Identity as a Korean Adoptee

I left America with one identity and came back with two. I was only ever called Lianne, now I am also called 윤희 (Yoon Hee). I called one person mom and another dad, now I have another set of people with the same title. I went from having two siblings to five, a handful of cousins to dozens. I’m a shoe size 7 in America, but 245 in Korea.

I came home with a suitcase full of Korean goods from shoes to skincare, perfume to undies, all generous gifts from my birth family and left my American products in Korea. My Korean vocabulary is gradually bulking and I catch myself saying “same same” and bowing when I say thank you. The Asian appearance I had completed rejected as a teenager is now fully embraced. I went from identifying as white to feeling proud to be Korean. I am traveling on the identity spectrum that Korean adoptees experience while growing up. Some never connect with Korea while others end up regaining their citizenship and permanently living there. When will this shift in identity stop for me? I feel more and more disconnected from America each day. I feel torn and confused with what the future holds.

I did find a healthy batch of clarity on my trip. Now I know where I came from. No more lies on adoption paperwork and miscommunication with adoption agents. Now, the miscommunication lies in the language barrier between my family and I.

Read more about my experiences as a Korean American adoptee who reunited with my birth family.

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