Nathan Sung Budziak (Ki, Chungsung)

Name

Nathan Sung Budziak (Ki, Chungsung)

Age

27

Location

Northern California

Occupation

GAP Management / Mixed Roots Foundation Board Member

Own Words

“When did you first realize you were adopted?”
…..

“I didn’t”

and… cue the awkward, even more perplexed facial expressions!

So there you have it, yes, I am adopted, and ever since I was just a few months old I have only known one family, my adopted family.

Well, that was until about six months ago..

In short, I grew up primarily within Oregon and Nevada, however for two years of my life, I was home-schooled and traveled across the country with my mother and stepfather delivery goods in an 18-wheeler.  Then there were the years that I lived with my father inside a trailer surrounded by a handmade wooden fence to keep the horses at a distance. My life at that time consisted of fishing, hunting, chopping wood, hiking, and camping non-stop.  Some of the best years of my life, and come to find out, the years that often set me apart from the rest of my peers.

As I grew older I once again took up residence with my mother and stepfather this time in northern Nevada, just a few miles outside of Reno, NV. I graduated high school in 2002, and upon graduation, had realized that I was the ONLY Asian student at any of the schools I had attended K-12. This would all change as I entered college.

As quickly as college arrived, it quickly passed and I found myself a bit more cultured in terms of being Asian. I had made friends with quite a few Asian-Americans both in college and as I traveled to car shows. (Stereotypical eh?) Immediately after graduation I relocated to Los Angeles, CA, and obtained a job in Koreatown, this is where life became interesting, and I was thrown into what I later accept as my culture.

Fast forward to 2010, I had lost my job in Los Angeles, and returned to Reno, NV to begin my career with GAP INC in 2009. Well, 2010 arrived and I was relocating yet again, this time however to Beijing, China, to launch GAP Brand and two flagship stores in Beijing. I spent an amazing four months in China and gained a wealth of knowledge, experience, and friends along the way. The most amazing thing I gained from going to China, was family.

Upon returning from China,  I was battling a bout of jetlag and depression from returning to America, I had actually become homesick for China. So late one night I rifled off an extremely random and sleep deprived e-mail to the Holt Adoption agency, not expecting anything in return. After all, the records of my adoption which I have access to, offered no identifying information as to whom my birth parents were, so what was I supposed to think, aside from it probably won’t result in much. But what the hell, I sent it anyway.

Six days later, and still battling the tail end of what would be the worst jet lag ever experienced in my life, I received an e-mail, and it went a little something like this.

“Hello Nathan,
Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Esther Kim,  a social worker here at the Post adoption service center…. Following the procedures of the birth-search in a non-threatening manner,  the first telegram has been sent out last week to verify for good if they were indeed the same people whom we were search for.

Your birthfather, Mr. Ki, Dae-Suk, called our office yesterday right before our closing hour in response to our telegram, telling me that he was the birthfather who everyone including your birthmother believed that he would die from a stomach cancer back in 1983. …"

And… cue perplexed look combined with anxiety beyond belief.

Well, six months has passed since discovering my birth family, and I have recently returned from South Korea where I spent eleven amazing days getting to know my biological family.

This experience has opened my eyes to a world and community of adoptees, and an even greater understanding and appreciation for Asian-American individuals.

Oh yeah, you are probably wondering how I never realized I was adopted. Well, it wasn’t that I didn’t notice the physical differences between my adoptive parents, siblings and myself, that is obvious, but I never felt different. I never felt unloved, never was made to feel as though I was the adopted child in the family. My family embraced me as one of blood, only was it when I stepped outside into the public world, was I often times and still today made to feel as though I am different. But, give me a few minutes of most people’s time and I am quick to change their preconceived notions.

What the future holds for me now is still a question, but I do know that my desire to learn even more about my Korean heritage, and share my story with other adoptees and Asian-Americans is greater than ever. If you would like to read news articles written about my adoption in Korea, (ChosunIlbo, Chosun Woman) please visit my blog, provided below.

P.S. I love this site, because it combines people from all throughout the country, individuals who embrace their Korean-American identity.

http://www.adoptedthoughts.com
http://www.akasf.org
http://www.facebook.com/nbudziak

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