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My Life as an Adopted Child From Korea With Disabilities

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I was born in South Korea. I was born in Pusan, but taken to Seoul Orphanage for kids with disabilities. I was adopted to a Christian family in December 1983 at age 5. I am the youngest of five children. One of my sisters, who is four years older than me, was also adopted before I came here. It was never easy growing up with disabilities and adjusting to school. When I arrived in Washington state with my adopted family I was tested, and they found out I am hard of hearing. I was fitted with two behind-the-ear hearing aids at age 6. I was pulled out of regular elementary school and transferred to a different elementary school for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. There I learned SEE — Signing Exact English. I also was able to read lips well.

As you probably know, children with disabilities are often picked on by bullies at school, especially older kids. It all started in elementary school. I tried to fight back, but got myself in trouble. I was pulled out of deaf middle school and transferred to regular junior high. I had a harder time adjusting there, mostly boys were bullying me because of being a new kid, having disabilities and being Korean. I again fought back and got myself in trouble often. For years I hated myself; I hated having disabilities. When I was in high school, I was not a popular student. I was never nominated as homecoming queen and wasn’t much into sports. I had some friends, but no one really hung out with me after school.

For a long time I thought I would always be single and no guys would want to date me. I was wrong. In 2004 I was set up on a blind date by one of my friends. It was her ex-boyfriend. We met, fell in love; it was love at first sight. We got married September 24, 2005. My Dad was so happy to walk me down the aisle that day. In March 2010, our precious daughter was born. For while my own adopted family thought I was not able to care for our child because of my disabilities. We proved them wrong.

People thought I would not be able to succeed in college. I did go to college for a quarter, and passed the classes. I’ve had different jobs throughout the years. Recently I got hired working for Dominos Pizza inside. My husband is a regular driver for our Dominos. I had jobs in the past that were good jobs, nice coworkers I got along well with, and some of the bosses were kind. But with Domino I have two managers who are the most awesome. They gave me many chances to learn; they may get somewhat frustrated, but keep on helping me. They teach me so many things I never would have known. At my old jobs I never had chances to improve, never had chances to keep trying, never had chances to learn things, and my bosses were not really encouraging either.

People thought because I was a pastor’s daughter I was always happy. Not true. I struggled with depression for years, and also panic attacks, anxiety, asthma, allergies, being hard of hearing, and having learning disabilties. My depression has gotten worse since my adopted dad died of dementia in 2011. It was not always easy dealing with my disabilities. I still struggle with it; even with our customers, sometimes it gets frustrating. One thing people do not understand is how being deaf affects my grammar and typing skills. How we communicate in person is also how we type.

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Getty image by GolfX.

Originally published: February 6, 2018
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