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Somewhere Between Podcast
Somewhere Between Podcast

Episode 1 · 2 years ago

Searching for Answers ft. Mitchell Stone

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we discuss searching for our birth parents, DNA testing, returning to our birth countries and more! We are joined by Korean adoptee, Mitchell Stone.

Welcome back to the second episode of adopted, a podcast made by Asian adoptees for Asian adoptees. Were joined day by our special guest, Mitchell. Oh, this is Mitchell. I'm a create American adoptee, twenty years old, just living in Colorado. So, yeah, I'm glad to be on the show and yeah, let's have a good conversation today. It's great to have you. So today we're going to be discussing whether or not we're searching for our birth parents, lost talcor DNA testing and returning to our birth countries. So to start off this episode, we're going to open the floor with the question are you searching for your birth parents? Why are I not? I know for me I am not currently searching, but when I was younger, my mom offered to do that with me. She said, if this is something you ever want to do, whether it be now or down the line, I would be more than happy to help you in whatever way that I can. So the option is always been on the table for me and now that I'm older, I've definitely considered it a lot more, but at this current point in time I'm still not. It's nice how your parents are so supportive of that. Thankfully, to my parents had said, like you know, if I ever wanted to search, they understand and they took no offense they would take no offense to it. The closest I've started to looking for my birth parents is just putting out this adoption poster which has your baby face, your current base, the name that was on your adoption paper and just your reach at idea. So hopefully someone says it and they may be recognize. Oh, this person looks like someone I know. They couldn't reach out to you. Other than that, I don't really have anything to go on. Like many of us, I was just told I was left on the steps of a bank and that's all we have. There's nothing else. There's no piece of cloth or message or anything left with me for me to even start a search. The funny thing is that you mentioned that, because I was looking to do that thing too, where you know you can make the poster and you submit it to someone who posts puts posters of it up in the city that you were found. But then they told me that it had been successful so far and I was like a little worried about putting myself out there far because, like, I don't want to get my hopes up. But enough if that's a prong for you guys. Yeah, I think it's scary to the idea of being so like, open and volne about something that is, you know, so personal and, like you guys said, there's not a whole lot of information to go on. The only clue that I have is that I was found out a police station and actually, for the first couple years of my life somebody from the orphanage was sending my mom and my family like Chinese clothes and things that I could wear. So there was an idea of maybe this is my birth family or maybe it's just somebody who really liked me. But kind of we've got how about you, Mitchell M...

...yeah, so I've been looking. I started about like three to six months ago and at least for me, the the process was very streamlined. They have I was given a lot of information at my from my agency when I was born and they just gave it to me, gave it to my parent and my my adopted parents when I was adopted. So I think the process was a lot at least simpler, and I think the I think the difference especially between the Korean system and the Chinese system, is, I think the Korean systems of a little bit more developed and it was. I was adopted the S and at that point in the S I believe a Korea had over like a hundred thousand adopted children go on that decade. So it was a lot. So there was it was a really good process and a very it was very helpful for me. But I also think, though, there's always with adoption. Is just always difficult, regardless just because you I might have been able to, you know, get the address and might have been easy to get in contact, but after that it's I think it's still kind of the same. It's very difficult to go on from there. So yeah, I can definitely understand where you ever worried if, even if they gave you the information, that it would be false or maybe they were connecting to the wrong thing or they miss tied your name to who you were. That's good question that I never considered. But I I I have a lot of trust actually in the system because, at least from my records, like they told me, you know, my parents, age, there, their religion, even their first names, and I think that they technically could be lying on any of that stuff, but I just feel like why would you go above and beyond to list that information when it really you could just admitted it? And I guess they could try to do the best they can to fill in that information and maybe as mandatory, but I still feel like, you know, why would you provide that information if you just if you're intending to like obscated or something like that? So I don't think so. I think most of it's pretty legitimate. I can't say that for a lot of adoptees. I definitely think back in the S, the S and s. It definitely wasn't like that, but I think in the S it was a lot more streamlined and a lot more I think there's a lot more of a r there is a lot more verified, I would say in the vetting process was a lot more stringent. I think in pretty rigid. So yeah, yeah, awesome, you have so much information. Yeah, that's what I was just thinking. Yeah, well, because even in that like the they left a note even saying like yeah, I had like four siblings that are older than me, all born the S as well. So it's like I think so that yeah, they give me a lot of information. So I don't really see where like again, they don't have to probe any of that information really. So it's almost like I always think it's almost like they want to be found almost or something. So then it just have you ever wanted to do...

