Tag Archive | adoption

Special Day

Seeker of the Extraordinary

Today is my Special Day.

It’s the first one without the people who gave me a reason to have this day. I’m not sure how special it’s really going to be.

When I was a kid, it was like having another birthday. I honestly don’t remember if we had cake and presents, but it was a well-honored day in my house because it was the day I became my parents daughter. It was the day they became parents for the first time and I was saved from a life in a country that didn’t value women. I don’t know what kind of life I would’ve had if I’d have stayed but as an orphan, I can’t imagine it would’ve been worthwhile.

So I owe them everything.

Tomorrow will be the first day I don’t have one of them to thank. My dad died in 2014 and my mom, in March.

They adopted me when I was two, picking me out from pictures and choosing me from all the others.

I’ve struggled for more than a decade to understand who and why my birth parents would abandon me. I was a toddler and unable to care for myself but somehow I survived. There are far more questions than answers, and the people who have the answers left me on the side of the road.

Me at age two in a Korean Orphanage.

As I grew up, I never thought much about that early struggle to survive. Strangely, I didn’t consider it at all.

My new mom and I in my new home. Day One.

Then I had children and it changed me.

It made me realize that as a mother, there are things I would never do. Abandoning my children was one of them.

Because of that, I began to write.

I’d always been a writer, but when my youngest was two, I was facing personal trauma that was too much to bear. As I looked at him in the crib, I realized that he was the same age I was when I wandered the streets hungry and alone. Something inside of me changed forever so I turned to the one thing that had always given me solace and I wrote a book.

 http://a.co/fCMD9Lo

As Eva’s story poured out of me, so did the pain. My story became Eva’s story, and I realized that there had always been a part of me missing. I’d always felt it but never knew what it was.

Her abandonment story wasn’t quite my own, her story riddled with poor choices and addiction while mine remains a mystery.

Her broken leg was my broken arm and her shattered heart was a reflection of my own, calling out for a mother who no longer wanted her. Left in fear as darkness.

Writing brought healing and so did the laughter of my boys and their tiny voices and endless hugs. With them, I had purpose and I understood why I had survived when nobody cared if I would.

So on my first Special Day without the parents who raised me, I’ll think of them with nothing but gratefulness in my heart. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have this life, or my children, or the freedom to love and create.

I am so thankful for all of this and this makes every day special, for me.

These two make every day special 💙💙

Orphan

I recently became an orphan for the second time in my life.

My mom passed away nearly two months ago, my father in 2014, and my first set of parents were lost to me for reasons I have no memory of. Compared to most my age, they are gone far too early.

It’s strange to lose that thread; that intimate connection to your early life. Even though I didn’t come to them until I was about three, they were all I’d ever known.

While I should’ve anticipated the losses, they were unexpected. I learned a long time ago to always brace for the unknown, but I had forgotten, lulled by a false sense of security that she was never going to die. And when she did, I wasn’t ready.

(But seriously, how can you ever be truly ready to lose someone you love? No matter how plagued with health issues or illness, can you ever come to terms with letting go? I don’t think so.)

So I’ve had the unsavory task of going through her house and belongings. Deciding what to keep and what to give away, what to sell, what to discard has left me feeling dirty. Even though there’s no other choice it feels invasive and wrong to go through every space of someone else’s entire life.

Although I didn’t find anything earth-shattering or life-changing, I did find a lot of photos of people I didn’t recognize and knick-knacks I didn’t know the story behind. I found stripes to my dad’s navy uniform and their wedding rings that had gone unworn for many years (I’m wearing them now) and other small treasures long-forgotten, but remembered from my childhood.

I was shocked to find so many of her precious memories haphazardly left behind in tattered old cardboard boxes without any rhyme or reason. There were faded, worn, photo albums but many pictures lay In boxes without labels, tags, left unloved and untouched for many years.

As much as I would like to say that I was surprised, that was who she was. Preserving memories and protecting the past was not in her DNA. It was one of the things that frustrated me about her the most. As much as I loved her, our relationship was complicated and often messy. The cardboard boxes full of haphazard memories upset me more than I expected.

I realize that relationships between mothers and daughters are often sloppy and complicated. Especially in recent years, we often struggled to find a common ground and our stubbornness often got in the way.

