Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I am about to do something that you will almost never see. (*I certainly have yet to see any blog on the "Anti-Adoption" movement side do this).

I am going to post a link to the opposing side's argument!

Yes, that is true. It is because I am amazed by this post. It is the first one that writes about any sort of proposal for alternatives to Adoption.

My biggest "issue" with the whole "Anti-Adoption" movement was their total lack of alternatives. You can't just shutdown an institution such as Adoption, and not have a way to "handle" all of the kids in the system.

You can find it here: Alternatives

Funny how almost all of the "Anti-Adoption" blogs have comment moderation, meaning the author has to approve your comments first. I'm sure it is because they are afraid of the "Blurting" out that some people against the Anti-Adoption movement might do. You will notice on my blog I do not have any sort of moderation on. When you post your comment, it is posted. The reason I do that is because if someone from the "Anti-Adoption" movement is going to post something radical on my blog and wants to try and totally trash me personally, it only helps me to persuade more of my target audience (not by logic but by personality..lol)...so I welcome everyone to post comments in agreement or in dissent!

Anyways, I posted a reply to their article, but you'll have to wait to see if the moderator will approve my opposing thoughts!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I was reading yet another blog about adoption. This one in particular I believe had undertones of being "Anti-adoption". Im not sure what tipped me off, except I did find this list of 15 reason (I don't think I was included in this "proven" research...lol):

While this list of 15 gives reasons why not to give up a child for adoption, it does not provide any alternatives. If a mother decides she can not take care of a child, if adoption should not be an option, then what options does she have? If you have any ideas please let me know!

If you surrender your baby to adoption, you will be condemning him or her to suffer these proven harmful effects:

1. The severe trauma of being separated from you will radiate throughout every aspect of your baby's life. Your baby will experience your loss as the psychological death of his mother. There will never be closure.
2. Your baby will know the difference between you and his female adopter because he has bonded with you during your pregnancy. He knows your scent and your heartbeat. He seaches for the smell of your milk - not hers.
3. Your baby will feel abandoned by you, often resulting in a lifelong inability to trust anyone.
4. Your baby will always wonder why you didn't keep him and will blame himself for not being lovable enough to keep - a todder's realization that they were adopted. Many adult adopted people find they still carry this feeling inside - and it influences adult relationships.
5. As your baby grows up, your child may feel like a misfit and will suffer from low self esteem.
6. Your child may think about you constantly. This may cause your child to have difficulty concentrating on his schoolwork. Your child will be labeled a "dreamer" and a "bad student," further harming his chances for success in life.
7. Your child's adopters may not understand his lack of concentration and he could easily be misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). If misdiagnosed, they will force your child to take drugs that he doesn't need.
8. Your child will lose his true identity while his adopters try to force him to be like them.
9. Your child will have no sense of his past which will make it difficult for him to envision his future.
10. Your child may suppress his true feelings and live an emotionally-numb life in order to survive the tragedy of his separation from you compounded by his adoption.
11. As your child becomes an adolescent he will have great difficulty establishing a sense of self because he will have no sense of his true history or heritage.
12. As your child becomes an adult he may have difficulty choosing a career and a mate due to his fear of commitment and abandonment.
13. Your child's adopters will probably not acknowledge that raising an adopted child is different from raising a child of their own. They will further burden him by telling him that he should forget about you and be grateful that they adopted him and gave him a home because you did not.
14. Nothing anyone does or says can ever make up for the loss of your child's first family!
15. You will never be able to change the past and undo the lifelong adverse effects of adoption on your child!

