Friday, February 11, 2011

Prices we pay

Moment of truth: being a transnational adoptee who wants to explore your roots costs money. The culture camps I attended growing up cost money. The events my adoption group held cost money. Going back to Korea costs money. Searching for your birth family costs money. Money, money, money. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t stress about money. Does being an adoptee cost more? Maybe not for those who aren’t interested in their heritage, but for those of us wanting that connection, it’s time to pay up.

I would save a lot of money if I didn’t go to Korea this summer, but I’m still choosing to go. One could argue that we have the freedom to spend our finances however we want and I would agree with that. No one is forcing me to go to Korea. I made the decision 100% on my own. I decided of the many things in this world I could spend my money on, visiting Korea is the most worthwhile option for me. I have one aunt who is disgusted with me and thinks I’m wasting my finances on some frivolous adventure. She can think whatever she wants. I’m just done explaining myself where no explanations are owed.

Right now, I am fortunate enough to be in a position where investing in a trip to Korea is feasible, but I don’t know so much about the future. I chose a profession which is significantly underpaid. As in not the kind of salary you can travel the world on! I also chose a profession which, at least in some cases like a counselor, can require great consistency and no lengthy vacation times. Although I have deferred my birth family search for now, I do want to search and I would love to go back to Korea multiple times. Especially if reunion works out for me. I’m beginning to worry that my lifestyle choices won’t leave enough room for Korea and that is highly frustrating. Is there a way to have both? I am so thrilled to be going to Korea this summer, but also thrilled to launch my social work career! I want to be the self actualized KAD and the successful, even if poor, career woman. No matter what choices I make, it feels like I am paying the price in some way.


  1. You can travel even if you don't make that much. The time, of course, is a whole different issue. I grew up in Europe and everyone there travels a lot (even my poor social worker friends ;-)). For me, traveling is essential to my quality of life and happiness. I'd rather give up something else and find cheap places to stay/eat while abroad than not to travel. I am adamant that we must go to Korea every couple of years with our son so he can get to know his country of birth at least a little. I am sure it's difficult when you are surrounded by people who feel that travel is a luxury. But, especially in your case, it's really a necessity. And you will never regret the money you will spend on it.

  2. Soo, if you feel like a reunion trip to Korea serves a purpose to you hen you should go! Lately, as I'm getting closer to a Bachelor Degree I've recently been starting to think about a totally different way to earn a living. One problem though if I still want to pursue that I would have to begin another education...

  3. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this program. My cousin is considering applying for next summer. I don't know much about it beyond the fact that it's basically free.

  4. Sandra - I would definitely agree that traveling is a necessity for me personally, although I know other adoptees who feel fine without it. Maybe some of us were just born with slightly more nomadic spirits than others! Also, it's encouraging to hear about poor social workers still making time to travel. :)

    Michelle - I will definitely be traveling to Korea this summer and I'm so excited! When will you finish your degree? I changed my major in my last year of my bachelor's. It was rough at first, but worth it because now I am in a profession that I am passionate about.

    Tonggu Momma - Thank you for the link! I did look into InKAS, but ultimately decided not to pursue it for various reasons. It sounds like an amazing resource, though.