Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

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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.

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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

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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

Exactly

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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

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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

house of denial

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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:

Poly-abusive
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.

Bingo.

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?

WHY WERE MY FATHER’S WHITE, BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN NOT MOLESTED, BUT I WAS?

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