Jen Mellon here, the co-founder and president of Trustify. This post covers Why I’m Searching for My Korean Birth Parents - An Interview with Matt Blanchard.
Matt Blanchard shares his adoption story and the search he has begun for his birth parents.
Matt Blanchard was adopted at five months old from Korea in 1989. He’s wanted to meet his birth parents since he was in high school. But so far, his search has turned up with nothing. Good thing, there is Trustify's network of private investigators that for sure can help him.
I sat down with Matt to ask him about why he started his search for his birth parents and what he hopes to learn.
When did you decide you wanted to search for your birth parents?
I decided I wanted to search for my birth parents when I was in high school. I knew then that I wanted to learn so much more about my heritage and where I came from and that a reunion would be something truly special.
Was there anything specific about your heritage you hoped to learn from your birth parents?
I wanted to be able to see where I was born: the city, the town, you know. Things like that. I think that would be kinda special. Heritage wise? I mean yeah, I’d love to learn more about my birth family’s family, but I guess that’s something not so much at the forefront of my mind.
I want to take in as much of the country as I can for sure. I want to visit all the different areas, and really get to take in Seoul. I would also love to visit the adoption agency and the foster home because they were really the ones that took care of me for the first 5 months of my life. That would be cool.
When was the last time you saw your birth mother?
The last time I saw my birth mother was the day that I was born in 1989. Over the years, my birthday has held more sentimental value because this was the last time we were together.
Do you ever think about what that day was like?
Crazy. I mean I imagine it was a crazy day for her, for sure. You know, 9 months of preparing herself for that day. I imagine it was pretty heavy.
The crazy thing is that some of the people I talk to on Facebook (about adoption), they’re all kinda the same. They say “who knows if your birthday is actually your real birthday; they could have just picked a random day.” They’re all really upset about it. They say how their birthdays are very hurtful to them, whereas for me, I’m on the opposite side. I never really thought about it that way. I only learned recently that that’s how some adoptees feel about their birthdays.
How does your family feel about the search?
I feel very lucky that my family is 100% supportive of my search for my birth parents. We’ve discussed making a trip as a family together if my birth mother were to be found. Having their support has really helped me continue on since I don’t feel like I am putting anybody in a position they don’t feel comfortable with.
How does your sister in particular feel about the search? (Matt’s sister is also adopted.)
That’s a good question actually. Since my sister is also adopted—and from a different family—we come from the same situation. But we feel completely different. In terms of me having these questions I want answered and always wanting to know more and find out what I can, she’s just like, “I’m good. No need!”
As far as my search goes, she’s very supportive. She’d love to go to Korea with me and meet my family, you know go with me for the trip. But she doesn’t have an interest in searching for her birth parents.
What do you think your birth parents are like?
I’ve always imagined what my birth parents are like, which is strange having never met them or remembering what they look like. My birth records indicate that my father was outgoing and that my mother was the youngest of six siblings and introverted. I have always believed my mother to be stunningly beautiful.
Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to grow up with your birth parents?
Yeah. It’s kinda funny. When I was younger, I used to joke about it with my friends and stuff, about how I would have grown up if I hadn’t been adopted. Never speaking English, maybe, which seems crazy to me.
Given the situation my mom appeared to be in, it’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like. If I had to guess, from the way it sounds, you know with her age and the circumstances, it probably would have been rough.
What would you ask her if (when) you meet her?
If I could meet my birth mother, my first question would be already be answered. Knowing where I come from and what my birth parents look like has been something that I’ve wondered about since childhood.
I would want to know about her life growing up, and what she was going through when she gave me up for adoption at just 16 years old.
Would you want to ask your birth mother difficult questions like, “Why did you place me for adoption?”
Yeah. I’d want to ask her things like “What was the hardest part of your decision to place me for adoption, and when did you decide to do that?”
Obviously, there are more options than just adoption, so I’d like to ask her why she decided to do what she did, and what the hardest part was. I don’t have kids of my own yet, but it’s hard for me to imagine giving up kids of my own. I can’t imagine how hard that was for her.
Obviously, I’m grateful for what she did! I mean if she’d had an abortion, I wouldn’t be here! So there’s that.
What do you most want to know about your family?
It’s hard to say what I want to know most about my birth family as I’d like to find out any and all information I can about them. I want to know what are their favorite foods, what life growing up in Korea was like, and definitely about how they met, and what’s taken place since then. I hope to able to speak with my birth mom about the decisions she made to provide me a better life when she knew that she couldn’t.
How would you feel if your birth parents don’t want to reconnect with you?
The thought of my birth parents being found and not wanting to reconnect with me is definitely something I’ve had to consider. Although I hope that is not the case, I know it would be hurtful to have come so far and so close, to only be turned down. However, I understand that in the past 28 years, one’s life can completely change, and there may not have been any knowledge from family members of my birth mother that I was ever born.
I do try and prepare the best I can for news such as this; however, I remain as hopeful and positive as I can that news of a reunion will come.
Watch Matt’s interview here.