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K-me

My Korean American friend Taylor has a theory that every Korean knows a Grace Kim. So far, this theory has held up. By which I mean: I know a Grace Kim. He knows another Grace Kim. There was a character in one episode of 30 Rock named Grace Park, who was probably based on a Grace Kim. This is not the most scientific of theories. But try it out, it’s fun(ish).

Recently, at a party, my mother was challenged as to why she had adopted a Korean baby as opposed to one of Chinese or Vietnamese origin. Well, why not? Korea had a dependable supply back in the day, and its discarded infants needed homes as much as any. If I hadn’t been imported into New York City, I might have gone to Oklahoma or Texas to become one of those beautiful big-haired girls featured in the high school graduation spreads in the adoption agency newsletters. (Texan me would be just as short as actual me and consequently would probably own a gun.)

My tribe, if it exists, of Korean-born adoptees, is likely one of limited scope. In science fiction, mine would be a dwindling race. It had a birth, a population plateau somewhere in the mid-late seventies, and as of now it has given way to the Chinese girls, the Vietnamese, the Guatemalans. But these are my brethren in the same way that all Americans (in theory) are brothers and countrymen as well. We can say, and be backed up by research, that we will never grow up to be our mothers, because nature tends to trump nurture on the personality tests. We have been gifted the ultimate American option, to be unmoored by history and past generations, a freedom to self-invent. Which is difficult, so thank god corporate interests are there to tell me what to buy/be.

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