...like a DNA test, because I think maybe your siblings, if they kind of knew about you, maybe they'd have submid one. Have you done a DNA test? I actually have. I did one through God this it was a free testing kid. It wasn't through one of the big ones. Is a smaller one, but I don't know. That's a good question about connection, because I the one thing about my family is that they're not very rich. They're actually very poor. So I would always think in that even if that was an opportunity for me, I'm not sure that my siblings are my parents would really have that opportunity just because even my birth parents there are much older. They're in their s and s when they had me. So it's like it's very hard to I would I would never really ever think that they do something like that, honestly, just because of technology and just different generations. So it's a I mean, I think about it here and they're maybe with my siblings more so, but I think I actually have a better chance of like just doing more research and using like maybe a private investigator, some sort of investigation, and that probably get me further along than DNA testing. But it is a cool idea at least, and it would be very interesting to see where that could lead. But that's at least the way I look at it and I don't really know actually how that would develop. So it's cool. So, like did your DNA test cover like like metal history, or did it give you like your origins kind of like you had like some do like, Oh, you're ninety five percent Korean, like two percent Chinese. Did it give you any that? Yes, it gave that information. Yeah, I was like, I think it was like s ninety five percent Korean and I was like two percent like a Mongolian, and like two percent stink Chinese or something very similar to that. But no information on medical history all that much. I mean yeah, even in my my my record, though, this is relating to the health piece, but they detailed some of that. Like they're saying like my mom, I believe my birth mom was. She had natural double eyelids. I don't know why they listed that, but they said that and then they said like she was outgoing. And Yeah, so it's very it was highly detailed, which I thought was very interesting. And then for my birth father, it was like he was very short, he was work, he worked as a street collector or garbage collector and he was introverted in very reserved. So it's like that. I don't even know, like it's it would be interesting to look at the actual medical history, but I don't have anything like that. But I also feel like the other for information is more it's very substantial. So I don't know. And even for my sister, my sister had on her record that her parents had diabetes. So it's like they're highly specific and our records for some reason. So yeah, I mean it's good, though, because I know what whenever...

I go to the doctor and they ask, you know, to have a history of this, no idea. That's a great question. I wish both of us do that. So that is really cool that you have all this information and you have all this records. I definitely agree when you said, you know, the amount of detail you have. It would be almost way too much worked to fake something like that. So I think that's that's definitely really cool and actually one things that Mitchell blue brought up was possibly hiring a personal investigator our new you guys thinking of that? It's like, let's say, hypothetical scenario right now. You have the money, you have the resources, would you do that? I don't know how that works. Does someone just like, go through your medical or go through, like you, the adoption papers and try and trace it back some what my understanding of it is is that, and pardon me if I'm wrong, I haven't actually done it yet, since I didn't bother. I don't have the money, he all, but awesome. Someone is basically doing a lot of the in depth research for you and they can kind of serve as a mediator. So even something like looking at Chinese documents or communicating with the agency, the object adoption agency, the actual building in China, it's like that still exists, or any public records that are there and kind of staking through all that information for you and trying to dig up leads just like a normal investigator detective. For sure. If I had the resources, that would be really cool. Well, yeah, I thought the one thing about private investigators is that there they could be kind of pricey, and even with that it takes probably some of the inside knowledge of the system. So that's the hardest part, I think, is like private investigators the United States is probably fine, but to do it in another country like China or a Korea, I think would be a little bit tougher just because, again, you'd have to have some sort of connection to some of that knows a system and to know even like even about the certain like adoption processes, not even just like the general legal procedures, just the adoption because that's a very difficult thing, I think, to to get into. But I mean with with any resource it's you fine, you know, if with a financial resource and a backing, would it be difficult at all? Buzz, it's like I don't think most of us have that enough money to do that, and nor I do. I think in some cases it's like it would get very far. At least. I don't know how far it get me. So right I feel like for China it may not even be worth it, honestly, because, as you at some people mentioned, there is like the could is possible, like falsification of papers, and maybe for in Korea, like the amount of detail that you have is that's would be silly to make up for anyone just for some random reason. So a possibly a person invest to get it would be really helpful for you. But me I once thought about it, but as I thought more, I...

