I just went online to take yet another look at the form I can fill out to start my birth family search, and I happily plugged in all the basic fact stuff. Then I skimmed down the form and screeched to a halt.
I’m supposed to write a letter to my birth family, explaining why I want to meet them.
I get it. Makes sense. Good idea. But…what the hell do I write?
Actually, I have a general idea. I’ve realized that more than a curiosity about where I come from, the circumstances that led to my being relinquished, any genetic information – I’d really just like to be able to tell any biological family that I’m doing just fine. That my life is full of wonderful people, creative challenges, gratitude. That it’s okay. Everything turned out okay.
The more I’ve learned about the actual circumstances surrounding a lot of Korean adoptions, the more I feel compelled to try to bring some closure to whoever couldn’t (or wasn’t allowed to) take care of me.
Okay, so here goes. My letter.
Dear Birth Family,
Today is the anniversary of the Challenger explosion that killed seven astronauts and stunned our entire nation 25 years ago. Then President Reagan gave a somber address that paid particular attention to all the children who’d been avidly watching when the shuttle burst into flames and dropped out of the sky. He tried to reassure them that sometimes, painful things happen. That it’s part of being an explorer, part of taking chances. That what makes our country great is that the space program is public, open, that there are no secrets. “That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute,” the President said.
I’ve been an American for as long as I can remember, and I’d like to think I’m motivated by a love for freedom, for truth. It’s taken me a long time to decide to try to find you, and maybe it’s because it feels like kind of a scary exploration. I may as well be blasting into space – it’s all a relative unknown, and I only have a handful of facts to work with.
But I’m also driven by the need to explore, to tell stories, and right now, this story is pretty one-sided. I guess I could probably leave it that way for the rest of my life. But that doesn’t seem fair.
I’d like to let you know that I’m doing really well. I’d like to show you that I’m happy and healthy and laugh really loud. I’d like you to see that whatever caused you to decide it was better that I grow up somewhere else…it’s all good. It all worked out. I’ve never felt anything but compassion for you.
When they get their first glimpse of earth from outer space, astronauts often say how small it looks, how beautiful, and how moved they are by how peaceful it seems. I like to think that if you and I got a chance to gaze at our shared story with even a little of that perspective, maybe it, too, will have a kind of peace.