How much do you love this? I remember my little pookie bears when they were this size. Thanks to J. Schippnick for the cute gif!
Anyway, as we approach Friday, here are a few of my favorite moments of the week. WATCH them all right here.
There was a time when I had no problem putting on a dirty wig and taking goofy pictures. And making a kissy face.
That year was 2000. I was in Busan. And this was the first time I spent "alone" time with my biological sisters. I volunteered in Korea for two weeks and then stayed behind a third week to hang out with my birth family.
It was a very awesome but very difficult time for me. In fact, I kind of forgot about it until I grabbed this picture for this post.
I met these young women (my sisters) two years before.
I was very nervous about the whole situation. It was my first unsupervised visit with them. I had no idea where I was and I was putting a lot of trust in people I didn't know. I also didn't speak Korean well. I had taken two semesters of it, but it wasn't good.
At our first dinner, I remember sitting on the floor of my Korean family's high rise apartment and watching them all laugh and chat. I sat there silently and wished I understood what they were talking about. Was it about their day? Did something funny happen at college? Where they talking about the same things I'd talk about with my parents in Missouri?
I was experiencing a lot of emotions that particular trip, and most of them were melancholy, sadness and loneliness, even though I had supposedly found what so many adoptees wanted. I was constantly reminded that I didn't belong. I couldn't communicate, and seeing them happy made me feel empty. Why did God rob me of a chance to be raised with my sisters?
Then, I'd feel guilty for thinking that way because my parents were so freaking fantastic back home. It was meant to be. But I was sad processing it. I think it was the first time I really, truly grieved for not knowing Korean culture, language, and all the other things Koreans probably took for granted.
The beautiful thing about life is that emotions come and go, but hopefully you learn something along the way. I've learned a lot about who I am and know it's okay to grieve or be happy about things, especially when they're beyond our control. I hope I've become more compassionate because of these up and down moments.
I know I've written a lot about adoption lately, but it's just on my mind. This time I'm having an "up" moment as my sister Hyun Jeong (red hat) makes her way to Madison this morning. And I may know what she's thinking when we're all making jokes and having mundane conversations around the dinner table. I just hope I can provide some comfort to her because I've been there.
Thanks, Mom. But Imma gonna say a couple of things about why I'm glad you're my mom.
1. You have always been my best friend, my biggest supporter and confidant.
2. You taught me about hard work, honesty, compassion and being genuine.
3. You tried to fight my battles for me when I had no voice.
4. You still treat me like I'm your baby. And I still love it.
5. And most importantly, you taught me to love others and give it my all.
But let's be real! You still chose me after seeing that first picture in 1979! I would choose you every day.
Love you MOM! Hope I can be a great mother one day, too. To real people. Not just rottweilers.
There are so many things to say about this, but I'm finding it difficult to make time and form words to describe how I feel about my biological sister and her husband moving to Wisconsin. Her husband grew up in Wisconsin, so that's the connection there.
First of all, it's ALL positive! I'm so excited. Second of all, I really want them to make their way to Madison and be happy! I'm sure they will.
My sister's name is Hyun Jeong. I have three biological sisters, and Hyun Jeong is my second oldest sister. In the picture, she's the one in the red shirt.
We all met in 1998, when I went on a birthland tour. I kind of stumbled on my biological family, and I can talk about that later. But basically, long story short - my biological mother felt that having a third girl might be detrimental to her marriage, thanks to a stern warning from one of her inlaws. So, when she gave birth to me, she relinquished me in secret. She told my birth father that I had died. They got pregnant right away and had a fourth girl. My birth mother kept my birth a secret for 18 years ... until I went back to Korea and asked to look at my file.
I always feel the need to say that I was very content with being adopted and growing up a Midwesterner. I wasn't "missing" something or anything like that. And, I want to reiterate that because there are a lot of people who 1) assume that adoptees aren't whole until they find their 'real' (ugh) family and 2) Adoptive parents should know that their children are not necessarily searching... waiting to find someone 'better'.
BUT now that that's all out of the way... I'm really happy to see my birth sister. The fact that she's moving to Wisconsin makes me think that it was Divine Intervention for me to be in Madison. I am so excited and a little nervous. I've always wondered what it would feel like to have a sister - and I wonder... can we be real sisters? Can I do her hair? Can she do my makeup? Can we be the kind of old ladies who take vacations together? Can I confide in her about marriage and life?
I am pretty sure the answer is YES!
But, not to put pressure on her, but she's really my best connection to the rest of my birth family. I have always had a little fear that we'd all kind of fade away and I'd never know what happened to them. I also wondered if my (future) children would understand why they're Korean-looking and why I'm the way I am. My sister already said she'd be a good babysitter!!
On a complete side note, she owned and operated her own language institute in Korea, so I'm hoping she can get some work teaching Mandarin or Korean in Madison (wink, wink...) so if you know a guy-who-knows-a-guy, let me know.
Anyway, I'm hoping we can share some of our adventures in the future. I have been fascinated to hear how adoption has impacted her life, plus I'm really excited to show her around this beautiful city. We also really love her husband, but I try to respect his privacy... same goes with my husband. But I just didn't want to leave him out. We're so excited to have him home! I can't wait to see what life has in store for us. Life is good. And full of wonderful surprises.
I got a notification late last night that I am in the 2nd trailer for Tammy! I am a real life journalist and serious about my job... but this totally got me geeked.
For the record, wardrobe decided to take off my suit jacket and makeup took off my eyelashes. So sad. So, basically in my insecure-woman-language, that means I don't think I look my best. BUT, we won't even go down that road.
On a final note, I LOVE Sarah Baker. She's my new hero. Follow her on Twitter and watch for all the cool things she's doing.
I am so proud to continue to work with great people. Over the weekend, WISC took home a slew of awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association gala.
Some really notable awards include News Operation of the Year and Social/Digital Media Operation of the Year. The great thing about the social award is that it competed against all Wisconsin markets. As you can imagine, that is a highly competitive category.
READ: WISC honored with news operation of the year award, 19 other honors
I co-emceed the event with five other anchors from across the state, including Eric Franke. We had quite a time at the podium. We were watching folks watching us... and tweeting throughout the event. I guess we were trying to have fun, too!
Overall, couldn't be more proud of my co-workers. I feel like they're family and just respect all the work they do to bring home the news and the bacon.
I have really come to love working with Gary Cannalte. He is one of my favorite people ever, and the other day he let Eric Franke record him dancing. Then, I wake up to a message from our co-worker James Yaeger... who made this gem for us: