SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 12 (A chapter from the new book)- BELONGING

To belong: to be suitable, appropriate; to be attached by birth, allegiance, or dependency, to be properly classified.

I was in fact arranged in groups with things that did not originally belong to me or with me. I was like a donated organ, trying to pump life into a body that was not my own, ready to be rejected at any moment without the right care and attention.

SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 11

Until now, his expression had seeped remorse. Sadness. Uncertainty. Now, as I ask him for answers about my birth mom, his expression becomes something else. Proud. Confident. Authoritative. I think this is the face he wears most often. 

SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 2

I’m writing the story I've always told myself I’d write in the hope of understanding my story better and engaging with people like me who've never quite felt like they've belonged anywhere despite their best efforts and their beautiful lives.

SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 3

My eyes fill with tears as I stare at the girl in the hideous beige turtleneck with the tight floral print.  I try to read her eyes but the expression is blank and I realize I’m crying now because the girl in the photo doesn’t know the future she’s been consigned to, doesn’t know that there is a reason to hope.

SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 4

In the past, when people asked me about the particulars, I always told them the same story.  My birth father took me and my siblings to a park to play, said he’d be back with candy.  Only, he never came back, and the park was an orphanage.

SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 6

You read a message that says your birth father wants to meet you in January and you can't quite believe it because this is the same manner in which you receive coupons to stores you no longer frequent and Twitter notifications for people you don't know and bills for your water and gas and health insurance.

SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 7

I scrutinize the wounds I’ve worn around for more than two decades to see if any of them are growing faint in the light of my birth dad’s words of love and regret.

SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 10

Last night, navigating what to do after finding out that my birth dad had missed his flight to Atlanta had felt like watching my grandpa do his breathing exercises from his bed at the nursing home; slow, painful.