Discovering the Missing Piece: Our Full and Fulfilled Lives

Illustration depicting a puzzle piece fitting into the larger picture, symbolizing the discovery of the missing piece for full and fulfilled lives.

As the saying goes, “Home is where the journey takes you.”

~Basho

Explain the meaning of family. Is it because of your shared ancestry? Is it because they were your childhood friends? Is it the folks that accept you completely and love you anyway?

My concept of family has developed over time. When I was only four months old, my parents decided to adopt me from Seoul, Korea. For the first several months of my life, family meant the folks I grew up with at an orphanage.

Some people gave me strange glances when my elder sister presented me as her younger sister, as I was growing up in South Central Pennsylvania with our Caucasian family, where diversity was, to put it mildly, limited. People would ask, “Are you sure?” with a cocked head.

My adoptive mother died when I was thirteen from complications related to her long history of illness. When she saw someone projecting their own doubts and fears onto me, she was the most emphatic about how much she loved, desired, and protected me.

The pain of losing her was among the worst I’ve ever felt. Then, in college, I lost my closest buddy in a cliff diving accident. My mother and father, who represented both home and family to me, had passed away.

I was adopted at the age of five and lived in a family where someone died almost every year starting at the age of five, among other traumas and heartbreaks. I was furious, resentful, and confused for a long time about why my biological family had abandoned me.

When I was in middle school, I decided it was important for me to review the paperwork the adoption agency sent to my parents. I still have no idea why I did it. Even at that young age, I must have seen the need to find a community in which to be accepted.

According to the paperwork, my family “couldn’t afford to have the baby aborted,” so they gave me up for adoption.

The revelation that I had two elder sisters and that they had given me away because they could not afford to kill me was stunning. It wasn’t until ten years later that I finally understood what the narrative was really about.

I reached out to an adoption agency when I was in college in hopes of learning more about my biological family. I was prepared for the agency to report that they had been unsuccessful in their search, that the people had passed away, or that they had declined to be located.

Never in a million years did I imagine that a few days after my birth, my father would write me a three-page letter, inviting me to come find them.

What happened to me was shocking. No one ever intended to terminate my pregnancy. My dad had written that they wanted me placed somewhere I’d feel out of place, so I’d be on the lookout for them. When it finally hit me, I was furious.

See also  The Importance of Taking Decisive Action: Key Steps for Success

After years of searching for a place to call home, I was shocked to learn that these folks had set everything in motion in hopes that I would come across them and use my story to ease their pain of child abandonment.

There was a brief period of correspondence between my father and me by letter and email, but after that, we didn’t hear from one another for a very long time. The weight of all that needed to be said but had nowhere to be heard was compounded by their inability to communicate with each other.

Having felt the need to reconnect (again) 10 years later, I sought out a translator to make emailing my father simpler, and we are now working through some of the heartache on both sides.

What can we learn from all of this uprooting and sorrow?

People get their hopes up so high that they will finally feel like they belong somewhere, but I gave up on that hope a long time ago.

I’ve realized that there is no such thing as “arriving,” since each day is a different journey, and each instant offers its own little insights about what it means to be a part of a family, a community, and a home.

We have no control over our birth families or, in my case, our adoptive families, but we do have a say in how we interpret the world around us.

My journey to find a permanent residence has taught me that this very life is my true home. Everything we experience, from the people we meet to the sights we see to the conversations we have, all contribute to making us who we are.

The people and events that enter our lives are not always within our control, but we always have the power to choose how we will react to them.

Despite the fact that it may appear as if we’ve lost out on what so many others have had, we learn that there is nothing lacking when we let go of our expectations for how our lives should be. We can’t claim ownership of their tales.

Everything in our lives is just the way we want it to be.

As I begin to build relationships with my biological relatives, I realize that my conception of home has changed. It’s in the neighborhood I grew up in. It comes from the ancestors I inherited it from. It exists in everyone I’ve ever loved and everyone who has loved me. It’s everywhere, and it never ceases to amaze me.

Every moment is a homecoming. Every experience has reminded me to be thankful.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *