Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

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

39 Responses

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  1. He called you his concubine?!


    October 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm

  2. yup.

    my little concubine.

    my siamese kitty cat.

    nice, huh?

    I also added a comment to the post above.


    October 21, 2009 at 9:28 pm

  3. Interesting article from the “Possibly related posts” from fellow wordpress blogger, the surrealist

    “The taboo against talking about incest is stronger than the taboo against doing it.” – Maria Sauzier, M.D.

    Traits of Families that Tolerate Incest and Child Abuse

    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.

    Duplicity, deceit, collective secrets

    The incest family hides its embarrassing secrets.

    Rigid and tightly controlled

    Incest families have rigid rules to prevent revelation of their secrets.

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

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

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Compensating veneer of religiosity

    Incest perpetrators often hide behind an external show of religion.


    October 23, 2009 at 5:11 am

  4. I find it hard to let go of my anger to get to the subject.

    I could always tell when my wife, a social worker, was working with an incest or child abuse case when she worked for CPS. She would come home with a raging migraine a few times a week. I don’t think she has ever come to grips with who commits these horrible crimes.

    I once had to tolerate the company of abusive men. Domestic violence. And they did all seem to have common traits. It was a very subjective thing. The combination of dangerous and pathetic. But I can’t say if that was because I knew what they had done or if this was something I could see in a stranger.


    October 23, 2009 at 5:26 am

  5. Wow, some post! Damn!

    Glad to find your blog, and I’ve added you.

    I know a lot about Woody, which is what drew me to this post (got here through Atlasien’s blog)… he is one of those men I so much admired in my youth, and then… OMG. I was so let down…

    1) I think he hooked up w/Mia because she had been married to Frank Sinatra, whom he idolized.

    2) According to Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth, Woody DID abuse other children, including his own biological daughter who now (as an adult) refuses to talk to him. It is almost as if Soon-Yi was his “warm-up” for the serious business of his “own” kid.

    3) What I find most interesting, above all, is how there are no Asians in any of his movies. None. He has included lots of other people, but rather pointedly, no Asians. It’s rather glaring, really!

    I am not sure what to make of this fact, but I have noticed it.

    4) In the documentary about Woody, he casually notes that Soon-Yi was “eating out of garbage cans” as a kid… obviously, that has some importance for him, and he congratulates himself that he has saved her from that, even though it was Mia who adopted her.

    Just some things I noticed.

    Great post, and I’ll be reading.


    October 23, 2009 at 7:06 pm

  6. Thanks for the added insight for anyone reading this, DaisyDeadHead.

    Woody’s intensity and intellect always drew me to him as well. Guys like these must have been what Nietzche was thinking when he came up with his ubermen theory. The weak must find ways to thrive and feed their tortured egos.

    I can say my father shared many many MANY characteristics with Woody. (less the rapid-fire Yiddish) These things turn my stomach today and which I avoid at all costs.

    Item 3) is an astute observation. Fear of discovery, guilt, etc. is often overcompensated for.

    Item 4) was new to me, since I can’t bear to watch Woody now and missed his documentary.

    I think I read somewhere (paraphrasing and I don’t know the source) that Soon-Yi discounts the incest because she was a willing participant and that she discounts being a child bride because she wears the pants in the relationship.

    To me, Soon-Yi (exactly BECAUSE she was still a child) mistook taboo for love, because that is heady stuff. And the moral transgression of father/daughter can be dismissed on technicality only. Soon-Yi is a tragedy for us adopted Koreans because most of us born prior to the 80’s were abandoned and OF COURSE we are hungry for love. For someone like Woody to manipulate that to his own gain and relief (gross) is especially repugnant. I feel pity for her, and now she has to be mother to this pitiful excuse for a man to save face. She figured out long ago that he needed domination so he could feel secure. She recognizes the balance of power in their relationship. She fails to recognize the imbalance of power that began it all – long before she could comprehend or understand enough to willfully participate.

    I also feel an amazing amount of anger towards her – for validating to all the other Woody’s out there that his abomination of a relationship is OK. That you can turn sick fantasies into reality. You can coerce/seduce/what-have-you the little Asian doll and take her home with you. You, too, can get away with it.

    The most appalling and shocking thing of all is that Soon-Yi and Woody have adopted two girls. Now ask me how effective adoptive parent screening is. Now tell me we adoptees aren’t for sale to whomever has the means. Even if Woody manages to keep his member in his pants this time, there will be a tension in that household, a web so knotted it may never be unraveled, and those two girls will have to make sense of the world and relationships with these two freaks as their role models.


    October 23, 2009 at 11:15 pm

  7. Getting back to the screening issue…

    I wanted to add that ANY PROSPECTIVE PARENT who complains bitterly about probing questions or having to get a Criminal Background Check should AUTOMATICALLY BE ELIMINATED as qualified for adoption. AUTOMATICALLY.

    It’s appalling just how much this is complained about by how many…

    I had to get a CBC to teach in Korea, it’s totally appropriate, and its minor inconvenience was nothing if it meant even ONE pervert is kept away from countless children.

    Any applying to adopt potential parent who complains about having to fulfill such a minor requirement as part of their social and moral contract for parenting, clearly has their own inconvenience more in mind than the best interests of children and society.

    And the STUPID ARGUMENT I always hear – that biological parents aren’t subjected to this humiliation – has got to be shut down. Adoption, if it truly has the highest aspirations everyone claims it does, is supposed to provide families for children who have already experienced trauma. It is AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO BETTER than the biological family that failed or rejected them. To dismiss this opportunity would be irresponsible.

    Again, any person selfish enough to come up with the previous argument FAILS THE TEST of what it means to be an adoptive parent and what abandoned/relinquished children need.


    October 23, 2009 at 11:25 pm

  8. This is one of those things that happens that’s so awful that I’d almost rather not be aware of it. Incest + racist fetish, I guess you can always make a horrible thing even more horrible *shudder*. What’s this about Woody and Soon Yi adopting 1. At all 2. girls 3. please don’t let them be asian girls. That’s completely perverse *double shudder*. I read this post on the same day that I found some suspicious findings around a little boy’s bottom, *ugh*. There are some really not okay for children people out there.


    October 24, 2009 at 6:29 pm

  9. One is Caucasian, one is Asian. I hope they are okay.

    Please call CPS about the little boy – each report adds up and at least creates or adds to a history of reports. Should it be dismissed, at least he will get more attention the next time someone calls, because CPS has to use triage to distribute their limited staff.


    October 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

  10. I’m a healthcare worker so I know that I’m legally obligated to report it and I already spoke with one of the boy’s physicians. I hate the idea of disrupting his family by getting CPS involved, but you’re right, better safe than sorry.
    I really hope that Soon Yi uses her personal knowledge of Woody’s “proclivities” to safeguard her children. It’s one of those situations where you want to make sure the nanny’s around even if he’s watching the kids.


    October 25, 2009 at 3:25 pm

  11. I tend to think that effective screening should not only eliminate potential abusers, but should only be the beginning. Bah, I don’t know. I still wonder if it is possible to start out a good adoptive parent. Which then makes me wonder – how do we detect the potential for abuse?

    Also, of the many professionals we dealt with, I would say one of them needed to be screened herself. She kept getting back to it being all about us and not our son. I was pretty dazed at that point, but my wife was on her pretty hard.


    October 30, 2009 at 2:52 am

  12. I think the dynamics of Woody are much, much more complicated….. not many talk about it in this context, but Mia Farrow as a young woman chased after Frank Sinatra, knowing that he had been her mother’s (Maureen Sullivan, a famous actress less remembered now) lover. In that way Soon-yi kind of repeated the Sullivan/Farrow family pattern.

    Thank you for the best piece I have ever seen on men who commit incest.


    November 12, 2009 at 6:54 pm

  13. Ed,

    Sorry I didn’t reply to your post earlier – for some reason I couldn’t process it.

    “And they did all seem to have common traits. It was a very subjective thing. The combination of dangerous and pathetic. But I can’t say if that was because I knew what they had done or if this was something I could see in a stranger.”

    It’s probably both. I don’t think subjective means arbitrary. I think it’s based on an educated guess. You through your heightened awareness. Me through insider observation. I think this is training and how we learn, by observing patterns. I think it is possible to train those who don’t experience it first hand. I believe we should have subjectiveness training – sensitivity training.

    And I also believe there must be characteristics that can be listed for screening, just like there is for every other psychological disorder. Just what does adoptive parent psychological screening entail? And how many visits are in a screening, to consider them adequate? I would really like to know more about this screening process…


    November 16, 2009 at 12:27 pm

  14. The truth will be hard to swallow. Your real parents tossed you out with the trash.


    December 4, 2009 at 4:55 am

  15. Fanmail.

    From someone too cowardly to use a real email address…and they call themselves Truth…


    December 4, 2009 at 8:36 am

  16. I find your blog very, very profound. Thank you.

    A little tidbit. I was talking to a man who goes to a lot of topless places. He mentioned that he has never met a Korean dancer raised by her biological parents–only Korean adopted women. I wondered about his observation until this entry pointed to the fact of rampant sexual abuse.


    January 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

  17. Truth, can your limited brain think of the one scenario. I know of a couple who recently adopted a Korean boy. His twenty something biological parents were high school sweethearts and forced give up their baby. Korean society has unimaginable pressure. There is no Disney rescue or solution. But he was conceived out of enormous love. No prostitutes, no abuse, etc. It was a heart wrenching decision.


    January 28, 2010 at 10:05 am

  18. Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a fact that there is rampant sexual abuse. It’s just an extrapolation, since we are a population that is self-reported and grossly under-reported due to the complications that can cause us further trauma.

    I will say that this kind of abuse sets us up for a lot of confusion regarding our own sexuality and love. I believe it IS a fact that a disproportionate amount of women in the sex industry were once sexually abused. How many of those are adoptees would be an interesting study.


    January 28, 2010 at 4:21 pm

  19. thank you for your post. i am also adopted and was abused (although not sexually): physically, emotionally, and psychologically. my sister who was adopted was also abused. she killed herself several years ago.

    i was wondering whether your stat at the end about the number of abused adoptees doing birth search was specific to sexual abuse or if it included other types, too.



    March 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm

  20. Well, it isn’t a stat. It is one person’s off-the-record observation. That person, however, is privy to an atypical level of disclosure, due to the sensitive nature of family search and the unresolved issues it brings up. This is second hand anecdote and, due to confidentiality can not be backed up or categorized. Which, unfortunately, is the case for most childhood abuse. Only the worst cases are documented. The majority, due to an unwillingness to self-disclose, never see the light of day. Please visit my other project,

    I believe more of the first wave of Korean adoptees were abused – either physically or sexually – than the second and third waves of adoptees out of Korea. Yellow fever, however, is alive and well and parent screening relying on criminal background checks and personal recommendations still does an inadequate job of psychologically screening out the superficially great parents who are actually sick.

    And, in my own personal belief, I think parents can love children that aren’t their own in a manner as if they were their own. But I also believe that the mechanisms that stop parents from crossing the line with their biological children have to be constructed with adopted children. It’s a-natural and can easily fail. I think adopted children, in general, suffer more abuse, for a host of reasons: from displaying reactive attachment disorder, to not bonding as expected, to showing signs of post traumatic stress disorder, to (quite understandably) not adjusting well to a strange and foreign environment, to just having radically different natural personalities.

    As I’ve said in the past, adoption is SUPPOSED to be an opportunity to do better for children who’ve already had a rough start in life. But it’s too often not better. Often it’s sub par. Sometimes it’s tragic. It made me old far too young.


    March 19, 2010 at 6:03 am

  21. I wanted to put in a word in defense of us men who prefer Asian women. I have discussed this preference with other men who share it. It’s largely a physical preference, like a preference for blonde hair or long legs. Otherwise our taste in women is unremarkable.

    Your adoptive father’s line, “my little concubine” makes me want to clear my throat. Eeew. There was quite a bit more than yellow fever going on with that guy.

    On the other hand, if your adoptive father found Asian girls unattractive, you would have been at less risk. So I agree that yellow fever might be a necessary, yet insufficient, condition for sexual abuse of Asian female adoptees.

    In particular, I would be very suspicious of a man with yellow fever married to a non-Asian. How you would know about this latent yellow fever, I don’t know. You usually diagnose yellow fever by observing that a man has dated a series of Asian women.

    I’m so sorry that anyone should have to go through what you did.

    I know what many of you are thinking about me and my friends, so I’ll mention one more thing. The most common favorable comment I hear about the personality of Asian women is that they are educated. I have never heard praise for their submissiveness. Anyone who thinks that Asian women are submissive (particularly East Asian women) knows nothing about them.

