I went from feeling like my childhood was hard because of racism, to feeling like my childhood was hard because of my adoption.
It’s taken me a long time to sit down and write this, and as I do so, I find myself flooded with emotions and moments I have honestly tried to push aside during the past two and a half months.
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?
We are happy to announce that Baby R’s name is…
Just kidding! Sorry, but you all are going to need to wait until the little one makes her appearance earthside to find out what her name is.
But in all seriousness, I knew that the business of naming your child was probably not something to be taken lightly. However, I didn’t know how many feelings and emotions it would bring up as a transracial adoptee parent.
This past Tuesday, in the car on the 25 minute car ride on the way to the OB, I asked my husband the question.
“What would your response be if our daughter came home and told you that someone called her a Chink?”
Naturally, when I found out that we were expecting, I did what most scholars do–I hit the books. I’ve read and researched several different birthing methods and parenting styles from hypnobirthing to Montessori. I’ve read about breastfeeding, baby-led weaning, and all that’s inbetween. However, over the course of my pregnancy for the last six months, the most valuable information I’ve learned has been that which is not found in books. It is the information that one merely learns through experience, and I’d like to share what I’ve come to love and embrace about pregnancy.
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.