We Change Them

Last week I was talking to a friend, who is also has a son from Korea, and she said something that has continued to reverberate in my thoughts. We were talking about intercountry adoptees often feeling like they don’t fit in America and she said, “And now they wouldn’t fit in Korea either because our bringing them here changes them.”

It’s a truth I’ve known all along but to hear someone else say it made me sad. I had just been thinking along the same lines a week before as I watched my almost 3-year-old son read a book while sitting on his bed. I wondered what he would have been like if he’d grown up in Korea, either with his birth family or with a Korean adoptive family. Which interests would have been the same? How would he have been different?

I have no doubt he would have been different. For one, The Wiggles aren’t big in Korea so that obsession probably wouldn’t have been. But would he still love music? And books? And sports?

It’s not something I dwell on, but there are times I do wonder. The fact is he’s our son now and I believe that’s the plan God had for him. But his birth family and birth culture will always be a part of who he is. His athletic ability at such a young age is proof of that.

We’ll never be able to give him a full Korean upbringing, but we can incorporate J’s birth culture into our family. We can become part of the Korean-American community in our area so he has role models and mentors who look like him. We can help him to understand where he came from, help him develop an appreciate of Korea. But we know that no matter what we do, he’ll never be the same little boy he would have been if he’d grown up in Korea. And in some ways, that’s just sad.

1 Response to “We Change Them”

  1. January 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    It IS sad – but when adoptive parents do what you are doing, and join their children’s community, at least some of the sadness can be mitigated. Many of the older international adoptees I know have said that they feel not just one, but many losses: of their first families, culture, language, and their communities here and in their birth countries. Connecting with the Korean American community where you live is therefore incredibly important.

    My children are also Korean, and are now teens. Korean and Korean American culture are a part of our lives, and even though the kids live their lives like any other American child, they have told my husband and me more than once how important it has been to them to be a part of the Korean American community. I’m really glad we made the effort.

    Glad to have found your blog.

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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

Favorite Korean Movies-TV Shows

Be Strong, Geum-Soon
Please Teach Me English
Spy Girl
Tae Gu Ki
2009 Lost Memories

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