Sanjana, with her grandfather
“Throughout my journey, I can remember being one of the only Asian faces in a sea of white faces.
I was adopted from South Korea when I was six months old. I grew up in a small Midwest farming community. I lived with my parents until 1993 when my mom lost her battle to breast cancer and my dad remarried in the 90s and I gained a step-mom and step-sister. After graduating high school, I attended college at the University of Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In 2010, I moved from Minnesota to South Carolina and have been residing there ever since. My son was born in 2010 and in 2014, I became a licensed foster parent and began fostering in Fall of 2014. In 2018, our daughter was officially adopted into her forever home and my family permanently grew. In early 2018, I returned to South Korea for the first time since my adoption and spent ten days exploring the culture, food, shopping and went sightseeing. I began my birth parent search in 2016 and may have potentially found some information regarding my birth parents.
Throughout my journey, I can remember being one of the only Asian faces in a sea of white faces and can recall on a few occasions when I heard racial slurs being yelled from strangers. My parents, step-mom, and step-sister were Caucasian and at times it was a struggle to see things from different perspectives. When I was young, my mom tried to keep my Korean heritage by decorating my room with a few Korean items and buying some children's folktale books and a Korean cooking book. During her cancer battle, however, it was not always the easiest to try and incorporate my heritage in between doctor appointments. I didn't start exploring my identity or adoption until 2015/2016. It was never really something that I had put a high priority on. I thought that I had my identity figured out and that my experience was unique and there were no others like me. Once I stumbled upon a Korean Adoptee group my world was suddenly changed. I had finally found people who understood my struggles and confused feelings. It became such a comfort and a safe haven.
After almost 4 years of therapy, I have found adoptee communities online and many friends along the way. In December 2018, I self-published my debut memoir and wrote how all my experiences have shaped my identity. I have continued blogging and sharing my story to connect with others, including adoptees who may have gone through something similar. Despite some of the trials that I have faced over the years, I would not be who I am today without those struggles. I have climbed up the tallest mountain and conquered my fears. I love sharing my story and inspiring others.”
(South Carolina, SC, USA)
Julie is living in South Carolina with her family. She has written a memoir and continues to blog to help other adoptees with their journey. Follow her on Facebook @Julie JRock Yackley and on Instagram @jrockjustslayin for more updates.