Posts Tagged ‘Korean adoptee’

November is my birth month, but it has not always been the case.
Until I was 8, il was April.

I was born on the 8th of April, 1966 (which, on the lunar calendar, is the 18th of March, 1966). I remember how happy I was on my 7th birthday when my father gave me money to spend, and how happy I was on my 8th birthday when he gave me a corn on the cob. In those days, in Korea, it was unusal to celebrate a child’s birthday other than its first birthday.

In 1975, about three months before I turned 9, my birthday has been changed to the 20th of November. Baby selling men from Holt Children’s Services asked me my birth date only to give me a different birth date and a different age. My friends who didn’t know their birth dates were given new birth dates and different ages as well. And they ordered us to say our new ages if someone would question us again.

November is the month of my birth date, but I wasn’t born on November.
My birth certificate states that I was born on November, so does all the legal paper that I have. But legal doesn’t mean true; legal doesn’t mean ethical. Legal only means permitted by law. Adoption is child trafficking and child laundering permitted by law supposedly in the name of love, but in fact in the name of money and greed. With money, you can make falshood become legal and truth become illegal. With money, it is legal to falsify a birth ceritificate. It would be illegal for me to write my true birth date on a legal paper.

Retrospective of the months of November since the creation of the Holt product #K-6714

November 1975

1) Birthday celebration:

In early November 1975, it was my first birthday celebration (on my new birthday month) with other girls whose birthday was on November. I was happy to receive a flower and to be congratulated for our coming birthdays on the month.

2) My last days with my friends:

The 2-3 first weeks of November 1975 were my last days with my friends. Sister Yuk, the nun responsible of bringing the girls to the many appointments required before going to the USA, would tell us any day, “Today is the day you are going to the USA.” We never knew when that was going to be said to us. I heard it on a November day, a week or two after the birthday celebration.
Mrs. Choi, the housemother responsible of my group, gave me a bead nacklace, a book and a traditional Korean purse. I felt all kind of emotions while Mrs Choi was writing the address of the orphanage so that I could write to her. Among the emotions were happyness and sadness. I felt happy because she gave me a bead necklace and a book, in addition to the purse that she had given to every girl before their departure; I felt disappointed because there was no farewell song for me because all the girls were either at school or at their appointments; I felt sad because I couldn’t say goodbye to my best friend who was at school; I felt sad and worried for my friend thinking that she would be sad coming home from school.
Sister Yang, the nun responsible of my group, learned of my departure only at the moment I was approaching the backyard door to leave. She took me aside in a private room to tell me goodbye. She told me that she never knew when one of her girls would leave.  I saw tears in her eyes while she was writing a short note to me. Seeing her tears brought tears to my eyes. I realized that I would be gone for a long time. I didn’t want to go the USA anymore. She muttered that she had requested in vain to be notified about the departure of her girls. I knew she was making a special effort not to cry. I too made a special effort not to cry. While she was talking to me holding my hand, I wanted to yell that I’ll stay with her and Mrs Choi forever and I wanted to throw myself in her arms to tell her not to let me go. But Sister Yuk was getting impatient, she was already in the cab and was waiting for me to leave.

3) My last month in my native country:

I was transferred to another home for the rest of the month. It looked like an American house, with modern bathroom with an American style toilet and modern furnitures such as I’ve never seen before, so I thought I was already in the USA. A few days later I realized that I was still in Korea. I missed home (orphanage). I missed my friends, Mrs Choi, Sister Yang and the housemother of another group. I cried silently every day, I cried so much that my eyes were red all day. The workers were nice and tried to change my mind, but I still felt sad from morning to night. I stayed at that place until the end of November 1975.
The day of my departure was on December 1st, 1975. During my last hours in Korea at the airpot, I was happy thinking that I would soon meet my friends who had gone to the USA before me. I didn’t know that I was leaving permanently.

November is the month of loss; loss of friends and loss of native country. November is the month of sorrow for losing my native land.

November 1976

My first birthday with my adoptive family. My parents threw a huge surprise party. Two classmates and all the neighbor kids were present. They said in English “happy birthday!” when I came back home. Everything else was said in French.

