Name: David Juquel (이수강)
Adopted to: France
Current residence: Lyon, France
My name is David Louis Juquel (my Korean name was Lee Soo Kang). Born June 10th, 1981 in Seoul, I arrived sound and safe in France in March 1982. I was adopted from Korea to France. I currently live in the City of Lights known as Lyon. I'm married to a Korean woman, In Seon Kim, who was at first my Korean teacher. We have two kids, a girl who is 3yo (Dani) and a boy, Juni (15 mo).I also have a sister, Chloe, who is a Korean adoptee as well. As for the professional activity, I run a real estate business (been in the field for 17 years now) and my wife is a certified Korean translator, author (Korean Methods of Learning at Assimil) and a household economist.
Growing up as an adoptee was somehow standard to everybody else, but with a slight touch of specialness. My wife always says that "life is all about timing" and my timing was close to perfect.
My adoptive parents lived in the countryside of France, a small town called Veauche, which is roughly an hour drive from Lyon. There were 6,000 residents, mostly white folks as you can imagine. My very first neighbors were kind and from what I can remember, we spent countless hours playing together. Therefore I did not feel different, even though I knew somewhere down the road I was (a little bit, I admit).
Going to school was cool even if I did not dig it. Not going to lie here, I never was big on the studies. One interesting fact is that I was never the only Asian kid around. At every school I attended, from kindergarten to college, I always had numerous Korean adoptees around me, even in my class! Feeling different might not be the right description for me. I surely was, but I had always been surrounded by love and attention. I had good days and bad days like everybody else, but time was great, everything was right in its place and I had so many opportunities I cannot be thankful enough for.
I first got a deep interest into Korean culture and habits when I was in college. I attended a college in San Diego, California and met many different cultures. Obviously one stood out because Korean-Americans would love to hear my story about being Korean, French, and adopted, growing up in a different environment.
I later wanted to learn more about that culture and decided to try to learn the language (“trying” was the right word!). I met my wife who was my Korean teacher at the time.
The first time I visited Korea was in November 2011. I was there for 3 weeks. I spent the time with my in-laws, which was great, but a tad overwhelming as I had lost the habit of living with someone, or at least some nice and caring people.
At the time I wanted to do some research about my biological parents, but my appointment at Holt was not successful. My file had close to zero information on them besides some physical aspects and ages. So it ended this way, I left a picture of me in case someone wanted to know about me later.
My personal feelings towards being an adoptee nowadays is very much linked with my own family. My heart is French, but since my wife is Korean and our kids will have dual nationality until they turn 18, I have to behave and compromise with these two cultures. I believe their stories are going to be like mine, growing up with a look that doesn't fit right in! I made it safe until now, so I believe they will too.
I feel very lucky from the beginning as I met many adoptees with very different stories from mine. Nowadays, I would say that we are living in France with a strong Korean touch. We talk to our in-laws almost everyday, and my wife only uses Korean whenever she addresses our kids. Our goal for us later on would be to visit our family in Korea more often.
Author: David Juquel
Edited by: Kara Rickmers