Here is my response to the above list of 15:

1. Psychological death? I never even knew such a thing even existed. Does a baby even understand the meaning of death? My birth mother is either physically alive or dead. I guess if I ever decide to search for my birth mother and I find her, that will bring closure to this "psychological death?"
2. I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure if my birth mother walked by me on a street, I would not be able to "sniff" her out. Its been 25+ years, I'm pretty sure I can't remember if my birth mother wore Chanel 5.... However I do know my mother does like to wear Baby Soft perfume. And to think about searching and drinking any mother's milk at the age of 28...ew.
3. Abandonment issues. I would think an adoptee who was a baby would have a lot less "issue" with this than someone like myself who was adopted near the age of 5?
4. Pfft...I've seen pictures of myself when I was younger. I was cute and lovable! I didn't have much of a "break through" in my realization that I was adopted. The fact that I'm Korean and my parents are white, kind of made that pretty easy to figure out...lol. However, your baby may use this as a crutch or an excuse..yes, that is a sad fact of life, some people will try to use any misfortunes in their lives as an excuse...
5. What kid does not feel like a misfit at some point in their lives?
6. Again, another case of using a misfortune as a crutch. Do you think adoptees are the only ones with problems? How about the kid next to you who is being physically abused at home?
7. Isn't every kid in the US mis-diagnosed with ADD? This is not exclusive to adopted children. This statement is true too: "If you keep your kid he could easily be misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). If misdiagnosed, they will force your child to take drugs that he doesn't need."
8. What is identity? Why do people misinterpret "identity" with heritage or ancestry? They are different. According to the dictionary identity is: "the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another". So whether you grow up with your birth parents or adoptive parents, it should have no bearing one's identity, because one's identity is their own, and not passed down in a bloodline.
9. What about someone's parents effects your future? If this statement is true, an adopted child is probably better off. Think about the scenarios in which a birth mother would give up a child (ie. economics, wedlock, social pressures) versus the scenarios of adoptive parents. The adoptive parents situation would almost always be considered "better" so your child would have a better vision for the future because they were raised in a "better" situation.
10. At least this argument separates the difference between being orphaned and being adopted. However, I still have yet to hear why adoption is negative. So I don't know how adoption compounds this issue?
11. I personally establish my sense of self based on what I have accomplished and my future plans, not on my history. I don't believe my family's history should impact my sense of self because then it would not be a "self" it would be a sense of "family"...lol
12. Honestly, who doesn't have a hard time picking a career. Also, who isn't afraid of getting hurt in the game of love?
13. Nope. My parents always reminded me that I was adopted. They were very open about it. Again, kind of hard to "hide" it when I am Korean and they are white. However, they were always very open about the subject and they were always willing to help me explore my adoption if I ever wanted too. My parents were grateful that they were able to adopt me, they never once in my life ever expected me or told me that I should be grateful that they adopted me. However, I personally do feel a great sense of gratefulness to them. Which maybe why I defend adoption and ad
14. What a joke! Just because someone shares DNA with you does not make them your family. It does make them a good donor in the future, should you ever need one. However, it does not guarantee a emotional bond you share with your family that you develop over time. Otherwise, how do you explain being closer or having more emotional attachment to some family members and not others. If this statement were true then everyone should have the same "strength" of bond between all of their family members. We all know this is not true, there is always the odd uncle/aunt/cousin that we just don't get along with.
15. Of course not! You'd be a millionaire if you could change the past! However, you can make a huge difference on your baby!

Abortion may seem like an easy answer, but it is only available pre-birth. I was abandoned around 3 years of age, so if my mother had followed that "route" it would have been called first degree murder (luckily, my mother choose the adoption route). Ironcially Roe vs. Wade, society, and medicine, will always try to de-humanize an unborn child by calling it a fetus. However, how many expecting parents do you hear call the first ultrasound image of the pregnancy a fetus? How many pregnant mothers have you heard say "Oh the fetus kicked!", or people ask "What are you going to call the fetus?". I wonder how many Pro-Choice supporters find themselves calling the unborn child a "baby"! Shocking! I bet after the first ultrasound, the vast majority of the Pro-Choice contingency would call the unborn child a Baby and not a fetus. Now ask yourself how many Pro-Lifers would call their unborn child a fetus? I bet almost none...lol

Yet another thing that anti-adoption supporters seem to over look is the options a parent has when orphaning a child. You have to imagine the parents are in the worst imaginable situation, or believe that they are, to consider giving up a child. Do you really think its best for that child emotionally and physically to force those parents to keep the child? This scenario just sounds like a bad mixture for abuse and even worse psychological damage for a child...

