If you’ve read my last post where I share about my birth family search then you know that I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster for the past two weeks. I’ve heard others say that they were surprised by their reactions and that nothing could have truly prepared them. I could not agree more…
Here’s a recap of my emotions and how they have progressed. Let’s rewind to the morning I received the news.
I woke at 7:00am and scrolled through my emails while still lying in bed. I come across the email:
My first reaction was to jump out of bed and run downstairs to share the news with my husband. We were both shocked that they were able to be located. I wouldn’t say that I was excited…truly just shocked. I dressed and proceeded on with my day.
Whenever I had a moment to myself I would bring up the email and re-read it over and over, still in disbelief. Quiet moments were the worst where guilt and uncertainty would start to creep in…guilt toward my parents who have been there for me always and uncertainty about whether I had made a mistake initiating a search in the first place.
That evening before bed, my husband helped me choose a few pictures to send along with the letter I had already composed for my birth family. I sent the email and the next day I had a reply from the social worker.
If you let me know when you are available to meet your family, then I would make an arrangement. Holt has branch office in Daegue city where your birth family live now. Otherwise, your family could come to Seoul Holt office to meet you. Our social worker would assist the meeting and also could arrange volunteer translator when you meet them outside of office if you let us know in advance.
That morning was the first time I saw pictures of people who shared my distinct features. Of the three sisters, one in particular looks a lot like me. It was surreal. I glanced through them and got ready for work. Unlike the first day where I was relatively composed throughout the work day… day two I was not.
This day was probably the hardest. The initial shock had worn a bit and transformed into straight up guilt. The only thing that made me feel better was knowing that my parents were making the trip down to see me that day. I knew that seeing them would help and they would be able to help me sort through my thoughts and mixed feelings on the topic. I found myself having a difficult time keeping it together. I worked with clients all day long, which was fine except for any down time between appointments I found myself locked in my office and sobbing uncontrollably. It seemed like such a betrayal.
I actually had to work late and attend a dinner meeting. My parents weren’t supposed to get in until late, anyway, so it was good to be occupied. The whole car ride to the meeting, feelings of sadness and disloyalty engulfed me. My makeup and face was a blurred and puffy mess by the time I got there.
I was thinking of asking my bosses to use some of my sick time for personal use while my parents were in town. I had it all mapped out what I would say. It was simple…”something has come up unexpectedly in my personal life, my parents are on their way here to be with me and I was hoping to use some of my sick time while they are here.”
Well, I had gotten through all of two words and then broke down. Luckily, my bosses and I are close and they understood completely. I knew they would worry about me and wonder what in the world could be going on, but I still could not bring myself to share this with them. One of my boss’ is even married to a Korean adoptee, yet I still couldn’t tell her anything.
I assured them it was nothing they needed to worry about and that I couldn’t even explain to myself the extent of my melt down, much less them. They told me to take whatever time I needed and not to use up any of my sick or vacation time. I thanked them, assured them that nobody had died, nobody was ill and explained that it was just very complicated. I could not stop crying the whole way home. I had never been so happy to see my parents that night.