For several years now, DNA tests have been used to help adoptees find their biological parents and/or living family members. They have also been instrumental in absence of family medical records.
The Korean adoptee community has been at the forefront of utilizing DNA tests to pair adoptees with living biological family members—or at least attempt to give adoptees more information about their genetic make-up, but as an outside observer has pointed out to me, this collection of DNA is doing something much more—it’s compiling recorded data on Korea’s adoptee community, something that has not existed before.
I have always been blasé about finding my birth parents or any living biological family members. I have accepted the fact that I was given up for adoption, have trusted that it was done for a good reason, and am convinced that life in Korea would have been one hundred times more difficult for me compared to the life I have been blessed with in the United States with my American adopted family. For those reasons and many others, I have not aggressively embarked on a mission to find biological family and have not conducted a DNA test.
But as the collection of information is starting to grow due to the impressive amount of adoptees who have been taking DNA tests and entering their data onto specialized databases dedicated to the Korean adoptee community, a census of sorts has begun to emerge. A population that has traditionally been left out of any sort of accurate record-keeping both in Korea and within adoptees’ new adopted home countries, has now been empowered to document itself into some sort of organized system. If anything, this has indirectly created a fascinating collection of Korea’s “unwanted” children (many now adults).
For this reason, I have finally agreed to take a DNA test and contribute my findings to these dedicated databases. In fact, I was about to purchase my own DNA kit from 23andme until my friend informed me that a free kit will be waiting for me in Korea when I arrive next month. If my results bring in a match, it will truly be amazing, but if it reveals nothing with regard to my family history, I am at peace with that as well. The important thing to me is that I have contributed to this growing collection of data that would not have been possible had the adoptee community not taken it upon itself to be documented in a way society has not documented us before. I see incredible value in this and want to support this cause. For as my friend said, it’s better than nothing, and nothing is pretty much what most of us have had to rely on before now.