Adoptive parents show what love isSince I was young, I have planned on adopting a child. There was no special reason; I thought it would be a good way of getting new family members. However, my family did not agree with me and neither did my friends.
A hot issue in Korean society has been the stories of Korean children adopted abroad into abusive families. One high-profile example is the case of Susan from the 1991 Korean movie “Susan Brinkui Arirang.” It was based on the true story of a Korean girl adopted abroad in Sweden who was abused by family members.
After watching the movie, I quickly dropped my adoption plan. I was frightened of becoming a parent like Susan’s. It seemed too difficult to form a good family bond without the same background or a blood bond. Moreover, there were no good examples of adoptive families around me to break my prejudice against adoption.
However, I saw something different in Northampton, Massachusetts. My meeting with Ian/Jin-kyu and his mother changed my perceptions.
I met Ian/Jin-kyu and his mother while I was having lunch. Next to me was a 30-year-old white woman feeding a cute little Asian boy. It was a good time to say hello because I had seen them already several times in town.
After a series of short conversations, I pieced together Ian’s story. His mother had been teaching English in Korea and decided to adopt a Korean baby before going back to the United States. She gave him two names: Ian and Jin-kyu.
She tried to teach him how to write his name in Korean because she wanted him to understand his own culture.
A few weeks later while having lunch together again, I happened to see what she was wearing on her neck, a necklace engraved with the Korean word “eo-meo-ni,” or mother.
A baby-friendly person like me noticed quickly from the way he smiled and from the way his mother looked at him that Ian/Jin-kyu was a happy baby.
I spent more time with an American family from church who had adopted twin girls. The girls’ parents said they hoped their two daughters would become ballerinas.
At school, then, I was not too surprised when I found out that my African-American friend’s family members were all white except for her, but it didn’t make any difference in how she felt about her family.
It was enough to teach me that accepting new people as family members is completely possible if there is great love and effort.
by Song Hee-jung
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