Sometimes many lies surround adoptions. Sometimes these lies become the basis of people’s identities. They believe they are one person and then their whole life is turned upside down when they find out this is not who they are at all.
In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the story of a Korean adoptee who learns that she was adopted as a replacement for a little girl who was suddenly removed from the orphanage by her birth father. Not wanting to disappoint this girl’s American family the Korean social worker quickly gives another little girl the identity of Cha Jung Hee and sends her to the U.S. This little girl becomes Deeann Borshay, but spends the rest of her life wondering who she really is.
Deeann learns her true identity when her brother writes to her to tell her that her birth mother is still alive. Deeann visits her Korean family multiple times over the years and finally journeys back to Korea to try to find the real Cha Jung Hee. Amazing.
I HIGHLY recommend this documentary to those of us who adopted from a situation that was less than reputable (I’m talking to all of my fellow Lucky Hill adoptive parents–you need to watch this!). It gives an explanation, from the adoptees’ point of view, about why answers to these identity questions become so important for our children later in life. You can also see how Deeann struggles, decades after her adoption, to find these answers in Korea’s adoption record system (which, just as an aside is excellent, they found her file 40 years later!). I can’t imagine that there will be much of an adoption record left in Ghana for any of my children, especially Bubbly, whose adoption was done solely by a corrupt orphanage and without the full knowledge of Social Welfare (which I only found out months later).
Deeann touches on how international adoption is a booming business for some of the countries involved in it. This hurts to acknowledge, but she is right. The motivation behind why these parents are placing their children is something I struggle with daily as an adoptive mom. Am I doing a good thing? Or, am I contributing to an orphan cycle by adopting? I don’t know. I just know that I love my kids. And, Deeann loved her mothers, both of them.
who is feeling a little more informed today.