I was born in a little city near Seoul, Korea, abandoned my own parents, then later adopted by American parents at the age of three. Everything that transpired in between was, and always will be, a mystery. I have no memory of wandering the streets unable to find food, or of breaking arm while I was in Korea, or even the surgery to repair it. I don’t remember the person who found and rescued me, and I have no memory of the orphanage I was in, or the parents that I lost. I don’t remember the plane ride to Chicago to meet my adoptive parents or the struggle and loneliness I must’ve felt in a new world, with a new language, surrounded by faces that didn’t look like my own.
While there are times when I wish I had some of those memories, it’s highly unlikely that I would’ve remembered much at that age anyway. I imagine that there is a reason I don’t remember much and I have become at peace with that.
As I struggle to remember, I have one memory that stays with me though I don’t remember what age it happened. I was at an age of understanding and reasoning, but still very young and impressionable. It happened during a museum trip with my parents. I stood in front of a certain statue and my mom told me that if I had stayed in Korea, I might be worshipping a god, like the one represented by the statue. It struck my young heart how fortunate I had been, in many ways, to have been adopted and to live in the United States. I prayed a small prayer of thankfulness, understanding even then, that my life could’ve been completely different.
As I look at my life today, I know that every step lead me to being where I am, with a wonderful family and an amazing life. I don’t dwell on the lack of memories anymore as I work hard to create my own, with the people I love the most. I hope that as my children look back on their first memories that they will find love, happiness, and joy. If they do, then my life will be complete.
**The picture was taken shortly after I was adopted, of me and my GiGi. She was, and continues to be, one of the loves of my life and I miss her every day.