Chung Byung Hoon


Chung Byung Hoon







Own Words

I found this site after Stephanie's post on youtube in regards to overseas adoption. I never sought out other Korean adoptees before. Here goes my story. I was adopted at 7 months old by a Polish family from suburban Minneapolis. I grew up with two other asian kids in my class of 1,200. I knew pretty early that I was different than most others in my class, but never identified with the two others who were Korean adoptees, too. Most of my friends were white and my race never seemed to be an issue. I experienced a little racism in elementary school that I still remember to this day, but I also remember kicking those same kids' asses as I got older and bigger so I dealt with it. I always had identity problems under the surface, too asian physically to fit in with the white kids. When I got older, my values were too white to fit in with other asian cultures. Many afternoons were spent in detention and in other trouble. Through all of it my parents stayed supportive. My dad coached baseball, basketball, hockey, and football so I was a jock most of my youth. I suppose being bigger than most kids throughout my youth prevented any excess harrassment beyond macho pissing contests. As I entered high school, I started to run with the trouble crowd, ditching class and doing drugs. The rest of my teenage years were spent dealing/using drugs and other activites to ensure that people knew I was the wrong person to f*ck with. I eventually landed in prison at age 19 for drugs and guns. In prison, I experienced the most racism ever as I was surrounded by the most ignorant people in society (which I was too by ending up in there). Before, my crew of thugs consisted of members of all races. As I tried to create the same ties in prison, I learned that only other asians would accept me as  racism and respect became more important than ever. In prison, I learned more about the other asian cultures: Laos, Viet, Hmong, Chinese. The only other two Koreans in there were adopted, too. They chose to sit with the whites, regardless of the disrespect and racism. The one thing that kept me from going off the deep end of hate was the weekly visits from my adoptive father, who was always supportive. When I was released, I finished parole and shut out all acquaintances from the past and only associated with other Asians. During this period, I was quick to physically smash anyone who presented any racism in my direction. This continued through college. College was still predominantly white, and I had followed a girl to a small town college, so I stayed within the Asian social parameters I had set for myself. In my sophomore year I met some Korean international students who introduced me to the culure, food, and community. I helped them with English slang and American culture while subtlety enlightening them what others would perceive as metrosexual characteristics they displayed. My hatred for other races was still harbored deep inside during this time and were just tolerated as I put on the facade that all were accepted to succeed in class or at work. Slowly, I started to open up to a select few non Asians in my personal life. Through them, I came back to the realization that not everyone one is as ignorant as I had experienced and my views had been shaped by the actions of a few, but I had prejudged too many and missed out on meeting some interesting people. I barely made it through college on non academic probation due to several problems with others while sticking up for my international friends. 26 years old and I was still in the principal's office.

Today I am more mellow, raising my two daughters and working in the corporate world. I hope to make the transition into non profit and work with troubled youth. I definitely appreciate the opportunities I have been given by being adopted and have learned from experiences. I relish my morning conversations with my former black panther weightlifting buddy and hearing stories from my diverse co workers. My life could have been much worse had I grown up in an orphanage in Korea, or better. Either way I can't change any of that.

I uploaded a picture of what really matters.

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