"Living and Surviving in South Korea"

Like I mentioned before, I have totally immersed myself into the whole Korean adoption thing. I bought several books on Amazon.com to read on the topics of adoption, with a focus on foreign/Korean adoptions. As I read these I will post my comments about them.

This was the first book I got in the mail. Here is a quick synopsis:

First off, Let me start off by saying, I highly recommend this book to any Korean who will be visiting Korea for the first time. This book touches on several key "issues" that you will not think about or read about anywhere else. There is also information that might be helpful to non-Koreans, but the target audience is for ethnic Koreans.

This is a broad overview guide of living in Korea from a Korean-American's perspective. The subtitle of this book is "What you won't learn in this Lonely Planet for Ethnic Koreans".

In case you don't know "Lonely Planet" is guide book for pretty much any country in the world. It is an excellent tool for traveling. However, Lonely Planet does not prepare Koreans returning to their motherland for the first time.

This book covers some basics such as public transportation, renting, and food. Actually I found that this book is much better at teaching the customs then "Lonely Planet". "Lonely Planet" is definitely a better guidebook with recommendations of where to go and what to see. "Living and Surviving in South Korea" is more of what to expect, in particular what to expect as a Korean visiting Korea for the first time.

I found this book extremely entertaining, and truthfully I wish I had read this book before my visits to Korea, however now that I read it, I find it very entertaining because I can laugh and say I experienced exactly what the author is writing about. The biggest thing for me was the language barrier. For the first time in my life I "fit in" and blended in with the crowd. That is until I opened my mouth! This is just one of several "issues/items" this books talks about that ethnic Koreans will face in their travels.

This book also talks gives a lot of history on the author and his personal experience. Which I always find interesting! I love reading or hearing about other Korean-Americans/Adoptees experiences.

Lastly the Author also discusses the "drive" to return to the motherland. The author discusses becoming an ESL teacher, gives hints on how do go about doing it, and other methods or ways to consider working in Korea. As I'm sure many ethnic Koreans have, the auther also weighs the pros and cons of living in Korea. The author is a definite supporter of Koreans wanting to return to the motherland.

I would highly recommend this book! I loved it from the moment I picked it up. I did "skim" through the hints section where he gives helpful hints to people on their first visit to Seoul (such as how to use the subway) because I already learned and experienced these hints.

Not only was the information excellent, but a look into the authors personal life was fascinating. Lastly, his arguments for living in Korea and his discussions about how to make it feasible was fascinating! The author almost had me packing my bags! While being an ESL teacher is perhaps the easiest way, the author does recognize people in situations such as myself where our careers are not exactly tailored to taking 2 years off to teach ESL (I'm a chemical engineer in the oil industry, so this would be a career killer), however the author recognizes this and gives other viable alternatives!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Im sorry I have not blogged lately. I have been pretty busy. I have found a new "hobby" or interest that has taken a lot of my time recently.

I accidently came across a "movement' I have never heard of, as you can see from my title, the Anti-Adoption movement.

I never fathomed such a movement or group ever existed! Why in the world would you want to put an end to adoption??

Sheer gross fascination drove me to continue investigating, and even replying back to the comments of some of these bloggers.

To my even more amazement, I found that many of these supporters are adoptees themselves!!!@!@!@!!@!!@

I was totally befuddled on how anyone adopted could support such a movement.

I am still trying to learn all of the premises to their arguments and I have broken them down to a couple key "issues":

1. Corruption/cost associated with adoptions could be better spent to help the masses of children in the world (ie feed a lot of kids a couple of meals.)
2. Child abuse/work by adopting parents
3. Emtional/psychological issues such as identity/cultural confusion and abandonment issues.