At the end of the party, my two classmates saw Louis, a Korean-American man who had been living with us since a few weeks. (Louis was a former employee of my parents in the USA, but he hadn’t been able to find another job since my parents sold their business to move to Canada seven months after my arrival. My mother hired him to keep me company so that I could talk to him in Korean.) One of the classmates asked me if that Chinese man was my big brother. Her question made me ashamed of him. I felt ashamed of our Chinese eyes, but I felt more ashamed of his eyes than mine. (Since I started school, the only thing that I’ve heard during breaks were the words such as, “Chinese, Chinese”- “Yuck! Chinese are dirty!”-“Slant eyes.”-“The yellow.”, accompanied with the gesture of pulling their eyelids.) I considered Louis as my brother, but I avoided answering the question because of shame. I didn’t want them to think that the Chinese man was my brother because that would make me a double-Chinese. I felt more ashamed of Louis when he asked my classmates if they spoke English. I had noticed for some time that people would talk to me in English because of my Chinese looking face. I had wrongly deduced that speaking only French would make me become normal so that I could fit in. At school my classmate asked me again if the Chinese man they saw at my birthday party was my brother. I responded vehemently that he wasn’t. I wanted to tell them that he was only an employee of my parents, but I couldn’t because of my lack in French. And then I felt ashamed of my cowardice.
A few days later, I heard Louis saying to my parents that he had decided to go back to the USA. They had a long conversation together, but I didn’t understand what they were saying because I had forgotten the little bit of English that I had learned in the USA. I felt ashamed of myself thinking that he wanted to leave because of me. I’ve never seen him again after he left. Louis was the last person with whom I spoke in Korean.

November is the month of loss; loss of sense of self, loss of culture. November is the month of internalized racism. November is the month of my body colonized.

November 1977

I received a phone call from Louis. He has seen my ad searching for my siblings in a Korean newspaper. I didn’t understand one word of what he said as I had lost the Korean language.

November is the month of loss; loss of mother tongue, loss of culture, loss of identity. November is the month of assimilation. November is the month of sorrow for losing my native land and my mothter tongue.

November 1978-2006

A few months after my first birthday party in my adoptive family, I started telling my parents about my past life in Korea. I told them that my birthday in Korea was different. As my French was improving I would tell my parents about my family in Korea. My mother would say, “From what you say, I understand Korea is 35 years late compared to Canada.” Whenever I would talk about my first family, she would correct me and say, “No. That’s not true. You were not 6 yeas old; you were 4 when your mother died” or “That’s not true. Your father left you to his landlord, and after a few days of not receiving any news, the landlord brought you to the orphanage.” I understood she believed I was a liar.
I told many times my mother that my birthday was during a hot season, somewhere between April and August. I recounted my parents in detail the day I met the men who gave me a new birth date that wasn’t mine. I told them that I clearly remember the number 1966 and that I also vaguely remember the numbers 8 and 13, so it must be August the 13th. Althought my mother seemed to believe me about my birthdate being fake, she would always tell me that I was a real Scorpio. She would say things such as, “My daughter is a Scorpio like my mother.” – “My mother and daughter’s birthdays are two days apart.” -“Your zodiac sign fits you well.” And after I got mad once for something, she started saying, “She’s agressive! A real Scorpio! Koreans are agressive.” And she would try to make me mad again by picking at me with her fingers. I persevered and repeated my story again and again for about two years.
Without realizing it, I became a pure laine Quebecois (pure wool Qubecois), born on November to Quebecois parents.

November 1978 was an ordinary month, a little special because it was my birth month.

On November 1979, a few days before my birthday , I returned school after two months of absence, two months during which I was in depression and stayed seated on the floor. (It was my second depression, the first having taken place only for a week during the winter 1977-78, because I had studied too much in a new language in order to catch up with other children.)

I didn’t know why but in the year 1980, I started hating November months. I once told on someone else’s birthday, “What I hate the most is my birthday” and then I thought, “I wish my birthday was during a warm period of the year.”

On November 1980, I caught a bronchitis, a third bronchitis since my arrival in Canada. I went on a trip to Haiti with my mother to “dry my bronchitis under the southern sun” by recommendation of a physician, which got me the label of lucky. The words “you’re lucky” was nothing new as I had already heard it many times.

In 1981, in order to silence me about the sexual abuse that was taking place since two years, my father obtained strong antidepressants from his son, pretexting that I was in a deep depression. Thereafter, my father would say that I was in depression on every month of November whenever I hadn’t a smiling face, while my mother would say, “here we go, depression again”, which forced me to joke alot and have a happy face almost all the time.
On my birthday of November 19?? and 19??, I ended up in hospital after taking an overdose in a suicid attempt.

November 1999-2004. No birthday celebration. No birthday card, no birthday wish, no phone call, because my mother died in June 1999 and my father left for another woman in 1990.

November is the month of darkness and depression.

November 2005-present.

I got birthday celebration with my husband and/or my godparents.

On November 2007, I heard for the first time about National Month of Adoption, thanks to online groups of adoptees that I had found during the fall of that year. Thanks to them I could finally put words to the feelings and I know that I’m alone. Thanks to them I’m no longer obliged to live with the feeling debt of having been saved from a life of poverty doomed to prostitution. And finally thanks to them, I’ve opened my eyes to the reality of the multi billion dollar adoption industry. As I started blogging about adoption, it got me the label of angry and bitter adoptee.
But you know what, since I’ve became an angry and bitter adoptee, I’ve not once fell into depression and I’m happy. The truth will set you free, even the uggy truth, and when you can put words to your feelings and express them, you’ll feel happy.

