This blog post is a summary of a piece originally written for the Overcoming Odds campaign Stand Up Speak Up, an initiative to stop the corruption within the adoption industry by sharing real-life experiences of adoptees.
Lee was born in Busan, South Korea. An American family in Harrisburg, PA adopted him when he was just four months old. He began working for the government shortly after graduating from college in 2007. Despite his family attempting to expose him to Korean culture, Lee was not interested. But that would all change in 2010.
In 2010, Lee attended a Korean adoptees conference. It opened his eyes to adoption and ignited a desire to learn more about his history. That led him to return to Busan in 2011, where he felt that he fit in for the first time. When he returned home, he wanted to learn as much about Korea as possible. He joined local adoptee groups and served on the board of a local Korean organization. His interest eventually led to meeting his wife, Whitney, also a Korean adoptee.
Whitney’s family adopted her from South Korea when she was six months old. Like Lee, she had no interest in learning more about her heritage despite her parents exposing her to Korean food, culture, and even asking if she wanted to find her birth family in Korea. Whitney was unable to find a job after graduating from college in 2009 but found one as an English teacher in, coincidentally, Korea.
While she lived in Cheonan, South Korea, her parents told her to go to Seoul and look for her birth parents. She worked with the caseworker and found out the names of her immediate birth family. Unlike most adoptees’ family records, Whitney’s was a full genealogy with names and governments ID’s. This made the search easy and just several days later, Whitney met her family for the first time in 23 years. It was after this experience that she met and eventually married Lee.
As a Couple
Lee and Whitney learned that they happen to share the name “Lee”. This inspired the name of their blog, We The Lees, where the couple shares their experiences and thoughts. They also share their stories to remind other adoptees that they are not alone, and that is why they became a part of Overcoming Odds.
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You can read more stories like the Lee’s here.