Sanjana, with her grandfather
“One of the hardest parts for me to overcome in my adoption journey is the question if my birth mom loves me?...
Like many adoptees, I have limited information about my life before being adopted, but I do know that my story begins in Naju, South Korea, my hometown. For the first four months of my life, I stayed with a loving foster family until my parents travelled to Korea to meet their daughter (aka, me!) for the first time and bring me home to Tennessee. Growing up, my parents were always so good to expose me to my Korean culture and adoption story. I was in a playgroup with other Korean adoptees, cooked Korean food, learned simple Korean phrases, and at the time, that was enough. I felt as connected as I wanted to be to my adoption story. However, it was when I went off to college and left the security of my family and home that I began to recognise that being an adoptee, specifically a transracial adoptee, made me different. I realised that for many years I had closed myself off from multiple aspects of my adoption, and it wasn’t until I travelled to my birth country that those walls began to break, and my heart was open to exploring more of my adoption and Korean roots.
I love that adoption is a part of my story and fully believe that this is how God specifically brought my family together— biological and nonbiological. It is something that I celebrate and am proud of. However, being an adoptee comes with its challenges. One of the hardest parts for me to overcome in my adoption journey is the question if my birth mom loves me? After I came home from visiting my birth country, this is the question that haunted me. I saw where she was from and the hospital I was born in, but I still didn’t know her and what she thought about me. Does she think about me? Would she ever want to meet me? Does she love me? These questions kept swirling in my head until one day someone asked me, “Well Kara, do you love your birth mom?” And for me, that is when everything changed. Yes, of course, I love her! I realised that at the end of the day, that’s what matters and what I have control over— my feelings. I can’t control what she thinks or does, but for me, I know that my love for her is for forever.”
(Murfreesboro, TN, USA)
“Kara is currently in graduate school getting her M.S. in Management and has her own Etsy shop “KaraLeighCreates” where she creates custom Watercolour Adoption Story Timelines. She loves being able to creatively tell a family’s adoption story and giving families something that they can always have to remember their unique journey. Follow her work on Instagram @karaleightcreates and on Etsy.”