SEARCHING FOR SEOUL 4
My birth father was thirty-one years old when he faded into the background of my life. According to the police report, the highest level of education he’d attained at that time was high school. Under occupation it has a little “dot,” like an n/a. A blip. Under Marital Status it says, “Wed,” which looks like a blip too. And apparently, it was.
I remember thinking at the time, no wonder he couldn’t take care of me and my siblings. He’s either unintelligent, unresourceful, unmotivated, or both. I thought how lucky I was to have adoptive parents who were educated and successful and told me over and over again that they would never leave me. But for the most part, I thought little of him. It was as though the lack of substance on that police report affirmed the thoughts I wanted to embrace. I hadn’t lost much back there, in Korea.
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. I remember my mom and dad fighting the night and that I'd woken up in the middle of the night and noticed she'd gone. My dad hold told me to go back to sleep. “I guess he just couldn’t take care of three kids on his own,” I’d always say. And the tone would be, can you blame him? Three small children, one an infant, all on his own?
It’s not the actual story recorded in 1984 by Boollo Police, the one I’ve always told people. I’ve had the real story in my possession since I was a senior in college. But for whatever reason, I never fully accepted what I read. I guess it’s because my version of the truth is so much more romantic and so much easier to digest. There are no cold, hard facts in my version. Only abstract details and the kind of scenes made less tragic through fiction.
“According to neighbors, the natural father took care of these children after he divorced the natural mother. He became acquainted with another woman and disappeared. These children were admitted to the White Lily Baby Home by the reference of neighbors…he made a call to the director of the Baby Home…he was not heard from again.”
I have so much more to tell you.