Siblings I’ll Never Meet

Siblings I'll Never Meet (Photo from

Yesterday was National Sibling Day, a day which has no bearing on me. I don’t have siblings. I grew up as an only child, and I admit I was a very spoilt only child. Being an only child meant I had all my parents’ love and attention, so I never had to fight a brother or a sister for all of that. Instead of siblings, I had cousins on my mum’s side. I had three older cousins, and then I was the oldest in our “generation” amongst the six of us. I was the 언니 (Unni) or 누나 (nuna), which is what Koreans call their older siblings or cousins, and being the oldest wasn’t a task I enjoyed. Nonetheless, my cousins were the closest I had to a sibling. Realistically speaking though, I have siblings who share my blood 100%, but I’ll never meet them.

Last May, I wrote about being a Korean Adoptee. That means my mum and dad aren’t related to me my blood. That means I have a biological mother and a father in Korea, and that most likely means I’ll have a half-brother or a half-sister if they’ve re-married and have kids with their new spouses. Years ago, I decided to search for my biological parents because I was curious to see who they were, curious about my biological family history, curious to see if I do have any half-siblings. I debated on searching for them for a while because I presumed that I was given up for adoption because I was an unwanted premature baby. However, when I was given my adoption files, and I read that my biological parents gave me up because they couldn’t marry due to them having the same last name, which means they may come from the same clan, I decided to search for them.

Long story short, I found both of my parents. My biological mother was found first, but she didn’t tell me right away that she and my biological father were married with two kids. They had their daughter, my sister, exactly a year after I was born. Their son, my brother, followed two or three years later. I don’t know anything about them. I don’t know even know their names. My biological parents apologised to me, saying they were “bad” people. Turns out, they were actually having marital difficulties, and they ended up separating a couple of years ago.

My biological father seems to have completely dropped me out of his life after our first meeting. My biological mother and I kept contact through KakaoTalk every once in a while, but when I expressed my interest in meeting my siblings, she declined that idea. She told my social worker that she knows her daughter well and that if her daughter was told the truth, all hell would break loose. I’m assuming that concept also applies to her son. Bottom line, without her or my biological father’s permission, I am not allowed to make contact or meet my siblings. Never mind that my siblings are adults themselves, Korean law or whatever prevents me from contacting them without parental permission. Even if I were to defy that and reach out to them on my own, I can’t because I don’t know their names.

How do I feel about all of this? Honestly, I’m pretty pissed off that I can’t even connect with my own siblings. They’re my full blooded siblings, and I cannot meet or talk to them. I’m fairly sure that after we meet once, we’ll probably never meet again, but that’s all I want — is to meet them at least once in my life. But without the cooperation of my biological parents, I am quite stuck. I wish I could meet my siblings, but at this point in time, I don’t think it’ll ever happen, unless maybe at my deathbed. Blood-related or not, I know who my real families are, and I am thankful to them in many ways. They’re my real family, and they will always be the family in my heart.


  1. I have to say I would expect many people would act the same way unless they had a more open relationship with their kids, which I guess they don’t.

    If you wanted to be somewhat more underhanded about it you could probably hire someone to find them or information on who they are and what they do. You could then decide whether you wanted to go ahead and try meeting them.

    Would something happen to you if you went around the process to find them?

    • Worst case scenario, I could get kicked out of Korea. No thank you on that! My social workers are the ones who told me it was related to the Korean law or somehow, and I’m really not keen on breaking any Korean laws . . . plus, I don’t have the funds to hire a private investigator or similar, haha XD;;;

  2. I would be pissed too if I wasn’t even allowed to contact my full-blooded siblings once, too. It’s weird that Korean law doesn’t allow contact unless with permission. I thought all bets are off once someone’s of legal age. Haha!

    • It makes sense that once you’re an adult, it shouldn’t matter, but it appears to does in Korea! X_X;

  3. I’m sorry you’re biological parents are preventing you from having a relationship with your siblings. I don’t know about the situation you’re in with your biological parents from experience, but I empathize. My dad has two sons with his second wife that are seventeen years younger than me. I’ve only met my brothers once and I’ll likely never see them again, and sometimes I think about them and wish I could have a better relationship. Of course there’s nothing that stops me from reaching out to them, I’m sorry the law would block you from contacting your siblings even as adults. But I’m glad you have family and sometimes the family that we choose, or has chosen us, is a far better option.

    • If you really want to form a relationships with your half-brothers, why not go for it? I understand it is awkward, though, so I don’t blame you for not meeting them often. ^^

  4. I’m one of the oldest in my generation as well, which isn’t good for me because there are a lot of expectations out of me XD. Even though your biological parents are not keen on telling you about your blood-related siblings, you still have your family who took you in and raised you to be a great person :). Maybe somewhere down the line, you’ll have a chance to meet them. Going out of your way and breaking the law is a big no-no! I don’t think it’s worth the punishment because you have a lot ahead of you (you already know that XD) :).

    • Yeah, it’s certainly not worth breaking any laws to try and meet them without parental permission!

      I totally get the expectations things. For me, it was more of a, “You’re the oldest, so you need to do the right thing to be a role model and take care of them.” Did not like that, haha!

  5. Chantelle on

    That’s rough. I hope minds change and that you’ll be able to meet them someday. I suppose the mother is terrified that the discovery will ruin her place in the family.

    • Yeah, I understand her fears of being judged and all, but I feel like at this point she doesn’t have much of a choice ~_~; Buuuuut, I’m not that evil, so I won’t do anything. Yet. But I will want to meet my siblings at least once.

  6. What if you asked to only have the names and promise not to contact without her permission, for cases when you need a first-degree relatives’ donation, etc? Surely the law would allow for that after she passes?

    On the other hand, people probably won’t like to be reminded of their mortality. Hmm…

    • Something tells me first-degree donation wouldn’t come out of all of this. I don’t know. I just get the sense that they are not very nice people . . .

  7. Oh wow, I really didn’t know such a strong law existed and to have such life long impact. Not just up until adulthood. (Though…I feel like I understand some k-dramas better suddenly….)

    I hope you’ll get to meet them someday, but it seems like you already have your true family with you.

    • LOL at the K-drama comment. Yeah, Koreans can be a bit wacky at times xD;

  8. Wow that really sucks. I don’t understand the mindset of people who would be… I dunno, angry? Upset? about finding out that they actually have another sibling out there. Even if you find that you don’t click with this other person when you meet them, don’t you want to at least find out?

    I’m thinking it’s more so your bio mother fearing that her kids would react poorly to the news and how they might view her rather than being upset about you.

    • Yeah, I would like to meet them at least once to see if we do click. If not, and if it’s a one-time opportunity, then that’s fine, too. I’ve a feeling that the siblings would react quite poorly. And if they are receptive to me, they may get even more angry that they weren’t told when I’d searched and found them several years ago.

  9. It’s unfortunate that it’s the korean law that is getting in the way of trying to connect with your own bloodline. I can’t imagine how the process was like and what you’ve felt through all the way, but your anger is just, but I hope that you’ll find a way to overcome it and get to meet them! Then it would be a party :)

    • I don’t think it will be a party, haha! It’d be one awkward party at the least XD I do hope I’ll meet them one day. :3

  10. I’m the unni of my cousins on my dad’s side and the baby on my mum’s side, haha. Although, my mum’s friends have started telling their children to call me Tita (auntie) now and I’m like, “HELL NAW, I am NOT that old!”.

    I don’t know how I’d feel if I were in your situation. That pretty much sucks that Korean law forbids you from connecting your siblings. For all the law knows, your siblings would be stoked to meet you! I know that I would happy if I found out I had siblings after being an only child.

    Curious, how do you feel about biological parents getting together anyway despite the fact they couldn’t due to them maybe being from the same clan?

    At least you know who your true family are! I do hope you get to meet them someday, though.

    • Some people may be stoked about finding out that they aren’t an only child, and some people may not. I’m kind of more on the side that isn’t too keen about it, but I still would like to meet them at least once ^^;

  11. Your entry hit home for me, because I’m an only child as well.

    When I was younger, I was kind of spoiled, so I embraced it, but once I got older, I’ve started wishing that I had a younger sibling, because it gets lonely not having someone to look down to. It’s hit me even more recently, realizing I’ll never be an Aunt.

    Also, I found out that I have a chronic illness that causes infertility, therefore my parents will never become Grandparents. It’s not like I have any siblings so they’d have another chance.

    Has its pros and cons.

    • That is a shame you’re not able to have kids, but have you considered adoption? That’s an option, and you’ll get to be a parent and your parents will get to be a grandparent.

  12. I’m the eldest child of my generation on my mom’s side and though I was always pampered in my childhood days, being the eldest irks me now because they have all the world’s expectations from me, starting with when will I get married!

    I think even though it is bad that your biological parents won’t let you contact your siblings, you still have a wonderful other true family who loves you! Maybe someday your true parents will realize their mistake and let your siblings contact you but till then it would be less painful for you to let go…

    • I doubt the biological Mum will tell them on her own. I don’t think she will ever tell them. She probably would rather take the secret to her graves.

  13. I have cousins and family I’ll never meet in Italy. Literally, my real grandfather was full blooded Italian, and I’ll never meet them. Maybe I can later on in my life. I have a younger sibling because I asked for one, but I wanted a sister, but I’m sad to see that my little brother is going into a bad path with drugs and whatnot…:( It’s okay if we never meet them, just rejoice in the family right now that loves you!~ ^^

    • Yeah, I am thankful to the family I have, and I’d never give them up for my biological one. No thank you to that!

