Saturday, April 16, 2016

It Was Never About My Brothers



I feel like I might be running out of stories to write here at Lost Daughters, which to me has been a safe haven and secure and safe environment for many years now. I just realized there is one topic that I so far haven't shared with you---why, because I haven't felt it was appropriate to share just yet. Now though I feel like the time for this story is just right.

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You should all be aware of the fact that my relationship with males has been very problematic, and especially the male relationships I have with my two brothers; my younger brother Namdongsaeng but also my adopted younger brother. I was given up for adoption because of two important things; 
poverty and disappointment at a very unfortunate time in my birthparents lives. Unfortunately I was extremely hurt, I felt rejected, uninportant, unwanted and unloved yet I also felt very sad because our existances were so dependent on each other. He might not have been born if it hadn't been for me and my relinquishment. The patriarchial society and. hierchial society that Korea still is- I have despised, but I'm beginning to accept it now.
Psy, Oppa Gangnam style source


My brother is someone who I deeply love and I would sacrifice a lot for him only to see him happy. Over the years our relationship has been strained and difficult with many arguments, disagreements and even fights. Now I realize that I never disliked him---how could I ... To me my brother represented everything I wasn't, successful, outgoing, karismatic and kind, not that I don't have those qualities too I do.  The feeling of being secondbest, and not good enough made me almost resent him at times-he often took it upon himself to remind me of the fact that I should be grateful for the things he helped me with and he often used that argument as an excuse for me to give him things in return. At times this things he gave me only further strenghted my feelings of never being able to repay him--- always being in debt to him, owing him a favor. The thing is I actually never asked him to help me attain the things he so easily gave me.


What I can say though is that my life have been enriched by the very existance of my younger brother, I am very proud of him but I can just as easily dislike him in the next moment. I have never actually disliked him, I love him just as a natural sister would it is only his actions that sometimes can't understand or accept... That is the difference.
Being born as a female in the 20th century being young and maturing into an adult in the 21st century - maybe there's no surprise that I do have similar opinions and beliefs that feminists have. For that reason though I would acknowledge that life seems to be easier for men since a large part of the Western society is a patriarchy-still. This does not mean I feel like a young man trapped inside the body of a female nor does it mean that I search for love in other females. Anyone who might have believed that I would be a secret lesbian or bisexual woman, now you know you know the truth. I also hope that this will be the first and only time that I feel like I have to defend my own thinking. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Review of ABANDONED ADOPTED HERE, the New Doc by British Director & Actress LUCY SHEEN



"From 50s, 60s Colonial Hong Kong to pre-multicultural UK, a group of Hong Kong foundlings were transracially adopted. Lucy interviewed a few of her fellow adoptees to explore whether their experience of identity and belonging had been as challenging as hers. How far do other British East Asians feel a lack of belonging or identity or is it just something that culturally displaced babies and children feel?

This documentary has been selected for screening at Singapore World International Film Festival, Hong Kong World International Film Festival and Minnesota Transracial Film Festival."


“Abandoned Adopted Here is one of the best treatments of transracial identity in film that I have seen.” 


—Dawn Tomlinson, President of AdopSource Minneapolis.


Name of Contact: Heather lai
Company Name: Foundling Productions - Lucy Sheen
Contact Phone Number: 07796678882
Contact E-mail: heather_lai@hotmail.com , lucy.sheen@icloud.com Box-office website: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/239995 Website Abandoned Adopted Here - See more at: http://madammiaow.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/lucy-sheen-abandoned-adopted-here-documentary.html#sthash.1SJekuOx.dpuf



Dear Sisters,

In the midst of watching this fascinating new (soon-to-be released) doc by Lucy Sheen. TBC…


Much Love,
Jennifer

Native Province: Taipei and Jiangsu (mainland China) Hometown: Laguna Beach (OC), California Arrived in the USA: Dec 1979 / Jan 1980 Education: NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts & Harvard Generation: G2, “A Global Generation” Proud Big Sister of: Chris (from Seoul, South Korea) Why This Blog: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

Friday, April 8, 2016

"The Un-Daughter: The Legacy of a Non-Father" by Guest Author, Buddhika Arcia

By Guest Author: Buddhika Arcia

The cause of my adoption is essentially akin to the dominant scenario within the Baby Scoop Era, but set in Sri Lanka in the early 80s. My birth parents were not married, and my father, not wanting any responsibility, heard about me and ran for the hills. He was completely absent, not even present during the time that I was in utero. The epitome of the non-father. What really is there to say about a birth father like mine? If something is absent, can it have any effect on you? If a person has no name, look, voice or reference point, does that mean they have no impact?

Yet absence most certainly has an effect. Absence is felt and seen and it can shape you. How many adoptees have been shaped by the actions of their birth parents though they have never met them; maybe because of the fact that they have never met them? And of course, without even knowing the whys and wherefores of our birth parents, we are shaped, at least partially, by their DNA.

NON: Expressing negation or absence
(Oxforddictionaries.com)

There are many views floated in the world about who constitutes a father and what it means to be a father (and likewise; a mother). People have said it takes more than making a baby to be a father, however that is a purely social interpretation which imports within its definition a value judgement about a good father. That is not a biological definition. Whatever heartfelt notions the word ‘father’ certainly brings up for me in reference to my (adoptive) dad… the man who gave me his DNA, following the biological definition, cannot stop being my father. I am his daughter whether he likes it or not and whether I like it or not.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Rooted to Resiliency: On Creating a Safe Holding Space…for Your Life Goals & Aims


Hello, Sisters!

