Guest blogger, Julie Yackley, author of Ode To Bermuda Grass: My Journey though Grief, Loss and Adoption shares her own adoption journey. She shares the full circle of her life from being a fellow adoptee to an amazing foster parent, what a beautiful journey she is on. Please note this is her personal story, please respect her journey she has chosen to share with us.
I can still remember when a friend of mine saw a picture of my dad for the first time and was shocked to see how tall he was or at least that’s what I thought she would be shocked about. Instead she casually says to me that she didn’t know I was adopted. I laughed, probably more than I should have. It was mind blowing that this friend didn’t know that I was adopted. I was so used to “everyone” knowing that I was adopted that for someone to question it was almost comical. Looking back however I know that it wasn’t hard to tell, a little Korean girl holding hands of two Caucasian parents kind of gave it away. There was no way that people didn’t know that I was adopted, once they saw my parents. I don’t recall it ever being a bad thing, it is part of who I am and it has made me who I am today.
For a long time I struggled with fitting in with other Koreans or even other Asians in general. I had gone up around a sea of Caucasian faces, I didn’t know anything different. Culturally I had not grown up with a lot of Korean or Asian customs or traditions and so I stood out in that crowd. I was either standing out because of my physical appearance or because I was not part of the same culture. While I explored my “lost” ethnicity I began to incorporate certain things into my day to day life and slowly but surely I’m able to exist in two completely different worlds.
My son was born in 2010 and I thought my heart was about to burst. It was such a surreal thing seeing a tiny baby with features similar to your own. Even now, eight years later I still stop and smile that there is someone who looks like me and shares my features. I never thought that something so little would mean so much to me.
In 2014, I became a foster parent. The experience in and of itself can be a pretty lengthy process, from the paperwork to the training classes, a lot of your life ends up on display. When our first placement arrived, I could barely contain my excitement. I can still remember watching her walk toward the apartment and only being able to see her blonde hair.
On more than one occasion, I have been questioned if I am her mom. To be honest I thought it would shock me more than it does and although I may have to set the record straight a few times and endure their confused looks, I wouldn’t change it. There are times where I know that it bothers her that she did now grow in my tummy like her brother and it is those times I tell her how much I love her and tell her all the things she “inherited” from me. I tell her that she is sassy like me and usually that is when she tells me that we have the same eyes. Whether we resemble each other or not, I am her mother, and she is my sassy silly daughter and I wouldn’t have it any other way.