Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I think I posted before that I was contacted by the Korean Herald about writing a human interest article about being adopted.

Well, if your in Korea, you can pick up a Tuesday and Wednesday copy, you will see my article. It was originally only supposed to be 1 page, but after I got done they decided to print the whole thing over two days!

If your not in Korea, or unable to find it, you can read it:

I hope that works. It should take you to a google webpage that has 3 pdf documents at the bottom of it. Click on those pdf files, they are pdf's of the article.


  1. Dear Richard,

    I sent the following to Matthew Lamers, the editor that is publishing your 3 part story. Thought I would just send it to you as it is really directed to you. I've been to South Africa, lived there for 6 months with my adoptive family. I hope you are enjoying Africa and your travels.

    Letter to Matthew Lamers:
    What an interesting blog. I'm going to check it out. I guess by now he has figured out that there are others like him. The "us" - American-Koreans who have gone through the same thing - living in America, looking Korean, a mixed hybrid of both cultures - never truely fitting in to either culture. I have met many of "us" out there and we share a few things in common other than our experiences - we love to travel - I think it is because we can't quite identify completely with a particular culture so that we constantly float around, looking for it. Even after returning to Korea (as he did and I did), you still don't fit in because you can't talk the language - even the way we walk, dress, handle ourselves in a crowd is different from a native Korean. We don't get hung up about adoption and not knowing all the facts as other kinds of adoptees seem to - we have the same attitude as many koreans - it happened, it's in the past, get over it and move on. I think Koreans are as a culture pragmatists - we've been pushed and pulled by our neighbors so long that we have developed a thick skin and in a way, developed our own unique independent attitude that has passed down through the bloodlines.

    I sum up my adoption life in one word that is a core issue among all adoptees - IdentitY - the identity journey starts with "I" and ends with 'Y" - Why was I adopted. Why was I abandoned. Why was I plucked from one place to live in another y, y, y, y. In the end, we Korean adoptees accept that we will have multiple identities - I always tell people that I am never satisifed with one - I must have more than one - birthday, name, parents, country loyalties, etc.

    I would only suggest that the writer of the blog on his next trip to Korea search out all the ways that adoptees are reuniting with birthfamilies. GOAL now has a bus ad running, there is a weekly tv show and there are radio announcements putting adoptees in connection with birthfamilies and since he was abandoned in such a specific place, that may trigger the birthfamily's memories. Also, I did find my birthmother and in doing so, I learned that the story of abandonment that I had been told was not the entire truth - I don't think anyone completely lied about it, but it wasn't the entire truth either. After 30 years, it only took 1 simple email for me to find my family.

    Mari Cochran (adopted name)
    a/k/a Suh Sun Kim (given name by police officer who found me)
    a/k/a Lee, Hee Bong (birth name)

  2. tuesday and wednesday of next week I'm guessing. I will have to pick that up. congrats!

  3. Elise,
    They were published Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, of this week.

    If you can't find them, I posted a link of my website with the documents uploaded on them. If you can't get those, let me know and I can email you a copy.

  4. Richard,
    Read your artcile on The Korea Herald today. I was born in Korea, educated in the States for 15 years and then had to come back to Korea to serve in the ROK Army. I can be categorized as yet another type of breed. You see, there are so many different types of people that have gone through similar experiences as you might have, and it's always good to know that you are not alone.

    As you've mentioned in your article, if you find a way to cherish both Korean & American heritages and cultures, you are on your way to the enlightenment. In fact, the more you can nourish, better and more unique you are these days.

    Since you like Korean foods so much, I invite you to contact me when in Seoul. I will take you around. I know a few awesome local restaurants that you will like. Just e-mail me at before you head out.

    Being multi-cultural is invaluable. You will do alright.

    Steve Chung

  5. Im so glad to receive these comments from readers who read my article!

    I love meeting people who have similar experiences as mine, or different experience to share. I love seeing different aspects of other Korean's lives.

    Thank you Mari for your great response and thank you Steve for your awesome offer!

    Unfortunately I am not sure when I will get to go back to Korea. I am trying to arrange to be in Korea for a 3 week language program this summer. I have to first see if my company will allow me to take that much time off! I will definitely take you up on your offer Steve, if you are still around Seoul!

    Feel free to contact me via email at:
    if you have any questions, or want to share a story, or continue a conversation!

  6. Hmm... talking about loving ourselves..
    I guess that is what happens when one moves out from one's country and head to another.

    If you want to learn about your own culture, one option is to return to Korea and maybe apply to be an English teacher. Well, there is a special visa for that sort of thing.

    Of course, you might decide in the long term to return to the States instead, and feel that that is probably where your heart is. which is probably all right too.

    We just have to do what we think we ought to do.

  7. Hi Cheayee!

    "loving ourselves.." I think is important to everyone, but it is extremely important for people with "identity issues" like many adoptees have.

    I have been investigating various ways to take the "plunge" to Korea! It is a dream of mine to live there some day! I actually applied and was accepted into graduate school there for my MBA. However, I turned it down because I also got into University of Michigan MBA, which is one of the best in the world. However that didnt work out either in the end.

    Being that I was born in Korean, I can get an E-4 visa (I think thats what its caleld), which is the best type of visa you can get.

    I have been contemplating the whole ESL thingy. But its so cliche for adopted Koreans to do that, but I would love to do it! However, I am a chemical engineer for a very big oil company. I am wanting to get my MBA and move up in the company, and taking 2 or 3 years off to go to Korea is pretty much a career killer in my extremely competitive industry.

    Maybe someday I can find the time to do this 2/3 year "mecca"