...didn't think it was actually ever worth it unless I was like super rich, because if I look at the area that I was born in and China in general, the documentation isn't super accurate there, especially when you're in more of the rural villages. So agreed you. That makes sense. So have I know, I haven't done a DNA test because I don't else done one. I have, I did the twenty three and me I did the health and ancestry since, like amy mentioned, going to the doctor, they always ask you have these like preconditions, prexisting conditions? Do they run your family? And I'm like well, man, you know just as much as I do about that. We are playing a game of Roulette over here. So what did you find? So or is still waiting in result. I got the results a while ago. I was hoping for something a little more interesting. So it's kind of like a win and a loss in that. A win in that healthwise, it said, I don't have any markers for high likelihoods to different diseases or anything. So it says I should be fine. Supposedly that's good. Downside is like it was kind of a boring result that it said, Hey, your ninety nine point like two percent Chinese. No, wow, totally didn't know that. So but it's definitely interesting to do and I have thought about doing something the alternative DNA testing, but I know right now with a it's slowly becoming more accurate but not quite there yet, and really the only accurate one that could even connect me to China is China system. But I don't really know if I trust my deday with China. How about you guys? I've thought about it. Um But one. My mom and some of my other friends are a little bit more on the side of just being cautions about who were giving our DNA to. I was a criminal justice nature and we talked about some of the implications that giving your DNA over to companies like this could have for the criminal justice system. So I've been cognizant of that and addition, being Chinese is a very big part of my identity. My family was amazing at trying to show me my heritage and my culture as much as possible. For My background, I read this story, I read it or something like that, about a person who was adopted, granted in the United States, so it was in the same state, but he was adopted by a wait family and they've took him too Chinese school. He you know, it became a very big part of his identity as well and he really connect with the culture. I think he studied, you know, Chinese American relations and things like that, and for whatever reason they had to look at his original documentation from the orphanage and the the boy was Korean. Um. I think I think about that story a lot and I don't know what I would do. I think I would just break in half on if my entire life I thought I was Chinese and then they am Nope,...

...even though I'm from adopted from China, and I know the odds of that actually happening. I'm pretty much impossible. Just the idea of that has kind of always scared me. Yeah, that kind of makes sense because, I mean, we already have so little like about our origins we don't want to lose like another thing. A personally, I just haven't done any DNA test because they're quite expensive. So fully, one day, I well, because I actually do think that it's important for me to know my medical history. Have you guys had any desire, Oh, Sig Mitchell, to Youma thing? Oh No, I just commenting on the yets. I think it's a case by case or thing to it's definitely it'd be nice. I'd be all it would always be nice to know these things, but you're right, it can be very pricey and the confidentiality of all of it can be kind of tricky as well. So it's like you, it's it's kind of worth considering, like even if it is worth it, either from a financial standpoint or even from security standpoint. So I can understand how how I would how I'd feel about that, because I was very hesitant about it as well. Actually, Mitchell, I was curious about this. You said you did a free test. Do you know if Korea has their own kind of DNA bank system and if you can do tests towards that or it's good question. I actually never considered it. I never even looked it up. It'd be a good thing to look into, though. Well, I actually got my test, though, through an adoption camp and a camps that I've volunteered at in Colorado here. They sent an email that. Yeah, they just said, you know, if you tell us your story and you like basically sign up and you give us some information, yeah, we'll give you a free kit, and so that's kind of what I did. I don't it wasn't like a very special kit though, and I don't think even the company was like the greatest, but it was a free kit and it was very interesting. So and it's a very nice gesture and a very nice it's very nice to get it done. So okay, so I'm going to move on to our next question, which is do you have a desire or have you already returned to your birth country? I personally was going to go visit China this year, but unfortunately, because of the coronavirus, that has not happened, but I'm hoping to go within the next couple of years. I have not yet been back, so I know it's going to be a very emotionally I was yeah, I can agree. I was thinking about going back this year too, since I just graduated, but I was also thinking when it, like I just is always pictured, college would be a good time to go before you start your life and like kind of look back at what your life could have been and see the country you would have been born in, the town and everything. But yeah, as coronavirus has now stopped any plans of that. I have, though, been back to China. My parents took us, took my brother and I on a family trip to China. We had have...

