This Is My Story, by Rachel

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012


My name is Rachel Myli. Growing up in a small town in Iowa, I was grateful and still am, to have the love and support of my family and my friends. As I got older, I realized who will stay for you, who will love you no matter what, and how much they're willing to sacrifice. My story starts not in Cresco were I grew up, but in Seoul, South Korea.

I was only a couple of weeks old when I was abandoned from my birth parents. Speculation of my biological father beating my mother and I were suspected. It became very apparent that it was true when I was 2 and had dreams of my mother for 3 years and every time I would dream of her, she was badly beaten; I look just like her. My story doesn't start so happy but believe me, there is a happy ending. I was found in a basket, beaten w/ a big blow to the side of my head in front of a motel in Korea by a bellboy. According to my records, he had brought me to the police station to see if anyone would claim me. Hours passed and I was shortly brought to an orphanage. From the orphanage, I was sent to a foster home. Back in Iowa, a family, who had 2 children of their own and adopted a daughter, also Korean, wanted another child. A woman I would soon call my mother.

At the age of 2, I was adopted. I was welcomed with open arms by my family and their friends. My older sister, not biologically as we have different parents, is Korean and we're both the same age. As my sister and I got older, we realized that the world isn't always rainbows and smiles. We lived in a world where children were hurtful and would taunt and bully us. Asking us questions like "Do you like having a white family? Why don't your parent's look like you." Then there were the hateful discriminatory words for being Asian. We were constantly called by our classmates "Gook, Chink, Jap." You name it, we have heard it. I remember I would come home almost every day as a child bawling my eyes out, begging and pleading with my mother to change us schools.

My mother has and will always be a big part of my life. She use to tell me, "This won't kill you and what doesn't kill you, will only make you stronger Rachel." My sister manifested her pain differently as she would become silent and hold in her anger and pain. I on the other hand, was very verbal and very emotional.

As time went by and my sister and I entered middle school, we stopped and looked at each other and I asked her out loud, "Do we really care what these people think of us?" We knew what we went through as babies and as children w/ a multi-cultural family. Her and I both to this day do not know our biological parents and frankly, we don't care. She looked back at me and said, "No. Why should we?" Surprisingly, as soon as we stopped caring, we ended up getting a positive reaction from our peers.

I chose to pose for the NOH8 Campaign for anyone who's been bullied, taunted for being different, and for the adopted children who's had to ever endure what my sister and I have. We all bleed the same way and we are all the same color when the lights go out. I love my family to every extent and without them, I wouldn't be here and wouldn't have grown to be the brave and honest woman I am. Most people don't understand that the NOH8 Campaign is not just about standing up for gay rights, but it's also a fight against any kind of discrimination.

So to those children who asked me so many years ago, yes, my parents are white, my two oldest siblings are white, and my older sister is also Korean. And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.



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