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After the Morning Calm: Reflections of Korean Adoptees

Edited By Dr. Sook Wilkinson And Nancy FoxSunrise Ventures; $16.95.

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Attention, parents: Run to your local bookstore and order a copy of After the Morning Calm, a collection of writings by 27 Korean adoptees. This book, and the few others written by adoptees, will help adoptive parents understand the complex emotions their children must work through to find peace within.

These stories show that no two children follow exactly the same path. Every adoptee has a unique story to tell. Parents who believe that love conquers all will read that, while love is important, their children will deal at some point with the universal questions every adoptee asks: "Who am I?" and "Why did they abandon me?"

The stories present many different approaches to the subject. Geoffrey van Veen describes being in Korea but doesn't go into detail about his reunion with his birth family. Sunny Jo, by contrast, talks of her reunion and lets us glimpse the anger she feels about the facts behind her adoption. The adoptees range widely in age and experience. The youngest is Stephanie Lagman, age 18; the oldest, Washington state senator Paull Shin, 66.

It's always wonderful to see adoptees' writings in print. The only criticism I have is that stories of loss and anger are largely missing from this collection. Most of the adoptees here have made peace with their history. Many in the world have not. If parents don't hear their grieving, how can they help their children through those difficult times? Still, the stories here offer real insights that will be useful to the parents of any child growing up adopted.

Reviewed by Kim Eun Mi Young-Jackson, adoptee, Seoul, Korea, 1960.


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