In her own words:
“As a girl, I felt the ways I didn’t fit in more than recognizing my value. I was adopted: Korean – mixed with a blend of unknown ethnicities. This excluded me from my birth country and made me stand out in my new country where I just wanted to fit in. I felt that I existed on a plane parallel to my life while navigating the trodden path laid down for me. While I saw the beautifully manicured trail that made sense to me, it didn’t feel like me. I wandered.
I’ve had many jobs with great people, got married, divorced, raised 2 kids, and started a draft of my 8-year empty nest plan. Suddenly, a fever spread, insisting that I face down the mystery of my history and visit my birth country – at least once. I don’t know why I didn’t go before. I felt my history blocked me out. Having left Korea at 8 months old, I would not remember anything from my life there. But I felt my existence somewhere else, before I lived here.. Without that information, I felt no strength in my story and hollow knowledge of my value.
At 48 years old, I took my first trip to Korea with a tour group of other mixed-Korean adoptees. Together we learned about our shared history, and varied paths. It slowly became clear that the dissonance in my life came from not knowing and owning my story. Knowing that history our history was not always positive, nor clear, made me more driven to help people figure out why they are here.
To be honest, the trip offered more questions than answers. My heart ached for everyone’s stories. But, when I heard Oprah explaining the insurmountable odds that brought her to her platform, I felt peace. I understood that despite complicated history bringing people here, we all have a purpose and add value.
I became driven to help people tap into their stories, their histories and find their purpose and support. I want to connect people who share their authentic selves. People deserve an attentive audience and hopefully gain some confidence in setting it free.
I’ve started to document mine through my blog www.makesmewander.com and through my written contribution to the Mixed Korean: Our Stories anthology. I feel the power in the group’s voice and the slight shift while we educate our birth country about what it meant to grow up mixed Korean. This book is being translated into Korean and we will be doing book readings in several universities in Korea in the Fall. So while I was not even sure that I’d ever get to Korea, now I get to go again as a teacher and connector. This helps re-lace the ties that were cut decades ago.
I realize now, as I race towards my fiftieth birthday, that my wandering brought me to exactly the right place with the right groups of people at the right time to be living my purpose. While this lesson was learned in connection to my adoption, I feel anyone going through transition or seeking balance can benefit from becoming more in tune with their story and sharing it with others.”
Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!***