OK, so there’s this kid from Korea who made worldwide headlines when he auditioned on Korea’s Got Talent (I didn’t even know they had a Korean version until this incident). It’s one of those feel good stories where a young man who was orphaned at three years old, living on the streets by himself after being beaten and abused in an orphanage, discovered his passion for singing and somehow wound up on a televised talent show (making all the judges and the audience cry their eyes out).
Check the video out below (I know you’re a busy person and all but it’s totally worth it):
So now that you’ve wiped your eyes and snotted into your Kleenex (or is that just me?), I’ll tell you why that video struck such a chord with me…
I am an adoptee from Korea. I was a lucky one. Despite being given up at birth (by all accounts my biological mother committed the socially unacceptable sin of falling pregnant outside of wedlock), spending a brief time in an orphanage and being placed with a big, jolly looking foster mother (who fed me all sorts of naughty treats until I looked like the Michelin Man), I was one of the lucky ones.
At five months old, I arrived in Australia to be placed in the arms of the Best Parents Ever. I have lived a fantastic life, with a roof over my head, three meals a day (well – except for the times I couldn’t be convinced to eat breakfast) and all the love, support and resources a child could ever want or need. I have plenty of friends, social networks and a great education behind me. I am healthy and I am happy. The world is now my oyster because of events that unfolded roughly 27 years ago. Well, I can’t sing very well, but I make up for lack of talent with unbridled enthusiasm (usually in the car).
This video reminded me that not all orphans (or abandoned children) from Korea or other places around the world are so lucky. I realised as I wiped a tear from my eye, that with a terrible stroke of bad fortune, that boy could have just as easily been me, my brother or any of my adopted friends. How blessed I am.
There are some people (even within the government) who believe that taking a child out of their country/culture of origin is harmful and damaging. I say only if it’s done wrong. Would I trade everything I have to live the life of that Korean boy? Quite bluntly, hell no! Would he have traded his life on the streets or in an orphanage for unconditional love and a family of his own in another country? I don’t want to speak for him, but I think I can guess what his answer might have been…
It’s not always easy. Sometimes you feel too white for the Asian communities, but everyone thinks you’re too Asian to be a “proper” Aussie (whatever the hell that is). There are issues to contend with such as racism, constant misconceptions about your “culture” based on your appearance, and awful stereotypes to contend with. There are feelings of abandonment (by your biological parents), constant intrusive questions from strangers and the feeling that you’re somewhat of a sideshow attraction when you just want to blend in.
However, we all face issues like this (adopted or not) in life and with the right love and support, we can overcome them and see just how strong we are. All of that is nothing compared to living on the streets with no-one there to love you every single day.
Of course, I had to share the video with my mum. Predictably, she cried. She then sent me a mushy email back. And then I cried again – happy tears of course 🙂
As I face impending motherhood, I feel so blessed to be able to bring a baby into the world who I can provide with love, support and a safe home. My biological mother couldn’t do that for me, but I can change the destiny of my biological family tree and if I hadn’t been adopted, I may not have had the same opportunities in life allowing me to do this. I can’t wait to look into the eyes of a little version of me and my husband. This child will be my first biological relative – the first one who will be in my life for me to love and grow with every day. No matter what happens, I will never ever abandon him/her.
And the fact that I will have all of my beloved Chosen (and very “REAL”) Family with me to share in this experience is even more special.
Now excuse me while I go and bawl a little.