Many of my 'blogger friends' were in seoul last week for the IKAA gathering. An article about it can be seen here. I have been hitting their sites frequently, hoping they are home and have posted pictures and stories about their adventures. It would've been nice to join my fellow KAD-ers in seoul to show my solidarity, but there is something selfishly satisfying about visiting korea 'on my own,' perhaps easier to blend into the background. That's one of the nice things about going to korea (all two times i've been): Being part of the majority.
I am impressed that the gathering attracted so many KADs. The article linked describes the KADs as "a thorn piercing korean's conscious." I couldn't help but think the mass presence of the KADs was noticeable. I wondered how many mothers looked into the faces of the groups of KADs walking around wondering if they were theirs. Did it inspire them to search for their own birth child or was it confirming that the child they had was cared for and healthy? After all, these KADs returned to korea to find answers about identity. This was far less important that eating and having shelter or being ostracized by family.
I wonder how the KADs are being recieved by the natives. Do they percieve this mass influx as a thorn or are they thankful their exported children want to come back for some answers? I can remember my first trip to seoul when i was 11. It was definately not the norm for an adoptee to return to korea at that time. When taxi drivers, hotel staff, waitresses, etc, realized what, i mean, who i was, they'd pinch my cheeks and look into my eyes with disbelief that i was not only fit and healthy, but i had come back in an attempt to understand the country from which i came. The most overwhelming response was from the staff at the orphanage from which i came. No child had ever come back; It was as if i had come from their very own womb. They hugged me and were so proud that i had grown up into a healthy girl.
I hope the gathering has sparked discussions in korea about international adoption. I love the thoughts and comments observed by those who attended the gathering--Thank you all for sharing your experiences!!