During the year 2008 I have obtained my hojuk (Korean family registry) with my actual birth date in lunar calendar, 18th of March, 1966 (which in solar calendar is 8th of April, 1966). I wished my mother was still alive so that I could tell her that everything I told her was true (and that everything she heard from Holt was lies).

From November 2008, I told my godparents and friend that my birthday would be celebrated on April 8th, even though my legal birthday is on November 20th.

November is National Adoption Month.

November is Child Laundering Month.

Myung-Sook, the fourth child of Kim Jeong-Jin and Yeo Byung-Rae, born on the 8th of April, 1966, in Korea had been laundered before she turned 9 to become a child of nobody, born on the 20th of November, 1966, so that she could become adoptable.

November is Month of losses.

November 1975 was the last month in her native land for the Korean-born girl. On her last hours in Korea, she was excited and happy to take the airplane at the idea of meeting again her friends who had flown to the USA before her; she was happy to wear a baby bracelet on each of her wrists. She didn’t have the least idea that she had become a sold product whose number was written on the bracelets. She didn’t know that her own people had sold her off to foreigners. She didn’t know that her escort was holding her visa to enter to the USA for the purpose of adoption with the date of bearer’s return crossed off. She didn’t know that it was her last day in Korea, her last day as a Korean.

The Korean girl was sold to a Quebecois couple residing in the USA. Just as she was turning into an all American girl, her buyers moved back to Canada, their homeland, because they were not American citizens. They wanted her to learn French and to become a pure laine Quebecois instead.

November is Child Recycling Month.

November 1976 was the month when the Korean-born girl who used to consider the white people as abnormal started seeing herself and the slant-eyed people as abnormal. Unbeknownst to her, the Korean girl had quickly lost her Korean culture as her body was colonized by francophone Quebecois. November 1977 was the month when the Korean-born girl sang in Korean for the last time.
The Korean girl has been completly assimilated by the Quebecois people who often discusses the issues of identity and autonomy and who wants the predominance of the French language and the preservation and promotion of Quebec culture. The Korean girl has been recycled to a pure laine Quebecois girl, but the Quebecois will forever question her identity and she will never fit in here, neither there because they didn’t manage to change her Asian body.

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당신은 사랑받기위해 태어난 사람 means
You were born to be abandoned,
because 사랑해요 means I love you.

You were born to be abandoned
Because you were born to a wrong father
You were born to be rejected
Because 사랑해요 means I love you

Do not worry
There is a married woman whose womb has been closed by God; her name is Hannah.
Hannah has great faith in God and she is praying hard to have a child

You were born to be abandoned
Because your were born to a poor parent
You were born to be tagged with a price
Because you were born in a poor country

Do not worry
Hannah lives in a rich country.
And she’ll pay any price to have a child

You were born to be abandoned
Because you were born to a sinner
You were born to be sold
Because you were born in Korea

Do not worry
There is man who heard Hannah’s prayer; his name is Eli
Eli will fix your mother’s mistakes in the name of Jesus

You were born to be abandoned
Because God placed you in the wrong womb
You were born to be shipped off to strangers
Because you were born in the wrong country

Do not worry
The followers of Jesus will fix God’s mistakes.
And the followers of Confucius will send you off with an escort

Be grateful that you are not useless
Hannah’s is happy now, because of your existence in this world.
Followers of Jesus made huge sum of money, because of your existence in this world.
And the followers of Confucius will be happy, the day you’ll visit your birth country to spend your money.

당신은 사랑받기위해 태어난 사람…

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Below is a page from a book that I read several times after my “arrival day”.

A book Myung-Sook read from Déc 1975 to 1976/77

As I had only two books written in Korean, I read them about 100 times until I lost my mother tongue and became a Francophone Quebecer.

In a TV programme, a French-speaking Quebec artist, adoptive father of a Chinese girl, said that given the fall in the birth rate in Quebec, the Quebec governement should help couples who want to adopt in foreign countries, because “those children become Québécois pure laine”, he said, in a short time and it doesn’t cost a cent.

It’s easy to assimilate adoptive children from foreign countries. It’s true that you can make them believe they are white, you can make them believe your ancestors are theirs and you can make them believe they are Québécois pure laine. More you adopt them young, the easier it is to assimilate them.

Even I, adopted at 9 years old, have been remodeled in the image of my adoptive parents and I became a Francophone Quebecer like them
within short time. Starting with my birth culture, I was emptied of everything Korean to be filled with everything Quebecer within two years.

You can easily snatch a child from its mother, from its country and its culture; you can empty it like you would empty a vessel, and you can fill it with your culture, but you will never be able to fill the hole you created by emptying it; you can fill with your love, but you will never be able to clean cut the invisible thread that connects the child to its roots.

I’m a Francophone Quebecer, but I have a big hole in my heart since I lost my mother tongue and original culture. The greatest sorrow of my life is losing my culture and language. Sometime, I just want to die to stop the hurt.

People say don’t complain and study your culture. I actually remember the way I used to live in Korea, but I remember everything as if it happened in French; the Korean culture is not natural to me, it’s stranger to me.

Do you really think that studying Korean culture in a book/movie would bring me back my culture? If it was that simple, then everyone who studies Korean culture could become Korean, and I would feel no hurt. My original culture is taken from me forever.

Since I became adult, I tried few times to relearn my mother tongue in order to reacquire a part of what was stolen from me, but without success.

What did it give to me to try to relearn my mother tongue? Absolutely nothing, nothing than hurt.

I’m trying again since 2009. Maybe, I’m trying to fill the hole created by adoption, the hole made bigger and deeper by the assimiliation. Below is a page from a book that I’m using.

A book I'm studying since the end of 2009

The greatest irony of my life is that I’ve been assimilated by people who often discussed and still discusses identity and autonomy issues on national level. The Parti Québécois introduced the “Quebec identity bill” which proposes the predominance of the French language and the protection and promotion of Quebec culture. This is even more ironic for international adoptees who couldn’t defend to keep their mother tongue and culture and have lost their identity to become francophone Quebecers by force.

Mrs Pauline Marois, leader of the Parti Québécois, said that the francophones of Quebec have preserved their culture and language by perseverance. It might have been true in the past, but it’s no longer true today. Preserving your language and culture by passsing it by force to the children adopted abroad has nothing to do with perserverance. It is what I call the modern colonization: instead of invading and transforming a country abroad, you bring their children here to colonize their bodies.

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You taught me to sing 태극기.
I sang it cheerfully waving my arms in the air, until it made me sad.
I stopped singing and I lost the beautiful voice that I inherited from you.
The lyrics faded away, making a hole in my heart.
The new songs I’ve learned never filled the hole.
Why did you teach me to sing 태극기 before sending me far away?

You taught me to sing 애국가.
I sang it respectfully with my right arm on my chest, until it hurt.
I forgot the lyrics, and I learned to sing O Canada.
I never felt at home singing “Terre de nos aïeux” /“Our home and native land” in this foreign land.
I kept thinking of my home in my ancestral land.
Why did you teach me to sing 애국가 before sending me off to a foreign land?

You taught me to draw 태극기.
I drew it everywhere saying proudly “Korea! Korea!” until I hated you.
I stopped looking in the mirror, to avoid the ugly face I inherited from you.
The blue and red 태극 became a red maple leaf.
The fleurdelisé swept up the trigrams, killing my nature.
Why did you teach me to draw 태극기 before abandoning me to strangers?

You taught me to say 우리 대한민국.
I repeated it proudly thinking of you, until I felt ashamed,
I stopped talking about you, the nation which sold me to strangers.
To be part of them, I studied the new language like crazy.
The words you taught me faded away,  digging the abandonment hole bigger.
The new language I learned never filled the hole.
Why did you teach me to say 우리 대한민국 before selling me to a foreign country?

You taught me to sing 우리의 소원은 통일.
I sang it wishing for our unification, until it made me cry.
I yearned for you.
I loved you, and it hurt me to death to love you.
I loved you until I hated you.
I hated you, and it hurt me to death to hate you.

I kept you in my heart by hating you.
I don’t act like you, but I remember the way we lived together.
I forgot the lyrics, but I know the melodies of the songs you taught me.
I forgot the words you told me, but I remember the meanings.
I forgot our language (우리 말), but I remember many words.

Although I hate you, I only remember the words 사랑해요.
My hatred for you flows from the hurt through my 사랑 for you.
I went back to you, yearning for the love.

But you erased me, you forgot me.
And it hurt me to death.

When you sent me far away, you couldn’t see me crying;
You couldn’t see me in pain, and you couldn’t count my tears.

When I went back to you, you saw me crying;
But you still couldn’t see me in pain, and you couldn’t count the tears:
You were still selling your children to foreigners.
You erase them, you forget them.
Because you are indifferent.

Your indifference is the opposite of love.

When you sent me far away, I prayed to 우리 할머니 in heaven to bring me back home.
I tried to please 우리 하나님 to forgive me of my childhood sins, until I had no faith.
Now, I wish my heart was filled with the same indifference as yours.
And, I wish to forget the words 우리의 소원은 통일.
It hurts me to death to think of you.

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