"Let me tell you about all of my mommies!" said my five-year-old son one day as we sat in our kitchen. He began counting: "There's my first mother in Korea, then Mrs. Cho (his foster mother), and then you - you're my third mom!"
So simple to his five-year-old mind - but of course adoption is anything but simple.
In 1987 my husband and I made a decision that changed our lives forever: We began the process of adopting a child from Korea.
We knew absolutely nothing about adoption and little more about Korea or the Korean American community. The internet didn't offer the information it does today, so word of mouth and print media were where we looked to educate ourselves. At the time we felt we were doing all we could to prepare to parent our Korean children, but I laugh today when I realize just how unprepared we were.
Our son joined our family in 1989, our daughter in 1991. The arrival of living, breathing human beings with connections halfway around the world has altered my belief that the adoption experience can be tied up in a neat little bundle. Instead, all these years later, I marvel at the strength of my family, but mourn the family connections my children have lost and despair at the appalling injustices that decades of adoption have left in its wake.
What I take for common sense is often rejected by the mainstream, so let me make my point of view clear:
- Women have the right to parent the children born to them regardless of their marital status.
- Adoptees have the right to their genetic connections and all information related to them.
- Intercountry adoptees have the right to the legal protection of citizenship in their adopted countries.