...explored northern China and then my mom and I separately went to hall trip to Hong Kong as like a mother daughter trip, because she really wanted me to see what China's like, see the culture and get to know my background war. So it's really nice. I like how your mom was really supportive about that growing up. Yeah, I actually got super lucky on like the cultural side of it in a way, and that technically I am adopted into a transracial adoptive family, but technically I'm not, since my mom, adoptive mother, is Chinese but my adoptive father is Pugstani. So I kind of worked out that I got that Asian background but also with like a little spice into it. Yeah, that is cool. I'm so it is. has anyone else been back to their birth country? Or is planning to. It also happened. I also have not, but I definitely it's something I it's on I don't have a bucket list, but this is on my bucket list and my mom and my parents in general kept like a little journals about the things that they saw. For me. They kind of do the adoption an see a whole group of people who are adopting from the same area went together as like a family trip for all like maybe ten or twelve different families adopting at the same time. They went through. They toured the are Ye and I kind of want to take those journals and, as cheesy as it sounds, I want to be chase my parents steps and see what they saw when they went to adopt me. So it's definitely something I've been thinking about, but I have no idea when that sounds so nice. It's my cheesy, sentimental moment for the week. It's not cheese. No, it's not cheesy at all. It's really six. Yeah, if my parents had a journal of everything, I would have done the same. But you, Mitchell, I've actually been three times. I went in two thousand and fourteen, two thousand and sixteen, and then two thousand and eighteen. So think it's two year gap each time. That's awesome. Did you visit the town you were born in with Korea? It's like that's the one weird thing about the information they gave me. It's like it's a very general area. Technically, I was like born in the death soul, which is the capital, and then that this place called Yangie dough, which is like the whole surrounding area, like the very outskirts of soul, but just said stat that's Yonggy do, which is like again, that's a very vague so did answer question kind of a little bit, but I think, like in general, it's like I got to see my agency, and I think that's the most important part. So did you go with like family friends? Yeah, I went. Each time, I went with my mom my and then I also went with each a different sibling each time, and my firstly my oldest sister, then my younger sister and then my younger brother. So and each time they got to also see all their records and everything. So each one of the trips is very,...

...very unique and very interesting just because I got yeah, one, since I got to see all of that. I was there for each one of their like when they got to go to the orphanage and the agency as well. So I obviously couldn't be in with them, with them when they're talking and going over it, but just we're from what they told me. It's very interesting and very cool to see that. So so sounds like really special. That's really special that you guys can do that with each other. Yeah, well, and like, for example, like the first one with my older sister, since her mother was sixteen when she had or she had to go to a different house. She went to the agency, but the agency also referred her to another place which is like a place for unwed mothers and like basically teenage mothers and just like basically any mother that didn't have any support from a male figure, and that was very interesting and just how different it all was. So it was. That's very interesting to see it all happen and all go down. So do you are any of your sibling speak Korean or have you wanted to learn? Now, I just had, I just have a very like basic level of Korean, but it's all I've always had an interest in it and, especially after going to Korea Multiple Times, I definitely want to learn and continue learning, especial actually as I get older, because it's something I want to pass down as best as I can. So I know for me, I've tried so many times still in Chinese on my own and also with my boyfriend who's Chinese, and the tones for me in Chinese I cannot get them, no matter how hard I try. Oh same. I've tried it through like Chinese classes, try it through APPS, tried even using discord to talk to some people who are also learning Chinese, and I feel like it's like if I know there's studies on it, but it definitely really feels like I'm pass that age where my tongue can develop the tones properly. Like I feel like if I do, I'll always have this American accent to it and in Chinese that's kind of one of the worst things to have. And also just memorizing everything is almost impossible. Yes, but my parents always did try to enforce that I learned Chinese regardless of background, but just that they predicted it would be at the next kind of strong country power and they it'd be helpful to have that in the business world, which they're right. For me, I really want to go to China also to see some of the landmarks, aside from like going to my hometown, like I want to go to like the Great Wall and like the Forbidden City, and I also want to go to like Shanghai and the Hong Kong and do all the like touristy stuff or fun out of you guys. Oh yeah, definitely. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I'm honestly going all the way over there and not doing that would be such a waste for that plane. That's true,...