  14. I’m always deeply moved by stories like yours. And sometimes it’s really sad when you don’t get an opportunity to meet your family. It sounds even worse when your family will not even cooperate or help. Giving someone up for adoption must be a hard thing, no doubt… but at the same time, it just feels heartless to not give your biological child information that they deserve to know. I don’t know how and if you’d ever find out about your siblings. Do you at least have last names to try and search for them? Even a hint of where they might have studied or worked? I suppose not. :(

    Perhaps some parents change, perhaps your biological mother will one day tell your siblings. I have read stories of adoptees whose biological parents seem quite hostile, but later go on to let them meet the rest of their family. Other times it’s sadly too late and no one is left.

    It’s wonderful though, that you have a family who loves you, despite you not being related to them biologically. I believe it makes up for the fact that your blood-related family don’t seem to care much for you at all.

    • Yeah. I feel like they gave me up for shallow reasons, so it seems only fair they’d at least let me meet my 100% biological siblings, but guess not! My social worker actually told me to wait until the sister becomes a mother, so that way she’ll be more understanding to her mother’s plight ~_~; Uh, jeez. What if she never becomes a mother? Faulty logic there, social worker.

  15. This was really touching and it is so difficult that you are not able to connect with your siblings. I wish that your biological mother could understand that you would like to be able to know them. I guess they are scared because they probably don’t know that they have a sibling. I am sure they would want to know, if they had the chance. I do hope at some point in the future that you can. :(


  16. Your story is amazing! I am so sorry under the circumstances that you can engage with your biological family. Not fair at all!

    Have you ever watched the film “Twinsters”? I watched it with my mother who is also an adoptee along with her twin sister.

  17. My mom once made up this extravagant story about how I’m an identical twin, but because she wanted to keep at least one child for herself, she gave my twin up for adoption and told the family I was a stillborn. Then, she told her and my dad’s family that she wanted to give me up for adoption, but would keep me only because she didn’t want anyone else to have me. Lucky me.

    Now that I’m twenty-five and have had a couple of years to witness her lies unfold, I feel compelled to see if this is that—as cliche as it sounds—missing piece I’ve felt all these years. I just…can’t, because we’re estranged, so I have to figure out how to go around and make it happen…if that’s even possible.

    It’s…not the same situation, I know. I’m not even brave enough to post it on my own blog (also because I think my mom still reads it), but…I feel like I can empathize with you a little. Siblings are…I mean, they’re like little pieces of us, when we have them; they’re extra parts of us and help make us a little more whole, and when, for whatever reason, we can’t be near them, it hurts. It aches me to know I could very well have a twin out there—that I’m not the womb twin I was led to believe I was—because it feels like there is this huge chunk missing from myself, and…I’m sorry. I know it’s a platitude, but I wish it wasn’t. It’s a really sucky situation to be in, and…I’m sorry. I wish you weren’t forbidden to meet your siblings.

  18. Also, for what it’s worth, I think it’s really sucky that you cannot legally gain access to information about where you’ve come from. To me, it should be your right—because it affects you more than anyone else—and the law seems to treat the adoptee like an it, in that they are a mere object to be controlled.

    Besides, wouldn’t it be wiser to be able to find out, perhaps to avoid future mishaps? (e.g. a couple in the US were each adopted and looking for the birth parents together, only to later find they had the same father)

    But ah, I digress.

    • Wow, I hope whatever you do, you will get a closure out of this. If you do have a twin, I hope you’ll get a chance to find them. That is indeed a sucky feeling, to feel like you lost a part of yourself :/ I don’t necessarily feel that, but rather I would just like to meet my so-called siblings at least once in my life and see if they’re anything like me or not.

  19. Aw Tara, thank you so much for sharing! I also read your other post explaining how you are a Korean adoptee and it makes so much sense. Your biological parents are Korean but you were adopted by another Korean + her Caucasian husband who’s in the US military Korea base, right?

    I’m really sorry your biological mother is so against you meeting your younger sister and brother. I know for a fact often times people want to hide their mistakes and it’s too much to bear for them. Perhaps that’s where she is at. Don’t let it harden your heart. It hurts in ways I won’t know because I can’t be in your shoes, but don’t let any of that stop you from the life you have. You have a family who loves you.

    If you ever do get the chance to meet your siblings though, it will be a blessing, so don’t give it up if it presents itself.


    • Thanks, Liv :) I’m definitely not letting her poor choices get to me. I do have a family who truly loves me, and that’s all it matters currently.

      And yeah, you nailed it. My dad was in the US army when he and his Korean wife (my mum) adopted me ^^

  20. Aw, this situation is so difficult! I can’t imagine not being able to meet my siblings because a law prevents me from doing so; I think meeting your family members should be your right and if you want to meet them, you should be able to. I have the same feeling as you do, that your biological mother would not tell your siblings about you because they would not be happy about the news. Oh well, I hope you do get the chance to meet them someday.

    • Yeah, it is difficult, and I do feel it is my right, but I guess not! We’ll see later in the future.

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