    Regular Guy

    July 3, 2011 at 12:42 am

  22. Thank you for your comments – very thoughtful, and for the most part I agree with them entirely.

    I think that what happened to me (and what happens to FAR more Asian adoptees than anyone cares to admit – for example, of all the adult female Korean adoptees I’ve had intimate conversations with, it has only been over a long long period of time and trust that half of them reveal to me that they’ve been subject to inappropriate sexual advances/molestation/abuse from their fathers, but only one as chronic as mine) is, as my post explores, that adoption provides a denatured child/nurturer relationship where social taboos are crossed because they aren’t a personal biological offense to the perpetrator; add to that position of power and enhancing its imbalance is the fantasy of Asian female submissiveness in a situation where the child has been forced to accept all manner of unnatural circumstances, as well as the fact of being physically exotic due to difference in racial appearance, and you have a lethal cocktail. To my mind, whether yellow fever is based on the physical or on being submissive is a mute argument for the adopted Asian child, because being delivered to the weak male adopter who finally has control over an object of desire (which is further amplified by the process of acquisition, which with transracial adoption up until recently dominated by Asian children) is where the danger lies. Asian dolls are objects of desire and THAT is another whole discussion in itself regarding colonial mind-set, which I won’t get into here.

    You’re also right about Asian women – living in Korea has appalled my western sensibilities about being female. The women in general seem obnoxiously aggressive or disgustingly manipulative by plying their feminine toolkit, which often includes self-infantalization. I have to remind myself daily that this is an extreme response to living in a patriarchal society, but it feels very unhealthy to me and I believe it perpetuates their own subjugation. I recognize that many Western men are attracted to them simply based on their idea of beauty, but I also recognize that a lot of those same Western men quickly become turned off by these thoughtless roles. Unfortunately, there are some Western men who do merely want a submissive Asian doll, but those men would (by my account) be losers in any country.

    Because of my personal experiences I will always feel there are not enough safeguards in place protecting international transracial adoptees, largely due to the rose-colored glasses everyone chooses to wear when it comes to providing family to children who are bereft of their own family, the reasons for this which are another heated topic. These placements draw out the latent yellow fever pedophile. Surely more care in advance could prevent us adoptees from having to bear the burden of discovery.


    July 3, 2011 at 3:59 am

  23. You are teaching me things, girl4708:
    * Transracial adoption of Asian girls has enhanced risks over other kinds of adoptions
    * The abusers are self-selecting. If they want an Asian doll to molest, they show up in the queue to adopt an Asian girl.
    * Your rose colored glasses statement is spot on. As one of those uninvolved white people looking on from the outside, and I am prone to think about how the adoptee is so lucky and so on.

    Once in Korea I met exactly the manipulative wife you describe. We really are on the same wavelength.

    I want to ask you about something I have noticed about adult female Korean adoptees and yellow fever. My college girlfriend was a Korean adoptee. Now, I have to admit that yellow fever creeps out even me, but for this woman, it really bothered her to a degree I have never seen before or since. I have read here and there that other female Korean adoptees have similar strong feelings.

    At the time I thought this was incredibly unfair, because my girlfriend dated only white guys. With more maturity I can see how this was not a matter of fairness, but something like:

    * Many transracial adoptees identify as white, and dislike anyone noticing they are Asian. I think my girlfriend felt this way.

    * I have no reason to think my former girlfriend was sexually abused. For a woman who had been abused, it seems reasonable that she would have had quite enough of men with yellow fever.

    Do you see this particularly strong aversion among the female Korean adoptees that you know?

    regular guy

    July 4, 2011 at 9:05 pm

  24. * I have no reason to think my former girlfriend was sexually abused. For a woman who had been abused, it seems reasonable that she would have had quite enough of men with yellow fever.

    I don’t believe sexual abuse is the datum by which we should judge the Asian transracial adoptee’s stance on yellow fever.

    It is a reactionary response any Asian female would have to over-stimulus/attention, and that comes in many forms at many degrees of actual or perceived inappropriateness, and of which we are more subject to than if we were of the dominant ethnic group. And by reactionary, I do not mean to infer that it is undeserving. We experience far too much attention and it often violates socially accepted standards (white to white social standards, that is) which border on harassment or cross into even darker territory far too often. Many times, annoyingly so, it is assumed we would appreciate or enjoy being told we are special. For example, “I just love Asian women. They’re the most beautiful women in the world.” Being told that is NOT flattering. That’s NOT special. That’s completely indiscriminate, for those readers who have to have it spelled out)

    Many transracial adoptees identify as white, and dislike anyone noticing they are Asian. I think my girlfriend felt this way…Do you see this particularly strong aversion among the female Korean adoptees that you know?

    Astute analysis, but it’s more complex than that. I can only speak for myself here: I don’t like Asian-ness being the most determining factor for sexual attention. In general I don’t identify as white. I don’t identify as Asian. I have no sense of my appearance until others categorize me as Asian. That’s very limiting, doesn’t feel good, sometimes pisses me off (depending on its delivery and intent) and I avoid it whenever possible.

    We tend to date whatever populates the pool we find ourselves in and have learned to appreciate the distinctions of that pool. We tend to avoid other Asians because we are not accepted among them and because we do not want to take on more cultural liability. Theirs is a world unknown to us and we are (sick, I know) also raised to marginalize Asians and internalize that racism.

    I think the level of aversion to yellow fever in adoptees has to do with the amount of traumatic experiences one has had . Unlike non-adopted Asian girls, we have no counsel, no reflection, no peers, no alternatives, and no guardians – we are more often than not isolated, so we aren’t equipped or armed with how to deal with these traumas / offenses. It sucks. And it’s so prevalent and exhausting, that one begins to wonder if the messages society gives about being an Asian female (and here we are isolated Asians w/o community support) don’t pollute ALL white men subliminally. So trust can really be destroyed after many incidents. How do we know beyond doubt why we are appreciated? Some adoptees eschew white men altogether. Other adoptees eschew men altogether. Some limit themselves to other Asians as they try to construct an Asian self. Others limit themselves further to only other adoptees. At some point in an adoptee’s journey to consciousness-raising, choice of partners can become a matter of personal politics.

    It is the nature of Korean adoptees who speak to one another to be engaged in dialogue precisely because they are already weighing their personal politics and have come forward as the self-identified, so they tend to be very intentional. There is no way of knowing where the population at large, the vast majority, weighs in, because they are living their isolated lives in quiet.. I have been the former for only a couple years. I have been the latter for many decades. I think more than any other issue, the trauma of experiencing yellow fever, being an object of desire, has been the untenable thing which has caused me to question transracial adoption. It’s at the root of so much we have to deal with. It shakes me to the core.


    July 5, 2011 at 2:05 am

  25. girl4708, you don’t know how personally informative this is for me.

    If I were to choose a single word from your explanation for why female adult Asian adoptees detest yellow fever, I would choose “exhaustion”. Growing up wanting to fit in, yet constantly being called out as the cute exotic little Asian girl must have gotten really old long, long ago. The last thing you need is a lover who even appears to treat you like this.

    Let me tell you about the other side of yellow fever. I’m in my 50s, so I have the perspective that allows me to judge it to have been quite a positive force in my life. My initial interest in Asian women drove me to have many exciting adventures in Asia. In Japan, I gained valuable professional experience that I parlayed into some wealth. I learned to speak Japanese naturally with a very light accent. I even wrote a book in Japanese. I married a beautiful, smart wife* from an upper class family that embraces me as a full member of their family.

    So, what part does yellow fever play in our relationship? Not much. My wife may have a slight preference for white men, but she’ll never admit it. She thinks yellow fever is just kind of silly. The only time it comes up is when she mentions some guy who has yellow fever, “like YOU,” she tells me mockingly.

    My wife is very proud to be Japanese. Even though I’m not Japanese, I am quite a presentable husband because I have the language and cultural skills to make Japanese people comfortable. Now in her late 40s, my wife likes how she looks compared to Caucasian women her age. She is now willing to mildly admit that I was right to choose an Asian woman.

    By far the worst part of having yellow fever was the revulsion it caused in my Korean adoptee girlfriend. It still hurts me, even after all these years. I think my main failure was that I failed to appreciate the immense effect that being a transracial adoptee played in her life. How could I be so insensitive? She downplayed it to the extent that she fooled me into thinking it was no big deal.