So as most writers do, I put our relationship on paper. I write about that strange relationship between mothers and daughters because that’s all I’ve ever known. There have been many good memories, as well as many sad ones. The bad ones inspire stories and in those stories I’ve been able to exorcise Demons and quiet nightmares. Like me, my characters face mothers who didn’t always preserve and protect their past.

I never realized it until I became a mother, a fierce protector of my own children, that I needed to purge the anger and resentment that I had toward the mother who buried her previous memories in damp, unkept cardboard boxes.

Complicated and messay.

But I did love her very much and always will, the good memories, also weaving their way through my stories. Her memory always with me. As much as I’ve learned about what not to do, there were things she was great at that I need to do better. She taught me that none of us are perfect.

So, I will continue to sift through her belongings, sort though pictures of people I don’t recognize and blindly give away things that may or may not have been important to her. And as I do so, the only thing I will hold onto is the knowledge that no matter what, she loved me.

And no matter what, perfect or imperfect, I still loved her.

30 Day Writing Challenge-First Memory


It may seem strange, but my memories from childhood are sparse, and few and far between. As I searched my mind to find the very first memory I ever had, I failed miserably. 

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. 

Surprise Cover Reveal

I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. I wasn’t going to reveal the new cover for Leaving Eva until March 30th, but I just LOOOOOOOVE this cover so much, I couldn’t help it!

This is the cover for my Booktrope release of Leaving Eva. Many of my readers are confused because it is a rerelease of the book I published independently in 2013. But Booktrope was awesome enough to pick it up, as well as my other two books, so this is my first release with them. Leaving Eva is getting a facelift, a new synopsis, and was cleaned up a little bit, and I am thrilled with the results!

The official release for Leaving Eva will be April 20th, complete with a Release party on April 19th from 12-8 est.

For those of you who haven’t read Leaving Eva yet, I hope you’ll consider reading it. I love the story (not just because I wrote it) and the characters are a part of me, fulfilling a lifelong dream and making me complete.

Synopsis:

Leaving Eva is the heartrending story of one woman’s battle to overcome her tragic childhood and the abandonment and abuse that haunt her.

On the outside, Brynn Michael seems to be living the perfect life. She’s a successful businesswoman married to a handsome and devoted husband. But nobody, not even her husband and childhood sweetheart, Adam, knows the true depth of Brynn’s horror. Abandoned as a small child by a young drug addicted mother then abused by her adoptive father, teenage Brynn turns to the only solace she can find in the sharp end of a razor. She spends her lifetime hiding the scars, both physical and emotional, until she has no choice but to face what she has been running from her entire life.

Brynn must figure out a way to confront her past or risk losing Adam, the only true love she’s ever known, forever. But in spite of it all, Brynn may not have the ultimate choice, as the past eventually seeks her out.

In this dramatically dark novel, Jennifer Sivec, author of women’s fiction, delves into the selfishness and depravity of human nature, and begs you to question whether happiness can ever truly be attained once you have been deeply scarred.

Cover

 

Release Party Link

https://www.facebook.com/events/664794363647487/

 

Best Selling Author?!?

I was perusing Amazon, as I occasionally will do to check my rankings. I realized that my first novel, Leaving Eva, had a number 65 next to it for some strange reason.

As I looked further, I realized that it’s ranked as a Best Seller>#65 in the Top 100 Kindle Books>Adoption! I’m excited and stunned. While the adoption category in Kindle Books isn’t huge, to be in the top 100 of anything on Amazon is pretty cool.

While Leaving Eva has a strong adoption theme, it’s also about drug abuse, abandonment, separation, abuse, kidnapping, love, and so much more. But I’ll take the words “Best Selling” next to my name, any day of the week!!

There are only 20 more days until the Cleveland Author Event and I’m so excited about it! I can’t wait to meet awesome authors and readers, and put some beautiful faces with names.

And now I can do it even if it’s only for a day, as a Best Selling Author, according to Amazon. 😊😊😊

Milestones…

My  birthday was yesterday.

My “pretend” birthday anyway. Like many adopted or abandoned children, I don’t have any idea what day I was actually born, although it is the date on my birth certificate. I don’t have a birth story and I don’t know what my first word was. I have often wondered where I was when I took my first step, if I was held and cuddled immediately after I was born, or if my birth parents loved me. I don’t have any recollection of the first bite of food I had, or any pictures of me right after birth, or video tape of any portion of my childhood.

