My arrival day

I recognized the American couple that I had seen on a photo.

I was told by the lady who gave me the photo  that the couple would be my new American appa and oemma (respectively dad and mom in Korean).  My thought then was: "The American lady is well-dressed and pretty but she doesn't look like an oemma, she wears too much of make-up; the American man can't be an appa, he is too fat."

I was still having the same thought in front of them when the yellow-haired woman grabbed me. She hugged me, she touched my face , she took me in her arms, she touched my hair, she touched my arms and she talked non stop in her strange language. Meanwhile, the babies who had travelled with me were given to other Americans. It was very noisy. Everybody was crying and talking aloud. The yellow-haired woman was still hugging me and she gave me a kiss. Yuck!

If you want to know how I felt among these strangers, take a look at the faces of children on the video From Russia, For Love posted by Kerry at http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/20936

Other Americans left with the babies - one baby for each couple - and the room became quiet. The fat man lifted me to make me sit on a high bar stool, then he left.  The yellow-haired American touched me again while talking to other men at the bar. They were all staring at me. I heard them saying "cute" and "pretty".

I was embarrassed and felt very uncomfortable. To avoid watching them, I took a few sips of a Seven-Up, my first soft drink. I almost burped, I found it funny,I pinched my nose several times. I realized the men were still staring at me and I knew they were all talking about me.  I heard them saying again "cute" and "pretty". I was very shy.

The yellow-haired lady started talking with them. It gave me time to look around me. At that time, I didn't have enough knowledge or vocabulary to describe the new world. I thought: "Am I dreaming?"  I didn't have time to answer.
The yellow-haired lady hugged me again and again until her fat husband appeared.  He said something to her (details at http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/21210 )

The yellow-haired lady took my had and started running fast. I had difficulty to follow her. She stopped in front of a door. Inside the room, there were several doors. She took out a coin from her purse and inserted it in a slot of a door. The door opened... an american style toilet! I was stunned. I thought: "The Americans are crazy, they have  to pay to pee! Americans are rich!"

The American lady started peeing in front of me. I blushed. I had never seen a naked adult in my life before. I turned my head toward the door but driven by curiosity, I casted a quick glance at her. The poor American was hairy as a monkey!   Oh no! I didn't want to become like a monkey! Each time my brother had menaged to make me laugh when I was crying, he told me:  "If you cry and laugh at the same time, hair will grow on your bottuck."  Using a body language and making a noise with her mouth like a monkey, the American told me it was my turn to pee. I shooked my head: I didn't want to pee in front of a stranger...

We met the fat man again. One of them gave me a pink teddy bear and the lady clothed me in a snowsuit. I had never seen such toy and such cloth before.  It was cold outside, it was the night. I felt alone with the two strangers in this amazing place. To hide my shyness and my distress, I took off my identification bracelets to put it on it's arms, I looked at it and held it tight. The layd said: "Pierrot". I understood it was it's name - a strange name.

They made me sit between them in a taxi. The yellow-haired American kissed me non stop on my cheek. Yuck! Yuck! I was tatally disgusted but too shy to show my disgust. I felt like if my cheek was all wet. (FYI, Koreans didn't kiss at that time. Maybe their culture has changed since then). Whenever I had a chance, I wiped my cheek discreetly with my hand.

To make things worst, I needed to pee! I couldn't wait longer! The American lady asked the driver to stop. She behaved like my owner  - she stayed near me while I was peeing as if I was her dog...

Next thing I remember is being in another plane, I was again between them. There were only two stewardess in the plane.  The yellow-haired lady talked  them not stop.  The stewardess coudln't place a word but one of them told me "cute-cute" from time to time as if I was a little baby. As usual, her fat man stayed quiet. I thought he must be shy as I was...

We were in a huge indoor parking. I understood the fat man was looking for their car. I thought Americans must be very very rich to own a car. Meanwhile, the American lady talked on the public phone (with her mother in Canada). I thought "My American parents are rich". While she was talking, I had time to cast a look in her purse where I saw many compartments filled with coins. (I hallucinated, few days later, when I opened the purse, there was no such compartment in her purse).