After thinking about these issues, the only one that carries any merit is #3. Here are my reasons I dismiss the other two options as purely an "adoption issue".

1. Corruption/cost: While I agree the cost to adopt an international child is absurd ($20-%50k), to assume that these big global relief funds are less corrupt and more efficient at using the money is probably a false premise. The bigger the corporation or group the more corrupt and more inefficient they tend to be. Secondly, While it may seem like a humanitarian idea to feed 10,000 kids a single meal with ($20,000, or the cost of an adoption), however, when a couple adopts a child, they are agreeing to take care of that child for the rest of its childhood. Something to keep in mind, from the age of 0 to 18, a child eats 19710 meals! So if a relief fund paid to feed those 10,000 children for 18 years, they would have to raise the funds for $20,000 (total cost per meal for each child) x 19710 (meals each child eats in a lifetime) = $395 million dollars. However, if those 10,000 children were adopted to couples around the world the total cost would only be $200 million dollars, because the cost of the feeding of these children would be carried by the parents and not by a relief fund (For those of you wondering, it doesn't matter w. So which one is more efficient use of money? If you really wanted to help out the masses then we should be making it easier/cheaper to adopt, not abolishing it.

However, there is a fine line. If you make adoption too easy and too cheap, then I believe this will increase the cases of child labor and abuse. So, While I hate that propective parents have to go through all this and costs, I think it is a valuable screening tool also.

2. Child abuse/work by adoptive parents. I have a two sided argument. My first concern with this argument is the fact that the Anti-Adoption movement seems to have forgotten that these same issues are faced in orphanages and foster care. I would even go out on a branch to say it probably occurs more often in orphanages and foster care because how likely are parents who are paying $20-$50k per child are going to abuse them?

Secondly; bad parents make bad parents. Meaning, if parents are going to abuse a child, they are going to do it whether or not the child was adopted or a biological child. So this is an "issue" that is greater than adoption. This is an issue that affects both adoptees and non-adoptees, and should be addressed separate of the adoption movement.

The last argument I can somewhat understand and is a little bit tougher to argue. My belief is that adoptions do not cause more harm than what has already been done. What many of the supporters of anti-adoption seem to overlook is where do these orphaned kids go if there is no adoption? Just because you abolish adoption does not resolve the orphan issue, babies will always be born, babies will always be abandoned, and babies will always need shelter somewhere. Do they get stuck in "the system" for the rest of their lives with no hope of ever being adopted?

3. The one area where I can see adoption adding emotional stress is in the cases where the parents try to "suppress" adoption or birth parents or origin queries of the adoptee. As if they want to forget that the adoption ever happened. I do disagree with this. I don't think that is healthy for an adoptee. However, I would like to think parents are doing this because they think it is what is best for the child to adapt to their new surroundings? So I hope parents are doing this because they believe it is what is best for their child? Based on what I have read and my personal experiences, I would say the best thing about adoption is to be very open about it. If the child wants to explore it, let them. If the child doesn't want to explore, don't force them. I think what many people forget is, just like a newborn child doesn't come with an instruction manual an adopted child does not either. I would also argue that in some aspects adopting a child is even more difficult because of the cultural issues and emotional issues that the parents have to face. I believe the learning curve is much steeper and the parents have to learn much faster with a child that is already starting to develop (say 2, 3, 4, or 5+ years) then an infant.

Besides the "supression" issues that some adoptees face, I do not see how they face any more or harder issues than an orphan child who has never been adopted. In fact, I think adoptees face less problems than and orphan does, just because more of the needs of an adoptee has been met than of an orphan.

