In the fall of 2018 I participated in the Home to Home program in South Korea. Truth be told, I almost turned down the opportunity to go – there was a lot going on for me this year, work has been busy, etc. I can not express in words how happy I am that I decided to go. I was finally able to meet my birth mom, dad, and foster family. I met 5 other adoptees from the US and Australia, and we have become our own little adoptee support group.
This was the first time we all went to Korea after our adoption. I have been to Western Europe for cultural exchange programs and study abroad, and I hoped that those experiences would help prepare me for my first trip to Asia. I knew there would be culture shock.
The first few days were very overwhelming. The jet lag was the worst I’d experienced. I can’t read or speak Korean. I’m not used to the food. But every day was better than the last, and by the end of the trip I was so sad to go home. I had made many new friends and my family doubled in size! I felt so lucky that through all the hard work by the adoption agencies and my birth family’s circumstances I was able to meet and spend time with everyone and get familiar with Seoul.
I told myself that I had no expectations for meeting my birth family, but I think deep down I really hoped that it would be a positive experience. Nothing prepared me for the actual meetings with them. There was no way I could process it or prepare for it ahead of time, and it was different for each adoptee in my program. If you are thinking about participating in Home to Home or looking for your birth family on your own, my advice is to just go with the flow, and be honest and forgiving with yourself. There is not a right or wrong way to process this experience, since it’s different for each of us. Don’t let other people, regardless of who they are to you, tell you how to feel about this trip or being adopted or anything – for me, there were a lot of opinions and judgments being thrown at me, but when I was in Korea all the negativity faded to the background.
I feel very lucky to have had such a positive experience that will hopefully be the start of my relationship with my birth family and foster family. I highly recommend this program to any adoptee interested in meeting their birth family or learning more about their heritage.