At the end of the 2016 Holt Heritage Tour to Korea, adoptee Kora Hanson spoke with the tour group about her personal perspective on adoption. Here is what she said:
After hearing some of the adoption stories from the older adoptees, I felt compelled to share my experience with adoption, since I am one of the youngest adoptees here.
My mom is an adoptee herself; both my mom and dad are actively involved with Holt on the Board of Directors and have traveled around the world on Holt missions; I have attended Holt picnics, auctions, and Holt Korea trips since grade school; and more recently I’ve witnessed my mom’s nonprofit organization, Love Beyond the Orphanage. I have grown up with adoption being a daily topic around the house.
With that being said, I have pretty much always viewed my adoption as empowering. As a child, I always had a fun fact to share about myself during show and tell. As an athlete, I stood out not only for my talent but for my distinctive features. And now as a young adult, I feel it is empowering to experience moments like these with other adoptees and their families, watching everyone see Korea and embrace our beautiful culture.
At home, I watch my mom connect with strangers across the U.S. and it’s amazing to see how quickly they bond with one another solely from sharing their stories and knowing that they are both adopted.
As adoptees, we know that it can be hard at times; we have felt alienated, we have struggled with shame, embarrassment, and confusion, and our thoughts can leave us tossing and turning in our beds pondering the endless “what if” questions.
Adoption is emotional and it takes its toll on everyone involved with it. But to me, this is what makes us, and our families, stronger. Together, and as an individuals, we overcome the adversities that adoption carries along with it. Whether it be the love of an adoptive family or the love that an adoptee provides for a family of their own, love has absolutely NO boundaries and we are living proof of it.
Personally, I would like to say that I have been nurtured to my very core by my family and I am forever grateful. I do not look down upon my birth parents, but rather I look up to my adoptive parents because they continue to motivate, inspire and love me.
And this brings me back to adoption being empowerment…
I am empowered by knowing that I am not the only one out there struggling at times with my identity. I am empowered by sharing the adoption culture with people around the world. I am empowered by constantly hearing about families opening up their hearts and their homes. I am empowered by watching the work of Holt International. I am empowered by other adoptees’ unique life stories. I am empowered by my own unique life story. I am empowered by adoption.
Kora Hanson | Omaha, Nebraska