All of these moments and milestones are missing, of which I am reminded on a day like yesterday. The day we actually celebrate my birth. I’ve never been big celebrating my birthdays, though I love celebrating others. Nonetheless, I have come to terms with my birthday and have even come to love and anticipate it.

Though my own childhood milestones are missing and I am quite terrible with remembering dates, I have come to appreciate milestones that I have reached as an adult. The day I got engaged, promoted at work, married in Vegas, and the births of my two children. I’ve had milestones this past year that I didn’t expect which were self-publishing my first book, the birth of my blog, and then releasing my second book.

In 2014, I anticipate the release of my third book, the completion of the “Eva Series,” and then who knows what after that? Someone once told me that life is a marathon and not a sprint. I know that sentiment has been around for quite some time, but for the past couple of years I have been learning to embrace it as one of my absolute truths. While life didn’t start with a perfect beginning for me, I believe that I have chosen the milestones that I’ve been able to reach in my adulthood.

I took a Facebook quiz recently that resulted in telling me that I use both sides of my brain equally. A dreamer, a thinker, a doer, and a romantic… I believe that I am enough of a dreamer to imagine and create, but disciplined enough to anticipate and “do.” All of these qualities challenging me and confusing me as a child, now finally coming together. The life that began so uncertain, now has meaning and direction as I continue to move forward toward Milestones that I am not even aware of, yet.

It’s funny how I often wonder when I will finally “feel like an author.”  With two books, and a third on the way, I still have to pinch myself that what I have fully completed works out there. I don’t even care if they never top any best sellers list. I am just so excited that I got to write them and that there are people out there that have even bothered to read them. I don’t know when I will feel like all of this has been real and that I have been able to accomplish something that I’ve always wanted to do. Will it be when I have released my third book, my fourth, my fifth? Actually completing and then releasing the first book was a huge milestone, one that I have been dreaming of my entire life.

Every year around my birthday I start to wonder what day I was actually born. It could be the difference of a matter of days, or weeks, or even months. I’m guessing that someone had to estimate my age when they found me, and then someone assigned a date of my birth. That someone in this world who was there when I was born, taught me how to walk, talk, eat, and live, is someone that I will never know. There are days when I let myself feel a little sad about that, but most days I just look ahead to what is in front of me.

I’m excited about the prospect of what lies in front me and the milestones that I have yet to reach. Even though with each passing year, I get a little bit older, I know that it won’t matter as long as there are things to look forward to. With each “pretend birthday” there will be exciting things to celebrate… driver’s licenses, graduations, more books to release, grandchildren, and who knows what else? I know that one day I may finally feel like an Author, and I am looking forward to it. But for now, I am just thankful that I get to celebrate more birthdays.

But I am the most thankful for those BIG moments that I get to remember, now, with the people that I love the most.

 

The More That Things Change…

I’m a romantic at heart.

I love fairy tales and happily ever after. My favorite movies, stories, and books are about love and fluff and magic. It’s strange, but I don’t write those stories, yet I love to indulge in them.

Even though those types of stories appeal to me greatly, I can’t ever seem to find myself in them. I tend to see myself more in the characters that are flawed and lost, which is also what I tend to write about the most. I’ve tried to transform myself over the years yet I remain the same. As much as I would like to change, and adapt, and grow into a softer person; I find that I actually fight the darkness more over time.

It’s not that there isn’t kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness within me. It’s just that I tend to gravitate more in the other direction. I joke about fighting the demons, but I mean it when I say that I do. Somewhere deep inside of me, there is someone that only three people in my life have ever been able to completely crack. My grandma, and my sons. I find a dormant different side of myself with my sons, as I did with my grandma when she was alive. 

I don’t know if it is because I was adopted, or because I was abandoned, or just a result of life. I’m not sure if it’s because of an early struggle for survival. But I do know that I tend to be in constant survival mode; waiting, and watching, wrought with anticipation. When I was younger, I do think that I was softer. I know that in my youth, I was more free. But as I’ve gotten older, I realize that this is who I have always been. Even as a little girl, I didn’t have the same hopes or expectations as other little girls. I just saw life in a different way.

I do adore the happily ever after and it’s doubtful that will ever change. In many ways, I’m living the happily ever after. I am surrounded by the people I love the most, living a life that I am very fortunate to have. But it is also the struggle with the darkness, that makes me who I am. I have learned to embrace it, with the knowledge that I am who I am, and that it will probably never change.

Because the more that things change, they also stay the same, because I am the same.