Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

Archive for the ‘After Abuse’ Category

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

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

What emotion now?

with 22 comments

Most days, I am a sad grieving adoptee.  Some days I am an angry adoptee.  But today, today I am a guilty adoptee.

What people forget is that anger is not an isolated event.  It is near the end of a long process.  Prior to anger is frustration, and prior to frustration is confusion, and prior to confusion is sadness, and prior to sadness is a wound.  And after anger is guilt and blame, not necessarily in that order.  And to deal with all of the above, we are forced to work backwards.

Today my guilt is over my adoptive mother.  I have written publicly recently that she deprived me emotionally.  That was such a hard, hard admission to make.  I feel just awful about it.  Even if it is true.  I never would have come to that admission, even an acknowledgment of that, if a therapist had not pointed it out to me.  I refused to believe it was even possible.  I wanted so hard to believe there was something good about my adoption.  Only my mom seemed human to me.  Because I felt sorry for her.  And because I felt sorry for her, I chose to not hold her accountable for anything that happened to me.  But now I do, and yet I still feel guilty about it.

The smart 60's housewife

Look at my mom here.  Before K-mart existed.  So smart and stylish.  In their mid-century modern furnishings, in their ranch house in the suburbs.  She went bowling, she held a cigarette like Lucile Ball.  She was in the church choir.  She went to the beauty parlor every week.  My parents were on the cutting edge, adopting a child internationally.

Look at my mom here.  Stuck in the house all day.  Nothing to do except read romance novels, eat candy, and chain smoke.  Try and keep up with the Jones’ on a teacher’s salary.  Wear a girdle to fit into the form-fitting shift dresses.  Iron a mile of white shirts.  Every day scheduled with a different household task.  Then off to church on Sunday.  Year after Year after Year.   No real friends.  Nothing personally fulfilling to do.  Just have babies and keep house.

My mom and dad had two children two years apart.  Four years later they had another baby on accident, after which my father had a vasectomy.  Six years later, they adopted me. “Why,” I asked her, “Why did you decide to adopt?”

Why, we just saw those cute Korean babies in magazines and we wanted to do something good and Christian and charitable for them.

The truth is, my mom was bored out of her mind.  The truth is, once the youngest was in school there was absolutely nothing for her to do during the day.  The truth is, my parents’ marriage was strained.  The truth is, my mother had a competitive streak and low self esteem and she wanted to be envied.   Adoption was going to fix everything; and it did, for awhile.

Adoption made my mom a celebrity in our neighborhood, in our small town, in their church.  She had someone to shop for, to dress up on Sundays.  I was like a doll for her.  I remember how upset she was that my feet were too tiny to buy black patent mary janes to match the outfits she’d made, for instance.  It REALLY bothered her.  All the time I sensed little irritations coming from her, just under the surface, over anything and everything.  Feeding me lunch was laborious.  Reading me a story was annoying.  I’d ask for something, and she would sit me in front of the television.  There weren’t a lot of  hugs and kisses.  Actually, I don’t remember any.  She would hold my hand in public, but that’s about it.  The only thing I remember that was remotely bonding was a brief while where we walked to a department store and she would treat us to a float at a bakery/soda shop on the way.  When I got a little older, she would say, “why don’t you play outside like the other children?” and be annoyed that I chose to sit inside and read a book.  My reality was a burden, but without me, her days were totally empty and pointless.

When I told the therapist how cold my siblings were and how much they resented me, the therapist told me my mom was a bad mom.  She pointed out that my siblings must have felt emotionally deprived too, or they wouldn’t have resented me.  She pointed out that if my mom had been a good mom, she wouldn’t have tolerated that kind of attitude, that she would have sensed something was wrong and taken care of it.

I got defensive over my mother.  She obviously had issues of her own, from her own childhood.  I felt nobody understood her but me.  She seemed as fragile as my father claimed she was, sitting there with an absent longing look in her eyes as she devoured romance novel after romance novel, candy after candy, cigarette after cigarette.  She sighed all the time – her life was a life of quiet desperation, resentment, and passive aggressive hostility.  I told myself it didn’t bother me that she never spent any time with me.  I told myself it didn’t bother me that I was left to waste away the hours by myself.  I knew she had been an only child and she probably gave me the same amount of attention, or lack thereof, that she had received. I told myself it didn’t bother me that I was a prop or a project or even just a topic of conversation.  I voluntarily shouldered all of the secrets of my incest so as to not hurt her.  In my eyes, she had absolutely nothing worth living for.  I felt sorry for her.