    Soon enough after we broke up, my ex-girlfriend hooked up with a guy who presumably cares little about Asia or (more importantly) Asian women. She’s still married to him and seems happy. I was so relieved when I found this out. She is perfectly capable of forming a successful, stable relationship, just not with someone like me.

    I am comfortable with my yellow fever, and I wish all adoptees the best. However, I now believe that any combination yellow fever and female Asian adoptees is doomed. It’s a total mind fuck for everyone, especially you, girl4708.

    White guys who like Asian women and transracial adoptees, just stay away from each other. There is nothing wrong with you individually, but this is a particularly rotten combination. Using myself as an example, most Japanese people find my familiarity with their country charming. I predict that female Asian adoptees find it creepy. Obviously someone like me should stick to Japanese women.

    * The manipulative Korean wife I mentioned earlier was an incidental acquaintance

    Regular Guy

    July 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm

  26. Yes exhaustion. This is why so many Korean adoptees sigh a huge sigh of relief when they return to Korea, where they do not stick out, and where they are not instant targets. The problem with that for me is blending in can deprive me of opportunities for conversation in my own language.

    You should bear in mind that it’s not just Korean adoptees who are repulsed by yellow fever. An awful lot of Asian Americans are repulsed by yellow fever. The term yellow fever was probably invented by an Asian American. Adoptees are probably more sensitive to it because of our isolation and because it is in addition to adoption fatigue, a term invented by John Raible to describe the exhaustion one experiences as an adoptee forever having to explain ones existence to others. Korean adoptees might be the prominent haters of yellow fever, but that’s probably due to the distinction of being the first and largest group to be adopted internationally. Expect a lot of upcoming yellow fever haters cropping up from China soon. We are, remember, a diaspora, so a relationship formed with an Asian in their own country where they are the dominant ethnic group is going to have a much different power dynamic to it.

    We adoptees have to toil extra hard to define/uncover who we are because we have no frame of reference to call upon. We like to be appreciated for our efforts at self determination and not for what we have no power over. I used to be drawn to minority ethnic groups and felt not only an affinity for them but also found them more attractive (probably for the same reason the white dominant culture does), but after much testing I have become somewhat color blind, and find it is the content of people’s words which excite and matter.


    July 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm

  27. Yes, I believe there is a continuum of aversion to yellow fever.

    In Asia, yellow fever disappears. The women are either totally uninterested, neutral or flattered by attention from a North American or European man.

    Asian Americans are moderately (and rightfully) adverse to yellow fever. I think that if a man can keep his mouth shut, and he has other qualities that compensate for his yellow fever, he can have a relationship with an Asian American woman.

    Asian adoptees quite understandably have deep seated ethnic identity issues. Their revulsion for yellow fever is irreconcilable. They can live normal, happy lives in the absence of yellow fever, so have mercy and leave them alone.

    To me, falling in love with a woman just because she’s Asian is the same as falling in love with a woman just because she’s female. It’ a nice start, but she as an individual must have many more qualities that I find attractive. Further I think that the converse of the above statement can be correctly applied to Asian women who date white men. “She’ll fall for any white guy.” I don’t think so.

    When based on fantasy, yellow fever disgusts me, too. When it is merely a preference for a physical type of woman, I don’t see the harm. However my opinion doesn’t count. None of us men are perfect, so each woman must balance all the advantages and disadvantages of each man, and make her own choice.

    In my last message, I mentioned “exciting adventures in Asia”. This is not a reference to brothels. Prostitutes do not meet my standards of excitement or adventure.

    Regular Guy

    July 6, 2011 at 5:44 am

  28. In the early 80s, my only source of information about transracial adoption was my KAD girlfriend, and she wasn’t talking. A frank conversation with an uninvolved yet informed third party has at last revealed what was really happening under the surface, and shown me that our relationship could not be saved. This puts my demons to rest. Thank you.

    I hope you and your readers can see that even after all these years spent surrounded by Asians, the memory of my ex-girlfriend still reaches across the decades to touch me emotionally. Exotic Asian fantasy dolls have no such power. Only a woman I truly loved as an individual can do that.

    girl4708, beyond the personal benefits, it was very stimulating to discuss a topic with someone who has a very different outlook, yet agree on the conclusion. if you ever want to co-author an article on this topic, or just use me as a source in an article you author, contact me at the email I provided.

    **** Feel free to truncate this comment before publishing, particularly the last paragraph *****

    Regular Guy

    July 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  29. I thought we were done, but I simply must add my wife’s opinion.

    I told my native Japanese wife about our discussion. She knows I always felt bad about leaving my KAD ex-girlfriend (let’s call her Lisa). I told my wife how I attained greater peace knowing that my yellow fever would never stop bothering Lisa, she could not stop attacking me over it, and it would have destroyed our relationship soon enough. Lisa and I did not lose so much time together.

    Try as I might, I could not get my wife to acknowledge that yellow fever is even mildly annoying. We live in the US. I asked her, “You can tell when white guys hit on you because you’re Asian, so doesn’t that creep you out?” “Well,” she said, “Asian guys also hit on me because I’m Asian. Does that mean they have yellow fever and they should creep me out?”

    My wife went on to give her assessment of Lisa. “The problem with her wasn’t yellow fever. She was too gloomy, too conservative. Lisa would not have allowed you to go to Asia. You would not speak Japanese. She would have insisted that you join some big company instead of starting your own business. All of your success, she would have stopped.” A man’s wife is not the most impartial judge of his ex-girlfriends, but she is right, except for Lisa’s abhorrence for yellow fever.

    This further illustrates the point that caused me to comment initially. There are varying degrees of yellow fever, and a variety of reactions to it. A preference for Asian women sparked my success, but yellow fever leads some men to a lonely life of debilitating, or even criminal, fantasy. My Japanese wife thinks it is utterly irrelevant, while it shakes transracial adoptees to the core.

    Regular Guy

    July 9, 2011 at 2:02 am

  30. Regular Guy,

    This is like comparing apples to oranges.

    Your wife, though living in the West, didn’t spend her formative years in the West: she is not Western. It has been my experience that the majority of Asian women in Asia are bred to be objectified and (wrongly, in my Western opinion) desire that kind of attention, (the level of image-conscious pressure in Asia is astounding. As is the allure and exciting danger of relationships with Western men – for whatever complicated societal reasons..) whereas women developing any critical skills and nurturing their own self esteem at all in the West have a long history of personal lessons about the price of that kind of attention here, which your wife does not/may never experience. It is also my experience that Asian men, in general, in the West hit on Asian women because of cultural affinity and feelings of disempowerment and rejection from non-Asian women: markers of common tribal understanding is the draw, as well as validation for their own ethnicity. In addition, I don’t see how the whole thing about whether or not your Korean adoptee girlfriend would have prevented you from becoming an entrepreneur has any bearing on the topic at hand, or if it does I wouldn’t draw any universal conclusions from it. Asking your wife is like asking a kindergarten girl about her opinion on radical liberal feminism.

    Also, in response to an earlier statement about Asian women being more educated: I’d say that’s a stereotype just like submissiveness is a stereotype. I’ve met just as many stupid, unmotivated, worthless Asian women as I have Western women.

    Anyway, most men with yellow fever are not as thoughtful as yourself. But even that distinction falls away at some point. There is a very very fine line between appreciation and objectification here, and we can question just how sustainable any woman’s enjoyment of being appreciated for superficial aspects can be. I personally think rejecting overtures for these reasons shows a highly evolved person who is thinking critically about quality of relationship, quality of life, and sustainability.

    It’s like MLK said in his “I have a dream” speech – we want to be measured by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin.

    Just like you want to be married because of your character, not because you’re white, successful and rich, right?


    July 9, 2011 at 3:41 am

  31. Regular Guy, stop looking only at your navel and try to understand others’ experiences.

    Let me recall people’s reaction when the Spanish Olympic basketball team pose advertisement making slit-eyed gestures.

    Here is one article about it.

    I and other Korean adoptees found it racist and offensive. We have a good reason to be offended. It has been our experience to be called slant-eyes, chinks, yellow,chopsticks, etc., to be verbally or physically attacked, teased, mocked, bullied, objectified because of our slant eyes — and even loved because our slant eyes.

    But it turns out that the Chinese have not been offended at all. Your wife also probably didn’t find it offensive. Of course, they didn’t live their formative years in the West, sourrounded only or almost by white people hating them or loving because their yellow skin.


    August 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm

  32. As a lapsed atheistic Jew, Woody Allen has no morality. But having said that, a study here in Australia found that children were 500 times more likely to be molested in families where the biological father was not present. (Brian Burdekin, 1987 study into Homelessness among adolescents in the State of Victoria Australia). So there is certainly an element of this in these cases of Korean adoptees being abused. We can also look at (and forgive me adoptees for drawing this parallel) the instance of sexual misconduct between African slaves and their white “owners”. In many ways adoptionism is the new slavery – in fact, modern adoptionism grew out of attempts to control indentured child servitude in the state of Massechusettes (apologies if i spelt that incorrectly) in the 1850s. I think the very obvious physical dissimilarities between the Korean adoptee and their caucasian ‘owner’ contributes to the breakdown of the incest taboo, and so sexual abuse is more likely. The occurence of sexual abuse among ALL adopted people at the hands of peripheral adoptive family (cousins, uncles, aunts etc) is anecdotally reported as MUCH higher than in the standard in-tact biological family. It is important these things are stated, but of course, in the current ideological climate that exists around adoption especially in America, no-one wants to make these statements and therefore few put time into studying them in case they come to unpalletable, albeit obvious and inevitable, conclusions.


    October 14, 2012 at 4:11 am

  33. Much to comment on here, but here are some Woody Allen details:

    He was 19 when he married his first wife, who was 16 years old. The marriage lasted 3 years.

    In his 1975 films, Love and Death, a Russian metropolitan declares that after many years of pondering over the matter, he has decided that the secret to happiness is “blonde, 12-year-old girls, preferably two if you can get them.”

    His 1979 film, Manhattan, partially concerns a dramatization of a relationship with a 17-year-old girl. The film is generally believed to be based on an actual relationship Allen had with a Stacey Nelkin, a 17-year old girl at new York’s Stuyvesant High School. The actress playing the role (Mariel Hemingway) was sixteen at the time.

    So, Soon-Yi is one in a long pattern and not at all an isolated case.

    Snow Leopard

    October 16, 2012 at 3:14 am

  34. Shines a whole new light on transnational adoption. Thanks for sharing.

    Lin Le

    September 30, 2013 at 8:43 am

  35. Shines a whole new light on transnational adoptions. Thanks for sharing.

    As a side note, I’m not convinced that Regular Guy is a regular guy. If on a post deals with some heavy traumatic subjects, all he could initially think about was to defend yellow fever, I question his values.

    He pretends Asian fetish is normal but yellow fever guys have repeatedly and BOASTFULLY blared the reasons for their fetish. Asian women are submissive, they let a man be dominant, they’re tiny, they have small c**ts, they’re cheap, they’re ageless China dolls, they worship white men etc. Some even say they’re easier to beat up. I can’t believe anyone in the yellow fever ‘scene’ wouldn’t be aware of all this.

    Didn’t waste my time on his other posts. If any of them contradicts my assessment let me know. But, for now, I think you’re giving him too much credit.

    Lin Le

    September 30, 2013 at 9:34 am

  36. Reblogged this on From Slacker To Scribe.


    October 2, 2013 at 4:48 am

  37. There is a division of the FBI called the BAU, the Behavior Analysis Unit. Their job is to profile people in exactly the way you are describing, but unfortunately their jurisdiction only applies when a local law enforcement agency calls them to ask for assistance. If you go to the FBI website you can find the contact info, you should email them about the adoption screening ideas you have. I can’t know whether or not you’ll get a reply or whether anything will happen, but it’s what they’re trained to do and if anyone can help with this issue, they can. At the very least they could release the profile for these men to the adoption agencies along with the things to look for, I’d think anyway. If you end up contacting them and this works, please email me and let me know if you get a chance! I’d love to know how it turns out. And I wish good luck to you in the rest of your life, If you’re strong enough to get through what you did, then you can get through anything <3 I don't know you, but I'm proud of you and admire you for being a human with strong values and core beliefs (and exceptional writing skills!) and I hope you have a great day today. Like stupid ridiculous great.


    November 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

  38. I don’t give him credit and stopped the exposition, which he tried to keep going forever, but I may be guilty of being too civil. But thank you for pointing out his misplaced soap box! That really annoyed me as well.


    December 1, 2013 at 11:14 am

  39. What a productive comment! Very interesting. But that was also written a few years ago and I have moved on to other things. And thank you for such positive wishes. I love the energy you give off and wish there were more of you in the world!


    December 1, 2013 at 11:18 am

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