Lastly, one of the final arguments in the Anti-Adoption movement is based on the custody battles between biological and adoptive parents. I'm not going to get into that one because it gets pretty messy. Plus I believe my next argument addresses this issue. While I agree it is painful to see a child who is torn between a custody battle between adoptive parents and birth parents, I don't think its right to try to abolish adoption because of these select few. I don't have the exact numbers, but I would venture to say that the vast majority of adoptions do not ever go into a custody battle between parents. In fact, I would also venture to say that there have been more orphans with no biological parent information (such as myself, being abadoned) that would benefit from adoptions, then the children who have been torn in a custody battle. Just because a few adoptions are "sloppy", why should the rest of the adoptions be halted? If this is how society felt than we out to just abolish marraige in the legal sense, because more than half of all marraiges fail and end in divorce. If we can accept those numbers, than we should be happy that these custody battles are in the absolute minority.

After my "research" so far I have come to this initial conclusion on why adoptees would support such a movement. I believe that many of these adoptees have been too long removed from their memories/experiences of being in an orphanage that they forget how much better their lives are now (after being adopted) then before (when they were in an orphanage). I don't think many adoptees could tell me that they know for a fact that their lives would have been better in an orphanage. I hate to say this, but even the ones that were abused; how can we be certain that they or some other child would not have been abused in an orphanage? Factors such as abuse is not mutually exclusive to adoption, so abolishing adoption does not prevent abuse from happening. These are the types of logic(and there are many) that I have seen throughout my research in the Anti-Adoption movement.

I did leave a comment on one post, asking if they had any supporters from children who are actively in an orphanage or adults who grew in an orphanage all of their lives. Until I see a strong support of the "Anti-Adoption" movement from these two groups of people, I don't think I will be able to support this movement. Actually, until I see a strong support from these people, I think I will argue against this movement as much as I possibly can.

If you have read all of this and am interested in this subject, or disagree and would like to rebuttal, add more information and more support for the "Anti-Adoption movement, or maybe tell me how right I am (I never get tired of hearing it!! LOL) please leave a comment and I will respond, or you can email me at: spaldirl@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Houston - Korea Restaurant

I'm in Houston again for another business trip! Except this time its for training and not work. I'm sitting in a room full of Blackberry toting middle age and older project managers, Im a bit out of my age bracket and league...although I do carry a Blackberry...lol

I arrived in Houston on Monday morning. Being that I travel a lot for work, I'm in like every frequent traveler club for airlines, car rentals, and hotels. So I arrive to Avis and expect to just get dropped off at a car to drive off. Instead they insist that I need to go to the counter because its my first time as a "Preferred Member"...although I did the exact same thing last week! Needless to say, I was a little miffed. They give me this horse and pony show about how my card was declined. So I gave them my card again and told them to try and run it..miraculously it was accepted...I don't know what was different. Anyways, they tell me my car number, and I stomp off to it, annoyed that I was delayed. When I get to my car I couldn't be too upset, because here was what was waiting for me:

Last week I saw a Korean restaurant that I hadn't been too. So on Monday, I decided to try it!
So I had Kimchi Jeon to start off with. I usually like to try some sort of Jeon at any new restaurant because I kind of use it to gauge how good the food is (Kind of like if you want to test an Italian restaurant you eat Alfredo). The Jeon was pretty good. Two minor issues though. The Kimchi was whole, and not cut up at all, which made the logistics of eating it very difficult. Secondly, I think partly because of all the big pieces of Kimchi, the batter was a bit undercooked.

The restaurant served the biggest variety of banchan Ive ever seen. I would rate the banchan about a 6, it was nothing memorable.

For my main course I had a spicy chicken stirfry. I can't quite remember what it was called. Even though the appetizers were mediocre, this dish was quite good. It was very spicy and very good!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

To Know or Not To Know....

If you are not adopted, try this exercise:
Close your eyes, and imagine all of your life not knowing your mother or father. Think of growing up for 30+ years never knowing your family name, your mother's first name or your father's first name. Now imagine that you don't know this information, not because it doesn't exist, but because that information is kept secret from you by the law...this is only a glimpse into the pain/frustration that some adoptees face.