I dreamed she would divorce my father.  The two of us would run away and she would become a liberated feminist and we would learn to have fun and be girls together.  She would save me from my father’s attention, and I would help her become independent.  Maybe we could become friends…Of course, that would never happen.

Instead, when my father confessed he had been molesting me for years and years, she called him a bastard and, besides that one word uttered SHE NEVER SPOKE OF IT AGAIN.  Not to me, not to him, not to anyone.

I never got one hug.  Not one question.  Not one tear.  Nothing.   She never said even one word to me about it.  Ever.  My entire childhood of abuse just never happened.  So much for my fantasy of her protecting me and us carving out a new life together.  My mother kept her emotions to herself as much as she kept her affection on ice.  I was on my own.  But hadn’t I always been?

There had been a time where, as a CPS case aid I monitored supervised visits with potentially hostile mothers.  Mothers who sided with their partners instead of their children who had been sexually abused.  I guess if I had reported my father, my mom would have been classified as a hostile mother.  But even those mothers hugged their children.  I would sit there and record their visits and watch them interact, and in one hour those children of hostile mothers got more physical interaction than I got in my entire life from my mother.  My therapist was right.  I WAS emotionally deprived.  I can count on my fingers and toes how many hugs I have gotten in my life, and none of them were from my parents.  (except for when I left home)

On one occasion, my mother spoke wistfully of how I used to lay my head in her lap as she sat on my bed in the morning to wake me up for school.  Actually, this only occurred four times.  And it was I who initiated that affection.  And it surprised me she did not pull away.  And these four times, which amounted to all of ten minutes, was the highlight of our life together, the sum of our affection.   So yes, I feel guilty about including her in the dark portrayal of my abusive childhood.  Because she was so emotionally bankrupt herself – she just didn’t know HOW to love anyone.  I wanted her to love me so badly, but there was nothing there.  And she wanted to be loved, but she had nothing to give.  She expected all the mother/child loving and bonding to originate from me.  We both needed a mom but we were both deprived children.

I’m sorry, mom.  I’m sorry I couldn’t be your mom and love you.  I was just a kid.  I’m sorry dressing me up wasn’t enough. I’m sorry your life was meaningless.  I’m sorry I was your husband’s surrogate wife.  I didn’t ask to be.  I didn’t ask for any of this.  I’m sorry.

Grandma Holt, why would you let people like this adopt?  I would rather have had a hug than three square meals every day.  I would rather have lived in an orphanage with other children than be sexually abused.  Instead I was left to take care of these needy people on the verge of collapse.  I had to dance around the unspoken impending doom of their collapse every day.  I was the well from which they both dipped.  I don’t really blame them for being broken and emotionally depriving me or sexually abusing me.  I blame you, Grandma Holt, for irresponsibly placing me in their swansong of dysfunction.  I blame you for introducing me to them. I HAD to care about them, they’re all I had.  I had to care first about them – and now that I care about myself, I feel guilty about them – and it’s all your fault.  Because you wanted to do God’s work, but you didn’t give a damn how.

Fuck you and your damned saving the world with adoption.  It’s over forty years later, and I’m no better off than when I left Korea.  It’s over forty years later and I have to go half way around the globe in search of one hug from one familiar heartbeat.  It’s been over forty years of silent grieving.  Your irresponsible missionary zeal was the root cause of yet more pain and sufering – and it was all unnecessary.  The war was long over by the time you took me.  The Amerasian war babies were safely off the penninsula.  Your rescue mission was done.  If there was a period of economic hardship, and you were such great Christians, why didn’t you do more to help Korean families feed themselves?  You’re no Christian.  You are an exploiter of vulnerable people.  You are a peddler of human flesh.  Yes.  I blame you, Grandma Holt.  The abuse I suffered was all due to your negligence.  I am holding you accountable.

