The complexity of adoptees returning to whence they came

Five friends who are not adoptive parents have now sent me the NY Times Magazine article “Why a Generation of Adoptees Is Returning to South Korea.” (So lucky that so many of my friends get me!) So yes, I’ve seen it. And yes, I can imagine my daughter going back to Ethiopia. As a matter of fact, it would not surprise me at all if we moved there as a family before she grows up.

The logistical challenges these adult adoptees face are not a surprise. The emotional toll of not feeling a complete sense of belonging in their birth country is painful to consider but not surprising. What I do find utterly mind-boggling is adoptive parents viewing their child moving back to their birth country as a rejection of them. I would consider it a great success if my daughter feels confident enough in her own identity that she wants to go live in Ethiopia and pssst to adoptive parents, it’s not all about you, assholes!

With that said, the article was not without pain for me. “I was a transaction.” <– The moment my daughter comes to this realization will be the most agonizing of my life but this time will come. It is inevitable, because as much as I tried to avoid it when I adopted her and as much as I don’t want to think about it, it’s true.