Sept. 3, 2013 — One of the most meaningful photographs in my life was taken Sept. 4, 1981 at Los Angeles International Airport. My parents boast grins almost stretching off their faces and me, at 8-months old, appear nothing but content to be sandwiched between their big hug.
I’m not sure at what point the picture was framed, high school maybe, but I took that photograph with me to college where it graced several dorm rooms and then it had a spot in several Southern California apartments. It served as a conversation starter with numerous roommates because of the significance that day held for my parents and me.
It captures the moment we first met as a family and what a journey that was, more for my parents who endured the whole adoption process and waiting game. Throughout my life, my parents have shared the story with me, or anyone else who will listen, how the adoption agency they used told them it would take seven years to adopt a child from the United States and three to four years for a child from Korea.
But about a year and a half later, they received a phone a call from a social worker saying she had a baby she wanted to introduce them to and to see if they were interested. Apparently, with no questions asked and not even knowing the gender, my dad’s mind was already made up because he hung up the phone and yelled, “We have a baby!”
My parents drove over to the Westwood Y and met me through paperwork and a picture.
The day I was to arrive, my parents, too excited to sleep, started their drive to LAX at 3 a.m. It was a good thing they left early because I had accidentally bumped up against a hot pot and burned my leg and they almost didn’t send me.
People tried to get ahold of my parents to tell them I probably wouldn’t be on the plane. Thank goodness it was the age before cell phones, because my dad says, if they received that call, they might not have driven down.
Other than that, my journey probably wasn’t so bad, just an international flight over the ocean with a group of other babies that were to be united with their families and our chaperones.
My dad was the first to hold me and more pictures were snapped that day. They said I settled right in, like I knew I was finally home and the pictures all show this.
Being adopted has always just been a part of who I am. For me my mom and dad are exactly that, the people who marked every significant milestone, helped instill a faith in God in my life and have been there through life’s ups and downs. Sometimes it meant holding back an immediate “I told you so,” or having to wrap their minds around life changes and choices. They showed me the value of hard work and to take responsibility and learn from my mistakes.
Like all families, we have our differences but we share the important things in life.
I was officially adopted in Lassen Superior Court about nine months after we met at LAX, but at that point, it was just a legality. This evident in the fact that when each Sept. 4 rolls around we celebrate the day we became a family and tomorrow will be no different.
I love you mom and dad, I’m so glad to be your daughter.
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