Loss seems to be a pervasive thing in my life. I accept that. The biggest blows in my life have been the loss of the women … my mother, my Grandma in Tennessee and my Abuelita in Puerto Rico. Losing them was like losing my compass. However, now, I understand the loss more. I knew loss long before I lost them.
Before these mothers, I had an original one. I know nothing about her except that she cared well for me until I was six months old. After I lost her, I found another woman, my foster mother, who would love me and build a bond with me. But then, I lost her too.
I had hoped that my interview with the Korean news agency, SBS, would allow me to find this second mother. But alas, that would not be. The only clues I was given came from the adoption agency social worker. She seemed surprised that I owned photographs of my foster mother. “In those days, only the wealthy could afford photographs such as these taken at home.” I have stared at these images since early childhood. They were sent to my parents after my first birthday by the adoption agency, but today, the agency has no record of who they are. I hold on to these words from my papers:
“Is attached to her foster mother, and not shy of strangers. …” — Progress Report dated August 23, 1968.
“Sook Hyun is a happy and healthy girl, who enjoys a normal progress. When she came at first, she had a little herdship [sic] adjusting herself, but now she is a different girl, who is always cheerful and in good shape. She is loved a lot by her foster family and is expected to be a nice addition to her would-be adoptive parents.” — Progress Report dated December 11, 1968.A piece of me remains in Korea, in the corners of my foster mother’s mind.
The moment my feet hit Korean soil, I felt at home. Comfortable and reassured. Included and content. No more wondering how I would cope with Korea.
If you haven’t read Part 1, you can find it here. Stay tuned for Part 3 … the silver lining.