To know or not to know, that is the biggest question to an adoptee..

This post is delving into an area which I am not very familiar with because it really doesn't impact me. The reason being is I have no information in my adoption file about my biological family, so I have never faced this issue. However, many adopted children do face this issue.

What's the issue? If you are not adopted or are adopted but have never tried to find your birth family, you may not be aware of this issue.

To the best of my knowledge right now, by law, adopted children do not have the right to know who their biological parents are. Right now, the law supports the parents' right to privacy over the child's rights to know.

The difficulty with this issue is the fact that both parties have their individual rights; granting one party their rights would infringe on the other party's rights. The parents' right to privacy prevents a child's right to know, and vice versa. Obviously this topic is very "sticky" and difficult, however I'm not going to shy away from this issue!

Biological Parents' Right to Privacy

How far does a mother's right to privacy extend? This is the same argument that is used to support abortion. That it is a woman's body and its her privacy (besides my Christian belief, the fact that I'm adopted also gives me a huge personal bias on the abortion issue). But you have to ask yourself how far does a mother's privacy go? I'll admit that this privacy may extend on where you define a baby or a life. However, when you deal with adopted children who eventually become adults, when do their rights become enacted?

I believe I can understand the argument for the biological parents' right for privacy. The reason being is these people have a new life, and may have remarried or have had new children and family since they gave up their child for adoption. To have this grown child return could bring extreme disruption to their current lives. This is the line of reasoning used today to protect the biological parents' privacy and thus infringing on the child's right to know.

I can see the logic behind this line of reasoning, however there is another scenario that we need to explore. The fact that this "right to privacy" does not work both ways. Meaning, while the biological parents' have a right to privacy, the child and their new adopted families do not get this same right to privacy. Biological parents, even after giving up a child for adoption, still have rights to know about their child and the adoptive parents. There are even cases of adopted children being taken from their adoptive parents and returned to their biological parents, after the transfer of custody. If biological parents privacy are protected under the law than the adoptive parents and adoptive child information should also be protected under their rights to privacy. That way both parties are protected utilizing the same "Right to Privacy" line of reasoning.

Child's Right to Know

My feeling on this is the law is too concerned with the biological parents' rights that they overlook the child's rights. There seems to be no understanding of what an adopted child psychologically goes through when facing this issue; only to find out that their biological parents' rights outweigh their own rights.

Right now a mother's rights outweigh their unborn baby's rights when discussing abortion. Now we see that a mother's rights again outweighs the rights of adoptive parents and also the rights of a child to know the names of their biological parents. Why is the mother's rights seem to outweigh anyone else in this equation? When does the child start having rights and when does the law recognize a child's rights?

The law needs to start considering a child's rights. The law recognizes a child's legal separation from their parents at the age of 18. However in adoption, the mother's rights to privacy always seems to outweigh the rights of the adopted child no matter how old they are. Does this seem right? At what point in an adopted child's life do they finally get some rights in these cases? Since 18 is the age of legal separation, would this not be a logical place to make the distinction between a mother's right to privacy and a child's right to know? I can understand the biological mother's right to privacy to protect her from being legally responsible for a returning minor child. However, after that child turns 18, there is no legal responsibility, so why does the mother's privacy extend beyond that? And why does an adoptive child's right to know not become effective when they turn 18?

If the information is available, shouldn't everyone have the right to know who their biological parents are? While this is not expressly written as an inalienable right, but how ridiculous is it to think that this is not a basic right of any human. The more that I think about this subject, the more frustrated I become. For the life of me, I can not fathom how a lawmaker feels that a mother's privacy is more important than a child's right to know who their parents are????!!! How can anyone in the world with a conscience stop a person from finding out who their biological parents are?

