The first thing that popped in my head when I was getting ready to write this was a song from Rent, called "Seasons of Love." The song starts "Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year?" A year ago I got the email that would change my life forever. A year ago "Buckle Up, Skippy" occurred. From that moment sprang two trips to Korea, the discovery of an entire community of international adoptees, lots of discoveries about Korean culture, WAY more Facebook friends than I ever imagined I would have, and this blog. 2018 was without a doubt, one of the most transformative years of my life.
If you told me a year ago that I would have a blog, I would have laughed squarely in your face. I had absolutely zero interest in spewing out thoughts and feelings into cyberspace for others to read. If you told me it would be about international adoption, I would probably ask the nearest Texan for their gun so that I could shoot you with it. I would have told you with absolute and utter conviction that there was no possible way that would occur. And yet, here we are.
Because of last year, I discovered a thriving and diverse community called Korean American Adoptees. Sometimes I think it should be renamed "Finding Biological Family Members" because that subject dominates so many of the discussions. There are stories of hope, disappointment, perseverance, anguish, joy, and tragedy. All of these are centered around thousands of peoples' searches for their origins and a reconnection to where they came from. If you want proof that life simply isn't fair, I think the fact that Han Mu found me and I got that meeting that so many other people would give anything to have is proof of the inequity of human existence. There are many moments that I have had to edit my thoughts, because I know there are so many that would gladly trade places with me. And they would be much more patient and understanding with Han Mu. So it smacks of galactic ingratitude to gripe about the latest Han Mu discovery.
I never really understood the need to reconnect before last year, and to be honest, I still don't. The one thing that being adopted taught me is that biology has little bearing on family bonds. (Ok, adoption also taught me that small town America in the '80s was really fucking racist as well, but I'm trying to stay positive in this post.) A common question that I'm sure all of us asked several times throughout our childhoods was "Why me?" It was asked in all the ways possible. Good ways, bad ways, jealous ways, grateful ways, but mostly confused ways. We just didn't have many answers for situations that brought us 7,000 miles across the globe into a society where we were guaranteed to stick out. We traded one isolation for another, and most of us had absolutely no say in the matter at all. This is yet another instance where I didn't get the "typical" situation since apparently I told Han Mu that perhaps he should stop trying to kill us and just let us go to an environment where he doesn't have to be a single dad.
If there was one wish I would ask for that could help the entire community, it would be to stop having situations where we are forced to ask ourselves "Why me?" This question can drive people to madness, drink, drugs, abuse, etc. It's a spider hole of introspection that often takes us to places we weren't really prepared to explore. We've had our fill of Why Me for the rest of our lives. As much as I loathe that question, I sit here asking that question again today. Why did I get the letter? Why did I get the reunion? Why couldn't someone so much more deserving get this opportunity?
Because of these questions, I think we've created a micro-society of solitude. All of us have a unique derivative of that driving root question. Why me? The most frustrating thing is that I don't have answer for my own questions, so how can I possibly answer and address someone else's? I can't. The only thing I know how to do is to provide a macabre sense of humor about it and not dwell so much on the unknown. Instead I try to provide a sarcastic commentary on the current environment we find ourselves in. The ending of "Seasons of Love" is that we measure a year in love. And just like Alexander discovers in that children's book, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day was actually in fact a good one, this year was in fact, a great one. I choose to measure this past year in love. My relationship with my parents is closer. The Sane One transformed her single keel into a catamaran hull. No asshole, I'm not going to explain that metaphor. Go look it up or become a sailor. I met some really terrific people. Some of them can even tolerate being around me. And I have the opportunity to have this blog. I have the chance to provide a slightly different narrative than the emotional, angsty, and weighty content that defines our demographic. You might be saying, "I dunno, Derek, this feels pretty deep and introspective. I haven't laughed yet" and you would be correct for thinking that. I just think that on an anniversary like this one, to laugh about it would be disrespectful to so many of us who need their questions answered. And remember, I'm very open to starting an Enterprise Rent-a-Dad and for a very affordable price, Han Mu can be all yours. It's all about sharing the love, right?
Five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes Five hundred twenty-five thousand Moments so dear Five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets In midnights, in cups of coffee In inches, in miles In laughter, in strife? Five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes How do you measure a year in the life? How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love Seasons of love Seasons of love Five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes Five hundred twenty-five thousand Journeys to plan Five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes How do you measure the life Of a woman or a man? In truth that she learns Or in times that he cried In bridges he burned Or the way that she dies It's time now to sing out Though the story never ends Let's celebrate Remember a year in the life of friends Remember the love Remember the love Remember the love Measure in love Seasons of love Seasons of love
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