...and I really sucks. Now. Sorry, I know it's cool, but you know it's yeah, I it's traveling as fun, and especially when you travel to your back to your your homeland, so to speak. So, yeah, it Mos sirs for you being the first time. First Time definitely. I I was writing about a little bit, but it's like, yeah, it's tough, it's you definitely sometimes feel like a fish out of water, at least I did. You feel like, yeah, you feel like perhaps you're supposed to know what it's supposed to feel like, but you have like reminitions and I. Ideas in your head of what it feels like and you do feel things, but it's also like you feel like a weird sense of disconnect and connect at the same time, like I don't know how to explain, at least personally, that's how I felt. So it's it's definitely unique experience and everybody has to experience it their own way, but I think there's always a common theme of like definitely a feeling of loss and being stuck in between both of the places where your you're born raise versus the place you were well, I guess the place where you were born and versus the place you were raised. So definitely I can understand where you're coming from with that. I was actually going to ask you that. Is this too, because that's something I was thinking of when we're talking about go possibly going back to, you know, our birth towns and just our birth country in general. Is there anyone specific you guys were thinking of who you want to go back with, since I know for me I would either want to go back with my mother or possibly would like my significant other, just so that I have that emotional support when I'm there because, like Mitchell, like the I have a feeling of how I'm going to react, but at the same time you never really have a clue of how you are and you kind of want someone there as support during that. Unfortunately for me, my mom has been very adamant that she will not go back to China, so I don't have I probably won't be going back with her, so either be with a significant other or another adoptee. I think that would also be really nice, because I think then you can also you go through the experience together. Yeah, definitely. How about you a me? Um, that's a good question. It's something that I've given just a little bit of thought of. I don't know who I go back with. I don't have any siblings. I definitely would want somebody there with me for that emotional support system. But Oh my God, can you imagine? That would be so cute, especially I think we might have talked about this last episode, but we're from similar, like relatively close places, I believe. Yes, we are, so just cause my God, but I don't I don't know who it would be, but...

...definitely something I'm all over when it gets closer. You're ready for the last question. Let's do it. So, having discussed all this, birth parents and, like our doctor, parents a little bit, who do you consider to be your parents? I know, my whole life I have hated the question who are your real parents? When I say these are my parents for me, people who adopt me, people who raise me, who've cared for me since the day they met me. Those are my parents, and that's kind of it. For me, the people who are my birth parents, you know, I'm grateful that I was born and they chose to put me in a place where I could be found for adoption, but I don't know them. But my real parents are people like her mom and Dad. Sweet for me. I'm also thankful that my birth parents did not kill me when they found out I was a girl. Quite a few other babies weren't so lucky. But I would also read the parents, the people I consider my parents, are the ones who adopted me, raised me put up with me through all these years. I remember you guys. You know, Mitchell, I think that's a good question and honestly I don't like answering it just because it's like it's a very it's a tricky situation. It's almost like asking your like somebody like, who do you love more? You know your your mom or your dad, or your this sibling or that, like you really shouldn't be forced to choose per se, of like which one isn't the most valid, you know, at least in my opinion, and I think that's exactly why, you know, my parents made it very clear. Ironic, but yeah, my my adopted parents, made a very clear, you know, like these your birth parents, are your birth parents and they are also your parents. It's like maybe my answer that question is, can they both be my parents? Because they both are. One of them raise me at the very beginning and one of them just took over and raise me for the rest of the time. So I don't know, that's the way I look at it, and maybe that's like a the best non answer I can give, but I don't know, I think exactly. I think that's kind of the reason why we call them birth parents, adopted parents, and I even have foster parents because I was raised by a foster mom when I was out there. So it's like all three of those are still a part of my family, you know, and I would never say that they're not, you know, and the nature of it is definitely different, but I think they still are, you know, parents, parents and parents. So I can definitely see the protective you're coming from and I kind of like had a similar mentality when I was younger, and that I considered both to be my parents, and I remember for me my first one, I was adopted. I really want to know who my birth parents were and, you know, I felt that as like that was a party, like they are a part of me. But I work finally, like, as I grew older, I start...

