There was also a part of me that felt like giving our daughter a Korean middle name might impose too much “Koreanness” on her. At the time, I was really struggling with the fact that she was going to have nods to Asian features, and I think that the protective side of me wanted to shield her from any adversity that could potentially come from acknowledging her Korean heritage. I also sort of felt like an imposter giving her a Korean middle name. Who was I to give a child a name from a culture I grew up so divorced from and had only recently begun to reconnect with?
Growing up as a Korean adoptee in the 90s, there were hardly any children’s books with protagonists that looked like me or that celebrated Korean culture. The one book my mom was able to find was The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo. I loved looking at the bright illustrations by Ruth Heller and imagining myself in the wedding hanbok that Cinderella wears at the end of the story. However, it wasn’t lost on me that this was not really a Korean story; it was a beautiful adaptation of a popular western fairytale.
While still near and dear to my heart because it was my one and only Korean-representation book as a child, I am very glad that my daughter is able to have these additional titles on her bookshelf!
I will never forget the moment that I first saw her face. I did not expect to be hit with the wave of emotion that I was when I could finally put not only a face to a name, but a face to my face.