I don't think the lawmakers that made these laws fully understand the effects that they have had on adopted children. As if life was not difficult enough growing up in a different country, with strangers, and a strange country, but to have the law stop you from easily finding your parents is just too much. I can understand how adopted children become frustrated with the whole process of trying to find their parents. The nagging question on my mind, and I imagine most adoptees, is "Why was I given up for adoption?" While the answers are probably usually less than ideal (such as wedlock, poverty), sometimes just knowing the answers at least provides closure to the longest unanswered question of our lives.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hello Houston!

I am currently in my room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the west side of Houston for a business trip. I always enjoy visiting Houston because I get to explore new Korean stores and restaurants!

As you can tell by my blog, I am totally fascinated by Korean culture. I like to think that I am aware of my surroundings...however today I had an eye opener. Ive been staying at this Hotel for two days now, and this afternoon I just saw this building next door...lol

Yes I am staying in a hotel next to a gigantic Korean church! lol. How ironic is that? lol

There is a small section of town on the west side of Houston that has a high concentration of Korean stores and restaurants. These can be found on Long Point Road in between Gessner Road and Blalock. This neighborhood is not the nicest, and actually is a little bit sketchy. I wouldn't recommend walking by yourself at night, but not so much to keep me from going! As you drive down Long Point Road you'll see all sorts of signs written in Hangul

My particular favorite stores in Houston:

So I felt like going out and do something for my blog. I decided to visit the local H-Mart for my readers and show them what Houston has to offer! (I also figured I could pick up some food :) )

Its not any regular H-Mart, its a SUPER! H-Mart!
It is so nice inside, which is a big difference from the typical "Mom and Pop" Korean grocery store (although they have their charms too!).

They have a really nice pre-made food section:

They also have a nice little "food court" area with different food, I'll admit, I was too embarassed to go up and get a real close up picture, but you get the idea:

Of course no Korean store would be complete without Kimchi! And do they ever have a selection. This is just 1 of 3 refrigerated sections that this Super H-Mart has!!

Of course, you'll need a place to store your kimchi (if your wondering what to get me for Christams, this will work :) :

Some of the very unique and rare things you can find at a SUPER H-Mart:

For those of you who have never visited an asian country this is an exotic fruit called Durian. The white thing is actually ice. Yes ice, to keep it frozen. Why in the world would someone freeze fruit? Its not to keep it from rotting. Actually its for the smell....yes, if you have to freeze something to keep it from smelling, it means it really smells bad! Durian is infamous for smelling extremely bad, so H-Mart keeps it frozen to keep it from smelling. You have to give H-Mart some "props" for selling such a unique fruit with such unique characteristics! I know when I was traveling in Thailand, hotels had signs that said that Durian was forbidden in the hotel rooms!!

Another, picture of the store in general. Even though it looks like the focal point of the picture was the rice wine in the middle. I was actually trying to get a picture of the Seafood section (without being too embarrassed..lol)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"The Calling"

I was talking to a friend of mine last week. We were walking around a park, just talking about life in general. I think everyone needs a friend who they can just talk with, because it is totally refreshing and therapeutic. Anyway I digress...back on topic.

As were walking my friend said something to this effect: "Why do all Koreans either have gone back to Korea or really want to go back to Korea..usually as an English teacher or anyway they can. Its weird, because no other ethnicity has such a strong urge to go back to their country as Koreans that I know." (BTW, this friend is not Korean) I laughed, because it seems so true. It seems that most Koreans that I have either lived in the motherland for an extended period of time or really want to visit/live in the motherland sometime in the future.

If your Korean you may know what I am talking about...then again maybe you don't (or maybe you just have not experienced "The Calling" yet).

"The Calling" is what I am terming the urge for a Korean to return to the Motherland.

