Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

update on letter to girl4709

with one comment

On a cold March day in 1966, two little girls began a journey which would change their lives forever.  That day was the day they were transferred to an orphanage to begin their life as orphans, to be adopted and sent away to foreign lands with foreign people.

You and I were together that day.  You and I were together the next four days and possibly the next nine months.  Were we together prior to that day?  Only meeting can rule out the remote possibility of relations undocumented.

You are the only living person I know who has anything to do with my past and I would at the very least like to contact you, however you feel comfortable.  We are sisters in solidarity, and I would be interested in hearing how you’ve fared in life.

fondest regards,



My earliest document atypically referred to two people at one time:

  • two little girls
  • both the same age
  • both given “provisional” names
  • both abandoned on the same day
  • both sent onward together
  • both sent to Holt and given consecutive Holt orphan numbers

My struggles to obtain this document, and the struggles to be allowed to passively contact this girl, whom Holt had identifying information for, was herculean.  Finally, they relented.


Never letting up reminding/prodding Holt to not let up and asking for updates as to the search for girl4709, Holt called and said they have located her.  It is now up to her.

If this is true (or just a ploy to get me to stop harassing them) then I feel sorry for girl 4709.  But then again, it was not I that orphaned her nor I that sent her to foreign lands and foreign people for adoption, so I hope she harbors no resentment towards me for upsetting whatever calm she has in her life.  Hopefully, like me, the knowing of the truth has more value than some temporary emotional turbulance.

I recall how I felt the morning my Korean speaking friend gave me a rough translation of my earliest document from Wonju city hall.  At first I was just numb.  A kind of “well don’t that beat all” kind of disbelief, which lingered throughout the day.  It kind of felt like the feelings I had harbored about adoption in general all my life – pushing it aside as a non-issue in hopes its nagging implications would just go away – only it was like times ten.  And then I was driving on the long commute home when it hit me.

When I first asked for my adoption records, my daughter asked me if I would search for my birth mother.  I had no interest in upsetting the life she had established and I told her no.  When my daughter mentioned that I might have siblings as well, I told her I hadn’t thought about it before, but probably I wouldn’t bother.  I was shocked that I had NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED this as a possibility.  (In retrospect, I can’t believe I had never entertained this possibility – but it is true.  The depths of my own denial and self preservation amaze me)

On the long commute home, I recalled my daughter bringing up siblings and my cool reaction.  And then I thought about the other girl from Wonju.  And what if’d.  What if she was my sister?  What is we were even twins?  What if I was not only separated from my parents due to poor economics (the most likely scenario, since I was already two years old) but also separated from my sister?  from my twin???  Can I even begin to imagine what kind of pain that would have caused a parent?  Can I even begin to imagine what the severing of twin bonds can do to a person?  Possibly myself?  What if my almost hostile attitude about birth family search has always been so negative because maybe my loss was too great to deal with?  It was not just a loss of an incubator.  It was the loss of someone who cared for me well (I was a fat, secure, well-adjusted child upon arriving for adoption) and thus presumably well loved.  The loss of a sibling on top of that was unimaginable. The loss of a twin on top of that was unfathomable.

I started to sob in the car.  Full body racking sobs.  I couldn’t tell the difference between the rain outside and the rain inside.  I could barely drive home.  Whereupon I stayed immobilized in the car for an hour, sobbing.  Sobbing like I’d never sobbed in my entire life.  Primal sobbing.

What had adoption done to me?  How could it take over forty years for me to finally acknowledge and cry about my loss?  I still can’t wrap my head around the profound consequences of the redistribution of children.   It puts an end to my words and makes me silent.

And so I wait to hear from girl4709.  I wait for her to catch up.  To have her primal cry in her car.  To have that healing cry.

We might not be/probably aren’t sisters.  But there is that small possibility we are, so that possibility must be exhausted.  And either way, that jolt to my adoption psyche helped me realize how essential the fundamental facts of our origins are, how important their meaning is.  Whether it is girl 4709 or not, while there is still time to piece together this picture, I must at least try.

I am glad my sleep got disturbed.  I am glad to be awake.

I hope girl4709 will one day feel the same way.

Written by girl4708

December 5, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing

One Response

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  1. They didn’t give people names at Holt??????


    January 11, 2018 at 5:02 am

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