Nim's Roots

Everyone has family history. We learn about our history from our parents, grandparents and other family members. We learn through photographs and journal entries. Some of us have what I call fractured family histories. When it comes to genealogical trees, I have two. I have two histories because I’m adopted. There’s my family tree for the only true family I’ve ever known. Then there’s the biological tree which connects me to the history of the people who created me. Both trees contributed to the person I am today.

©1968

©1968

Life began 57 years ago in Bridgeton, NJ. I wouldn't learn about my biological mother for another 54 years. When I was three days old I landed on the doorstep of a middle-class, white Christian family. They'd decided they wanted to be foster parents even though they had two teenagers, 16 and 14, of their own. Years later my older sister would reveal that fostering was actually her idea. But I'd also find out I wasn't the foster child she'd hoped for. In fact she always emphasized that she wanted them to foster a Korean child and I quote, "but they got you instead." To make her status in the family somehow worse, my Mom got pregnant again and in 1964 my younger sister was born. She and I are close like sisters should be.

Since I'm guilty of "jumping tracks" when it comes to telling a story I'm going to simplify this for myself. I'll write about memories and relationships for each family member as I put it all down here on the blog. And of course there's the second tree, the biological tree that I plan to share. Speaking of the second tree, I got lucky with the DNA test that I took in December of 2015. I ordered the test to find out my heritage. With that I got a DNA connection to a maternal aunt and first cousin.

There was no "Oh crap I'm adopted?" moment in my life. I've always known. This is most likely because for the first seven years of my life with my family, I was a foster child. Mom and Dad decided early on that they wouldn't be able to give me up if the state decided to remove me from their custody. I'm not sure why it took seven years for the adoption. There was little talk about the process and there were no "adoption papers" in any of the family documents.

There was no "Oh crap I'm adopted?" moment in my life. I've always known. This is most likely because for the first seven years of my life with my family, I was a foster child. Mom and Dad decided early on that they wouldn't be able to give me up if the state decided to remove me from their custody. I'm not sure why it took seven years for the adoption. There was little talk about the process and there were no "adoption papers" in any of the family documents.

There are vague, misty memories of a meeting with social workers at school when I was in Kindergarten. Ink blots, puzzles and questions about how my life was at home flit about in the haze of decades past. I was an inquisitive kid, quick to learn and talked a lot. I also had an answer for every question thrown at me even if that answer was a bit snarky. I was five or six and remember them asking if my foster parents took good care of me. My response was something akin to "Dunno who the Fosters are but Mommy and Dad love me." Then all I wanted to do was go back to my classroom because I was missing art.

Most memories of my childhood are vague. And I'm going to save those vague memories for the next post.

Love, luck and lollipops,

B