And It Begins…

Two weeks ago J started a conversation with me that ended with him expressing his desire to have never left Korea. He expressed how if he lived in Korea he would look like everyone and no one would  make fun of him. When I noted that our family would still look different because Mom and Dad are white, he said he meant that he wished he’d never left his birth family.

The two weeks prior to that conversation had been really difficult ones for our family. My FIL had passed away unexpectedly and after a road trip to deal with the stuff surrounding that, we got home and all got sick. Thus, I’m not sure I’d handle the conversation as well as I should have or even would have under other circumstances. I don’t think I did a terrible job with the my answers, but grief and being bone-wary tired just didn’t leave me on my toes.

I’m not sure exactly what prompted the conversation, except to say that J’s been very worried lately about people making fun of him. Not every instance in which he thinks people are making fun of him is true (sometimes people are laughing with him, not at him), but I think there have probably been some instances when I wasn’t around that he hasn’t completely shared with me. He’s only 5, after all.

Then yesterday, the conversation repeated itself. This time I truly believe it was prompted by kids at a club we were attending treating him and the only other child of color in attendance differently (in this case throwing blocks at them). Again he said he wished he’d never had to leave his Korean family and that he could live in Korea.

When he says this, I say that I’m sad he had to lose his Korean family too, but I feel very blessed that he’s part of our family. And that’s true. I hate that he’s had to experience so much loss.

Of course, I know that the situation isn’t as simple as him staying in Korea and fitting in completely. In some ways he would’ve fit, but certain circumstances surrounding his situation might have made him a target for teasing or bullying. Someday he’ll understand that even living in Korea with his birth family wouldn’t have solved all his problems. But for now that’s beyond his comprehension.

In the meantime, I also believe that some of these feelings are coming from not having many Asians who are part of his everyday life. While our life in general is very diverse, that diversity thus far hasn’t included a lot of people who look like him. It’s not that we don’t think that is important; it’s that making connections into a segment of the community that you’re not naturally a part of is very difficult to do. Honestly, I believe transracially adopted kids seeing themselves reflected in the daily happenings of their family is the most important component a parent can provide.

And we’ve failed. Lots of circumstances have come together to lead to that failure (financial hardships and the inability to move somewhere with a higher Asian population, for example), but no excuses. So now we’re looking into tae kwon do for J and possibly attending the local Korean school. Then we’ll see where that leads. Hopefully such opportunities will help J with his journey and provide our family with connections that turn into true friendships within the Korean American community.

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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.

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

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