Adoptee And Birth Parent Reunion Stories
Adoptee And Birth Parent Reunion Stories – When a taxi dropped off Mallory Guy in front of a building in Cheonan, South Korea, after a 14-hour flight from Atlanta, a Korean couple was waiting for her on the sidewalk with open arms.
It was the first time in 7 months that Ms Guy, 33, had been in her home country. She was also seeing her birth parents for the first time since being sent to the United States more than thirty years ago. They gave him up for adoption when they couldn’t afford surgery to fix his cleft palate.
Adoptee And Birth Parent Reunion Stories
Ms. Guy, who was adopted by a family in Mentor, Ohio, took a 23andMe DNA test in 2013 in hopes of finding information about her health. She checked the website every year, looking for a potential connection to the Korean family. Late last year, she met a relative in Seattle.
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“Her her mother thinks she knows who she is,” she said of her relationship. “If I’m who they think I am, I’m her granddaughter. And they were looking for me. “
About 200,000 Korean children have been sent to families overseas since the 1950s, mostly to white families in America, said Kelly Condit-Shrestha, a Minneapolis historian who studies adoptions. They are the largest diaspora of adoptees in the world, she said.
Reunifications between adoptees and their biological parents have become more common in recent years, due to the relaxation of South Korea’s privacy laws, as well as the increased use of social media and genetic testing.
For some adoptees, reunification has become a rite of passage they’ve always imagined and anticipated, like a wedding or the birth of a child. Then came the 2020 pandemic. Returning pilgrims to South Korea dwindled. Many adopters have canceled long-scheduled appointments after government quarantine rules made travel too expensive and time-consuming for overseas visitors.
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But Mrs Guy continued. Her meeting with her parents was not going to be a quick conversation in a bar. She spent 14 days at home with them.
Mrs Guy, second from left, shares dinner with her natural family at her parents’ flat. “I haven’t been able to feed my daughter for 33 years, so this is the least I could do,” said Lim Mi-sun, 59, birth mother of Ms. Gai. We thank… June Michael Park for the New York Times.
Ms. Guy Corey’s family visited her in Ohio in March, but the virus disrupted their plans. At the end of the summer, she was fired from her job at the restaurant.
“This is probably the best time to do it,” she recalls thinking. In September you flew alone to Korea.
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When Ms Guy arrived, she didn’t know if she would be allowed to spend two weeks at her biological parents’ home or if she would be forced to stay in an expensive government hotel. The South Korean embassy website only says such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
At the airport, Ms. Gai, who spoke some Korean, picked up a certificate that she was the daughter of a Korean family. Officials called her Korean father to verify her identity.
When she hugged her parents outside their apartment in Cheonan, about 50 miles south of Seoul, she was no longer a child with a cleft palate, but a grown woman with a repaired lip, an American husband and two sons of she.
Brought together by a genetic test, an overseas flight and the pandemic, Ms Guy and her parents moved up four floors to the modest three-bedroom apartment where she was to spend her first two weeks. The language barrier was great.
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Her parents made him Korean food and American snacks like peanut butter and jelly. (They also stocked up on milk because they learned Americans love milk.) She even bought him an exercise bike, as she told them on calls that she liked to use her group of hers.
“I haven’t been able to feed my daughter for 33 years, so this is the least I can do,” said Lee Mi-sun, 59, her biological mother.
“They have been beyond amazing,” Ms Guy said in a telephone conversation after days in quarantine, adding that she was “grateful to have uninterrupted time here with my parents”.
Her emotions were heightened when Ms. Gai browsed through a photo album of her family, including Ms. Gai’s Korean siblings, a brother and sister. “Seeing pictures of everyone growing up made me miss them even more,” she said.
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Although the tears were mostly a response to seeing ‘how beautiful they are and what they could have been’, Ms Guy said, her mother was worried he had upset her by showing her photos of her.
Kelsey Kranz is a Korean adoptee who recently found her birth family and made plans to meet them in South Korea. Her travel plans have been canceled due to the pandemic. We thank… Caroline Young for the New York Times
Miss Guy’s homecoming was anything but ordinary. Meetings between natural parents and their children are often rigid and formal meetings, with language barriers and bureaucratic controls by the adoption agencies. They often take place in a restaurant or bar, as opposed to a blind date. Intensely emotional conversations, such as a tearful apology from a parent or reassurance from a child, need to be filtered through an interpreter.
In a way, the pandemic has changed things for the better. Kelsey Kranz, 33, who was adopted from Mundy, Minnesota, said it was “almost a blessing in disguise that we had to wait.”
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Instead, she connected with her biological family via video calls and daily chats on Line, a popular app in South Korea that can translate her messages.
“We’ve talked so much we’re getting to know each other better,” she said, adding that she hoped it wouldn’t be “so socially awkward when we finally get down to it.”
Ms. Krantz and her father, Alan, had planned to go to South Korea earlier this year. After his wife’s death in 2018, Mr. Kranz told his daughter: “We have to go on this trip.”
Like many adoptive parents, Mr. Kranz supported finding her. “We never felt threatened by meeting her birth parents,” he said. “I don’t feel any less connected to him because of this process.”
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But canceling a scheduled meeting can be especially devastating for those who’ve been dragged through a costly and emotionally exhausting search. “Some adoptees take years to even prepare for research, even filing records,” said Christine Heyman, an adoptee who founded AdopteeBridge, a Minnesota-based nonprofit that tours South Korea. The organization has postponed the tours scheduled for the summer and autumn.
While some reunions feel like weddings, they can also feel like a long overdue funeral. All adoptions begin with loss, Ms. Hayman said: loss of family, of culture, of country.
Sometimes, a meeting is more practical than emotional. They offer adoptees the ability to confirm birth dates and ask about medical history for the first time. It is also the first time many adoptees have seen their nose, hands or eyes reflected in another person.
The twins, now 48, were adopted together from South Korea when they were around 7 months old. Their case states that their biological mother died shortly after giving birth.
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But in February they received a call from a social worker at their adoption agency: the mother was alive.
“I was genuinely shocked,” Ms Doerr said. “It makes my view of what happened very, very different.”
Megan Doerr with a photo of her birth parents holding her and her sister before they were adopted. Ms. Doerr and her identical twin are Korean adoptees who recently found their birth family in Korea. We thank… Caroline Young for the New York Times
“I was genuinely shocked,” Ms Doerr said, when she learned her mother was alive. We thank… Caroline Young for the New York Times
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Their biological father, who they were told was alive at the time of the adoption, died 10 years ago.
The twins never imagined they would have Korean brothers, Ms Doerr said. They have four; One of them, a sister, was adopted in Switzerland.
The twins’ mother is now 85 on a farm in rural South Korea, suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
“When I heard that, I was very upset,” Ms. Doerr said. They became more concerned when their June trip was postponed. According to them, her condition is still mild, but the fear is that “less and less memory will become available with age”.
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Their biological brother, who speaks little English, told the twins that their father wanted children, not sons.
In anticipation of a two-week hotel stay, Alison Young, 38, traveled from her home in Frederick County, Md., South Korea in August with her husband and three biological children. She was returning as adopted and soon to be adopted.
The purpose of the trip was
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