Trying to wrap my mind around the news that I was adopted has definitely been a process.  Most days I'm angry.  Other days I'm sad.  Other days I wonder if I'm overreacting.  I'm about to start group therapy to address all the emotions I'm experiencing.  I was already in the process of trying to get in to see a therapist about a recent diagnosis but with this new information, my diagnosis makes that much more sense now.  More on my diagnosis to come in another post because it all coincides with the recent developments.  For now, I thought I'd talk about what I'm finding out about the complicated and confusing web that the various agencies play in the process of international adoptions.  

After I went nuclear over the phone on my adoptive parents, the next day I sent them a one line e-mail telling them to mail me my adoption papers.  During our very heated discussion, they had warned me that my paperwork was very sparse.  By the end of the week, there was a 5"x7" card envelope in my mailbox.  Inside, were eight thin sheets of paper.   Four were of my adoption papers in Korean.  The other four sheets were the translations of the Korean papers.  That's it.  That was the extent of my adoption papers.  It was brutal to read the words 'abandoned', 'orphan' and 'orphanage' regarding my early childhood.  I finally couldn't look at them anymore and filed them away in my office.  Just like my adoptive parents had done my whole life. I'm honestly surprised they remembered where the hell they hid them for all these years after so many moves around the world.  

Another week passed and curiosity poked its head back out.  J came home and saw those papers back on our kitchen counter.  
   "Looking at the papers again huh?"  
"I don't know.  Maybe to keep torturing myself?"

In a previous life, my adoptive father was a military analyst.  After all, that's how he met my adoptive mother.  He was stationed in Korea, they got married and were still on their honeymoon phase as they told J, when my adoptive grandmother plopped me in their arms after she convinced my biological mother not to abort me.  Growing up with somebody who's career was to analyze everything, I have been analyzing those papers ever since I pulled them out of that envelope.  I noticed that the agency that facilitated my adoption was Holt Korea.  So after Googling Holt, Google found Holt International's website.  For grins and giggles, I submitted a record request for myself and by the end of the day had received an e-mail informing me that Holt International was a separate entity with a separate board of directors and financing structure from Holt Korea but before the representative wished me luck on my search, she gave me the names of SEVEN stateside agencies that could have facilitated my adoption once I got stateside.  SAY WHAT?  After several more e-mails back and forth for further clarification on that detail, I was informed that once my adoption was done in Korea, my file was then handed off to an American affiliate who was supposed to handle the stateside paperwork.  Well that's funny...because I didn't get any stateside documents other than my Naturalization certificate.

For the last week and a half, I have been e-mailing back and forth with the six agencies Holt International referred me to.  Why six?  Number seven isn't even in existence anymore.  Oh boy.  As of right now, I have heard back from five out of the six.  All of them were no's.  When I first started the process of trying to locate my paperwork, I don't know what I was expecting. I went into the whole endeavor with not a whole lot of hope or expectations.  But as the no's started rolling in, I started to get more and more frustrated.  I finally reached back out to Holt International as a last ditch attempt to see if they could get me in touch with somebody at Holt Korea to obtain my file or to give me the name of my American agency.  Holt International responded that Holt Korea would 'prefer' I work with my American agency but Holt International did at least give me an e-mail address of somebody to contact at Holt Korea.  I sent Holt Korea an e-mail saying how I  too would prefer to work with my American agency. However, it's a little difficult to work with my American agency if I don't know which agency it was that handled my adoption.  After I sent the e-mail, I received an e-mail back requesting that I fill out a Petition for Adoption Information Disclosure form and a copy of my U.S. Naturalization certificate.  So now I wait.  Agency number six e-mailed me a couple days ago asking for some additional information.  I haven't heard anything from them since.  I'm hoping the long silence means they actually have something on me.  So now I wait.

It could be quite likely that I indeed did not have an American agency that handled my adoption and that's fine.  When I started the process of contacting the six agencies, I sent the e-mails with low expectations but even as I got no e-mails back, while it was slightly disappointing, each agency gave me a little more information about how the adoption process worked.  They all seemed confident that somewhere here in the U.S. there is paper work on me.  So I sit and wait to see what if anything the last U.S. agency comes back with.  

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I'm a 35 year old working, running and shopping (not necessarily in that order) mom living in the burbs surrounding the beautiful city of Austin with my husband, our very active 5 year old and our rescue dog Buddy. This blog is my little space of the internet where I let my ADD run loose and I blog about...anything.


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