We arrived at their house. An old lady was waiting us (I learned later that she was one of their employees). The lady started talking to her.  Whenever she had the chance to say something, the old lady looked at me and said something like: "cute...cute...pretty.." in the same voice adults take when they talk to babies. I understood then what cute and pretty meant.

Despite my fatigue, I noticed how the house was huge. It was like being in another planet or in a science fiction movie. I felt like if I was dreaming but I knew it was for real.

The yellow-haired lady finally took to my bedroom. I thought: "I'm a princess". I had never seen such room, all decorated and with such beautiful furnitures.  The lady gave me a pyjama. I was a big girl, I wanted to do it myself alone. The American understood me and left the room.

In Korea, a family of 7 to 10 persons could sleep in such room but I was going to sleep alone.  After going to bed, I felt  very alone and anxious but I preferred to think I was going to live like a princess in this country of fairy tales called USA.

I knew I was going to be spoiled by my new American parents before going back to Korea...

My arrival day was the most exhausting and incredible day I had in my life.

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Just like a normal delivery!

I read your blog-piece earlier, and then found an article that started with it's own adoption story.  In this story, the man in his late 40's admits he almost missed-out on the opportunity to be a father, but because Chinese culture values wisdom and maturity so much, he and his wife were able to adopt (twice) when so many other countries would have refused them because of his age.  Now this lucky man gets to sit in his office, admire the photos of his family-o-four, go home to the screaming sounds of "Daddy!" and enjoy the enriching, bonding experience adoption has brought/bought him and his wife.  [No mention is given in terms of how much he paid for these two girls.]   Further into the article, another adoptive parent from the same adoption agency complains how the worst part about adoption is the tedious application process and the lack of PAP-control over the situation. On a more positive, encouraging note, the Amother explains:

"When I first adopted from China, I didn't know I'd be gaining friends, too," McClain said. "You're there when they meet their children for the first time, and it's personal, like being in the delivery room with them."

Parents who have adopted through FTIA meet once each year to remember the journey they made and to share stories about their children. Because the children grew up in the same orphanage and formed a connection with the other adopted children, this is an opportunity for them to reunite with peers from their native country, McClain said.    [From:  "Faculty members seek adoption beyond U.S. boundaries to cope with age requirements", Sarah Moreland, DNonline, Dec 4, 2008, http://media.www.bsudailynews.com/media/storage/paper849/news/2008/12/04/News/Faculty.Members.Seek.Adoption.Beyond.U.s.Boundaries.To.Cope.With.Age.Requiremen-3569064.shtml]

 

I can't imagine being reunited with kids who came from the same orphanage/care-place as me.  Perhaps we'd sit and stare and wonder if we knew anyone there... maybe some would share/compare war-stories.  Who knows, some might even speak-up and brag about their new houses and new families.  I doubt very much an real dirt or honest opinions would be given right away.  I'm almost sure it would all be very polite and civil, just like the new-parents would want it to be.

The adoption agency my AP's used was shut down just a couple years after I got sold, and I was told the exchange took place in a hotel lobby.  Over 3 decades later, the SW  who gave me my non-id info told me the agency my AP's used was closed due to corrupt practices.  Last year I happened to meet a woman who had also been adopted through the same adoption agency.  She was born a year after me, in a different region called Labrador.  The first words out of her mouth to me were, "You have no idea what those horrible people got away with."  [Actually, I do, but I don't know how many of us got hurt like her and me.]

When I read your own description of the "delivering room", and then followed it with a modern-day AP's version of that very same experience, I had to laugh (in that disgusted way that I do) knowing how the same event can be so different for those actually going through it.   [I really hate it when AP's compare adoption to a birthing experience, because giving birth and having a baby delivered are not at all the same.  But I suppose all things have to have a bottom line... (with a price and cost, of course).]

In keeping with the theme of something being the-same-but-different, isn't it lovely when international adoption can make an American Dream come true for so many who have been through so much loss and suffering?

Pound Pup Legacy