Lately I’ve been thinking about how being adopted shapes one’s experiences as an adult. It’s only recently that I realized there is a connection between my adoption and my willingness to live abroad. It’s not simply that I am “one of those people” who loves to travel, but in retrospect, perhaps because I was born in another country I was always subconsciously thinking about far away places. As a child, I remember being utterly mesmerized by the “It’s a Small World” attraction at Disney World – maybe I planned back then to travel the world. Now, I am 34 years old and have lived in three countries, managed to learn a few languages, traveled to many lands, and met people from all over the world. In fact, still want to visit so many more places: Cambodia, Mexico (again) and Taiwan are my top three. I honestly don’t miss my life in the U.S. very much, except for my dear family and close friends. In fact, I do not anticipate living again in the US at length for a long time.
Here are a few more ramblings about my adoption story. I haven’t actually done much about finding my birth mother. Of course, I would like to know the answer to one of the most important questions of my life: “Why did my birth mother abandon me?” However, digging in the past could be like opening Pandora’s Box (kind of scary). I totally understand why many adoptees never try to find their birth mothers. Sometimes it feels better not to know the truth. I would really like to know if I have siblings, what kind of life I might have had in El Salvador, and most of all, what my birth mother looks like. Does she ever think of me fondly every May 2nd or does she suppress the pain?
One last thing: I’ve been wondering if any adopted kids have tried to go back to their birth country and build a life there? For instance, if I were to try to go back to El Salvador and start my life there, what would that be like? I imagine it would be easier than adoptees from Asian countries where the group mentality, the insider-outsider dynamic, is so very strong. On top of that, practically speaking, learning an Asian language is so much harder than learning Spanish, which is relatively easy.
If you’re interested, here are a few cool articles about adoptees from Asia:
1) American’s Korean Adoptees: Return to the Motherland
2) Adopted Asians Returning Home to Adopt Their Own
Two books by authors from Korea and Taiwan who were adopted by Americans: