Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

losing two moms

Just yesterday I was sending photos of old hairstyles to newer friends, and I came across this photo:

This is me, thirty pounds overweight and pregnant with my son.  (Yes, the glasses are huge – it was the eighties!)  And behind me is my mom.  See?  She had her moments.  She really liked babies, and here she is on a rare (only?) occasion with two grandchildren.

I’ve been wanting to write about her for a long time now, but was feeling too fragile.  But feeling strangely strong right now, I’m thinking about her and want to explore some of the complexity of what it is to hate adoption and love your mom and hate abuse and love your mom and to leave the mom you love yet continue loving her and to never reconcile and lose two moms.

That would describe a lot of adoptees, you know.  A lot of adoptees have to put distance between themselves and the people who acquired them, controlled them; molded them.  And in so doing, they lose a big part of who they are.  Again.  And for those who bonded with their foster moms, that’s three moms they lost.  And some lose even more…

For us adoptees, there is always that duality of nature vs. nurture to contend with.  My family was all musical, and despite years of piano lessons and band, I struggled with it.  My family were literal yet educated people who spoke proper English, in a plain manner, but never in a socially common manner.  And I:  I spoke in precise multi-syllabic words and, from as long as I could hold a pencil, preferred to communicate in images.  And we looked different.  So that was the nature half of the equation.

On the nurture half of the equation, I am very much my mother.  And this is because we spent sooooo many hours alone in each others’ presence, though we rarely interacted.  She, too, was a feral cat and I learned all my spooky ways from her.  And because half of me is her, I of course liked many things about her.  I liked how she hated PTA moms, Tupperware parties,  bridge games, cocktail parties, social gatherings, dressing up / being uncomfortable, family gatherings, etc.  Her critic of any obligations made perfect sense to me.  Her wanting to retreat and lose herself in fantasy made perfect sense to me.  Her not wanting to discuss feelings, her recoil at physical demonstration, her mistrust of others, her cynicism and unearthly composure also made sense to me.  She’d had a rough childhood she did not want to discuss or deal with.  She was contemptuous and repressed.  I got that.  On an essential level.  She was my role model.

And so, I just knew better that I was not going to get whatever the heck it was I needed from her.   It’s just the way it was, and I accepted that.  And in a strange way, our relationship had a lot more mutual respect to it than her relationship with my other siblings, her biological children, had, as they were deeply offended by her emotional absence.  She just wasn’t nurturing, and they all went a little out of their minds seeking that.

She did what she could.  She sang nursery rhymes to me because she once loved to sing.  She fed my insatiable appetite for preschool activity books.  Later, she taught me how to sew and knit.  She purchased art supplies.  She scrimped and saved and purchased me things I wanted.  And in return, I was to be quiet, not bug her and leave her in peace to escape and read about other people’s lives, fictional lives, lives of satisfaction unlike hers. In return for her sacrifices, out of gratitude, I was  to give her no grief and heaven forbid, have emotional needs.  My life of quiet desperation mirrored her life of quiet desperation, so how much weight did my private complaints have?

People hear about my abuse and they imagine all kinds of horrible things, or that my parents were monsters.  But life is not that black and white.  My parents did not look or sound or act like monsters.  In their minds they loved me, as much as they were capable.  In many ways, they loved me too much.  They did the best they could, with their lame and broken tools.

I think that in many ways my parents were just like almost every other adoptee family that exists:  there was a deficit in their lives and the hope was that I would fill it with joy.  They were unfulfilled, not fully formed or evolving people. And again, an awful lot of adopting couples are just that.  They are seeking something they think a child will provide.  I get a lot of grief from adoptive parents claiming they are not filling a need by adopting.  What are they adopting for then?  Charity?  And why are they expending energy on trying to convince others?

We have a big job to do, us adoptees.  Filling such big holes is not easy.  And some, heaven help them, have to fill the shoes of another child, the child that never lived.

It turns you into a tiny parent, because you recognize the insecurity and fragility of your parents, and it is your reason for being to care for them.  This is the reality: this is the realm in which you must call home.  You just have to be pragmatic when you’re an adoptee because you learn from the cradle that you have no choices.  It’s a poverty stricken love, but it’s the only love you’ve known.  And you can’t discount that.  Well.  You can.  But I can’t.

Incest survivors will take to task the survivor who holds onto an idealized version of their hostile mother, hostile in the sense that the child’s needs become secondary to their own and they refute their child’s victimization and view the child’s crisis as a threat to their own life, when what the child needs is protection.  I don’t believe I idealize my adoptive mother at all.  Nor do I disagree that her lack of protecting me was wrong.  But I/we can still love the only mother we’ve known. We being me and the child I monitored at CPS, for whom I winced in sympathy when witnessing the attitudes of social workers towards her mom who was labeled hostile, which was required in order to protect children from further harm…that little girl loved her mom, in spite of it all, and so did I.  This is the burden of a child of incest.  Now, compound that with the burden of a child who’s been adopted.

So how culpable was my mom, anyway?  Did she know what was going on?  Did she contribute to it in any way?  To which I ask – does it even matter?  Hadn’t the harm already been done?  Would her life having been further destroyed have improved my own at all?  Probably not.  Did she mother me when she found out too late?  No.  Would she have protected me had she found out in time?  Probably not.  Does that make her a monster?  Not at all.  It makes her a failure at nurture.  Her choice was denial, which was nothing new.  Her entire life was spent in denial.  Hell, I just spent forty years in denial.  No.  She was just human, and had to live with her failure.  So I don’t see the value in blame.   I wouldn’t want to be her.  That would be hell on earth.

Did she know?  Probably.  But without my verbal acknowledgment and confirmation, that could forever remain a suspicion, which meant she could continue to cope with her already unhappy life.  There were plenty of clues:  literally dirty laundry, times she caught me pleasuring(?) myself, increased friction between my father and myself, the conversation I’d overheard them have about pornography whose female subjects appeared under-age.  These did not go unnoticed by her, and they all went unaddressed and were buried.

I remember the day she did confront me about my change in attitude towards my father.  She demanded to know “Why are you so mean to your father?”  I think I was about eight at the time.  I knew this was code for:  the imbalance of your attitude is really damning, and I want you to stop making it apparent so I can keep on living my life.  What is a child supposed to say when confronted with a question/demand like that?  I knew nothing would come of it but all hell breaking loose.  And so I took care of it (and her) and told her I didn’t know what my problem was and would try to be better.  But I also knew that wasn’t sustainable, and the thought that crossed my mind at that moment was, “Damnit.  Did you have to go do that?  Now I’ll have to be nasty to you too.  (to maintain balance in this ruse of a life you require.)”  I didn’t want to be mean to her, too.  But that’s what I had to do if I was to be able to have any emotional outlet for my own survival – and hers.  It was on that day that I lost my second mother, and not nine years later when I left home for good.

I think it is often the adoptee’s role to tend their parent’s mental health.  It is our role to fulfill their needs, and tend their emotions.   While the physical needs we have require our parents’ oversight, our emotional needs we must always tend ourselves, because it’s not possible for our parents to comfort us, as they have no capital in that kind of trauma, and they are also our loving captors.  So we grow up really fast.  And we become nurturers at an early age.

So in a strange way, I was forced to be the parent.  And I see this a lot in other adoptees too.  It has nothing to do with being abused and everything to do with going to emotionally starving people, it just means our relationship went further off track than most.  I gave up hope of being her child, but continued to be her parent.  And I continued to care long after I was gone, despite being too paralyzed to pick up the phone.

I couldn’t verbalize it then, but I think I had stumbled upon the limitations of adoption that day.

Written by girl4708

March 29, 2012 at 7:35 am

Posted in Infinite Longing

Giving my mom a break

I think the one regret I have about the past few years of disclosure has been publicly discussing my adoptive mother.

Readers have pointed out to me that she was herself abusive for emotional neglect or for not defending me, and that I am wrong to cut her slack by not including her as an abuser.

I guess you’d have to live my very particular childhood to disagree.  The one thing I can say is that she treated me no different than my siblings.  She was equally distant from all of us.  She also sacrificed her own spending money on things for me, and included me in her will, and did every requisite mom thing all moms in the 60′s & 70′s were supposed to do.  I guess I’m saying she did her best.

When my daughter was due, she flew to Guam to be there for the delivery.  Many weeks later when the baby had still not arrived, she extended her stay.  On Christmas day, when we got to come home from the hospital, she started to weep.  When I asked her, “why are you crying?” she said she had never spent Christmas away from my father, and she missed him.  Despite him making her want to kill herself, despite being miserable and trapped and alone, despite him violating her daughter, she could not deal with being apart from him because her entire world was based around him.  How can a child ask a person who feels like that to choose?  This woman, who had never once lived independently and only worked for one year of her entire life, prior to marriage, how can a child ask her, after 30 years of marriage and three biological children, ask her to be a single mom for her adopted daughter?   The answer is you can’t.  The answer is I was not the only victim of my father’s infantile selfishness.  Nor was I the only captive.

So I’m sorry, mom. I understand.

And I know it’s wrong for me to have to become an adult early and protect her.  But you know what?  That’s just what had to be done.  It’s just another thing in a long line of wrong things that one just has to swallow and deal with.

These days I think the real crime is not the transgressions of humans, so much as not being given tools to deal with them.  And, unfortunately, when the perpetrators are parents, then there is already a poverty of tools to share.  If I had my life to do over again, I would wish for a humor gene.  Because life is really really fucked up and amusing.  And I would share that tool with my mom.  And I hope she is laughing in heaven.

Written by girl4708

March 29, 2012 at 2:46 am

Posted in Infinite Longing

White Dust

with 3 comments

There is no school today, as it’s a school holiday:  the founding of the school.  Despite having much to do, I am distracted.

In the absence of air-conditioning, the fan emits this low noise pollution, sucking in organic matter through the window and blowing it and formerly undetected fine white powder from the installation fabric across everything.  It clings to every surface and then to my half naked body which moves restlessly from place to place to place.  It’s pernicious, this grit.  How many cleanings will it take for it to disappear?

I try to make myself feel better:  I watch movies, I pick up and drop several projects, I go for a walk, I check out another health club, I look for activities to join, I remember I should eat, etc., but nothing engages me and I just make the circuit of my room over and over again.  I feel lost.

Jane’s writing from the TRACK blog grabs my attention:

Each misplaced, forgotten, thrown away, ripped-up, spilled-on, smeared, misstamped, lost and found again later tag still represents one child, one file. We keep finding stray tags now — one at a time, sets of them– unlabeled, unaccounted for. I found a stray tag today next to the door of my apartment, next to the garbage can and the shoes. “Where do you belong, little girl? How did you get here?”

I feel like that lost tag.  I am that lost tag.

I am out of place.  I am out of time.  Despite my best efforts, I am always orphaned and alone and abandoned.  Love is a privilege denied me.  The losses collect. The white dust is like the grief I can’t wash away.

I know it’s not finished and it’s badly edited, but I don’t know how much longer I can linger on this and stay healthy, so here is my unfinished video gift to Kim Sook Ja and all the other Korean adoptees out there in the world who, despite their best efforts, sing private songs of lamentation when they long to sing for joy:

I hope they have some company, wherever they ended up:  someone to take their part and soothe them.  This is the best I can do:  say I understand the loss and isolation you have felt/feel.

You are not alone.

Written by girl4708

July 16, 2010 at 8:20 am

Posted in Infinite Longing

Do you believe that interracial adoptions should be allowed?

with 23 comments

Open Question

I need opinions on adoptions.?

Do you believe that interracial adoptions should be allowed? After answering this question can you please explain your reason why

Additional Details

I completely believe that it is a wonderful thing, but for a project i need various opinions.

Answers (14 answers, 12 of them think it’s great)

It’s great if you want to make a child who’s already had to adjust to a new life even harder, because the world is not color blind, and transracial adoption isn’t going to change that. Who has to bear the brunt of this wishful thinking? The child. And race is also tied to assumptions about culture. And is the other race parent really going to be able to pass the child the necessary skills to deal with that disconnect and lack of cultural knowledge? Poorly at best.

What is the motivation of adopting transracially? Because they’re cute babies? Because the adoptive parents are fascinated with other cultures? Does this have anything to do with what’s best for the child?

Being a transracial adoptee was not a wonderful thing. It was a world of tension, ridicule, not matching anyone, not belonging anywhere, and somewhat disturbing to be a walking billboard for my parents’ charity. Being a transracial adoptee means always having to explain your situation. Being a transracial adoptee means being sentenced to forever being reminded you were obtained unnaturally. Being a transracial adoptee means having to tell yourself, “I was chosen. I was chosen. I was chosen,” every time you’re feeling pain. That’s just the harsh truth, whether you love your parents or not. It’s unnecessary and avoidable. Racial matching is not being racist – it’s being kind to the child.

Yes it can be done. But it’s a messed up thing to do. It was especially hard for my African American adoptee friends separated from that strong and vibrant culture: there is no substitution for that. To be an oreo is to be culturally killed and cut off from everyone who looks like you, but you still have to pay for your skin color.

People just don’t think. THEY just want to feel good about what THEY want to do to make the world better. Children should not be the social experiments of privileged Utopian fantasies.


adult transracial adoptee living in her birth country

Written by girl4708

January 22, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Q&A


with 2 comments

I was going to post about this exact same topic, but Harlow’s Monkey beat me to it.  Well said.

Written by girl4708

December 4, 2009 at 7:26 am

Posted in Infinite Longing

Adoption awareness month and Thanksgiving

with one comment

Today I’m a little homesick.  I miss my kids, my one true family.  We’re a little strange.  I haven’t even spoken on the phone to them the whole time I’ve been here, but that’s not something that’s ever been necessary with us.  We know we’re in each other’s thoughts.  And when we’re together, we don’t have to do anything special or even talk much:  just being present is enough.  There is no obligation, no negative history.  Only love.  It is enough for me.

My stay in Korea has been…incredibly difficult.  From the moment I got off the plane and the bus driver screamed at me in Korean for something to do with loading my luggage, because he didn’t understand that I didn’t understand Korean and thought I was being rude…It’s been an exceptional and incredibly draining nine months.

But still I want to love Korea.

This weekend I go to eat Thanksgiving with many other dispossessed ethnic Koreans of the adoption diaspora.  We’ll eat turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.  All of us here, trying to love Korea.  All of us here, separated from our families, many of us estranged from our adoptive families.   Do I go there because I love to hang out with adoptees?  No.  I only know one or two of them and don’t care to know more.   In America, some gather together just to acclimate themselves to seeing other Asian faces and get to know them as real people.  It starts as fear-of-Asians phobia therapy and then evolves into a sanctuary.  But here, that’s not necessary, as there are Asian faces in spades.   No.  I don’t have to speak to even one of them.  It just comforts me to see so many gathered in one place who KNOW. That’s all I need.  Not community, because I’m too traumatized by something so claustrophobic and distrusting of people in general;  not even solidarity, because not all adoptees agree or are in the same place in this journey.  No.  I go for the adoption awareness.

This month is adoption awareness month.  It is a time when those promoting adoption gather their collective voices to extol its virtues, increase its numbers, and lobby for its ease.

But to me, adoption awareness is the knowing of what it feels like to be adopted.  It is that unspoken thing we all share, whether we are “happy” adoptees or “angry” adoptees, we who have returned are not here for naught.  That thing we share, is a loss nobody should ever know, that those who were not abandoned or relinquished will never know,  but that binds us, like it or not, (for me mostly not) together.

Over three decades ago, America was riveted to their television sets watching the dramatization of Alex Haley’s Roots. It was not just an exploration of where he came from, but also how he came to be here.    And to my wonder, it seemed as if the entire nation finally learned to respect African American brotherhood, and to understand that being displaced against one’s will should rightly unite them on the deepest level.

However, in this adoption awareness month, there is no popular respect for our “pilgrimages,” because we appear ungrateful for our displacement against our will. We reject the notion that our loss should be something we should also be grateful about.  We are united on this deepest level.  That is why we’re all here.  My silence during adoptee functions just goes hand in hand with this understanding.  I don’t have to speak to the other returnee adoptees to know that I love them and they me.  We just know.  That’s enough for me.

And so in silence I will gather with my fellow returnee adoptees.  I go there for the ritual of thanksgiving, the pale substitute for the Korean Cheusok thanksgiving that venerates our first families, and their families, and their families before their families.  I go there for a small taste of the only ritual feast I’ve ever known, the feast of my adoptive family’s culture, in commemoration of the voluntary displacement of their ancestors.  I go here to say, “please pass the stuffing” and know others will understand what “pass” means and what “stuffing” is.  I go for the saving grace of cranberry sauce.  I go there to give thanks.  For the little comforts we have.

And I will thank my mother for the Stove top stuffing, the Durkees freeze-dried onion green been casserole, and the Cool Whip covered Eagles’ brand pumpkin pie.   And I will still wish I had never been adopted.

Written by girl4708

November 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing

Do you think ALL adoptee’s feel the SAME about their adoption in terms of loss?

with 2 comments

No doubt there is an initial loss of being seperated from the natural family. But do you expect that all adoptee’s are going to feel the same level of loss?
  • 2 weeks ago

Additional Details

What about those who are raised without secrets and lies or in open adoption? Is it possible for some to have a healthier outlook on their adoption than others?

2 weeks ago

By “healthier” I mean more positve outlook and self-esteem and at peace with their adoption circumstances.


I agree that it’s not healthy to “stuff” feelings. But is it assumed that adoptee’s who claim to be “not bitter” do that?


NOT  CHOSEN Best Answer:

Sunny – I wish I could give you ten thumbs up!

Questioner – I’m going to answer your question, but maybe from a more literal stand-point, just because (most) everyone else is being refreshingly on point and trying to be objective and you’ve got some great general answers there.

– First, I think loss is loss is loss.
– Second, I think you can weight the losses. For example, losing a mom is HUGE, no matter what your age or circumstance, on a visceral level
– Third, losses ADD UP.

losing faith
losing relationship
losing your country
losing your culture
losing your heritage
losing your language
losing trust
losing innocence
losing ignorance

it’s like a soup of pain: the bulk of each adoptee’s experience is loss of mother. then each soup is made unique depending on the combination of other added losses.

my best adoptee friend has all of the above. she lost her mother by death. a few years later she literally got lost. she lost her father by adoption when nobody searched for her father – even though she was 9 and knew his name – she lost her siblings – she lost her country when she was sent to America – she lost her heritage – she lost her culture – after two years, all her language was lost – it wasn’t long before her innocence was lost when her adoptive father abused her – and all this time. she was fully aware of her powerlessness because of her age. So in the end she lost all the relationships she valued, she lost faith in the charity and responsibility of adults, and she lost trust in those pledged to care for her.

We tend to focus on the main loss, but there can be so many. This is why I call myself an adoption survivor. Because for me and many of my fellow adoptees, we shoulder so many losses on top of the main loss.

How can you measure something like that? I’d like to measure it in dollars and sue the adoption agencies. I’m hoping someone with a water tight case can and does.

As for your additional details.

I personally have a great deal of empathy for the “not bitter” adoptees, though I do wish they wouldn’t protest so much and see me and my experience as the enemy. Just like them, I don’t want to be pitied – I just want to see change for the better, and that requires some sympathy. Two different animals entirely.

Regarding those so-called “kool-aid” adoptees, I feel for them. When you’ve got everything as good as it gets, then whatever feelings you have about losing your mother become incredibly treacherous waters to navigate. When you’ve got no other additional losses that can share some of the heat, then you’ve very little allowance to complain. The margin for even the smallest expressions of pain becomes extremely prohibitive. That’s a tight-rope I wouldn’t want to walk, and a much more difficult position from which to discern one’s deepest feelings. Some may call this denial. I call this an ineffective way of dealing with the core issues.

I’d also like to add that a “healthier outlook on their adoption” and positive outlook and self esteem are not the same thing. I can have a positive outlook and very high self esteem and still have a negative outlook on adoption. Maybe instead of “healthier outlook on their adoption” you meant “more socially acceptable outlook on adoption” ? Other than that, it’s just common sense that those who have been treated with more equality and given the truth won’t have to add injustice at the hands of their parents onto their loss will have less of a burden to carry.

We all experience loss and struggle with it in our own ways, due to our infinitely varied circumstances. We all do the best that we can because we have no choice. Peace does come through acceptance of our adoption circumstance. However, some things no human should be asked to be at peace with: like violations of our civil rights, exploitation, abuse, etc. And as long as adoption is involuntary, as long as there is exploitation, as long as there are violations of our civil rights and the obliteration of our identities, then we should not rest.

Because no child should have to experience even one added loss on top of losing their mother, and no child should lose their mother just to fill the arms of another, which happens far more than anyone cares to admit. These losses are preventable. Prevent, and we don’t have to ask these questions.

Written by girl4708

November 12, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Q&A

house of denial

leave a comment »

Reading the following Traits of Families that Tolerate Incest and Child Abuse got me to thinking, and so I wanted to respond to each of the points they made so maybe you could see what an incest abuse house might look like:

Sexual child abuse is just one of a number of abuses taking place in an incest family. There may also be a history of family violence, substance abuse, and other criminal activity.

This wasn’t the case in my family, at least not that I know of.   My family was all about self-control to probably an abnormal degree.  Interviewing my father in later years I found out that his sister and father went to Florida together for a week, and that she came back, “different.”  I am sure there is more to the story, and I wonder to what extent it affected the rest of my father’s family, as there were five brothers and my aunt was the only girl.

My father blames his abuse on drinking.  However, he was not an alcoholic, and he was not drunk when the abuse began.  Later, these incidents coincided because the only time he could have an excuse for not being in my mother’s bed was when he was playing his bass on a gig, and drinks were provided to the musicians gratis.

Duplicity, deceit, collective secrets
The incest family hides its embarrassing secrets.

Incest is so taboo it doesn’t come up in any conversation, so it’s a level of secrecy too secret to even acknowledge to oneself. However, There weren’t collective secrets in my house.  I think it was more a sign of the times with their generation that would not air any dirty laundry out in public.  Or even to family members.  We didn’t have collective secrets but kept secrets from each other.

Rigid and tightly controlled
Incest families have rigid rules to prevent revelation of their secrets.

My family was extremely tightly controlled.  Mostly this was my mom’s doing.  If she was silently seething about something, you could tell because she would have micro-perceptible tics, and you breathed a little quieter and walked silently and made to sure to be ultra sensitive and stay clear of trouble.  The problem was that this was not a rare occasion.  She was like a hawk, and one sidelong glance was all it took.  It was like living in a library with the most vigilant librarian imaginable on duty, the one who hated her life and hated people.  So there was always this psychological tension in the air that you didn’t want to trip up.

Together, probably due to my mother’s influence, our family had strict rules about the activity and behavior of children.  It was a strange hybrid of progressive liberalism from my father and repressed Victorianism from my mother.  We were to be seen and not heard, but when we were asked to speak, it should be something progressive and liberal coming out of our mouths.

I was kept on an extremely short leash:  one time at 12 years old I went to the neighbors to borrow something, was gone for ten minutes, and my mother totally freaked out because I had been missing when she called on me.  When a woman with tics who rarely speaks freaks out, it’s twice as scary as when someone just gets angry.  I still shudder thinking about it.

You know how you go to visit some establishments as a child and you are made to understand that there are strict rules for decorum?  You keep your knees together.  You make sure your skirt covers your bottom when you sit.  You cross your ankles together under your chair.  You don’t bounce your legs or tap your toes.  You sit upright.  You don’t put your elbows on the tables, etc., etc.  Well, that’s how I felt in my house every day.  A billion unspoken rules, any violation of which would raise an eyebrow, or cause the corner of the mouth to twitch, or worse some silent muttering.  I wanted to please so badly, and every little sign of disapproval was pointed and severe.  Yes.  I was tightly and masterfully controlled.

Demand for blind, absolute loyalty
Incest families usually have a domineering head of household who rules the family through force.

Force?  or fear of madness?  My mother ran the household, because it was her realm – a booby prize of control because she had no life of her own.  Everything about her was about control:  controlling her emotions and making sure everyone else controlled theirs as well.  There was no force, except the police state of her stare.  That stare can not be underestimated, and I lived in constant silent fear of upsetting her precarious balance.

Poor boundaries
Disrespect for each others’ privacy, rights, and individuality is common in incest families.

Again, my family liked to think of themselves as progressive liberals.  Bathrooms were not private.  We only had one, and toilet use trumped shower use.  So in a household of six, this meant a lot of exposure.  Too soon, however, we were a household of three.  Nakedness or modesty was not respected, because both my parents were freely naked in front of us, ostensibly to prove in their liberal self-image that bodies were beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of.  So I saw much more than I wanted to see.  And I couldn’t, in defense, ask for privacy, because it was off the table as an issue.

My father’s hip liberal attitude included family baths – and my mother participated probably only because he urged her to.  The bath is where my abuse started.  Family baths that my mother opted out of, to have more time to herself.

Parents immature and inexperienced in life
Parents of incest families usually never become fully mature adults.

While my parents were both very responsible and upstanding citizens, I would have to characterize them both as being very immature.  They didn’t take action to improve themselves or gain more understanding.  Their actions were self-absorbed like those of children.  They did not learn from situations.  My father was a whiner, a pouter.  My mother avoided situations.  These were not emotionally evolving people in any sense of the word.

Conflictual marriage or troubled divorce
In incest families, this may refer to situations where children are pushed into the drama between a conflicted mother and father.

The hallmark of my parents’ relationship was no communication.  They did not speak of issues in front of us children, ever, and would go behind closed doors to literally whisper their disagreements.  Again, the environment was tightly controlled, especially emotions.  Afterward, it was clear that nothing had been resolved and a wall of silence was what we were taught by example, as how to deal with relationships.

My father used me for validation when my mother wasn’t around.  He would try to get me to sympathize with him.  Later, he would use me as a confident and tell me their relationship problems.  Still later, he told me he turned to me because  my mom was “cold” to him in bed.

My mother was perpetually miserable in crush on someone else.  For some reason my siblings were unaware of this, but I could see it/feel it.  And later confessionals with my parents confirmed this.

What we had here were two people dependent upon each other in a maternal/paternal way, but who both felt trapped.

No childhood for the children
Incest families are somber and strict places, where the authority figure (usually one of the parents) dictates behavior for everyone else. Rather than let children run around and play, they force children into a regimented routine.

The sound of children playing was like nails on chalkboard to my mother.  She liked babies.  But didn’t really care for children.  She wanted to read and fantasize and escape, and me making any noise at all would destroy her perpetual search for reverie.   She also shut down joking amongst my father and brothers, and any time my father was happy or whistling or in a good mood, she shut that down too.  It’s as if her unquiet suffering mind required all her focus and concentration, and any disruption which brought ugly reality into that effort was frowned upon.

Chaotic situations, traumatic stress
Incest often takes place in chaotic households, with unstable roots. These families may move often and lack connections to any one community.

Or, these families carefully craft a place in community, superficially always present, yet not really engaged with any of it.  My parents really had no friends, despite attending church gatherings for fellowship.

Low level of appropriate touch
In the most toxic incest families all touching is considered taboo. Parents do not hug, caress, or cuddle their children, as normal families do. This is perhaps the most telling symptom of incest.


I can remember being asked for a kiss at times – you know, the kind of staged pucker-up type of full-on kisses.  But there were no random kisses to the head, no caresses, no holding hands except in dangerous traffic situations, no bear hugs. In short, no physical affection of any kind.  Occasionally I would see my mom smiling or amused over something.  But affection to her was buying me a soda or an educational workbook and watching me enjoy it.  But touch?  nope.  nothing.  One story my mother repeated several times was of breaking a hair brush over my sister’s head because she squirmed while she was fixing her hair.  I sat very still as a result.

My father, on the other hand, loved to wash my hands and clip my nails.  It was these small opportunities for skin contact, in an environment where there was no touching allowed, which fed him in some dark way, and which was a precursor for his uncontrollable desire to molest me.

Compensating veneer of religiosity
Incest perpetrators often hide behind an external show of religion.

Church was my family’s only social life.  Religion is great.  It provides the facade of community and bolsters their place in society.  It convinces them that they aren’t really the anti-social misfits they really are.

What was my home environment like?

Well, I can tell you that at first glance it looked like anybody else’s house.  Except that it was eerily quiet.  It was heavy, like kryptonite.  But of course that would change if anybody came over:  then my home became a mirror of whoever came to visit’s personality.

What facilitated my abuse?

In retrospect, it was my mother.  Not on purpose.  But everything she did set up that heavy environment.  Except for the t.v., which was my babysitter, no noise was tolerated.  Where was she during my bath time?  Where were my siblings?  Why did everyone allow my father to read me bedtime stories every night by himself?  Why did we do nothing together as a family?

And that one day when the social worker came to visit, (I vaguely remember my mom cleaning house for the social worker’s visit and how perfect she was that day) how could they be so clueless?  Did they even bother to look closely?  Did they see us play and interact?  (of course not – there was no play) Did they look at our photo albums and see any candid fun shots?  (of course not – there were no candid fun moments)  Did they do anything besides have some coffee and ask my parents how I was doing? Of course not.

So actually, EVERYONE facilitated my abuse.  The entire family was so lost in their own misery nobody thought about me or that I was a child or what I needed as a child.  And the social worker was just there to rubber stamp everything.

Gack, I should have gone into social work.  This is just so distressing to think someone could have caught this.   I know I could walk into such a home, sniff, and say, “something’s not right.”

Written by girl4708

November 10, 2009 at 8:01 am

Posted in Infinite Longing

Screening for Woody Allen

with 39 comments

Today I’ve got no insights, revelations, or provocations. Today I am merely asking questions. The question I mainly want to ask is: How do we screen out Woody Allen? There are a few of us molested Korean adoptees who have come out of the shadows to speak about the traumatic consequences of latent yellow fever combined with the ability to adopt yellow.

Do these men KNOW they have yellow fever when they adopt? Is that why they choose Asian countries to adopt from?

Are these men pedophiles before they adopt?

What is it about these men that allows them to cross personal boundaries, morals, and ethics?

How is it these men are so infantile and self-absorbed they ultimately can not control their urges?


My similarly abused Korean adoptee friends and I all share the above question. In addition to the exclusive attention, I was also treated differently in many other ways than my non-adopted siblings were:

As confidant – about relationship matters between my father and mother. (I was a child, for God’s sake – who didn’t need to know that information)

As a special prize – The man actually referred to me as his little concubine…(I can’t tell you how gross that feels)

As an equal (yet fictional) participant – and this is where it gets weird – most of us were not raped and most of us our abuse ended after puberty. But let me tell you – physical pain is nothing compared to having our minds twisted inside out, and molestation or rape or both – it’s still all about control. And the thing about incest is that it’s a captive audience, and in the adoptee’s case, a captured audience. In a private hell that lasts sometimes over a decade, from which the only escape is actual physical escape. And who’s entire family dynamics are permanently scarred long after the abuse ends.  Because incest is chronic.  Our fathers rationalized they were above rapists because they loved us. Not only did they have to relieve themselves, but they also wanted us to love it. And them. In a super natural way. It was some sick ego masturbation going on. And the greater the challenge or convoluted nature of it all, the more illicit and rewarding for them.

In their socially retarded fantasy world, what they were really hoping for was what Woody Allan got: a child bride. Not just any child bride. An ASIAN child bride. Because of the mystique of Asian women. Because we were so docile. (because we were scared shitless because we had to adjust to a new and foreign life. I am not making this up, that is how I felt but if you’d asked me at the time I would have told you how thankful I was to be adopted) Because they thought of us as if we were little geisha. This is my theory. I can only venture to guess, but they are educated guesses because I LIVED with the man fourteen+ years.

Did my father intentionally adopt me to molest me? Of course not.

Did my father think Asian women were alluring? The idea probably fascinated him.

Was my father sexually attracted to other children? Maybe.  Probably.

But did he cross the line with anyone else? No. Just the Asian adopted daughter. Because the adopted Asian daughter is both exotic, vulnerable and, most importantly, accessible.

And that social taboo against incest? Not quite so strong when the child is not your blood…

Did Woody Allen date Mia Farrow because she had adopted daughters, one of them Asian? Maybe…their presence certainly made Mia more interesting. Maybe they were more interesting than Mia. Maybe they became an obsession. Woody was lucky, (from my father’s perspective) in that he didn’t have complete and total access to Mia’s children and that he was ‘t technically married to Mia, so he was free to turn the fantasy into reality.

Think about it, and it’s a recipe for disaster:

Take one relationship frustrated, sexually frustrated, sensitive, self-absorbed immature man

Give him close proximity and access to his fantasy and curiosity about the exotic

Now make the fantasy helpless and under his care, so that his love for his adorable charge grows each day

Let the relationship grow over time until the child trusts and loves him.

The acceptance is confusing and feeds the man’s longings for love, exciting the man

All of these things are hidden from the naked eye, from paperwork, from the itemized lists of social workers. All of the quantifiable qualities of an adoptive parent, these men PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS.

For the love of God, why can’t anyone BE A JUDGE OF CHARACTER when it comes to the safety of children?

How can we leave the adoptive parent’s judges of character to be self selected?

Why do we have to be objective when screening parents?

Isn’t subjectivity and gut instinct valuable in this instance?

How many children could I save alone if I were allowed to be a diviner or barometer?

The answer? Many.

You don’t find these men by looking at their bank account or their social activities or their job stability or their church affiliation or who will vouch for them. You won’t find these men with a short interview and handshake – they appear affable, magnanimous, and personable. Hell – any psychopath can trick almost anyone into thinking they are someone that cares, that you want to trust. (not that these men are psychopaths – they are a different creature entirely) No. You find these men by learning about their world view – which will almost always be essentially self-absorbed. And their mannerisms – which will be pouting or petulant, or delicate. And their rationalizations, obsessions and neurosis – which will come out through extensive interview about ethical and timely topics. (see amendment *** below) And their cowardice. And the way in which they look adoringly at an Asian child: I’m sure there is a scientifically measurable difference in their physical response.

There is a sixth sense we abuse victims have – the hair that rises on the back of your neck, the sick feeling in your stomach, the understanding when you see a child old beyond their years hand in hand with a protective yet charismatic father. I do hope someone can do some scholarly work and profile these men: interview fathers convicted of incest, convicted pedophiles, men in rehab programs. There are commonalities, I am sure of it. There must be predictors that can be used to rule out these adoption candidates. At present, the only thing I and my other sisters in abuse have found is in this article:

“Incest is more likely to occur in a family where at least one parent is a stepparent, said Alan Davis, head of the National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence, and it shows up far more often in homes where both parents are not the natural parents.”

I also once tried to compare the rates of incest in biological families as compared to adopted families, but found that the data only indicated whether or not the families were natural or not natural, and that each state defined non-traditional families differently, so there was no way to filter the studies for adoption, as it wasn’t included as a variable in many of the studies. But if incest is more likely to occur in a family where BOTH parents are NOT biological, then doesn’t it follow that it is more likely to occur in an adoptive family as well? And to us sexually abused Asian adoptees, given the deeply ingrained proclivity to infanticize and sexualize Asian females in our culture, then it seems like a no brainer that we are especially at risk.

Please, somebody, please look into this – Not only collect data on past cases, but come up with a psychological profile of the adopting incest perpetrator. Because even one Woody Allen that slips through the present “screening” process is one too many.

Oh – and I wanted to correct that, on second thought,  interviewing these men about ethics and topical issues wasn’t really best, because they know what the socially accepted answers are.  More revealing would be talking about relationships.  These men never take responsibility for their part in relationships – they are always the victim.  Their roles are often frustrated and they feel dis-empowered.  They seek out young friends/lovers that are weaker than themselves, because their lack of control over their own lives makes them feel impotent in some way.  Innocence turns them on.  It is my belief that the man who turns to his own children is often very weak in the social pecking order of male supremacy.

In addition, it is not just the infantalization and sexualization of Asian females, but also the feminization of Asian boys…who are also incest victims.

I also wanted to add that, off the record, a worker at an organization to help Korean adoptees in search of their birth families estimated that it was their experience that approximately 50% of the adoptees they had encountered had suffered abuse at the hands of their adoptive parents.  These personal anecdotes were not something initially revealed or revealed on paper. There have been 76,646 adoptees who have returned to search for their families.  Given those figures, the unofficial count of abused adoptees could be staggering.

Written by girl4708

October 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm

What does “feelings of abandonment” actually mean?

with 7 comments

I’ve noticed that many of the adoptees on this forum mention experiencing feelings of abandonment.

Sorry if this seems like a stupid question, but what do feelings of abandonment actually feel like? How does it actually make you feel? Do you feel alone? How does it affect your life growing up? Do you have difficulty with trust and forming relationships with others?

Sorry, I am not trying to be stupid or insensitive, I just don’t really know what it feels like. I’m doing a project for school about adoption, and I think it’ll be a lot better if I can actually understand what it’s like to be adopted.

All answers appreciated. The more details the better, please.

Thanks so much. :)

I’m still in denial about this. I’m actually pretty cut off from my emotions and can’t describe what I’m feeling most of the time. I only found out about this, and that I probably have it, because other people tell me I must feel this way. So I’m still deducing what it actually is/feels like, and the way I do that is by surveying everything else, since the abandonment issue is like a hole that can’t be defined.

What I can do, however, is tell you the symptoms of what might indicate this feeling:

People who are warm and inviting cause alarms in my head to go off, and I push them away.

I expect everyone to be forthright and honest, and am always disappointed: my standards are so high no one can possibly meet them, and I am highly critical of everyone who gives up and/or is selfish in a relationship.

I never believe people I want to be close to will bother being vested in me, so I don’t bother to try.

“I’m a loner!” I say too often, as if it were something to be proud of.

I don’t join things or participate in things: I belittle such social activities as trite, superficial, and a waste of time.

When others around me are forming relationships, I count the days until its demise.

I don’t believe anything real lasts anything longer than a blink of an eye.

I don’t take down phone numbers. I don’t call. I don’t visit anyone. It seems like a waste of time and effort.

I believe everyone, friends, especially, will eventually **** on me.

I always keep my emotions under control. I disdain those that don’t.

How does this all add up? How does this feel? It feels like I am in a fight, and I’m always prepared for the worst. If I let down my guard, then something really horrible could happen.

I guess that something is abandonment.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not totally socially inept – people like me, some think I’m charming, some admire me, many respect me, some even love me. But there is always this inaccessible part of me that I will always keep remote and protect. And if I let anyone go there, I feel I will die.


Written by girl4708

August 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Q&A

Who Am I? The Mystery of #4709

leave a comment »


Despite a few places where there’s been a heavy hand on my story…I just really really really appreciate all SBS has done for my case, and for exposing some of the serious problems regarding the control of records.  They were amazing to me, did an amazing amount of research, and truly investigated what the central issues are concerning adoption law and conflict of interests.

Those core issues are:

* The adoption agencies are the ONLY ones who have access to adoption records – this excludes even the government.
* Nobody but the government has any power to monitor adoption agency activities.  Their power is limited and they don’t exercise it.
* KCARE, the new central organization created to assist with identity retrieval, is a private organization with no governmental power, relying only on adoption agency cooperation.  KCARE has no original documents and no access to them.
* Even today, children with living parents’ identities and social histories are fabricated in order to make them available for adoption.  Their original identities are never recorded with the government, and only the adoption agencies hold this information.
* Adoption agencies know their presence replaces social services and feel entitled to funding from the government.  (but they don’t want government oversight or government access to documents)

Given the above issues, is it any wonder so many adoptees and first parents are unsuccessful finding the truth?

From the bottom of my heart, for me and for ALL ADOPTEES who only seek the most basic information about their identity,  which should be every person’s unalienable civil right, I thank SBS’s We Want to Know That director, Kim Ji Eun, and all of her tireless dedicated staff.

Thank you also to TRACK, who brave many slings and arrows asking Korea – and the world – to stop looking away.  Only through recognition of the ugly truth and reconciliation through correction, of the causes and mechanisms of its creation, can Korea begin to replace their shame with pride.

Here are my video comments and updates on the documentary:

Written by girl4708

August 8, 2009 at 1:06 am

Posted in Infinite Longing

So what if I was…

leave a comment »

Scene 1:

My father comes into the house, whistling.  His face is beaming and with a hop in his step, he rushes up to me and announces it’s a glorious day for a motorcycle ride, do I want to go?

My mom is concerned and swears that he’d better drive extra cautious, like this time will be diferent.

My father gets the helmets.  Nobody really asked me if I wanted to go, not really.  I really hate going, because I know the only reason he wants me to go is because my little arms will have to  hold onto him, and that gives him a thrill.  A thrill right out in broad daylight, in public, and no one will know.  He yells through the wind to hold on tighter, and I guess I must comply, because despite it being beautiful and freeing on a bike,  it’s pretty scarey being on Hines Drive with it’s curves and all the unpredictable drunken people partying along its edges.  My long hair is a tangled mess.  Taking the helmet off always rips a handful out.

We get home, and he knows I know what his motivation is.

Daddy, I say, looking straight into his eyes, can we go see Annie?  I really want to see Little Orphan Annie in Detroit.

Well, it’s really expensive honey, but we’ll-see-what-we-can-do.

Yeah, that’s right.  You better…or no more motorcycle rides.

Scene 2:

My bedroom.

I just-can’t-take-it-anymore.

I don’t know what it is I can’t take, but I have to leave.  I don’t even remember what the upset was, but I have to go.  I have barracaded my door with my bed and my dresser, and my toychest is under the bedroom window, which I have opened and am trying desperately to climb out of.  If I could only grab hold of the lilac bush…

But the dresser and bed are sliding and the door to my bedroom is opening, and just like the door always opens when I don’t want it to, there I am again, dreading what’s next, helpless.   My dad pushes the furniture aside and my mom follows him in and asks me what I am crying about, and I sob because of course I don’t know and I can’t tell her.

I can’t tell her what it is to be manipulated and to manipulate at the age when you should be playing with dolls.  I can’t tell her how it feels to be a living doll.  I can’t tell her I’m afraid of everything and everybody and mostly of breaking her world apart.  I can’t tell her I’m the other woman.  I can’t tell her what it’s like to be an alien in this world.  I can’t tell her because she is color blind and relationship blind and so sad about her life.

My dad moves the furniture back as if nothing happened.  My mom tells me that after I’ve washed my face, dinner will be ready.

Scene 3:

On the street corner, in front of my house.

New neighbor and her daughter come over to introduce themselves to my mom.  I am what, ten years old? yet she gushes over me as if I were four years old.  She starts stroking my hair.  It’s so soft and silky and long and black.  She talks slowly to me, to make sure I understand her words amid her squealing with delight.  She just loves almond shaped eyes.  She just always wished she had almond shaped eyes.  I am stiff. I don’t say much in response.  Her daughter Cara is bubbly and vivacious.  She says, “yes, m’am!” like Opie does on the Andy Griffith Show, like she really enjoys sucking up.  My mother is in love.  I don’t say, “yes, m’am!”

My mom gives her a polished tumbled amethyst rock.  Funny, she never gave ME one of her tumbled rocks.  She chastises me, “Why do you have to be like that?  Why can’t you be more like Cara?”  Cara looks like Annie Wharbucks.  I look like I-don’t-know-what.  No, wait.  I look like the Chinese sex bomb in Flower Drum Song.  How the hell can I say, “yes, m’am!” cheerfully?

Scene 4:

So I’m sitting at the park, near the baseball dugout, the one closest to my church, sneaking a cigarette, and my friend asks me about my birth mother.

“Do you think she was a prostitute or something?”  (I can hear the hope in her voice – they all wished I was the illegitimate daughter of a lady of the night)

I shrug.  “I dunno.”

“Do you ever want to meet her?”

“NO.  Why would I want to do that?”  I frown.  “Families suck.  Why would I want a second one?”

(incredulous) “But aren’t you even curious?”

“So what if I was, WHICH I’M NOT.  We couldn’t talk anyway.  Whoever the hell she is, she’s in KOREA.  Like I know how to talk that!  (I didn’t even know what it sounded like)

(silence…)  “Oh.  I forgot about that.”  (long pause)  “Wow.”  (romantic jealousy emanates from my friend)

Scene 5:

Same dugout, different time.

I’m making out with a boy, also from my church.  It dawns on me that we are having the same conversation as Scene 4, only we’re not speaking the words.  I suddenly feel like I am my mother.  Why do I feel so dirty?

I finally realize it’s not really me he wants to be with, but the idea of my mother.

Scene 6:

Small house party, Seattle.  It’s the post grunge, emo era and Michael’s slightly talented artistic friend is playing Dinosaur Jr. adnauseum.  His rich Korean American girlfriend walks in.  She’s slender and perfect and should be a model for L’eggs pantyhose. She name-drops designers, while proudly wearing her alternative long-haired white boyfriend like a street smart badge of honor.  She has it all.  A broken nail is suffering for her.

Later, Michael off-handedly mentions to me how gorgeous she is.  “What about me?”  I jest.

“Oh, yeah.  You’re made from good Korean peasant stock.”

Of course I am.

I’m just an orphan, probably daughter of a whore.


Somehow, my first mom doesn’t seem quite so vile now.

I’m sure she is/was a good person.

And being made from peasant stock is just fine, thank you.

Can I meet you, please?

Written by girl4708

June 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing

What is wrong with adoption because you want a family?

with 2 comments

Open Question

Ok I get the hole not telling the adopted child they are adopted, I am in favor of not amending OBC (Original birth certificate0, and just getting an adoption certificate, I am have even changed my opinion on closed adoptions, in fav of enforcing open adoption. However i don’t get why so many of you say it is selfish to adopt. People don’t give birth thinking about the kids needs. They have kids because they want kids. Some people can’t so they adopt. .


“People don’t give birth thinking about the kids needs.”
I’d beg to differ with you here. By nine months gestation, a mother is thinking a lot about the kids’ needs.

“They have kids because they want kids.”
I’d beg to differ again. Many kids are accidents. By nine months gestation, they are wanted. It is outside forces and circumstances which can sometimes make this want a conflict.

“Some people can’t so they adopt.”

I don’t understand why everyone can’t admit that wanting children is selfish? What’s wrong with that? Nothing, in my book.

What’s wrong is when that selfish want GROWS so large it is to the exclusion of reason. When the ripples it causes that effect others and even the child are of no consequence. When self-reflection and honesty to the child are abandoned to justify this lack of responsibility. When social and personal ethics are set aside for the ultimate goal.

Being selfish is okay. Being selfish without regard to others is not okay. Being selfish and calling it a selfless act is repugnant. The inability to recognize the difference indicates a level of maturity most parents should be above.

So it’s not being selfish which is the indictment. The indictment is for predatory practices, blind ambitions, narcissistic tendencies, and anything that is BEYOND responsible selfishness.

Children deserve not only basics and opportunities and love, but they also deserve to be considered and cared for by balanced, mature, emotionally responsible people.

btw, thank you for taking the time to recognize the child’s civil rights. good job, indeed!

Written by girl4708

January 16, 2009 at 1:51 am

Posted in Q&A

Loving My Captor

A while back, just prior to being banned from an adoption abuse website for daring to confront a particularly Virulent Adoptive Parent who disrespected the website, I had brought up the topic of Stockholm Syndrome. The VAP took great offense to this.

According to the above wikipedia link:

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker…

I was comparing the act of adoption to the act of abduction, as the editors of Transracial Abductees had done previously, only adding my own spin on the relationships that form with our adoptive parents.

Also, cited in the wikipedia entry:

According to the psychoanalytic view of the syndrome, the tendency might well be the result of employing the strategy evolved by newborn babies to form an emotional attachment to the nearest powerful adult in order to maximize the probability that this adult will enable — at the very least — the survival of the child, if not also prove to be a good parental figure. This syndrome is considered a prime example for the defense mechanism of identification

The VAP didn’t like this at all.  He didn’t want to recognize that his transracial internationally adopted children didn’t come to America of their own free will.  He didn’t want to recognize that they had no recourse but to get along with these benevolent people providing so much attention and basic needs, because they were totally dependent upon them.  He didn’t want to recognize his power in that situation or the child’s helplessness.

Okay – so adoption’s intent is not to abuse or exploit in most cases.  But isn’t adoption a benevolent form of abduction?  Isn’t taking someone anyplace against their will abduction?  And in the case of adoption, isn’t Stockholm Syndrome what adoptive parents are hoping for?

I bring this all up again due to a really amazing conversation I had with my daughter last week, as she asked about my relationship to my mother, and my siblings (her biological children) relationship with her.

I described my older sister feeling hurt that my mother did not communicate, and my oldest brother feeling resentment for being ignored by her, and my next older brother getting angry because we sometimes had cereal for dinner instead of the kind of meals he expected of a housewife to earn her keep.  I described my sadness for her, for having such self-centered children, for the tedium of her days, for her frustrated fantasy life, her sense of worthlessness, and her unsatisfying roles and the lack of respect she received.  I sensed her loneliness and hopelessness.  I wanted to make everything better for her, but could do nothing but watch her retreat into herself.

My daughter, amazed, wondered how it was that I, the adopted daughter, the transracial international foreign born daughter, was the only one who seemed to have empathy for this woman.

I thought about empathy.  I thought about how helpless people can relate to helpless people.  I think I recognized my situation, though perpetrated by her, as a reflection of her own situation…

Enter Stockholm Syndrome.

Witness Natacha Kampusch, the Austrian girl who was abducted and held captive for eight years in a basement, by a socially inept man named Wolfgang Priklopil.

Kampusch has sympathized with her captor.  She said “I feel more and more sorry for him – he’s a poor soul”, in spite of having been held captive for eight years by him, and according to police she lit a candle for him at the morgue.

Ms. Kampusch was labeled as having Stockholm Syndrome, which she denied.  Later, Austrians were shocked when it was revealed that she carried a photograph of Priklopil’s coffin in her wallet.

For me, that was not shocking at all.  Eight years she lived under that man.  Not only did he tear her away from her less than ideal family, occassionally beat her, deprive her of liberty, and probably molest her, but he also showed her tenderness, brought her gifts, and tried to make her captivity more comfortable.  She was the most important human being in his life.  And everything she could hope for had to be through him.  Eight years you get to know someone really well.  You start to understand what makes them tick, what brought them to such desperate acts.  You begin to feel for them.  They become dear to you.

Yes, I am projecting here.  This is my adoptive mother I feel for.  And I weep when I think of the desperation that brought my adoption into being.  And I weep when I read of her letters to Holt, and how important my capture was to her.  And I weep when I think of all those years seeing that it didn’t fix anything for her.  And to my mind, I am a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.  And I am okay with that.  Just like Natasha’s treasured photo of a coffin, we can’t condemn her or tell her that her feelings for him, whatever they were, weren’t real.  My adoption was bad, a crime really.  My relationship with my parents strained.  But more than anyone, I saw her for what she was.  I think I was the only one who really knew her.

I hate that I was captured.  I hate adoption.  This is no way to start a relationship.

But I loved my captor.   We’re all we had.

Written by girl4708

January 13, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing

New Year / New Life

with 2 comments

Best Wishes for a great new year and years to come!

I’m sitting in my almost empty fragrantly cedar cabin in Washington
State, after having given away a lifetime of possessions, my goods
reduced to two suitcases full of stupid clothes I would rather replace
in Korea if I had the cash, and an instrument I can’t yet play. Last
day before I mop the floors, turn in my key, and spend three weeks at
my daughter’s house prior to boarding the plane for TESOL training in
Thailand. After the training, I’ll spend a week in Seoul at Koroot,
doing the requisite orphanage tour, traveling to the nearby mountain
town of Wonju as personal identity sleuth, and then on to my new
teaching position in Anyang.

As I sit here avoiding cleaning the oven and contemplating this life,
it’s quite stirring to think about the future and the past and the
epic in between. Almost 3 years of mystery followed by 42 years of
what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, followed by starting over
halfway around the world in a place I know nothing about yet feel I
know on a cellular level, is almost too incredible for me to
comprehend. Do you ever think that way? Do you ever think about how
unbelievable and incredible this odyssey is we’ve been sent on?

Transracial, transcultural, intercountry adoption feels like a brief
interruption of an inviolable destiny. I blinked and I have a head
full of gray hair, but I feel somehow like I am a 3 years young old
soul, picking up where I left off.

In this generous moment, I want to thank Holt for f’g up my life so
badly. It’s made this homecoming all the more sweet.

I’m just grinning ear to ear and bursting with love love love love
love for all of you and wanting to wish you half of what I feel right now.

Holt orphan 4708

Written by girl4708

January 1, 2009 at 3:00 am

Dear Expectant Parent

leave a comment »

Just added this to my holtsurvivor blog, but I thought you might find it interesting as well…

Excerpt below:

Excerpts from the two page (yup, that’s it) guide to taking care of your new adopted child from Korea, circa 1966.  (from my own personal files) Bold added by me for highlighting.  Portions omitted are about plane arrangements, clothing to send, documents which will arrive, medical exams and immigration.  Sarcastic comments are fully mine.

Dear Expectant Parents:

This letter is to prepare you for your child’s arrival.  First of all, be sure you have all the fees paid…We must have this money before your child comes.

read the rest here

Written by girl4708

December 21, 2008 at 7:26 am

What is this need to KNOW WHERE YOU CAME FROM?

with 2 comments

The following question was deleted from Yahoo!Answers.  Fortunately, I saved a draft. Please forward to anyone who also doesn’t get it.


What is that, especially after you were brought into and loved by a afmily?

It seems rather selfish to me. It also seems like the effort to have a ready excuse for what doesn’t go the way that you want it.

I am trying to understand.

I’ll take a stab at it, but it’s nearly impossible to describe because you have to live it to really understand.

Say you had amnesia. You wake up and you are in strange surroundings with new people, and you can’t remember your name or where you came from or anything about your life prior to waking up that day. You get a new name, but you know you were called something else before. You eat food, but you know it is different than everything you ate before. You are cared for, but you know they are not who cared for you before. What a difference one day makes. How can you not remember? You know there are so many things about yourself, but they are all gone and you don’t know who you are anymore. You’re too in shock to know what to do.

This day goes on to the next and the next and you gradually become familiar with this new life. But you are confronted with questions that cause sheer chaos inside you. Draw your family tree. Chaos. How were you born. Chaos. Does your mother have the same color eyes. Chaos. Do your siblings look like you. Chaos. Form field – what ethnicity are you. Chaos. Medical history. Chaos. All you know is you had an identity once and it’s gone now. People keep asking you these things. You look at other families and they all look alike. You have a child and it looks up at you, half your face. You look up like your child and see – nothing but chaos. You look in the mirror and see – a stranger – who looks nothing like anyone else.

Yes yes yes we can and must deal with this. But in my case almost three years got erased. Three years of culture and language is no small thing. It is not just a trivial thing to lose three years. Those were my formative years. They shaped me on a profound level. But all acess to anything that can tell me anything about the beginning of my story, any clue to alleviate that unworldly feeling like you are an alien dropped out of the sky, born at age three, is denied me. To know see how I will age. Denied. To know even one sentence to cover the hole that is three years. Denied. To have even one image to confirm that I am not an alien. Denied.

We can get by all right. We just must. But this amnesia induced by others, our original identities stolen is no excuse we make up to blame others out of selfishness. It’s a very very real loss. That nobody else has to confront except adoptees and amnesiacs. And it is haunting. And heartrenching. And frustrating.

Please don’t trivialize this. You can’t begin to conceive what this is like.

Written by girl4708

December 20, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Posted in Q&A

Adoptees: if you could have picked your own adoptive parents, would you have chose the ones you have?

with 7 comments

No, not being adopted is not an option.

How would the AP’s you were to be raised by be different, if you’d had the chance to choose them?


I would have liked to have established a RELATIONSHIP with them FIRST, so I could see what their true colors were and make my decision based upon that. Trust should be earned. Relationships should be built. Even children deserve that.

The problem with adoption is you become an instant family. Back in the day, this was sight un-seen. They at least got a photograph. I didn’t get any. I didn’t know them from Adam, but I had to live with them. Even today, it is typically just a visit or two. I not only had zero choice, but I had zero opportunity to bond except after I had already been totally uprooted and totally dependent upon them for – EVERYTHING. I was stranded with strangers, powerless. I also couldn’t speak English so I couldn’t even communicate my fears, reservations, or needs. I also had no way to leave a bad situation. I didn’t even get an interpreter… I can’t understand why adoptive parents would want a child under those circumstances, where love is forced because there is no alternative. I wouldn’t want a parent willing to settle for something that shallow.

I wouldn’t have chosen the parents I got. They provided well, but they failed not only me but also their own biological children in every other way – in all the ways that count. They should have been screened better. And asking me to choose my own adoptive parents isn’t enough, as I would have also traded in my siblings who didn’t appreciate the fuss and disruption of my presence, so I had to grow up with them hating and resenting me.

If I could have chosen parents, I would have chosen people who bothered to get to know me first, who liked me for me and not because I filled a need and provided a role for them. In fact, I think someone like a caring big brother or big sister would have been a much better choice than having to go live with a new family, to tell you the truth. The amount of quality bonding time might even have exceeded what I got with my parents.

I would have chosen people who respected and loved children enough to not re-traumatize them and abruptly rip them from their country, their culture, and everyone they could identify with. I would have chosen local people in my own country. Local adoptive parents or the orphanage, surrounded with others like myself – that is what I would have chosen.

How would my AP’s be different? My only friend in jr. high school had five sisters, a step brother, a step mother, and her dad. All nine of them lived in a two bedroom cottage and attic space. There was more life and love in that tiny struggling house than could be found in my house times ten. Careful, conservative, proper, respectable people don’t always make good parents, just because they go to church, can fill out forms, and can balance their budget. Opportunity can go to hell. Without a vibrant, caring, genuine family like my friend had, my opportunities seem like poverty in comparison. My parents of choice wouldn’t have been so superficially perfect.

Adoption can be just as creepy as an arranged marriage. You can qualify perfect attributes of the perfect people and they can still be perfectly hideous to live with and govern you. You can create a laundry list of what you want in a child, and find you hate them once they are in your care. And there’s something very creepy about being sought after with no established history and no relationship. Without any test, without any trial relationship, we can’t even establish whether these humans even LIKE each other. This kind of courtship takes time and proximity. It takes more effort. It is so much more meaningful.

In my world, love comes first and legal recognition comes after – not the other way around. That’s the kind of world I want to live in. People who prioritize values like that are the kind of parent I wish I had.

Written by girl4708

December 9, 2008 at 2:30 am

Posted in Q&A

the ache of separation

leave a comment »

Perhaps the most haunting, heart rending song about loss ever written:

Dearly Departed by Devotchka



How I miss your heart

Beating next to mine


The right words

Were always hard to find

When all our times was fine

When darling you were mine, all mine


And I know,

I know you had no choice

But how I miss your voice

Singing right with mine


Flesh of my flesh

Soul of my soul

Come back home


All this darkness,

cannot hurt us

Cause they made you from the light


Here on purpose,

don’t be nervous

We will make it through, this night



How I miss your heart

Beating next to mine


Flesh of my flesh

Soul of my soul

Come back home

Written by girl4708

December 8, 2008 at 12:26 am

Posted in Infinite Longing

For those who were adopted, when did you start understanding?

with 32 comments

About how old were you when you started to understand what “being adopted” means? What questions did you ask? What questions did you want to ask, but didn’t? What answers did your parents give you? Were the answers helpful? What, if anything, could have been done or said to help your understanding?

My daughter has always known she was adopted. She knows just about everything we know except for issues that she’s still too young for. She’s going to be 10 soon.

We have an open adoption with visits, calls, e-mails, etc. She rarely asks me any questions except for “why don’t I look like my sisters and brother?” and “why don’t they live with us?” We always tell her the truth. When I ask her if there’s anything else she wants to know, I usually get that deer in a headlight look. I know it’s coming. I know she’s going to ask more questions some day. I want to be prepared.

  • 3 weeks ago

Additional Details

3 weeks ago

ETA: Thank you all. You’ve given me more to think about.

Best Answer – Chosen by Asker

Adoption has never been something I was comfortable talking about growing up. I dismissed it as an issue and pushed it under a rug. I just wanted to live my life and try and be happy.

I threw myself into my interests – vocational, recreational, and relational with great fervor and passion. On the surface I appeared vibrant and successful. Yet nothing ever lasted. From childhood to present day, I’ve always been a little remote or a little too intense or a little too vested or a little too intimate.

At 43, after a failed relationship, I crashed. I crawled into a fetal position for two months surveying all my relationship disappointments and nearly didn’t make it to my 44th birthday. Until one day the obvious hit me – that I had been living my entire life avoiding and fearing abandonment. And because avoidance had been my main focus, I was ill-equipped to handle the normal ebbs and flows of relationships most people learn to deal with. That the rough start of abandonment and adoption truly was profound. That it shaped my whole life. And confronting that wound and dealing with it in a more productive way will shape the last half of my life as well.

And one of the main reasons for this handicap was because my parents gained more from me than I gained from them. Their self interest was, in effect, abandoning me. This is something adoptive parents don’t want to recognize. When the parent/child relationship is more about the joys and satisfaction derived from children than it is about truly what is important to the child, then who is there for the child and the child’s emotional needs?

I think childhood is not a time when children can express how they feel, or communicate their deep loss or grief or pain. I don’t think they should be expected to. Nor do I think they will necessarily share any recognition they do have with their second parents. Because you contributed to the process that caused them pain, even if your intentions were honorable. And they care about not hurting you. It’s our own private thing we have to deal with, that the child will never trust the parents to relate to. Because unless you’ve been abandoned and adopted you just can’t.

The only thing you as parents can do is put them first. Really care about them. Always be supportive. And never, ever, place conditions on your affections or put your own needs ahead of theirs. You need to be a rock of gibraltar, a constant and abiding source. They need to trust that you will always be there for them and never abandon them – in word, deed, attitude, in any way, shape, or form. Your loving words are not enough – they need to see/feel/know without a shadow of a doubt that they can be totally secure. The more insecure you show you are, the more insecure your child will be…

So I don’t think it’s a matter of having talks about adoption. In fact, that’s invasive, self-interested, a sign of parental insecurity, and a great way to further alienate yourself from your kids. It’s a matter of being a genuine and complete loving parent. And if your child wants to talk about it when she’s ready, know that all she wants is honest answers. NOT happy adoption rhetoric. HONEST self probing answers.

Again, the theme I keep going back to is this: we don’t need adoptive parents. We need PARENTS. Relaxed. Loving. Secure. Steadfast. Comforting. PARENTS.

Hope I’ve been of help.

Asker’s Rating:
5 out of 5
Asker’s Comment:
Every single answer gave me a new perspective, so my thanks go to all.
AlmostHuman, your theme of children needing genuine and loving PARENTS really hit a chord with me. Thanks also for sharing what you learned about yourself during your journey.

