For the uninitiated, TIFU is an acronym for Today I Fucked Up where redditors post stories about… how they fucked up today. Pretty self-explanatory. Usually they’re stories about how they ran into a pole or jerked off onto their son’s homework. Nothing too life shattering. Then came this which could possibly one of the Top 10 Greatest Fuckups of All Time. Just read the story.
Well, I suppose this fuck up has happened today, and has been happening everyday for the past seventeen years.
About seventeen years ago my wife and I adopted a baby from an Asian American family. While we knew very little details, basically what happened with them is that we learned they were too young for children. I made very little inquiries as (they seemed embarrassed/I didn’t want to pry). I was just excited to have a son and couldn’t have cared less about the parent’s history, besides their current and future well being. So as long as they were healthy and willing to gift me with their child, I really did not go too much into their histories. This was my major fuck up. My wife and I choose to adopt this baby because we felt for the parents and anyone that has been through the adoption process knows that it is much easier to get a non-white baby than it is to get a white one (which is fucked up IMO) and we wanted one NOW and didn’t want to be on a wait list.
Anyway we adopt this beautiful, loving, affectionate and incredible baby. It’s truly love at first sight for all of us. Around about eight months we start to feel a little bit of guilt about not raising him in his on ethnic culture and given that we live in an area with a major Chinese population, it would be very easy to introduce him to his roots. So for the next seventeen years we do everything we can to honor his ethnicity. We send him to Chinese language courses and by five he’s fluent in Mandarin and English, he gets an “adopted” by a Chinese aunt and uncle (they taught him cultural things and celebrate certain holidays and take him for dim sum every couple of weeks). We’ve been taking him to China every two years since he was eight. We weren’t trying to force him to take up his culture as an “other” in our family, but we didn’t want to rob him of it or completely whitewash him either. We try and be PC as possible and we thought we were doing the right thing.
He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me and my wife. There is not a day were I don’t just look at him and smile warmly. I love him.
Anyway we are filling out his college apps/financial aid applications and doing that whole thing. I go to my home office and go through some files and find his old adoption records. I’m not really paying much attention to them and then his biological parents surnames pop out and basically punch me in the face. His parent’s last names were PARK AND KIM. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK.
For those of you that do not know, those are Korean last names. My son is not Chinese. Not even a little bit.
I suppose I just assumed it because we live in an area on the west coast where there are a lot of Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans have been living for generations and generations. I don’t always assume every Asian is Chinese, but I did assume this for my son. Now I have a seventeen year old Korean son that thinks he’s Chinese. Now that I look at him, he looks INCREDIBLY Korean in comparassion to all of the photos of Korean men that I have just googled. Very square jaw, less hooded eyes, very broad build. None of this ever crossed my mind. I’ve dedicated nearly two decades to helping my son be close to roots that aren’t even his. I realize that I’ve just been fucking up. I feel like a complete asshole to the nth degree. I’m that dumb liberal white dickhead. Fuck.
I have yet to disclose this to my son or wife.
I honestly don’t even know if I will.
TL;DR: Assumed my son was Chinese and I’ve spent his whole life playing homage to his roots, he’s Korean.
“Hey, son. You know the racial identity we foisted on you and immersed you in for 17 years? Turns out it was the wrong one. Oops.” Thanks, dad!
Note: Header image of Kang Ye Bin has nothing to do with the post. She’s just really hot.