Archive | February 2012

Going Back to My Motherland

In 1986, when I was 18 years old, I went to Korea. I travelled with a group of adoptees; some with their parents, but I was one of those who travelled alone, since my adoptive parents didn’t share or even understand my wish to see the country where I was born.

Deep down in my heart I was hoping to meet my father and my sisters. Before leaving I got in touch with the Norwegian adoption agency; I’d written a letter with many questions, and they forwarded it to Holt Children’s Services in Korea. One evening towards the end of my two weeks there I got a phone call; and I was the only one who did. My Norwegian guide told me that someone from Holt had been walking door-to-door in the town where I was born, showing a picture of me, maybe a year and a half old, and finally, finally, someone had recognized me. I’m not sure whether he had met one of my sisters, or someone else who knew them. God bless him for doing that. I got the message that we would meet in the early evening the next day.

I remember that I was in shock, that my mind went blank and stayed that way for the rest of the day. I could not believe that I was going to meet family, my real family, after all those years of yearning to see where I came from. At last we met; one uncle, two of my three sisters, their kids, my oldest sister’s husband, and a few cousins. I was overwhelmed, and I’ll never forget the moment when I gave my oldest sister a big hug, the first one since I was a baby. My only thought was, I’m home! Deep inside in my soul I recognized her, even though I didn’t remember her face anymore. She told me about how she used to carry me a lot when I was a baby, after our mother died. It was a very powerful moment, to finally feel that I belonged somewhere, that someone truly cared about me. I was used to adoptive parents who loved their alcohol bottles, who used to yell at me and beat me. And here at last I was met with love. The contrast was overwhelming, and I cried the whole time, but I was happy.

Later the same day I got the bad news, which nearly devastated me … I had arrived ten years too late to see him, the one person whom I’d longed to meet for all those years. My real father, my Appa, my treasure, was gone. He died while he was searching for me, still hoping to find me and bring me back home. He never even knew how far away I really was. I felt as if someone had torn away a piece of my heart.

It’s more than twenty-five years since I went to Korea. It hurts to think back, and my heart feels so empty, and I know that I have to visit my motherland at least once more, while am I still young enough and have my health. My dream is to complete the circle by standing beside my real parents’ grave. I never met them again, having longed for them all my life, I no longer have any memory of their faces, their voices have been silent for too long, and I don’t know the way home.

About one hour’s driving outside of Seoul a house still stands. There we lived, there I was born, there my parents made their living, probably as farmers in the countryside. I hope one day to take a glance at this part of my history. It’s more than 40 years since I was taken away. The country is a part of me, but I’m a stranger there, a tourist. I don’t speak the language, and I don’t know the customs or the culture in my motherland. Deep down in my heart I will love Korea forever, because that is where my parents are resting. A part of me will never forget. But I will never return to stay; that ship has sailed, a long, long time ago.

Today I keep in touch with my oldest sister by email; she doesn’t understand English, but her son speaks some and translates as best as he can. I’m grateful to have had this experience, to have met my family, and my sister has even been here in Norway to visit, a few years ago. I realize that I will always be an outsider in the family … all those years apart is too great a barrier. My childhood dream is gone forever: I know now that I can no longer think or dream that, one day, I could just move back and jump in, catching up where I left off. We are family, but have become strangers to each other, and this makes me sad. My heart is torn in half, with one foot in Norway, and one in Korea, for the rest of my life.

~ Khara

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One Birthday Memory

Like most kids I was allowed a birthday party. It’s strange to think about it, because in our house kids were only supposed to be seen, not heard. I woke up all excited, got out of bed and put on my dress for the occasion, and my mother helped me fix my hair before breakfast. Then I helped set the table with cups, plates, spoons, napkins, soft drinks and cakes. We lit the candles, and my heart was jumping with joy on this one day of the year that I was allowed to be a child, a child whose adoptive parents for once smiled at her and told her kind words. This was better than Christmas, because I was having guests.

There was this one year, as I was helping set the table, I was carrying a little crystal sugar bowl and, to my horror, I stumbled down two small steps leading into the living room and dropped the bowl. There was sugar all over the place, and the bowl was in a thousand … miserable … pieces. I started to cry because I was sorry for the bowl, and the mess, but then my heart started racing because I knew what to expect next. Yelling, for starters. I was completely dissolved in tears and almost impossible to comfort, but my guests would arrive soon so I had to try to find my smile.

The day went by surprisingly well, I almost forgot about the broken bowl, and when the evening came I was happy, looking at my presents and wishing that I could have birthdays more often.

But at bedtime my adoptive parents told me that, since it was my birthday, I would not get a beating today. It would wait until tomorrow. My happy feeling was gone, and I was that frightened little girl again, who wished that she could disappear quickly to the end of the rainbow.

Khara

Sense of Spring

At last I sense the lovely spring, the Sun has broken through, the snow is melting and nearly gone. Outside I hear and see small trickling streams of water everywhere. And soon the first Snowdrops and Crocus flowers will appear, to say hello once again after a long and cold winter.

Suddenly the world is coming alive, in just a month or two the trees will be green, the grass even greener, and summer temperatures will be here again.

I love this time of year; like I’ve been asleep a long time, and at last wake up to life. The brighter days are back once more, and I’m soaking up the light, refilling and recharging my batteries after the long, dark and cold winter.

Even my cat seems more content, staying out longer, stretching on her back in the snow that is left, making herself as cute as can be.

