Last night, I met the woman who gave birth to me. This was something I honestly never thought would happen, so it was pretty surreal. I had a lot of fears going into this... What if she's unhappy? What if she's moved on with her life and doesn't want to know me?
Fortunately, it was such a memorable night and it couldn't have gone any better. Mark and I went with SangKwun to a shabu shabu restaurant in Gangnam for the big reunion. I think we were both pretty nervous about the evening. It seriously felt like the longest walk to the back room of the restaurant.
There were 3 women and 1 man in the room waiting for us. To be honest, they all kind of swarmed us and I had no idea which one was my mother! Then her younger brother (my uncle) introduced us to her and she squeezed SangKwun and me tight. She speaks no English, so SangKwun and my uncle had to serve as interpreters. There was a lot that I missed due to the language barrier, but I was mostly happy just to see who she is.
The first thing she said to me was that I was too skinny and need to eat more. (Is there some sort of a theme with this? My birth father said the exact same thing to me upon first meeting me.)
The night seemed mostly focused around how SangKwun and I look and what we're up to now. It was decided that I look more like my birth father. And after looking at the pictures again, I have to agree. What do you think?
Here are the 3 of us. I think SangKwun favors her more lookwise.
Here we are with my Uncle.
Here we are with her best friend.
The most moving part of the night was hearing about the pain that they endured in giving me up. Sometimes it's easy to forget how deeply adoption affects people on the other side -- the birth family.
I was told that when I was given up for adoption, she and my birth father were extremely poor. They were so poor that they couldn't even afford to buy milk for me. The decision to give me up was so difficult, it caused them to argue and eventually to separate. I always thought about how hard it would be to give up a child, but hearing that really makes me realize how truly torn they were and what a horrible dilemma they were faced with. I mean, I was a major part of their family -- she was even telling me the nickname they had for me around the house.
My uncle was only in middle school when I was a baby, but from hearing him talk, it sounds like we were close. He even said he remembered that I have a freckle on my leg... I do! When he went to school, he would carry me on his back and take me with him. And when they informed him that I was being given up for adoption, he cried.
My mother just kept looking at me and telling me that she was so sorry and that she prayed for me and SangKwun every day. She also hadn't lost that maternal instinct as she couldn't stop touching me most of the night.
I hope that last night can be the start of a new relationship. I know it's cliche to say this, but I just feel so incredibly blessed. When I began this journey, I felt lucky to have one set of loving parents. Now I can honestly say that I have two sets of parents -- one that gave me birth, one that raised me -- but both that will be forever in my heart.