April marks five months of my Little Mister’s life. It’s an odd age to consider a special milestone, but to me it really is an important one. I didn’t realise just how important it was to me until it arrived and it brought with it the revelation that I had been waiting for this date for all of my adult life (and perhaps even before that).
I have spent my whole life trotting out my little life story to anyone and everyone who seems particularly interested in my “background”. You see, I look Asian on the outside but on the inside I’ve always been an Aussie. It brings with it a lot of fascination and the need to ask me for an explanation. Especially when I’m out with my parents, who don’t particularly resemble me physically!
I was adopted from South Korea as a baby. How old was I, you ask? Well, I was five months and one week old when I arrived in Australia, ready to start my new life as a very loved and cherished Aussie bub.
Every time someone asks (rudely or politely) where I’m “from”, I start my well rehearsed, finely tuned, short spiel. I can sum the situation up in a very short time: “Well, I was born in South Korea but I was adopted at five months old and being Aussie is all I’ve ever known.”
It explains my looks and it lets someone know that I don’t have an unusual ethnicity or different cultural practices (so they don’t start talking to me really loudly or slowly or make assumptions about what I eat or how my family views education blah blah *enter Asian stereotype here*) . Of course, it doesn’t always sink in, but that’s another story 😉
Anyway, I always dreamed of being biologically related to someone. I have loved my life and have always felt extra loved and extra wanted because my parents had to go to such lengths to bring me to them when my own biological family didn’t choose to keep me. It’s just that I dreamed of having that dream my mum/s couldn’t have. I dreamed of being able to carry my own baby safely to term and be able to keep him or her forever. I dreamed of one day having what I had never had – someone who maybe looked a bit like me and shared my genes – in my life.
I’ve spent my life being fascinated by family resemblences. Looking at brothers, sisters, their parents and wondering what it would be like to resemble someone. The advantages, the disadvantages.
When my little man reached the five month milestone a few days ago, I realised what my parents were receiving that September night in 1984. A
little very chubby five month old, who was smiling (a coping mechanism I have used to this day), grabbing at things and completely aware of her surroundings. I see what an undertaking it would have been for me to fly all the way from South Korea to start a whole new life and never look back. When my Little Mister starts to show separation anxiety and tests me at night time, crying as I get to his bedroom door after I’ve said goodnight, I realise that I would have had some idea that nothing would ever be the same. That time of my life shaped a lot of who I am today and it is bittersweet when I think about it.
I realise what a gift I have had. I have had a bonus five months with my Little Mister! I’ve seen him from day one (albeit briefly before he was rushed to another hospital for three days – long story). I’ve watched him grow and learn. I was able to breastfeed him (not that it was very easy but I got the opportunity), I was there to give him his first taste of solids: apple puree and broccoli puree (not a fan but we knew we were pushing it haha). I was there to bring him home from hospital and change his first nappies, watch my husband give him his first bath. My parents may have missed out on those moments with me, but I realise one thing. The bond between parent and child is the same no matter how you came together. I now know exactly what my brother and I meant to my parents (and still do). I am so blessed to be a child of loving parents, and a loving parent of a child. Blood isn’t thicker than water: love is.
As my little baby starts to get “boy” legs instead of tiny baby legs, and he starts to push for independence, trying to hold his own bottle and take control of his own spoon, I’m realising just how fast he’s going to grow up! I love who he is (when he grins his face off and puts up with my shenanigans) and I am so glad I get to keep him forever.
Just like it was for my parents, five months is just the beginning of a very special journey. I realise now that what I craved all my life was not simply a little ‘me’ or a genetic relative. I just wanted to realise, to KNOW, that the love I have for my child is exactly the same as the love my parents had/have for me. Perhaps deep down, I needed the confirmation. I needed to know for sure that blood and some genes don’t make an ounce of difference as to how much a person can love (even though with all the blessings and love in my life I already had a pretty strong inkling).
I love you, Little Mister. Thankyou for choosing me as your mummy.