When I was small, one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books was, Are You My Mother
? It's the tale of a baby bird who falls out of a tree. In his adventure in trying to find his mother, he runs into a variety of characters, asking each character, "Are you my mother?"
Very often adopted children feel the same way that little bird did. They long for a sense of connection that comes with biology. There's something comforting about seeing a face similar to yours. We all search for a sense of belonging.
I was adopted when I was nine months old and flown from south Korea to America to be raised by Caucasian parents who were old enough to be my grandparents. I grew up surrounded by fair skinned, round eyed people who looked nothing like me; a fact that my classmates made painfully apparent to me when I went to school.
As an adult, I would sit in airports and watch families greet each other. I would search the faces of other Asians looking for some connection, some familial feature that was similar to mine. Who was my mother? What did she look like? Where was she now? Those questions couldn't be answered. There were no birth records in post-war South Korea. I was literally abandoned as an infant on the steps of a municipal building in Seoul.
Then one day I walked into the middle of a conversation between two women in the break room of the law firm where I worked.
"The older I get the more I look like my mother," one woman said.
"Tell me about it! The other woman replied. "I look at my hands and they look just like my mother's hands!"
I smiled at them not relating to anything they were saying, dumped my coffee into the sink, and continued on to the bathroom. As I was leaving the bathroom, I paused to check my face and hair in the mirror. The face in the mirror looked back at me. It was the face of my mother.
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