I was born in South Korea and came to America when I was 4 months old. I know very little of those few months between my birth and adoption – just a small case file and one picture that the adoption agency sent my parents. My parents had already adopted my old brother from South Korea, and my family was complete when they adopted my youngest brother a few years later. I grew up in a loving home where my parents celebrated our adoption and embraced our Korean heritage. I was taught never to feel ashamed of my adoption and to be proud of who I was.
My mom has a heart of gold, and as I was growing up, I always knew how much she loved me. I have many memories of myself faking sick so that I could have special days alone with her. I knew that she was aware that I wasn’t really sick, but we just loved having our “girl time.” I always had a close relationship with my mom and couldn’t imagine a life without her.
Growing up, I never thought much about my birth mother. I always thought my birth mother gave me up for adoption for the typical reasons. She could have been too young, unmarried, or a baby just didn’t fit her lifestyle. I never held resentment towards her, but I think it was hard for me to connect emotionally with a person I have no memory of. I never felt the need to try and find my birth mother because I never felt like anything was missing in my life.
On February 17th, 2020, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Olive Lynne. She’s changed my life and has brought so much happiness into my world. I was so worried about how I would be as a mom, and if I could handle the sacrifices. As soon as I held her, I fell so in love and experienced joy like no other. The 9 months of extreme nausea, headaches, sleepless nights, and fatigue were worth it. This baby completed me, and I never wanted to let go of her.
Then it hit me. Is it possible that my birth mother felt the same thing before my adoption?
Ws her pregnancy just as rough as mine? When she felt those first kicks, did she cry as I did? Did she spend those sleepless nights imaging who I would become? As her belly grew, did she try to imagine what I would look like? During labor, was she just as scared as I was? During those 9 months, did she struggle with her decision every day? When she finally saw my face did her heart skip a beat like when I saw my daughter for the first time. And when she held me, knowing it was the last time, did she never want to let go?
It took me becoming a mother to change my perspective of motherhood.
To give your child up for adoption is one of the most selfless acts of love a mother can do. To receive a child’s picture and choose to raise that child without any hesitation is one of the most selfless acts of love a mother can do.
I’m grateful for my birth mother’s sacrifice because it gave me the life I have today.