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Adoption stories

Cortney Natkow
Reston, VA

Birth Country: South Korea
Decade of adoption: 1970s

I was adopted from Korea 26 years ago (three years after my sister, who also came from Korea, although we are not blood sisters). I have lived in the U.S. since and have never been back to Korea.

My parents tried to give us our Korean culture by food, books and camps, but growing up, I really was American and had no Asian friends. At times I would forget I was Korean until I looked into the mirror.

I did think about my birth parents from time to time, but never had a big urge to find them. I felt like my family was here with me and what was in the past was in the past.

Now I am almost 27 years old and have been married to my husband for three years. We are in the process of adopting a baby of our own by choice. We are going back to Korea for our baby boy and are awaiting our call to travel to pick him up. I never really thought of any other way but adoption to start my family. Luckily, my husband was supportive and wanted the same thing.

The hospital that I came from in Korea (Eastern Social Welfare) will be the same place that my baby will come from. The same Dr. Kims are running the facility and I will be able to meet them when I go over. I will be able to thank them for the work they do and tell them the full circle that I have come in my life.

When we are over in Korea I will have the opportunity to meet my birth family. I found them a couple months ago and figure that if I was going to Korea I'd try to find them. Fortunately, it was pretty easy and they wanted to meet me as well. I found out that they are married now and they have other children, which means I have full blood siblings in Korea. I also found out that my given Korean name was wrong, and my birthday has been wrong for the past 26 years as well (by only 9 days). They are very apologetic about giving me up for adoption and I am thankful they did. I hope they will be able to see what an amazing thing it is for the other side to accept a baby.

My adoptive parents and my sister will join us on this journey to Korea, because when I came over I was escorted to America. Now they will be able to experience the country as well as meet the foster mother of their grandchild.

Adoption is quite a journey for everyone. It is sad for one and exciting for another. It is a loss for one mother and a blessing for another.

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