My name was 성숙 (Sung Sook).
My name is Erika.

I have been many persons to many people in many places. Learn more.

What’s Up?

  • What kinds of sh*t do your in-laws say? Mine say things like this.
  • Check out an awesome guest post, below, by Jinny Chang.
  • Miss something? Check out my recent posts, right sidebar.

What’s Next?

  • Hear from Korean adoptee Jeannette Kim on being raised in the US by Korean adoptive parents. Check back soon!

To the Motherland: Laura Wachs

This summer, fellow adoptee Laura Wachs will take her first trip back to the motherland and will join other adoptees searching for birth culture and family. Laura is currently attempting to raise $10,000 via Kickstarter, and she is almost halfway to her goal! If her campaign’s successful, she will inspire others through her poetry, and will be inspired by other adoptee’s voices as she facilitates workshops to help them unleash their inner artists.

View Laura’s Kickstarter campaign and make a donation.

Contact Laura at laura_wachs [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Because we all would have been prostitutes. And all that.

After numerous failed attempts to write about a conversation I recently had with my mother-in-law, I decided to simply share the dialogue with you, for I still can’t put my thoughts about the conversation into coherent words. So I’ll let it speak for itself.

Scene: My husband and I are on a week-long trip to the UAE. He’s at work. I’m having lunch, pool-side, with my mother-in-law. We talk about her recent travels to Southeast Asia, my writing, and my work — including Gazillion Voices – which makes her think of her goddaughter, a Chinese adoptee who is, from what I can tell, between five and eight years old.

She says: “I’m just so thankful she’s a part of our lives. They [adoptive parents] don’t know anything about her [birth] parents, but they’re sure they were poor.” Her eyes get misty. “When I think about what could have happened to her if she’d stayed in China…” Her voice trails off (think Lifetime Original). “Child prostitution and all that.” I vomit in my mouth. “And you know what?” She lowers her voice. “They’re not even sure she’s really Chinese! And she doesn’t look Chinese to me. It’s in her eyes.”

I have to ask: “Why would they think that? I thought you said they don’t know anything about her birth parents.”

“Oh, they don’t,” she said. “But you know… a young girl abandoned at some dirty orphanage… and you just look at her and wonder ‘Who are you? Where did you come from?’ and you start to see in her face… the orphanage workers, they didn’t even think she was Chinese.”

I say, “Oh, well then, that says it all.”

“Yeah, exactly,” she says. She didn’t catch the snark in my voice. “You figure they know what their own people look like. How about you? Are you still trying to find your birth mother?”

I say yes, but that it’s quite difficult to make any headway without actually going to Korea.

“Oh,” she says. “Well, you have plenty of time. What’s the rush, right? You have a good life here.” She checks her watch. “Should we get the check?”

End scene.

Yeah, that happened. Tell me: What kinds of sh*t do your in-laws say?