth date that has nothing to do with her birth
She was given a new name that didn’t match her face
She was taught new manners as being the right manners
She was forcefully penetrated with new words to become her new mother tongue and new ways of thinking
Because she didn’t matter.

She was killed when I was created
She is not because I am
I am not me I’m her.
Don’t tell me I matter when she didn’t

The two me’s + 1

Today on the Facebook page, Is Adoption Trauma?  I read a quote by B.J. Lifton that starts with, “An adopted teenager once told me, “I feel there are two teenage me’s. The me that was born but didn’t live. And the me who was not born, but lived the life I have today.” Without understanding she was expressing the split in the self that so many adoptees make in order to survive….”

It brought me tears as I recall my own life as an adoptee….

The following  are excerpts from my memoir/diary that I wrote about 25 years ago when I was in my 20s. This is actually a third version of my memoir/diary. I had written the first version during my teen years but destroyed it by fear someone would read it; I also destroyed the second version while re-writing this version to be read by my doctor who had encouraged me to put my life on a paper.  It’s in French, so I translated it below with comments in italic if needed.

les3moi1
les3moi002“Since I left Korea, there are 2 other persons in me: the 3 persons live always together but people only see/saw one person. There is me, the real Kim Myung-Sook who lived in Korea. When she came, she was not the one my mother wanted. My mother wanted a living doll, a baby to cuddle. That’s why, for my mother, there’s a 2nd Kim like the one my mother wanted.  The real me, the one who was born in Korea, she knows what real life is, she knows life is sad and she sometimes feel she’s too old; she lives in the real [life] while hating the real et she leaves the place to the second Kim.
The second Kim is the one everyone knows [of me]. She was a baby when she came, she became older with  moving house [from Maine, USA to Quebec, Canada], she became older but she’s of her real age. [I meant that everyone paid attention to me and treated me as if I was a baby. But less than six months later I was seen as a girl of my age because I had grown up and nobody cared about me], she’s lucky to have all the material comfort, lucky to be adopted. She’s a child who doesn’t suffer. She’s the one who hides the truth when the 1st wants to show up. This one, she evolves normally as expected by everyone.
The 3rd is the one that was invented by the  1st for the nights to fall asleep, only to pretend. This one is not really a person, it’s only like a TV character. At the beginning when I lived in Maine, this 3rd was sleeping in Korea and she was dreaming  everything the 2nd lived and nobody was able to wake her up. [I meant that I pretended to be asleep in Korea and that everything was only a dream or a nightmare] When I was at Collège Français [a primary school], I changed the scenario, I pretended to be the daugther of an orphanage director. It was a little what I wished when I lived at St. Paul, to have parents but to stay there.
Finally the 3rd didn’t really exist since it was the 1st who was pretending to live as another person and this person was exactly the 1st who shouldn’t have been, as she is, if she had live like…
I can not explain everything!
Anyway, if I hadn’t pretend to live the life of the 3rd, I would never have succeeded with perfection to be the 2nd everyone knew and I would have ended up being crazy.”

Today I would say all this differently: adoption killed the Korean in me and adoption created the Quebecker in me.

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