19 Feb

I tend to be an optimist when it comes to human nature, even sometimes to a sickening point. I had full faith that if I gave them to a head of an agency whose leader is Korean, that she would take my requests seriously. Because she has to deal with adoptees on a regular basis and adoptive parents. I was to be sorely disappointed, betrayed and angry at this. (I’m not disclosing the agency even though I have documentation and witnesses of it for privacy purposes.)

She volunteered to translate my letters. She refused to give them to anyone else but my adoptive parents.

I caught her mistranslating, deleting entire paragraphs, and inserting sentences that were not there. She did not honor my or my mom’s constant request for Appa’s address. In another words, she refused both my Mom’s and my own requests.

At first I tolerated her controlling the interaction. She was doing a favor. But when she started inserting “Jesus” when Appa was not Christian and was Buddhist, I got upset. She also mistranslated my letters and cut out questions about religion I asked to Appa. (I found this out later), but she would cut information I gave to him. After a while I asked my Korean friend to translate letters for me. (My brother refused to get involved in these interactions for his own emotional reasons.) The person at the agency got mad at me for doing this and told me through e-mail that she wanted to do it and that she basically should do it. I thought I was doing her a favor since she had an agency to run and I wanted to cut on response time. My mom also was getting tired of forwarding the letters to me and asked me to ask her to stop sending them to her. I was becoming aware that this wore out my Mom. Her tight voice told me so. So I requested that she stop routing them through my mom. She refused and ignored my e-mail and written request. She also refused my Mom’s repeated e-mail and letter requests to stop routing them through her.

After a while of treating me badly, I requested her to give Appa’s address. She outright refused. She said that she thought it was better if she handled all of the letters. I was pissed. So I asked my mom to help me. She still refused. My mom was getting confused at this point. A woman with such a good reputation for her agency and who was Korean was outright treating us as inferior to her. I tried to understand culturally. Perhaps she thought I didn’t understand cultural implications. I tried to explain to her that I understood culture and had been working at adoption for years. Another refusal. I talked to other adoptees and they said this was typical. I made more than 3 requests for the original papers in Korean and she refused to help saying my parents would have it. I said they didn’t. She continued to refuse to help ask the agency in Korea for the papers. I couldn’t understand how she could do this to me and asked for other adoptive parents’ experiences on this matter and they were equally confused.

Finally, I managed to slip in an e-mail address. 6 months later Appa e-mailed me. I didn’t recognize it because it was in hangeul, but after I did, I cut the person at the agency loose with a bitter taste in my mouth, leaving me in a position to not recommend my own agency that helped bring me to the United States. And my parents started to honestly talk about going to Korea.

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