02 November 2015

Wearing Adoptee Proudly

Today, I woke from a restless night. Yesterday, I visited my adoption agency with my children. Again, we were disappointed and left with only a sliver of hope that they would look more to “see if anything in my file stood out.”

But this morning, with sleep in my eyes, I read the words of my Lost Daughter sister, Rebecca. She wrote how my pendant had given her strength and reassurance as an adoptee.

My intention in creating the Pregnant Belly Bowl and its adoptee pendants was to show the community of adoptees. All the pendants were made to be given at first to my Lost Daughters’ sisters. Each takes two hours to carve and polish, then a full day to stoke the fires of the wood kiln. Much work goes into them, but the love and work was worth it for my sisters.

I appreciate their work … their understanding … and most importantly their support when I am feeling weak.

Korea has weakened me. It did last year as I tried to come to terms with the fruitless meeting with my agency. It weakens me today as I roam the streets of Seoul as a temporary resident, a longterm tourist.

I find myself turning my pendant around to the Korean stamp side while I am here in Korea. I find that I just cannot bear to see the sorrow and shame of the viewer once they understand the written word on my pendant.

Once at a ceramics workshop in Wisconsin, a woman said to me, “I am really surprised that you would want to wear that so prominently.” I told her I was not ashamed of being an adoptee. She then said she was an adoptive parent and that the adoptees she knew tried to downplay their identity as such. Then she said something surprising. “You’re brave.”

No, I AM an adoptee.

There should be no shame in that word. It is who I am. I have been made by an original family, a foster family, my adoptive family, my spouse, my children and myself.

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