Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Early Years; Been There, Done That,

I'm pretty sure I've written about my early childhood at least a dozen times. Quite possibly I've even written about it on this blog but I couldn't find the post. I suppose the practice is good, but even I get tired of hearing me say the same story over and over again. This is the problem with keeping journals, blogs, myspace and facebook, no central thread.

I was born in Seoul, South Korea in the late seventies. I won't say when, but it was late and during the seventies. The story goes that a woman dropped me off at the orphanage never to be seen again. I don't know if there was a basket involved, but I always imagine there was one just like in the movies.

Because of my age, a kind worker took me home from the orphanage and kept me as her own while they tried to find someone to adopt me. A nice American couple, who had adopted a baby girl from the same adoption agency 4 years earlier, was called and asked if they would be interested in adopting a baby boy. They agreed and I at the age of 6 months was adopted.

Author's note: I really had a different concept of time growing up and my brain does not keep dates like this. Even now after being told repeatedly by my dad how old I was when I was adopted I am not certain due to some sort of mental block. So the times and ages are all approximate.

My new family and I flew together from Seoul to the US with a layover in Hawaii. I apparently cried the entire flight and most of the time on the beach.

I was very lucky to be adopted by such a kind and caring family. My new family lived in Montana on a ranch with horses and dogs and everything. One of my earliest memories is steering a tricycle while my sister pushed me and we ran over grasshoppers in the circular driveway. Most of my memories from this time are just simple kid memories like watching my parents or learning how to do things like swing on the swing set.

One day, I was probably about 4, I remember my mom getting a phone call and when she hung up she went into the bathroom and started crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said someone had called about buying the boat (we had a sailboat, yeah life was tough). Being a kid, I thought she was upset because the boat was going away, so I tried to console her saying that we could get another boat. What I didn't realize was that we were selling the boat because we were moving.

My father had a successful CPA firm, hence the sailboat, but he was working 70 hours a week and wasn't very fulfilled. We only saw him occasionally and he was constantly stressed out. I'm not sure what triggered the decision, but one day my parent's decided that the best course of action was for my dad to pursue a career that would give him more family time and meaning. Looking back through his career, teaching entry level accounting courses was something he really enjoyed and so they decided to sell the firm, house and boat and join a PhD program.

And this is why my mom was crying. Because we were leaving family, friends and a way of life. Adventures are always grand, but it doesn't make the goodbyes any easier. I don't think she was crying because she didn't want to move, I think she was crying because she had to say goodbye.

Looking back, it's weird how life times things and I think if she had been able to see what the future held, she would have probably never sold the boat.