Your Story Matters

The last time I wrote was at the beginning of 2020 and I was reflecting on just how important it is to cherish the moments in life because you never know when something could happen. I would have never guessed in a million years that 2020 would look like this.

2020 was off to a great start for me. It was a new year and I had plenty of goals that I wanted to accomplish this year. The coronavirus was not really a big deal yet in the U.S. Outbreaks were happening overseas in different countries, but it hadn’t really hit home. Then March happened and everything changed.

I remember in mid-March when everyone was in a rush to the grocery stores to stock up. I don’t think I have ever seen people panic this much. We stocked up and prepared for “quarantine,” which I figured would last a week or two at most. I was thinking I could finally binge a few shows on my list since I was stuck in the house.

Around the third week in March, I started getting this annoying dry cough, but honestly did not think much of it. I have really bad allergies and right around then everything started blooming outside. Whitney thought it sounded a lot worse than just allergies, but I just brushed it off and dealt with it.  

A few days later, Whitney started having breathing problems.  She has asthma, which places her at higher risk if she contracts the virus.  She contacted her doctor, who gave her antibiotics and breathing treatments and also sent her to get tested for COVID-19.  At that point, the results took a week or two to come back. I was starting to get scared because I could tell she was starting to struggle with her breathing and she sounded awful.  

Unfortunately, I started developing other symptoms of my own the last weekend in March. I lost my appetite and became very weak. I ended up not being able to keep anything down, including fluids. This lasted a few days and after talking with several medical professionals, they all said I need to go immediately to the emergency room for extreme dehydration. When I was treated at the ER, the doctors and nurses treated me as if I had COVID-19. They would not test me because at that time, it was one test per family and Whitney already had a pending test.

After being released from the hospital, the following weeks were awful for me. I had a ton of nausea, lightheadedness and some days not keeping things down.  In the meantime, Whitney was not improving and sounding worse every day. Even our pup Yoda was extremely sick. Since Whitney was the most “healthy” person at that point, she had to care for all of us. Just in case she needed to go on a ventilator, we mapped out the fastest route to the hospital.  

Her COVID-19 test actually came back negative, but many tests were coming back with a false negative. The person who called with her results actually suggested that she get re-tested and they wanted me tested too. My doctor told me not to even worry about being tested and focus solely on recovery and quarantine, which is exactly what I did. It was a long road, but I think we both have finally recovered at this point.

So why am I telling you this story? Because I want you to remember just how precious life truly is.  I know we see statistics of people who have died from the coronavirus continue to rise every day.  It’s human nature, but we become numb to seeing the same thing over and over again. But behind those statistics are stories of real people who are no longer with us.

Your story matters. Who you are matters. What you have accomplished in life matters.  Who you have impacted in life matters. Do not let anybody ever tell you differently.

I think as a Korean adoptee, knowing that my story matters is so important.  Even if my story sounds like another adoptee’s, it still is my story and should be treated as that.  It is really easy to compare yourself to other adoptees, but just know that your journey is your own.  You do not have to feel pressured into doing a birth search just because everyone else is.  You do not have to take a DNA test because that is the trendy thing to do.  You have the power and the right to do what you want when you want.

As an adoptee, you may never choose to fully embrace the fact you are adopted and/or the issues that can arise from it.  If you choose that path, that’s ok.  Why?  Because it is ultimately your path to choose and you have the power to control it.  You may feel pressure from family members, friends or even other adoptees, but you can choose your own path and embrace it.

I know for me personally, I still have not done a birth family search.  I remember talking about it five years ago when we first started blogging.  Over these last several years, I have watched many others do birth family searches and many adoptees were successful in making contact with their birth families.  Could that happen for me? Possibly, but I still am not ready to initiate search.

If 2020 has taught me anything so far, it is that life is very unpredictable.  Things can happen in an instant that can change your entire outlook.  I am really working on opening myself to being more vulnerable.  I think that vulnerability is so powerful and it opens the door for allowing yourself to embrace the unknown.  I am one who loves to be in control of things and doing a birth search removes all the control from my hands.        

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© We the Lees, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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