97.3% of me does not believe that a “blood connection” is a real, soulful, true thing. For instance, if I walked past my birth mother on the street, I’d probably completely ignore her, as I do for all other strangers. There wouldn’t be this weird, magical, glowing double-helix match-up floating above our heads and singing something like the aria from The Little Mermaid. Like, that doesn’t happen, people.
I grew up watching narratives that placed the utmost importance on paternity and Finding Your Biological Mother, mostly because that was a big, dramatic deal in the 90’s. I was consistently critical of these narratives because none of them even remotely matched my own feelings. I did not want to rush out and find my birth mother; I was not obsessed with DNA matches; I only thought of my biological parents when someone else brought them up.
Often I feel just as alienated by narratives and experiences that place importance on racial heritage, particularly Asian heritage, which I’m realizing is actually A Little Crazy. I’ve been reading some Korean history websites that actually have NSFL (Not Safe For Life, as in, so emotionally, holistically, culturally, and historically damaging that you won’t want to live after reading them) as a disclaimer in their headings. And I’m just skimming, right now, skimming over how much of my birth country’s past has been ignored in the West. I never learned about any of this in school.
Combined with national and cultural history, I’m learning about the origins of transnational adoption and its direct relationship with violent militarism, colonialism, and religious evangelism. About Harry Holt, the “father of transnational adoption” — who adopted eight Korean orphans after the Korean War in an attempt to “save” them. These stories get my blood stirring more than any prospect of a long, drawn-out search for a direct biological connection.
My heart hurts and is confused over this new kind of identification with the Other, with being Asian. Oh yeah, this is the skin sack I was meant to have and I cannot change it or any of the history that comes with it. Oh yeah, no matter how hard my friends, my family, or I try to ignore it, this traumatic history is real and is a part of me.
Sometimes, I’d like to remove this bag of skin from my body. I imagine the dermis to be slick inside, easily sliding off so that there is no outside and no inside to me, just a set of eyeballs searching, always searching.