I dream of having my own garden, where I can relax and do what I love; plant rose bushes and all kinds of flowers, grow apple trees and strawberries. Perhaps in a not too distant future I will move to such a place, and fulfill my dream; one of my goals in life.

~ Khara

I See a Little Silhouetto of a Girl …

Looking back, I see this silhouette of a little girl on the sand, bucket and shovel in her hand; digging a hole to catch the tiny crabs near the edge of the sea. The small waves almost reached her tiny feet, the wind gently brushed her face, and her ponytail fluttered in the breeze. Her eyes smiled, her heart was thrilled, and had anyone else been around they might have overheard her giggling quietly to herself. The seagulls, as always, made themselves heard from above. Endless treasures for a little child; thousands of sea shells in different shapes and colours, infinite numbers of stones of all sorts, every shape and structure; some very smooth, others more rough. After a while her bucket was filled almost to the brim with shells and stones.

Then she built a little sand castle behind the hole, tiny hands decorating the castle walls with shells and stones all the way around. And finally she’d dig a canal so that seawater could flow into the hole and fill it up like a moat. Then she would sit down and hope for a crab or two to stumble into the hole and be trapped, or she would catch a few herself and put them there. Soon after the tide would come in to demolish the moat and the castle, and she’d wave to the crabs and smile at them as they climbed out of the hole and walked home again into the sea.

Then it would be time for her to go home; a brown, curly-haired Lakeland terrier would come to greet her, and she would bury her face in the soft fur, get a big wet kiss on her nose and they would find their way home, the dog and the barefoot little girl, her hands full of sand, fingertips wrinkled from playing in the water; she would stop and turn around to catch a last glimpse of the sea, wishing she could stay longer in this little Paradise of hers.

She would go home to face her fears, to wonder if she could blend in with the walls, become invisible and hide under her duvet, be quiet and not disturb her adoptive parents, making them happy in that way. She always hoped there would be something to eat, maybe a freshly baked bun; she always hoped but it rarely happened, yet those few times that it did she might get a smile and a few kind words, if mummy wasn’t drunk.

She always had to give them each a mandatory hug, even though it meant nothing; mum and dad always expected it, even if she’d been beaten or yelled at. Then she would go straight to bed and just be thankful that there was no beating that day, because she had come home in time, because they had found nothing else to be mad at her for. She used to pray to God and wish that he would send her home to her real father, so far, far away. “If only I could go there, to where I came from, so my parents here wouldn’t be bothered by having me here anymore,” she cried out. At last she would fell asleep and dream about her next trip to the beach, where her heart could be free.

~ Khara

On Life II

I found these quotes here and felt like sharing them 🙂

Life should be measured not by the number of years but rather by the love shared, the memories made, the joy given, the blessings received.

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was, and it's not meant to be.

My Diamonds

Precious memories in my heart.

When our first daughter was a baby, our cat was very protective of her. Sometimes when she had fallen asleep for the night, the cat would jump into the crib, lie down at her feet and guard her for a long time. Ever since, she has been very fond of all kinds of animals. She’d catch frogs, toads, butterflies, lizards, even snakes (with a stick), chickens, mice and grasshoppers, to name only a few. I often screamed when she came home with an animals like that and held them up for me to see. She certainly didn’t get that habit from my genes; we can thank her father for that 😉

Our second daughter was ever so proud of herself the first time she managed to stand up all by herself. I remember how her face just brightened up in the biggest smile ever! How proud she was, and I looked at her and was the proudest mother in the world. She is the deep thinker, the philosopher in the family. She loves food, when it’s the right kind, and she just adores music.

And they both grow up so fast, much too fast. They’re both quite artistic; they love to draw, and listen to all kinds of music, even songs that I like 🙂 They are both my diamonds in life. I am so proud of them; they are kind both to people and to animals, and to the world. Their generation must use the strongest tool ever in this world, the great energy of love, to make a better world for Mankind. They will inherit the great task of creating peace. Let us all give all children of the World the power of love.

Namasté

A precious memory

One enchanted evening I was out playing in the snow with friends. We played hide and seek, so I found myself a huge pile of snow to hide behind, nearby a snowman we’d built earlier in the evening. We were so proud of him; on top of his head he had a hat, we gave him a carrot for the nose, made him a mouth out of potatoes; he had an old pipe to smoke and even a scarf to keep him warm.

I lay down and just stared at the big sky up there; all those stars twinkling in the perfect, clear, black night. I was especially captured by one constellation that looked just like a horse. It was amazing. So many stars so far away from me; I was fascinated, and deeply moved, because it was so beautiful. For the first time it occurred to me that there must be lots and lots of worlds out there, and no-one knew about them all. I must have been about six years old, and I was thinking that there were more stars on the sky that I could ever imagine, or count. That was a big moment for me, and I wished that it would last for ever; but after a while I heard, “Khaaraa!, I see you,” and I was found, and my precious moment was over for then.

I wish to share this one happy moment, of which there were not too many, because this one is etched into my heart and soul, and it is very precious to me. I was allowed to be a child for a moment, free of fear and struggling, sorrow and grief. I was just myself, that little girl who wanted to laugh and be happy, and experience all the goodness in the world.

The happiest moments of my childhood were always out in nature; by the sea or in the forest, because there I was free to spend time with my inner child, the one that I always wanted to be.

~ Khara