I did not give birth to my child “with my heart.” I gave birth to my child with my body – painful, and tearing.
I did not “give” my child to another mother as a “gift.”
I was desperate and without the means to earn enough money myself. I and my children were victims of domestic violence. There was nowhere for us to go. No one would help us. We were so alone. I had no other choice but to relinquish my children.
But my children did not feel relinquished. They felt abandoned. I am so, so sorry.
* * *
I was so desperate that I signed away my baby for international adoption the day I brought her to the orphanage. I signed her away with my red-inked thumbprint because I had no stamp. I didn’t know what international adoption meant. I thought my daughters would just live well in another country and be raised in privilege, send pictures and letters, and then come back to me, their mother.
The noise of the airplane taking off tore my heart.
* * *
What does “Gotcha” mean?
What have I gotten from this?
I am not a whore, not a saint, not a storybook character.
I am a real person.
I am a real mother.
My name is Lee Pil-rye.
My children were never orphans.
This is what adoption means to me.
Prose with the power of poetry. Please use the link above to go to Conducive Magazine to read the whole thing.