Written by girl4708

December 8, 2008 at 12:16 am

Posted in Q&A

remembering in korean

with 3 comments

funny how this small thing made me cry and feel joy at the same time.

i sent the following email to loved ones, as if i had graduated or something:  i guess i had.

i just had a memory from my childhood in korean.  how bizarre is that?
i remember saying this to my new parents.

i peu da

looked it up and found this:
yeh ppeu da


it means pretty

i think it must have been RIGHT AFTER I ARRIVED.  it’s very fuzzy, but i think it is real.  it was about the christmas tree…i kept saying it over and over again.

silly to flood your in-boxes with something so small, i know.  i was just excited to have the word come to me in korean out of nowhere.  i was watching a kdrama and the guy told the girl she was beautiful, and suddenly i peu da popped into my head!  and then the christmas ornaments.  i haven’t studied it.  i haven’t heard it.  i just KNEW it was a synonym.  so i looked up pretty and korean on google and the word was there! and then i typed pretty and beautiful in the free translation on-line, and sure enough, it was there…

now, if i could only remember two weeks earlier about my life at the orphanage…or nine months earlier when i was with my family…
i hope i have more of these, but i doubt it.

this is the first time I can recall where my first thought was a word in a foreign language, and not only that but inherently knowing what it meant.  i was about ten weeks shy of 3 years old when i arrived at my american home, which was four days before christmas.

he,he,he, i guess the forty hours I thought I’d wasted watching korean dramas wasn’t a waste afterall!


Relaying my joy over this reclaimed word on an adoption support board, one of the adoptees mentioned that my experience is not unlike Helen Keller’s.

from RNIB;  supporting blind and partially sighted people:

Then, after a month of Anne’s teaching, what the people of the time called a “miracle” occurred.

Helen had until now not yet fully understood the meaning of words. When Anne led her to the water pump on 5 April 1887, all that was about to change.

As Anne pumped the water over Helen’s hand , Anne spelled out the word water in the girl’s free hand. Something about this explained the meaning of words within Helen, and Anne could immediately see in her face that she finally understood.

Helen later recounted the incident:

“We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honey-suckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten, a thrill of returning thought, and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.”

Assimilation has been like having my sight taken away.  But it appears those early connections live on and can never be obliterated once formed.

We adoptees are not blank slates.

Written by girl4708

December 7, 2008 at 3:27 am

Posted in Infinite Longing

Tagged with

update on letter to girl4709

with one comment

On a cold March day in 1966, two little girls began a journey which would change their lives forever.  That day was the day they were transferred to an orphanage to begin their life as orphans, to be adopted and sent away to foreign lands with foreign people.

You and I were together that day.  You and I were together the next four days and possibly the next nine months.  Were we together prior to that day?  Only meeting can rule out the remote possibility of relations undocumented.

You are the only living person I know who has anything to do with my past and I would at the very least like to contact you, however you feel comfortable.  We are sisters in solidarity, and I would be interested in hearing how you’ve fared in life.

fondest regards,



My earliest document atypically referred to two people at one time:

  • two little girls
  • both the same age
  • both given “provisional” names
  • both abandoned on the same day
  • both sent onward together
  • both sent to Holt and given consecutive Holt orphan numbers

My struggles to obtain this document, and the struggles to be allowed to passively contact this girl, whom Holt had identifying information for, was herculean.  Finally, they relented.


Never letting up reminding/prodding Holt to not let up and asking for updates as to the search for girl4709, Holt called and said they have located her.  It is now up to her.

If this is true (or just a ploy to get me to stop harassing them) then I feel sorry for girl 4709.  But then again, it was not I that orphaned her nor I that sent her to foreign lands and foreign people for adoption, so I hope she harbors no resentment towards me for upsetting whatever calm she has in her life.  Hopefully, like me, the knowing of the truth has more value than some temporary emotional turbulance.

I recall how I felt the morning my Korean speaking friend gave me a rough translation of my earliest document from Wonju city hall.  At first I was just numb.  A kind of “well don’t that beat all” kind of disbelief, which lingered throughout the day.  It kind of felt like the feelings I had harbored about adoption in general all my life – pushing it aside as a non-issue in hopes its nagging implications would just go away – only it was like times ten.  And then I was driving on the long commute home when it hit me.

When I first asked for my adoption records, my daughter asked me if I would search for my birth mother.  I had no interest in upsetting the life she had established and I told her no.  When my daughter mentioned that I might have siblings as well, I told her I hadn’t thought about it before, but probably I wouldn’t bother.  I was shocked that I had NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED this as a possibility.  (In retrospect, I can’t believe I had never entertained this possibility – but it is true.  The depths of my own denial and self preservation amaze me)

On the long commute home, I recalled my daughter bringing up siblings and my cool reaction.  And then I thought about the other girl from Wonju.  And what if’d.  What if she was my sister?  What is we were even twins?  What if I was not only separated from my parents due to poor economics (the most likely scenario, since I was already two years old) but also separated from my sister?  from my twin???  Can I even begin to imagine what kind of pain that would have caused a parent?  Can I even begin to imagine what the severing of twin bonds can do to a person?  Possibly myself?  What if my almost hostile attitude about birth family search has always been so negative because maybe my loss was too great to deal with?  It was not just a loss of an incubator.  It was the loss of someone who cared for me well (I was a fat, secure, well-adjusted child upon arriving for adoption) and thus presumably well loved.  The loss of a sibling on top of that was unimaginable. The loss of a twin on top of that was unfathomable.

I started to sob in the car.  Full body racking sobs.  I couldn’t tell the difference between the rain outside and the rain inside.  I could barely drive home.  Whereupon I stayed immobilized in the car for an hour, sobbing.  Sobbing like I’d never sobbed in my entire life.  Primal sobbing.

What had adoption done to me?  How could it take over forty years for me to finally acknowledge and cry about my loss?  I still can’t wrap my head around the profound consequences of the redistribution of children.   It puts an end to my words and makes me silent.

And so I wait to hear from girl4709.  I wait for her to catch up.  To have her primal cry in her car.  To have that healing cry.

We might not be/probably aren’t sisters.  But there is that small possibility we are, so that possibility must be exhausted.  And either way, that jolt to my adoption psyche helped me realize how essential the fundamental facts of our origins are, how important their meaning is.  Whether it is girl 4709 or not, while there is still time to piece together this picture, I must at least try.

I am glad my sleep got disturbed.  I am glad to be awake.

I hope girl4709 will one day feel the same way.

Written by girl4708

December 5, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing

removing the hypocricy from ethical adoption

with 7 comments

This was a response I posted on an ethical adoption site. I have edited portions of it referring to the particular thread to make it more universal.

It is a snapshot of my current evolving view on international adoption.

As a person who can understand WHY people want to adopt, yet as a person who wants all international adoption to END, I’ve found this thread to be very interesting.

It’s interesting because this is a website devoted to integrity and ethics in adoption, and yet it still reflects all the divisiveness of the adoption issues at large. It’s also always interesting to me when children who were once so coveted and sought out grow up to be a source of discomfort and conflict.

Like most of the parents here, my views about adoption began to turn upside down only as I learned more about how it was conducted and as I explored the motivations behind its genesis. It’s not a pretty picture beneath its top layer. The deeper I explored, the more outraged I became. Is this angry adoptee syndrome a popular phenomenon? No. It does not reflect the majority of adoptions (though I do believe time brings us all closer to these revelations). I believe it is a parallel path to those who are willing to ascribe to ethical adoptions, which also do not represent the majority of adoptive parents. Both positions are the result of a deeper exploration and a belief in social justice and personal responsibility. These positions are not set, but are a journey, as we all are seeking the truth.

There is no room for (or value in) blame or assumptions or pre-judging. Especially when what’s done is done. However, more fundamental to all adoptions are the issues of desire, entitlement and all the dark alleys that can lead people down. As a broad generalization, the distinctions between ethical adoptions and the status quo often stop here.

For me, as an idealist who wants to promote the idea of village (a more expanded definition of family in a social context) and the exploration of what a genuine parent is, I don’t feel adoptions are a necessary legal construct. However, as a pragmatist, I feel I must address adoption on two fronts: Support for social services in source countries to eliminate the need for adoptions, and support for the children who have already been adopted. By support for social service in source countries, I believe most adoptions are unnecessary and very correctable if we threw as much energy into caring for one another as we throw energy into rescuing children of the aftermath of not caring for one another. By support for the children who have already been adopted, I mean helping children by helping their adoptive parents provide a more meaningful parent/child relationship. What’s done is done and I want to spare other adopted children the suffering us older adoptees had to endure at the hands of our well meaning (by their estimation) parents.

At the essential core of both fronts is the surgery that is executed for adoption to take place, and the participation of institutions or individuals in that wound. What is frustrating is that the majority of potential and already adoptive parents reject acknowledging their participation in that reality. Because these issues are so fundamental to the relationship of adopted child and parent, the denial of or unwillingness to admit their role in this surgery can lead to an unbridgeable gap of mistrust, a gap that young children are unable to verbalize. The ends do not always justify the means. If the means were ugly, but only the beauty is promoted, then children are taught that their parents are hypocrites that can’t be trusted to be honest. This lack of trust prevents adoptee relationships with their adoptive parents from fulfilling its potential for depth and meaning.

And the means does not only include adoption agencies and countries. It starts with each person, and what set them on the road to adoption in the first place. Too often progressive adoptive parents wear the mantel of truth yet still exhibit their underlying entitlement. I will put forth that adult adoptees have hyper awareness of this when it occurs. There doesn’t seem to be any good way to point out when entitlement is showing without appearing accusatory.

When you hear the “anger” or frustration in the adoptee voice, it is because we are always trying to have a conversation with people closed to any real discourse when it does not validate what they have put so much energy into building. So please be understanding and patient when you deal with adoptees – the frustration and isolation of voicing an unpopular opinion and repeatedly talking to deaf ears can make our voices shrill.

On the other hand, I think that it does not do our cause any good when we try and hammer home our viewpoints, however well argued. This is because there are too many iterations of the adoption scenario and because the ten arguments we may have do not apply to the 15 reasons people adopt. I understand adoptee frustration over ethical adoption organizations, despite being for integrity and ethics, are still advocating adoption, and more radical than that, international adoption. Yet – I think our energies can be spent better eliciting allies amongst them. We don’t necessarily need 100% support. An inroad is an inroad. A little enlightenment is still an improvement and progressive. We need thoughtful parents, like the ones who come here, to help us re-frame the dialog with the rest of the adopting world. We can not do this alone. We need to recognize those that are on this path are heading somewhere positive, just as they need to recognize that our perspectives are valuable, even if they hurt.

Me, I’m a pragmatist.

I see adoption as a great experiment gone horribly awry. I feel we can all learn from each other and all work together to stop the mistakes of the past from continuing to be perpetuated. It is my sincerest hope that for every adoption that goes through, x+ families are assisted to stay together. We should ALL work towards the elimination of the need for adoption to abandon children. Hopefully we can all agree that the need for adoption to abandon children is messed up, that there are things we can work together to eliminate this need, and that reform is a beautiful thing.

Imagine all the progress we could make if each adopting parent who claims they are adopting to save children, would concurrently support programs to save families…now that would be an adoptive parent I could believe in and endorse.

I would hope all of you can join me in open forum, enlightening popular culture as to the complexities and consequences of adoption. I would hope everyone can take what you’ve learned and broadcast it OUT to those that know little about adoption and do what we can to minimize the damage that can happen when people jump into something with simple and reckless abandon. I commend you all for pausing to think and choosing this path. Now that you’re on this path, I hope you don’t stop – but continue on – with me – working for social justice and – with yourselves – doing the hard self analysis.

For the kids

Written by girl4708

December 4, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Do all adoptees feel this way?

with 7 comments

Here is a question that was closed before I got a chance to answer.  (the run-on paragraph makes for hard reading, but bear with it)

Her question

A very common theme I see here with adoptees are the feelings of loss, betrayal, feeling unwanted, different and feeling like they didn’t “belong” to their adoptive families, all of which are justified. I have had these feelings too. I know there are a lot of people with strong opinions here, but please consider the fact that I am an adoptee also. What I would like to know if there are any adoptees that consider their adoption to have been a positive thing? Obviously adoption was a life changing event, whether as an infant and unable to remember your adoption or as an older child, remembering being taken from or surrendered by your family. It seems like a lot of adoptees have lots of negative things to say, almost as if their whole life has been ruined, and but I don’t think for everybody. When I first started asking about adoption on Y!A, I didn’t disclose the fact that I was an adoptee, I came here seeking information on how to adopt. I came under some really heavy criticism from people not knowing my background, assuming that I was just another infertile parasite looking for someone’s baby to take without regard to the child’s feelings at all. Do all adoptees feel like that’s what all adoptive parents are like? I was a baby, I don’t remember anything, so I never experienced the trauma of remembering being separated from my family. My parents have a bio son who I consider to be my brother in every way and I was never ever referred to as an adopted daughter. Now, that isn’t to say I had a great childhood. It wasn’t, but not in the way that a lot of adoptees describe their childhood. I had to get therapy for other issues in my early 20s and am coming to terms that I’ll likely never know my biological family. Are there any adoptees who have no desire to know their bio families? If you are one, are you content with your life as it is and consider your adoptive family to be your only family, period? I thought that my own experience as a child would make me a better adoptive parent, but it seems like that might not be the case. I figure that was the hand I was dealt and it has made me who I am today and though it took a while, I have to say I’m happy. I’ve gotten married to a wonderful man and we are looking forward to building our family, conventionally or not. Some of the comments given to people just trying to look into adoption almost make you want to NOT do it. My feelings aren’t as strong as some others here and if no matter how much empathy I can give an adopted child, if they still are going to feel this way, it makes me wonder if this is the right thing for me to do. I don’t want my child years from now having all these negative feelings, although I realize that’s not going to be in my control. All I can do is be the best parent I can be and hope they know that I know what it’s like. Is there anyone out there who is happy to have been adopted and wouldn’t want life any other way? For the other adoptees who aren’t, what is the source of your feelings, other than the obvious, of course? I understand every person is unique as is each family and each situation. I understand the need for reform. What I’m not always understanding is a lot of the bitterness, perhaps because my situation was different. I really would love to adopt but am no longer feeling as confident about it because of the responses I’m seeing from other adoptees. Is it possible for an adoptee to be truly happy with their adoptive family?
My answer
The crazy thing about adoption – what those people reading our critiques don’t understand – is how we, MORE THAN ANYONE, wanted with all our hearts to make adoption be all that it could be.  I accepted my siblings as siblings.  I thought of my mom as my mom.  I had zero interest in pursuing birth family search, and I toyed with the idea of adoption much of my life.