...to feel that my adoptive parents are my full and like kind of only my only parents, since they've been with me through so much, and I am so appreciative and so grateful for the opportunity that my birth parents gave me and, like Maya said, that they didn't kill me all and that they've let left me somewhere for someone to find me and, you know, with the hopes of giving me a better life. But I think past that, they really are strangers to me, and the term parents if something that's very personal. Verrey, it's like it's a full relationship to me, and I feel like that's something that my adoptive parents deserve the title of, because they're the ones who have cultivated that. They have spent years helping raise me in like kind of helped me become the person I am today, and support me through everything that I've been through. Sure, and like this question is good because there is no right answer. I know like for a lot of adoptees that's like one of these. Is Why one to create this podcast was that I wanted to give adoptees of voice, and so the here things that maybe aren't like conventional or they maybe they have opinions that other adoptees that they know don't agree with. My want to like give a voice to all the emotions and the opinions that they had, because there is no right one. It's all like based when you experience. It's very personal to each person. I do agree with Maya that a lot of people like sometimes in it in the community it does seem like everyone swings a certain way. So having a platform where you can hear other people's opinions and pains are different from the majority really helps so you don't feel like, Oh, you know, I feel this way, but is that wrong? I wanted to validate everyone's opinions and like, if you're listening and you don't hear your opinion, still doesn't mean that your opinions not right. Just means that we didn't have someone with your opinion on here. Your opinion still very valid and if you haven't heard your opinion, we'd love to have you on to hear your opinion. Sho doesn't email, let us know what you think. So before we finish off today's episode, are there any final thoughts, moments you guys want to share? Anythink we've discussed any of the questions? I think it was really cool, Mitchell, to hear your experience and the things that you've lived through as somebody who just adopted from China. I only get that one perspective, but hearing things from one your personal background as well as the Korean person, really awesome. Yeah, no, thank you for having me. Yet it's definitely also for me good to hear other people's opinions. You know, I also think it's interesting to just from my perspective of being a male and I know at least for in China's case, there aren't a lot of Chinese male adoptee. So it's also good to have, I don't know, just different opinions for of different perspectives, because I personally know, if a little, a few male adoptees, mostly from Korea. But it's also good just to give that opinion out,...

...because they do exist. Hard to believe, but yes, they do exist. So Yeah, Oh, yeah, because there's the difference between why China has so many adoptees in why Korea has adoptees like this. Different reasons. Yeah, right, it's just good to add color to it all. So absolutely what it's fascinating to learn about since, I mean, I remember the first time we talked, I was so shocked when you said that you're a Korean mail adoptee, because I've never met a mail adoptee, nor have I really met many Korean adoptees. So you've started love to hear more about in future episodes, for sure. Okay, so, thank you, Rachel, for joining us day and giving us your opinions, and thank you to all the listeners who joined us as well. If you're interested in participating in one of these episodes, please emails at adopted podcast at gmailcom. We would absolutely love to have you on and hear your opinion and hear what you have to share. And don't forget to follow us on instagram. You can find us at adopted underscore podcast to stay connected and see updates about what's going on with the adopted team do you guys next week.

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