I've been debating with myself about this post because I don't want to seem whiny or like I'm complaining. I know a lot of adoptees are searching for their birth parents and are unable to find them... and I've been very lucky in how easy it's been for me to find and reunite with my birth family. However, I know I relied on blogs to learn more about Korea and birth family reunions, and there are some adoptees who read this blog. So, I think it's important to show both positives and negatives of life post-reunion. In addition, I'm also kind of hoping that someone reading this will be able to offer a different perspective or some advice...
I saw Birth Mother again last weekend with SangKwun and Emily. I'm not going to go into specific details of what happened, but let's just say this visit consisted of a nice dinner followed by an extremely awkward sleepover with massive communication barriers.
Here we are at dinner.
My relationship with my birth mother is more difficult than the one with my birth father. While we had a few cultural mishaps, my birth father mostly understood that I grew up in another culture and let our relationship build slowly. He mostly just tried to make sure we were fed and tried to show us different things around Korea. As I spent more time around him (albeit without much communication), I began feeling more comfortable just sitting and hanging out with him.
My birth mother, on the other hand, has bulldozed her way into this relationship and it's kind of repelling me. The first time I saw her, I was a tiny bit uncomfortable, but thought it was sweet that she was constantly trying to hold my hand and touch me. But every subsequent meeting has been more of the same. Her favorite position to take when I'm sitting in a chair is on the floor at my feet, while she continues to hold my hand or rub me while speaking to me repeatedly in Korean. It's just too much. I'm not an overly affectionate person, especially with people I don't know well.
I know Koreans are really into physical affection and when I see mothers and daughters out, they're always holding hands or rubbing each other's arms. But that's not my culture anymore and I don't really know her very well, much less see her as my mom.
I've been trying to look at it from her point of view... she carried me for 9 months and cared for me for about a year... so she probably feels those same maternal instincts toward me. Additionally, she can't communicate with me, so probably sees this as the only way to show affection. It's really pretty sad for her... she remembers me and wants to show love for me, whereas she's a virtual stranger to me. I can completely sympathize with her. But at the same time, I'm feeling really uncomfortable around her and (I hate to say this), but dreading our next visit...
Does anyone have any advice about how to deal with this situation? I don't want to push her or her hand away... because that could be taken the entirely wrong way. But I don't want to feel awkward every time I'm around her, either... I'm hoping once I can communicate with her in Korean, she will express herself though words instead of actions... but until then???