Every Child
3/26/15 at 11:32 AM 0 Comments

Coming Home

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Amylynn, an adoptee, grew up with a desire to know more about the circumstances that led to her adoption. Despite being spoiled, wanted, and loved as the baby of her family, her determination to find the missing pieces of her story took her to South Korea, in hopes of understanding her identity and finding a place where she belonged.

I was young when I found out I was adopted, but not too young to have not noticed a difference between me and my siblings. My sister, also adopted, had black hair and brown eyes like me—but my three older siblings were blond-haired and blue-eyed. When I learned I was adopted, not like them, I was baffled and upset to discover my perception of reality was distorted. Mostly, I convinced myself that being “adopted” meant not that I was chosen or desired, but given up, rejected. I didn’t know what I wanted to know, but I searched for answers

On practice handwriting paper, I started writing letters. “My name is Amy. I was adopted, and I am a twin. Are you my mom?” I wrote this out perfectly, 20 times.

Because this is just the way God works, one of my letters eventually reached my birthfamily. We wrote back and forth and I vowed I would go to visit them in South Korea when I turned 18. To prepare for this, I checked out Korean language tapes from the library to learn the language. I attended church services at a Korean church, and took part in Saturday morning Tae Kwon Do lessons and language classes withsecond generation Korean 4 and 5-year-olds. Eventually I got my passport and paid for my plane ticket…one way.

It was wonderful and eye-opening to meet my birthfamily. I saw a timeline of all my letters and pictures taped to a wall in their modest apartment. I realized they never gave away my place in their family or in their hearts. I learned they last saw me three days after I was born and prayed for me every day since. My mother, gravely ill with Tuberculosis, gave birth to two significantly premature girls. Our father, with our 5-year-old brother, was faced with the prospect of losing his wife and newborn daughters. Because I was the firstborn and the stronger of the two—evidenced by my darker hair and darker skin—he prayerfully decided to find me a Christian family that would give me a chance to thrive—and believe in the same God he did. This was a measure of his culture and his faith to surrender his best. He said, “We thought of you as our ‘Isaac.’”

I thought everything would make sense and I’d have all the answers I’d been looking for once I went to South Korea. But a lot was lost in translation—as I met relatives and visited interesting places, I felt emotions I could not express and the language barrier contributed to increasing confusion and frustration. Despite the joyful reunion, I felt even more different, more isolated and somehow invisible. I wanted to go home and I did. I returned to Michigan with a new sense of belonging—with a new faith and understanding of the God who gave me two families.

I am convinced my improbable reunion with my birthparents had everything to do with my faithful and praying birthparents. It was their reward, and yet I was blessed, too. But if my 18-year-old self knew what I know now, she would have done everything differently.

I would’ve spent my time receiving post-adoption counseling instead of spending years twisting my mouth to form new sounds and learning about Korean customs in order to immerse myself in a culture that would never be mine. I would’ve seen that persistently insisting I did not belong, hurt my adoptive parents, unintentionally and unnecessarily. I would’ve connected with people who understood my identity crisis as an adoptee instead of believing I was unlovable. I would travel to my homeland with my adoptive parents or accompanied by adoption experts. I wouldn’t go alone and I certainly wouldn’t have left with a one-way ticket.

One Thanksgiving, I was surrounded by my family and visiting birthparents. It is my favorite memory. My two families had become one at one table. Amazing grace! I finally understood and believed—I am loved. In the middle of two sets of faithful and praying parents and under my Father’s providential hand—that’s where I belong. He gave me my curiosity and zest for finding answers. He mapped my quest to understand my story would reveal to me His story—one of love, sacrifice, and eternal adoption. He led me to find the true treasure—my true identity and home—in Him.

Check out LifeLines Magazine if you would like to plan a homeland tour for your family.

Amylynn Warners is public relations & communications manager. As an adoptee, she knows a loving family is what every child needs and deserves. Believing integrity sets Bethany apart as a recognized global leader, she is proud to share how Bethany demonstrates the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to children and families through quality social services.

Listen to Bethany’s Every Child audio podcast. Bethany leadership engage Christian artists and leading voices from ministries, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in discussing issues relevant to children and families. Learn more and hear about topics such as child welfare, family preservation, social justice, and sustainable, culturally appropriate social services in developing countries.

Bethany Christian Services is a leading global adoption, family preservation, and child welfare agency.

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