Pretty astounding from an adoptee who was transracial, intercountry, and sexually abused.  The deep deep level of how much we want things to be as they should knows no bounds.

To me, adoption is a process.  One that had I further complicated with adopting, I might have forever frustrated reaching an understanding of what adoption means:  personally, socially, and politically.  And recently, I have even begun to recognize adoption as a feminist issue.

I am glad that I did not participate in perpetuating what was done to me.  I am glad that I am no longer fatalistic about the hand I was dealt with.  I am glad to finally be questioning what adoption really is.

It revealed itself when I had children of my own.  It revealed more of itself when my parents passed away.  It reveals itself in new color and depth as I begin something I had no desire to  ever do – search for my birth family.   It seems to have waited until my hair turned gray; It seems to have taken that long to process and acknowledge.

What I’m finding is that adoption is a misguided solution.  It treats the symptoms of society’s problems without addressing the root causes: The thinking that by distributing orphans amongst the many who want children, the problems will be cleaned up does not work.  The problems will continue to come.  The orphanages will just be filled with new results of the same old problems, because the problems are systemic and cultural.   But people who want babies aren’t concerned with fixing the system or with the next generation of orphans.  This myopic vision, so attractive in its personal rewards, contributes to the neglect of fixing the system, because as long as people are there to relieve the system of its excess pressure, they negate the need for fixing anything.  This is why I am against saving children through adoption.  Instead of catching one falling child of many, I would rather those that want to save children work together on a safety net for all the children.  The focus should be on eliminating the need for orphanages, while at the same time reforming the system by improving social services to women and families, and creating an exit strategy to truly empty the orphanages.

Your inquiry shows me that you, too, are on this process.  That you’re starting to reflect on the more profound aspects of what a parent and family really is, and hopefully your path will lead to a further exploration of the larger social impacts of adoption.

Today I am glad I did not pursue adoption.  Just like I try to not to purchase items made in sweatshops.  I realize not all of the workers are exploited.  I realize my boycott does not directly improve anyone’s life and that my boycott could mean loss of jobs for a few.  But it sends a clear message that exploitation is unacceptable and that markets will disappear if unethical practices are allowed to proliferate unchecked.  Public awareness and pressure successfully causes systems to adjust.  For example, Walmart will not suffer another Kathy Lee scandal.  Walmart has just announced it will only purchase products from green factories.   I would rather do without the enjoyment of certain items I want, than to know I had a hand in the viability of a system that perpetuates exploitation.  So-called orphans are the by-product of systems which prey on the disenfranchised and cultures which don’t support and disrespect women.  By providing help to families in crisis, we eliminate the need for orphanages.  By increasing opportunities and social services to women, we increase their chance to succeed – and when women are successful, unwanted pregnancies and relinquishment are reduced.  Changing systems is slow and painful work, but I would rather prevent tragedies than clean up the aftermath.

I think it is an over simplification to categorize adoptees as happy or bitter, and it is also an over simplification to correlate that with adoptive family relations.  One can hate adoption and love or hate ones adoptive parents.  I am not bitter about adoption, I am sad about adoption because it is a preventable tragedy.  I am bitter about some things my parents visited upon me, but I can also distinguish their individual issues from the fact of me being adopted.  I can also say that adoption distinguished me and that it influenced some of my parent’s actions, which is an added burden for children.

Is it possible for an adoptee to be truly happy with their adoptive family?  Yes.  Part of them can be truly happy.  But part of them will always be deeply disturbed in some way by adoption.  There’s just no getting around this dichotomy.

Written by girl4708

December 2, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Q&A


leave a comment »

link to Resistance post from my other project, holtsurvivor

Written by girl4708

November 30, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing

letter to my first love

with 2 comments

Dear Pat,

This is Suki.

I always felt so sad about how things turned out and I wanted to explain to you.

You didn’t know and nobody knew that my father had molested me my whole childhood.  That is why I was confused and active too early.

When I met you, that was the only thing I thought any males were interested in me for.  I never had anyone just like me for me before you came along.  I didn’t know anything about relationships.  I didn’t even have any friends because you can’t really confide in anyone when you are a victim of incest, so you isolate yourself.  I had to keep quiet so my mom’s world did not fall apart.

I was so impressed that you respected me and wanted to wait.  I was so impressed that you loved children and your family.  I didn’t even know families could be like that – so real and genuine.  I was afraid of losing you and I guess I did everything wrong because for some reason you felt pressured by me to put your values aside.  I really truly didn’t want to rush you. I just didn’t know how to go slow.  I really truly didn’t want or need that.  I just needed love and was relieved to not be pressured to have sex.  I just wanted to hold hands and dream about a future.

That was why it was so sad that you did not believe me.  It truly didn’t matter to me.  You were so worthy.  Much more worthy than all the other guys who just wanted to get into my pants.  I wanted to tell you about my life, but I couldn’t even talk to myself about it at that point.  But knowing I knew about things outside of your convictions just became too huge a dilemma for you.  After we broke up, I just went kind of numb because I felt like I would never have anyone just love me for me.  I pretended it didn’t matter, and I went back to all I knew.

Despite all the time that had passed, when you returned to knock on my door I was so happy to see you, and then I realized you only wanted to prove something to yourself.  I think I understand how hard it was to be a young man with a value system in a crazy world where nobody felt it was important, and how you felt you just couldn’t win.  And I think you realized afterward what I had always known – that knowledge is over-rated – that sweetness and innocence are the most precious things we can have.  That night haunts me to this day.  I should have said no and sent you away.  I should have said, stay beautiful, stay sweet.  But I was a trained robot on autopilot.  I just did what was expected of me and cried by myself afterward, like I’d done my whole life.  I didn’t cry for me, even though I knew you wouldn’t be coming back.  Who was I kidding, having virginal dreams of white weddings and your loving arms around me and our beautiful asian/latino children playing around us.  I cried for you.  I cried for you because I saw the hardened look in your eyes and knew you would be forever different.

Anyway, Pat, I just wanted you to know that it was never you.  My father ruined me.  I guess he contributed to the ruin of you as well.  You were so pure and beautiful, and I wanted you to know that somebody walks the earth knowing you are the very best kind of good person out there.  The irony is, I now search and long for all those things you felt made you inadequate.  I hope you have made a good life for yourself, and I bet you have a wife and children, and I know they are very lucky people.

Recently, I have been abandoned by people I thought loved me and my parents died.  Since their death, I have been freed to explore the impact being adopted and abused has had on my life, and I have looked fondly back on a few shining moments like I had with you.  And I wanted to have some closure with you so you not think ill of me or you.

I’m moving to Korea to learn about my birth culture, and to search for my flesh and blood.  As I leave this life in America, I just wanted to connect to those that made a difference and say thank you for seeing me and taking a chance on me.  I hope I did not damage you too much.  I hope you can forgive me.  I was just a kid.  An adopted abused kid.

Fondest regards,


Written by girl4708

November 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Ancestor Worship

with one comment

Once upon a time I was a community leader in Cuban culture appreciation in these parts.
I was totally caught up in the polyrythmic complexities of it and danced any time I could and traveled to wherever and whenever I could to catch the best bands. I was intrigued by the folkloric dance forms and music and became a scholar of contemporary Latin music and Afro-Cuban music history. That investigation took me to explore West African roots and that took me to African religions – those are the roots of salsa.

I actually found Santeria pretty compelling and attempted to practice for awhile. At the time, I was looking for a religion that kept out of politics – Santeria was based in the natural world, ancient, and full of the comfort of ritual song and dance.  I had a mentor who was a priestess guiding me, and it was much more of a philosophical discussion about Santeria in daily life vs. the superstitions as practiced in the Cuban religion and the commercialized charlatan filled version practiced here in the states. I was lucky I found this one woman to talk with me about the more fundamental spirituality of it, and who wouldn’t try to impress me with all of the ceremony and ritual things that draw people in when they don’t understand what the rituals really mean.

One of the basic tenants of Santeria is ancestor worship, so as an adoptee I had an awful time practicing this of course.

The way she explained Yoruban ancestor worship was this: the spirits of people do not go away. they don’t go to heaven. they don’t go to hell. that is too linear a way to think. they just are. they are all around us in our atmosphere and everything we touch and guiding everything we do. they are like atomic particles in a primordial soup. and what we can’t see is actually thick with spirit. Egun – they are the spirits of those that came before you and that are there to guide you. There are human attributes which have been assigned to different Gods and those Gods are associated with forces of nature. Anyway, I wont get into the whole cosmology of it, but basically you have two Gods that protect you and that share their attributes with you and your egun watch over and guide you. Your fortunes and happiness are dependent upon your Gods knowing you honor them. And you can’t honor your Gods without the wisdom and guidance you get from forging a relationship with your ancestors.

It was interesting because church isn’t a place you visit – every day of every minute is church. Your home has an altar, and the altar is where you pay homage to your Gods and respect to your ancesters. Practicing devoutly and being a person of faith means having a RELATIONSHIP with your dead ancestors. You say hello to them when you come home and light a candle. You tell them your daily gripes, your joys, your heartaches. OUT LOUD. Like a crazy person talking to themselves, only you are speaking to your ancestors. When you eat, you give them a symbolic helping. You clean and tidy their space. You make it nice for them. You thank them all the time for everything you receive. Any time anything of note happens, there are prayers that you say. You bring them gifts. You give them fresh flowers. You say good night to them when you go to bed. It’s like having a baby or a dog – but it requires even more attention!

So there I was, practicing all this and yes – actually feeling close to something faint – but unlike other ancestor worshipers, I had no photos, no artifacts, no mementos. Not that I was jealous of other people’s altars, but more that those things that capture an ancestor or belonged to someone you loved or anything that was a remembrance of a fond moment or a crappy moment – these things have a power over us. They had history and I dropped out of nowhere. And I had nothing but my candles and flowers. I told my Santera about how I was adopted and she came up with all these traditional Cuban things people do – but they were all culturally inappropriate. She told me to put up cultural things from my country on my altar, but I had NO CLUE what those might be. And at the time, I didn’t even have any documents – I didn’t get those until recently when my parents died. I had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No trace of a past. Only the notion that I had to have come from somewhere…

I eventually gave up. I felt my voice couldn’t carry me far enough, that it was like howling in the wind. I felt like my ancestors did not travel with me to America, but were hovering in the mountains of Korea, through the pines or in the rice fields or steaming kettles of soup. I came to be quite disgusted with the way Santeria was practiced in America. But, to this day I appreciate the rigor and concept of ancestor worship, even though I no longer practice it.

I know Cuba and Africa are not the only cultures that practice Ancestor worship. I know clan lineage and bloodlines are a cornerstone of Korean culture. I really LIKE the idea of my corporeal body being the living result of something that extends back through history. But my history was stolen from me. And I feel like a ghost. At unrest, but still alive.

I wonder now, what our ancestors think of this tragic separation that has taken us all away? I wonder about first nation’s peoples and aboriginees, what their ancestors would think of their children being stolen and placed into white families who thought less of them and treated them badly? I wonder if they are crying and can hear our faint whispers from thousands of miles away?

I left out that Santeria is a monotheistic religion, despite it having a panoply of lesser gods, there is at their creation story only one – Olodumare. The lesser gods, who are all the forces of nature, are his children. The goal is always for all of us to learn here on earth, and then we can join the gods and Olodumare and come home. Even in the Christian faith in which I was raised, the afterlife is where you finally get to come home.