Now I’m an angry adoptee again.

Adoption is so fun.

Written by girl4708

October 6, 2008 at 2:46 am

Posted in After Abuse

My Life After Abuse

leave a comment »

This is an extremely gross and disturbing video, so you might not want to watch it.

But it effectively illustrates what complex post traumatic stress feels like – something that childhood sexual abuse survivors have to live with daily.

Written by girl4708

September 27, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Posted in After Abuse

Raw Meat

leave a comment »

this was written just prior to a nervous breakdown, about the same time i came out of my adoption fog.

i am an adult survivor of childhood incest, who has grown up and learned to work around the issues (or so i thought) to my own satisfaction, but apparently not to the satisfaction of others. and so i’ve decided to go public and share with you what those implications are so your awareness can make you a better friend to others than my friends have been to me.

there is in this society a gross lack of empathy that produces insensitive statements like, “get over it,” or “speak to the hand,” or “those with baggage need not reply.” and there is also an over-abundance of armchair psychologists with no more credentials than stacks of self-help books ready to point out where you need to improve yourself.

to which i say, unless you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, you just can’t know how moronic and/or inadequate your recriminations and criticisms are, so i ask:

is it morally right to criticize the actions of a starving person when one is well fed?

I think not.

i am a victim. victimization exists and you don’t get over it. you live with it and pat yourself on the back that you’re not in a morgue somewhere. you are a victim and you will always be a victim and you’re proud you lived through it and nobody can take that away from you. you are a veteran of war and every day that you are not dead, you are a survivor. you are always both. victim AND survivor. you process the world and people differently after a hellish experience and that’s totally understandable. or rather, it should be. but in our world, it’s not allowed. to disclose any trauma makes you a whiner. to show anyone your weaknesses makes you disgusting and pathetic. this is a no-baggage-allowed kind of world. A pathological system where victims are partially to blame for their victimization and whereupon silence is defacto and isolation is perpetuated.

when, as in my case, you are adopted from a foreign country, into a strange world where nobody looks like you, into a family where your siblings resent you for just being present and your unstable mother doesn’t believe in affection so your daily life is spent entirely alone and emotionally neglected, and your father who has more than affection for you molests you in the shower, molests you in your bed, molests you whenever nobody else is around, when mothers and neighbors turn a blind eye and you are always being watched by your perpetrator, when your minister molests you and others try to rape you, that fundamentally affects your approach to the world. when you spend your entire childhood in silence due to threats and manipulation, you can confide in no one and are therefore shut off from normal relations with society / friends, and every minute of every day you carry this huge burden, this secret that will shatter multiple lives that you are the sole keeper of. you never know what it is to be a child.

when you were not allowed to express your needs as a child, during that time in your life when you are all about needs and unable to provide for any of them yourself, and worse yet are hushed and programmed to suppress your own immediate needs or inner needs – that cuts you off from participating in the rest of the world and you must just watch and be subjected to everyone else saying, me, me, me. especially when it’s your parents saying me, me, me, and they use you, a child, as a resource to take care of their own needs. your needs are always less important than everyone else’s needs. you no longer even try to express them. you forget how. you tell yourself you have no needs. you become an island unto oneself.

you learn how to get by. year after year after year after year of never-ending abuse with no options available to you save the potential equal horror of some foster family. you do what you need to do. you learn there is nothing anyone can do to you which can’t be lived through. you learn to participate without being present. you learn this while you are still in diapers. you learn no one is going to save you or take care of you. you have no family. you are the only family you’ll ever have.

this is not something you “get over.” it is something you deal with daily, something you try to improve upon, but you can never get over. it formed you indelibly. this is the message i want to get across to people: incest victims are to be applauded for making it through another year, and not to be pitied over the violation of their bodies, because that was a minor assault compared to the comprehensive restructuring of their lives in order to facilitate that abuse. they are to be sympathized with because they live life without having experienced innocence, without having had a childhood, never knowing how it feels to be care free or loved, and growing up entirely isolated, with no one looking out for their interests. monkeys die in environments like that. and the ones who live are never the same. and you would not say to that poor creature – oh come on, get over it – you’re so pathetic. and it is not something any self-help book or spiritual teaching is going to make go away. it is something that has become part of who you are. it is a parallel world that no one but another incest survivor can understand.

so there you are, like a feral child in a foreign land of well-adjusted people who know how to communicate, who know how to express their own needs, who champion their own needs, and who trample all over you because you are mute. and because you are so handicapped, you get exploited time and time again. and you can’t comprehend how most people who have experienced one tenth the trauma you have can act so inhuman, be so self serving, living so purposelessly, so lacking in integrity, so blindly and without conviction. the human race disappoints so much so you wonder if being isolated and feral isn’t somehow better.

it is not true that you seek out powerless situations. it is more that almost anyone who can express themselves wins out because they are always more powerful, because your voice was taken away from you so you never gained any skill in its use. it is human nature for others to get away with as much as they can. they see your lame struggles to assert yourself as tacit approval for whatever they want. they don’t see that you are trying to form the word “no.” it is a silent scream. it is always at this point that your survival skills kick in to autopilot.

so you win and i’m your puppet. but you can never ever do anything harmful to me, because you can’t reach that deep. you play dead. and you live.

it is also not true that you have no self esteem or that you hate yourself. for to not end up like the infant monkeys that perished for science speaks a lot about self love and preservation. that all incest victims have not killed themselves is amazing. the positive side effect of living all your formative years in an untenable position is an appreciation for all things that do not cause you pain, and the knowledge that you have inner strengths unknown to most people is a source of pride. but the resiliency of children becomes brittle as you age, and you lose hope as each interaction with the rest of the world fails.

what is true is you have no clue how to form relationships. because you never really participated in the world, in fact, you were barred from participating in the world, you don’t understand how people connect with each other or how they communicate or what makes people laugh or what fun is. you can’t relate to them and they can’t relate to you. you have been sentenced to a life of never-ending isolation. you pantomime what others are doing so they can relate to you, but your message is lost on them. and the message is:

you are privileged and so, so lucky. be kind to your fellow man. be kind to wounded animals and abused children. be generous to those who struggle with skills you take for granted. be less self-serving and make the world a better, safer place.

my disappearance was due to a breakdown. an inner rage and grieving for that innocence everyone else knows that i can never know. rage for trying so hard to live an authentic life of integrity and meaning, doing an admirable job, yet ending up empty handed and alone and abandoned by those i love. rage that the only time i allow myself to trust i am betrayed. rage that i am judged so harshly for my social ineptitude. rage that i am criticized for not managing my life the way a normal person would. disappointed in humanity and its lack of integrity. i looked into the abyss of hopelessness and nearly threw myself at its mercy.

but somehow, the part of me that never gives up came to my rescue again. only this time, i go to therapy to learn how to live better amongst the rest of you, because you can’t do it through self help and you can’t leave it to the clueless. and today i choose to end the silence and express myself.

i’ve been reading and reading and reading other people’s stories on the net and it is so apparent that awareness is so lacking in the general population as to the effects of incest on victims as adults. i just thought it was my duty to let people know they’d met one and that they can’t/shouldn’t fit them into the paradigm of what they know. we had to thrive under unique circumstances and our methods are almost hard-wired into us. that we don’t choose to be victimized. that we don’t seek out co-dependent abusive relationships, but that we are more susceptible and vulnerable. that the victimization was so insidious as to affect every aspect of a person’s life, and that the struggle to adapt in a world where everyone else has the requisite tools, but you are lacking them, should be looked upon with charity instead of the disdain that it is. that the rest of my days will be spent debriefing and learning social skills you take for granted.


and to you “no baggage” people, i will NOT get over it. being an arrogant hard-ass does NOT make you stronger than everyone else, and you have no grounds discounting everyone who has issues. because someone who has no issues like yourself but can deliver “get over it” statements obviously has A LOT of issues.

this is my baggage.

i’m proud of what it’s been through, that i survived.

i deserve respect

Written by girl4708

September 21, 2008 at 8:55 am

Posted in After Abuse

Tagged with