No matter if your adopted, gyopo, or FOB, I think a large percentage of Koreans seem to get "The Calling" at some point of their lives. Some Koreans get it early, and for some people it doesn't occur until later in their lives. Apparently I was sort of a late bloomer. I didn't really get "The Calling" until after my first visit to the motherland. This may sound weird, but even leading up to my first visit to the motherland, I didn't really feel that excited. I felt like I was paying my respects, not much different from traveling to any other foreign country. But after my first visit, I had it bad! I still do, which is probably why I blog about stuff about the motherland or my crazy thoughts.

While people from other ethnicities may have something similar, it seems like Koreans in particular have a very high rate of "The Calling" amongst its people.

I wonder what percentage of Koreans have been to Korea at least once in their life, and how that compares to any other country?

Share your thoughts? If your Korean, do you have "The Calling" in you?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Adopted Koreans

Recently, I had an article published in the Korean Herald talking about my adoption and my recent travels to Korea. I have been contacted by a few readers who have had similar experiences as myself or unique ones to share.

One of hte readers, Mari Cochran, made a comment to my original post. I would like to pull and excerpt from her comment to discuss further. I hope she doesnt mind, but I think since it was posted as a comment that it is "public domain"? If not, then please let me know and I will change the post.

Mari recently wrote:
"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."

After reading her comment, I was wondering if she was talking about only Korean adoptees or also American born Koreans? At the beginning of the comment it appeared to be both, but at the end of the comment its definitely geared towards Korean adoptees. Which lead me to question, do Korean adoptees feel/experience differently from American born Koreans?

I think yes and no. In the aspect of "wanting to return to Korea for the experience" and then also the "not fitting in when they arrive to Korea" they experience fairly closely what adopted Koreans experience. However, the general experiences from these two groups may overlap they are definitely different.

More often than not, the American born Koreans (just for clarification, kids who were born in the US to Korean parents, or maybe moved to the US when they were very young, where they don't remember Korea) usually speak Korean. Which gives them a huge "step up" over adopted Koreans who I think typically may not speak Korean. If they do speak Korean it is because they had to learn through formal training versus speaking it at home.

Language is one of the biggest factors which separates cultures, which is why I think there is a big difference between these two groups. I wonder if the "drive" to learn about Korea, Korean food, language, and culture is more so in adopted Koreans than American born Koreans because they are further removed from it? I know this "drive" to learn about Korea is really strong in me right now. I wonder if it is as powerful as it is because I grew up so far removed from it, that now its like a counter-balance for all of those years where I didn't experience Korean culture? Compared to an American born Korean, who may have the same "drive" but not as strong because they have had a little more exposure to it than I have?

Maybe Im crazy, and I don't know how you would be able to measure someone's "drive" or motivation towards something. Or maybe its just person to person. I wonder if all Korean adoptees experience what Im feeling right now(a strong urge/drive/motivation to learn and experience as much Korean stuff as I can) at some point in their lives? I know if you had asked me this 10 years ago, I would have laughed. 10 years ago, I had no interest in Korean culture.

I especially like the last part of Mari's comments, how Korean adoptees are also different from other adoptees. Also how we seem to have this "thicker skin" that has been passed down our bloodlines. I wonder if there are any studies on adopted Koreans. I see a lot of similarities in what Mari has written and what Ive read from the few other adopted Koreans I have met. I wonder if adopted Koreans have somehow developed a "culture" of our own. We don't have our own language, or our own food, but we all share a common life experience that only we know about. We share this drive to identify with a culture, and to learn about Korea, and to someday return to the motherland.

Something unique about this "culture" that adopted Koreans might have, is that it was not formed as a group. With the exception of Minnesota, which oddly has a large population of adopted Koreans, our "culture" originated individually amongst each one of us, on our own. This is kind of reverse of how "culture" is traditionally definited. Usually its a common thing amongst a group of people. However for adopted Koreans it has had to develop in each of us individually and when you look at our group as whole you find this "culture". I guess it is very fitting that this "culture" of adopted Koreans is untraditional and has had to adapt because of our unique situation, similarly to how untraditional our experiences have been and how we have had to adapt to our surroundings.