So many religions seem to somehow be about this idea of family and returning home to be with them.

Written by girl4708

November 6, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing

The Value of the Abused Voice

with 10 comments

Time and again I hear adoptees speaking out about their civil rights beginning with the disclaimer:

I had a happy childhood and am NOT an angry adoptee…but

I guess they fear their voice will be dismissed if there is any hint of dissatisfaction with adoption. So with that line of thinking, a happy adoptee’s voice is more valuable than a dissatisfied adoptee’s voice. Because if you’re dissatisfied that equates to maladjusted and everyone knows maladjusted people can’t form logical conclusions.

Time and again I hear adoptees speaking against the adoption industry and their civil rights being violated explain how their anger is justified anger and the trauma they experienced with their misguided, self-centered adoptive parents are base on reasoned arguments. But at least

it’s not like I was abused or anything

I guess they want to distance themselves from abuse out of fear their voice would be dismissed as being tainted with damage or their judgement clouded with emotion. Because even worse than being maladjusted is being damaged. Everyone knows the damaged person also has damaged mental faculties.

Time and again I have sympathetic adoptive parents AND fellow adoptees excuse away or dismiss things I say because I was also abused. Lots of I’m sorry for you and I hope you find healing and lots of well,

just keep in mind she was abused…

so I guess they are saying, take what she has to say with a grain of salt. Because she doesn’t know what normal is, she can’t know what we’re talking about, she can’t speak about just adoption, and we can only feel pity for her.

But I ask, “Why does my abuse disqualify me from the ability to form rational thoughts about parenting, adoption, and child placement reform?”

In many ways I and my abused adoptees stand in a unique position. Especially those of us who have grown and raised our own children. In my life I have been:

  • separated from my mother
  • severed from my birth country
  • transported to another country
  • assimilated to a country that didn’t accept me
  • deprived by my adoptive mother
  • sexually abused by my adoptive father
  • an at risk teenager
  • a runaway of sorts
  • a teen mother
  • a welfare mother

I’ve also overcome that all and been successful at many things. If I can put myself through college while working and raising two children and get accepted to Yale; If I can analyze logic and backwards engineer programs; If I can draw a concept and turn it into a building to live in; If I can discuss phenomenology and existentialism and aesthetics and yet love diner food; If I can raise incredibly bright, loving, well-adjusted children who are responsible citizens and critical thinkers; If I can take in troubled children and I can be a non-threatening friend to young people; etc., etc., etc., then why am I disqualified from talking about adoption because I was abused?

There are many positives to being abused as well. Being abused has heightened my awareness and recognition of what is beautiful. Being abused has given me a greater appreciation of life and what makes a life worth living. Being abused has given me insight into what a child can live with and what they absolutely can not live without. Being abused has shown me where and how adoptions can fail and the subtle ways in which the best of intentions can decay.

On the contrary, I think this wide spectrum of experiences puts me in a unique position to analyze the process of adoption. This variety of exposure to the many aspects of adoption has been expansive, not limiting. My abandonment was one category. My adoption was another category. My loss of culture was another category. My experiencing racism is another category. My being abused is another category. My being a parent is another category. I can address each category individually AND as a complete ouvre. It IS POSSIBLE to recognize the distinctions and separate them. It IS POSSIBLE to see how they influence one another. It IS POSSIBLE to see what they have in common. Who better to see what they have in common than someone who has experienced them all? There is way more in common than people would care to recognize.

Especially intriguing to me is, what is essential and fundamental to the genesis of ALL OF THE ABOVE. Very few people have been in the position to be able to recognize that. In a strange way, I guess that makes me one of the “lucky” ones. And this blog. This blog is going to be an attempt to put words to what that essential is:

Before the primal wound was DESIRE.

Controlling our desires is a measure of our maturity.

Living with the consequences of acting upon our desires is a measure of our responsibility.

Uncovering the motivation behind our desires is a measure of our wisdom.

Adoption is DESIRE.

Think about that for awhile.

Think about what desire drives people to do.

Think about the quest to satisfy our desires.

Think about how that changes people.

Think about the hidden costs.

Adoption is DESIRE.

Everyone is happy to hold everyone else accountable, but never oneself, because that would mean recognizing how their own desires impact others. All the while everyone claiming it is all about the child’s welfare.

Of course, that’s just what this adoptee thinks, but I was abused –

so it couldn’t possibly mean a thing

Written by girl4708

October 31, 2008 at 5:04 am

Posted in After Abuse

Pushing Culture

with 2 comments

Response to an Amom about her daughter’s culture:

She has NO desire to learn about Korea at this point and takes offense when I suggest anything cultural

yeah, this IS pretty offensive, actually. I was the same way.

You know – there’s ACADEMICS and there is REALITY.
Transracials are acutely aware of inauthenticity. We question the motives behind everything having to do with suggestions related to race and culture. We get tired of having to put up with ignorance of racial issues, especially when they come from our own families.

CULTURE is something you have to LIVE. It’s commonwealth, born of common struggle and overcoming, which is handed down person to person.  YOU can not provide any culture to your child that you do not know yourself, or in a vacuum removed from a cultural environment. It’s impossible/futile.  Attempts to display cultural esoterica will come off as caricature.  Over interest in culture will appear to be the cultural appropriation it probably is.

Pushing culture based on a person’s race is therefore even more offensive. Here’s this impossible thing you should strive for because you’re (insert nationality here) and because you’re not from here…you’re an alien.

Loss of culture is just one more sadness a transracial adoptee has to deal with. But because it seems so out of reach or so inadequate, a lot of us buried the desire to acquaint ourselves with it, resigned ourselves to that, had to reject it to defend ourselves.

If you aren’t near any people of your child’s birth culture, but are truly interested in your child being exposed to their culture so they don’t feel a loss later, then MOVE to some place where their culture is evident in their environment.  It’s a horribly isolating feeling to be the only person of your race where you live, know nothing of that culture, yet bare the burden of representing your entire nation of origin, simply because of the color of your skin.

If you have the good fortune to know any people of your child’s birth culture, THEY can introduce your child to their culture. But it shouldn’t be formally. It has to be real.  S/he has to see/experience how they live and develop their own thirst to learn more. S/he has to like hanging around them.  Culture camp is another thing entirely. It’s not real, but it is at least a bubble. It can whet an appetite.  But it’s just a bubble, and the child will know that too.  They’ll no doubt develop an interest in their culture on their own when they are not feeling the tension over it that they do now.

Yes. That’s right. Tension. That you bring it up creates tension.

Repeatedly the worst disservice adoptive parents do as ignorant racists – that’s right, racists – is contribute to the retardation of the child’s exploration of culture by pushing it. I don’t say this to beat adoptive parents up. I say it in all sincerity that they just don’t know – they’re just being dumb.  Most racism is just sheer ignorance on people’s part.

Odds are, you are an example. If, for instance, you are interested in knitting, your child might take an interest in your interest. Most adoptive parents aren’t TRULY interested in their child’s birth culture except to gather some exotic things and to try and elevate their children’s specialness. As if we need more reasons to justify how different we are.

Am I making myself clear here? Unless you’re going to fully embrace exploring their culture and making it part of daily life and immersing yourself in that culture and that community, then lay off – keep it pressure-free for your kid, and the kid will probably come to the table on their own.  Your job is to provide them an environment with pressure-free access, and to support them when and if they show any interest.

Written by girl4708

October 26, 2008 at 12:32 am

Posted in Q&A

Tagged with

Why can’t people believe that we do exist?

with 7 comments


A question asked earlier today spoke of those adoptees who were happy with their adoption and who don’t want to search for their birth parents or feel that they are living in a state of loss. Someone remarked, in response to that question: “[I] didn’t go past your first paragraph, because [I] totally disagree. [W]hat normal human being does not want to know where they came from?”

Well, here I am and I know that I’m not alone. I was adopted as an infant and have been with my family since that time. I have a loving mother and father as well as an “egg-head” sister and a “goofball” brother. I love them all unconditionally for who and what they are, my family. It’s been that way for the 45 years of my life thus far.

I’ve never felt any sense of loss over being adopted. As far as I’ve ever know or considered I am of Scottish decent, the same as my family. I’m bald, my (adopted) father is bald. When I had hair it was reddish brown, the same as my (adopted) grandfather on my (adopted) mothers side. I’ve loved camping my whole life while my (adopted) brother and (adopted) sister consider the Banff Springs Hotel as being as close to the great outdoors as they care to get. (I put the word adopted in brackets only for clarity sake)

And most shocking to some, I’ve never felt a need to search for my birth parents.

Why is it that people expect us to believe their stories of pain and suffering over adoption issues but at the same time they deny that some of us are happy and well adjusted in our situations? Those against adoption will rant on and on about all the different ways they feel their rights have been infringed upon which affects their right to be happy. Does trying to deny my happiness and that of others somehow balance things off for those who are unhappy?

  • 9 hours ago

Additional Details

8 hours ago

And for those curious about what I meant by my brother and sisters idea of the great outdoors…. check the link:

7 hours ago

Thanks for the psych analysis Gershom. Next time, can I lay on the couch?I assure you, I am very happy and well adjusted. I’ve got a successful career, a wonderful family and I’m secure in both who and what I am. If you choose to believe otherwise though that is your right.…

My Answer – NOT Chosen Best Answer:

I believe your experience and that you exist.

I also believe my experience and that I exist.

Our truths co-exist.

The vast majority of people I meet get really excited about adoption – it’s one of those things a lot of people entertain doing. I know I did at one point. And then they find out I’m adopted and they get all happy. And then they find out my outcome was not a happy one, and then their first response is to look for ways to continue being excited about adoption. These are some of my closest friends! So my reality gets denied all the time too, Randy, in a very personal way. So I feel ya.

The thing we share, though, is I never thought adoption had anything to do with my unhappiness for the last forty years of my life. Two years ago I may not have painted as sunny a picture as you do, but I wouldn’t have ascribed any of my unhappiness to adoption. And all my life I totally rejected the idea of searching for my birth mother. Had no desire to do so. She was irrelevant. Adoption was not an issue, and even if it was lurking there somewhere, my emotions were so completely compartmentalized I wouldn’t have recognized it.

The thing we don’t share, however, is that back when adoption wasn’t an issue with me, I never would have thought of coming on to a public board defending my adopted status. So those of us who have come to the realization that adoption, actually, had a pretty huge impact on the direction of our lives, wonder why the content adoptees are even here at all, why they are thinking about adoption at all, and why they protest so much. It’s just a curious phenomenon is all. One I don’t understand.

Adoption did not become an issue for me until I had a major major MAJOR crisis in my life. Major enough that my very existence was a tenuous prospect. If that hadn’t had happened, I would probably be carrying on the same way I always had – where the word and the concept of adoption never even entered my thoughts.

Sometimes it takes facing something as big as death to look at the intangible parts of your deepest being that are all intertwined with abandonment, and how adoption complicates and obfuscates that. Previously, identity as a concept didn’t register on my radar either. I mistook it for personality. I’ve got one of those, so I didn’t need to think about it further. But almost dying makes you face the profundities of life. And birth and identity are part of that.

I’m happy for you that you got a good match, that you don’t know any different, that you feel secure, and I for one am totally willing to let you go on feeling that way. I’m just trying to explain how some of those who aren’t willing to let you feel that way might have come to that conclusion.

And, of course you know adoption is a political issue as well. And though our grievances get a little equal time here at Y!A , they get practically zero time in the real world. So a lot of us feel like our voices are being negated by the happy adoptees. Because we’re surrounded by people who want to believe only the good things about adoption, as if it was only all good. The thing people miss is – WE wanted to believe too. We truly did.

Our realities can and do co-exist because our truths are our own. It’s just stupid to fight about it. I see you. Do you see me?

Best Answer – Chosen by Asker

I think what Randy quote from the other question/response says a lot. That the person refused to read more only due to the fact that they didn’t agree with what was being said in the post. That seems rather ignorant to me. You also do have some people who refuse to see things outside their own box. Not just from one one side but both (all) sides.I do have some information in my adoption file if I ever wanted to I am sure I could easily find biofamily if I wanted to. I have my biomothers name and with the internet it makes it so easy to find anyone. However I simple don’t want too. Maybe this fact makes some think I am not normal. The fact is I have never been normal. It’s the strange and un-normal people who are interesting. Seriously what is normal to one is not normal to another. Just check out the National Geographic show Taboo.
  • 3 hours ago
Asker’s Rating:
5 out of 5
Asker’s Comment:
I received a tonne of good answers here but I had to choose one. You captured the meat of my question perfectly. Thank you.I won’t comment on the 17 negative emails I’ve received or the free psych evals other then to say they were read and appreciated for what they were.

Written by girl4708

October 25, 2008 at 6:26 am

Posted in Q&A