Success and Failure

This time four years ago we were not-so-patiently waiting for our homestudy to be sent to Korea. Three months earlier we’d been matched with a precious little guy, who was just waiting for us to come get him. Of course, he wasn’t waiting. By all accounts, he was being doted on by a Korean foster mother and father who provided for his needs. He had no idea the big changes that would come in to his life in just a couple of months.

We, on the other hand, were preparing for those big changes. What we’d learned in our April PIP class stuck and we’d continue educating ourselves. We were excited that there is a small Korean American population where we live; that we had access to Korean markets and even a Korean school. Connection to J’s birth culture would be important, we knew.

Now, four years later, I look back at the hopes and dreams I had then. In many ways, our family is where I hoped we’d be.

We’ve strived for our son to have contact with Korean Americans, although it’s been on a pretty superficial level so far. Even so, it’s still had an impact on him. The more he interacts with Korean Americans, the more comfortable he becomes around them. A couple of weeks ago we went into our local Korean market. The minute J saw the woman who works here, he went up to her, bowed, and said, “Anyong ha se yo.” Without prompting, and loud enough for her to hear. It was a breakthrough (before after much prompting, he would whisper it shyly) and special moment for us; one we’d hoped for.

Right now J has a lot of pride in being Korean. He loves Korean food, asks to learn the Korean language, listens to Korean pop music (he idolizes Big Bang, a Korean hip hop group), and had a blast cheering on the South Korean team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (Of course, the food, language, music, and football are all things we enjoy as a family; they are things that bring us together, not things that isolate him from us.) All of it what we’d dreamed for our family.

While we’ve been succesful in somethings, we’re woefully lacking in others. As we’ve continued to educate ourselves about adoption, race, and identity, we’ve grown. As we’ve grown, the desires I have for my family have grown too.

That growth has caused me to not be content with our small Korean American community. Instead, now I mostly see the 80 percent caucasian population that surrounds us. While I’m thankful for the few connections we do have here to the Korean American population, it doesn’t feel like enough.

Over and over the message of racial diversity, not living in Whiteville, comes to me–through magazines, blogs, and books. The need for our son to see himself reflected in those around him, not just sporadically but everyday. And every time I read it, I realize that we’re missing something. That when it comes to building a foundation to help our son form his racial identity, we’re failing.

The one positive spot I see in that failure is that we recognize it for what it is. My prayer is that God will bring opportunities for our family to rectify the failure.

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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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2worlds1familyblog at gmail dot com

It’s a Small World After All

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