Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
This really hit home for me when we escorted home SeungJu from Korea to the US. He was known by this name for 9 months. It is a part of who he is. It is who he was to us... and when we handed him over to his family they called him by his American name and it felt strange to me. I did the same thing, so I am not judging. I don't know if they kept his Korean name or not (I hope so). But this experience really made me realize the importance of keeping a child's Korean name... it is a real part of who they are, it acknowledges that their lives began before me, in another place. I know this is important to many Koreans as well. My daughter's foster mother kept saying her Korean name over and over and asking, "You know who you are?" My son's Halmoni was very happy that my son knew he used his Korean name and that he could write his name in Korean (I'm not sure she even knows what his American name is).
So.... if you are in the process of adopting I encourage you to keep your child's Korean name as part of his/her legal name. It helps to recognize that this child had a life in Korea prior to coming to the US. It helps your child keep a part of him/herself, I think, that is sometimes lost.
I'm curious what others think.... please post.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This is the write up I did for Wide Horizons for Children's website.
“How was your trip to
My husband and I have two children adopted from
Our children have responded to their adoption stories in very different ways. Our son, Brady, is proud to be Korean. He talks about being Korean, adopted and his feelings about his birth family all the time. Our daughter, Marcy, is much more reserved and will only talk briefly about her adoption before changing the subject. This trip helped both of them. Our son saw the land that he is so proud to call his own. Our daughter finally opened up about her feelings of abandonment and loss and shared with us what she could not before. She saw so many beautiful people who look much like her, and who called her pretty (she has wanted to be blond with curly hair since she was four).
We spent our first week in
Two days were spent at Eastern and Holt meeting foster mothers and seeing babies. Both agencies were wonderful at facilitating these meetings, giving the children gifts and a Korean lunch. We had created a small photo album for each of our kids at an online photo store showing the kids through the years. This was a very helpful conversation piece, and the foster mothers truly seemed to enjoy a glimpse at the kids’ lives.
Holt arranged for a volunteer translator to take us to the hospital where our daughter was born. The staff there was so kind. They gave us a tour of the hospital and showed us the nursery where our daughter spent the first few days of her life. This was incredible for all of us.
After many e-mails Eastern finally agreed to help us search for our son’s birth mother. When we left for
One thing we learned on this trip is the increased importance and need of financial support for the adoption agencies. With
While traveling around
The second week of our trip we used a travel agency to visit Jinju, Gyeongju and Busan. All offered us so many wonderful things to see and do.
We ended our trip in the way we had dreamed of – escorting a baby home to his family in the
On the other end of our long flight we had the honor of presenting a son to his family. Our children were able to see their joy and get a glimpse of what it was like when they arrived home. My husband and I recalled our own joyous “airplane days” and shared in the family’s happiness.
If you are thinking of going to
This past April we went to Korea for the first time. It was life changing. I wrote about that, and will post that in a separate blog, along with some pictures of our trip. It has only refueled my desire to do more for my children, to help them be Korean.
So, it is my hope that by getting my thoughts out here, I might find other parents like my husband and I. Parents who fully embrace their children's "Korean-ness", who are striving to find ways to help their children incorporate it into their view of themselves.