Greetings from Europe. Just wanted to wish everyone a happy spring.


Recently I have been thinking about your ROOTED TO RESILIENCY column.


This week alone I had two random meetings with fellow global citizens (who happened to have been adopted). One person I met (age 40) who was adopted domestically from the UK discussed the "floating feeling." Susan Branco Alvarado, a long-time friend (see her website), and I have often discussed the "floating feeling" that adopted, fostered and orphaned people can experience. It's a feeling of lacking roots, the kind that will firmly hold us into the ground and prevent us from floating away into the universe. It may sound strange, but it can be a very real emotional & psychological feeling that can be terrifying at times.


After discussions with Amanda, founder of this wonderful blog, I realised that when I am experiencing the floating feeling (lack of genetic stories, knowledge, kin and history to root myself in the collective context of our human story), I must ROOT TO RESILIENCY.


But how does one root to resiliency? (I can hear some of you wondering this…)


STEPS FOR SELF-ROOTING TO RESILIENCY:

1. If you don't already have one, create a safe 'holding space' for yourself. A holding space could be a good friend(s), family member, organisation, context. 

In my experience, holding spaces have come and gone. But think about what works for you…and think about this: how could you create new safe spaces for yourself, even if other ones (e.g., birth family, etc.) may have disappeared (permanently or temporarily)?



2. What would you like to accomplish whilst being held in this safe holding space?

Often people (non-adopted, included) will tell me that it feels hard for them to move forward in their lives because they seem to be trekking through so much emotional turmoil in their family space(s) and lives. My (deceased adoptive) mother, Janet, often felt like she couldn't finish her projects because there was so much stress between herself and her (biological) mother! 



3. Please consider: If you had a safe, reliable holding space, what might change in your life? What might you accomplish?


Off to catch a train, but looking forward to hearing your thoughts! More to come…


Much Love,
Jennifer


Native Province: Taipei and Jiangsu (mainland China) Hometown: Laguna Beach (OC), California Arrived in the USA: Dec 1979 / Jan 1980 Education: NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts & Harvard Generation: G2, “A Global Generation” Proud Big Sister of: Chris (from Seoul, South Korea) Why This Blog: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

Monday, March 14, 2016

Does treating adopted children as commodities lead to disregarding their right to privacy?






A friend sent me a link to an adoptive parent's blog where there is a call out for a new family, "preferably Christian and married" for an adopted boy from Ethiopia. Before detailing the qualities of the child, called "N", they cautioned that the new family should not have other children younger than him. They also cited that “N” needs a family who is willing to help him continue his healing journey. (I am not including the link because I’m not interested in giving this blog publicity).

I cannot wrap my head around individuals who claim to love children but then are also willing to help “advertise” fellow adoptive parents’ who are trying to give up their adopted child online, whether through legal or illegal means. HOW IS THIS OK? Not only is it appalling because of the damage and trauma that this child will likely re-live by being abandoned a second time, it is also extremely disturbing that people are liberally advertising giving up adopted children on a blog. The fact that they are doing it so openly means that they are doing it with moral certainty—meaning they judge this to be a good idea. This is unethical besides being completely and utterly dehumanizing. Are adopted children products to be marketed? It definitely appears this way at times.

I have also come across another organization (Second Chance Adoptions) which profiles adopted children looking for new families on their facebook page. Reading their profiles gives me the impression that they are selling a product—but this product happens to be child...a real sentient human being that has feelings and a right to privacy and protection. Seeing such advertisements and adoptive parent blogs (and books) where they detail private information about their children’s struggles and their adoption stories is mind-boggling. Again, why do you think it is OK to tell the whole wide world on the internet, about your children’s personal issues? Is it not your child’s right to share his or her story when they are older— when they have processed and digested their experiences? Children are brilliant and sometimes more mature than adults, but they are also innocent and need to be protected. What you post on the internet is traceable and permanent (meaning you cannot take back what you share). I often think about how this exposure will impact younger adoptees as they grow up and become adults—what will they think about this information being public and how might it affect their personal or professional life in the future? It might sound far-fetched but it is not—be mindful of what you post on the internet about your children, whether adopted or not.

Adoption is a traumatic experience to begin with—adoptees deal with this trauma differently and it manifests itself in various ways (sometimes unseen to family, friends, peers) at different stages in an adoptee's life. It is really appalling that families who choose to adopt, do so without doing their research and educating themselves on the potential difficulties and complexities of adopting a child, especially a child of color. Or perhaps they do their research but underestimate how challenging adoption can be. In any case, it is truly heartbreaking to see so many children being abandoned a second time because their adoptive parents cannot "handle them" and choose to give up, especially because there are quite a few resources available for adoptive parents these days--there are a myriad of good books on adoption, written by adoptees and trustworthy adoption professionals besides online support groups. Unfortunately, most adoption agencies do not offer adequate information and training sessions to prospect parents (which would ideally include a segment on privacy and confidentiality), because if they did far fewer families would be adopting because they would realize that adoption is complex and not for everyone. Being well-intentioned (i.e. wanting to care and love an “orphan”), is not enough. Adoptive parents need to be able to assess whether they have the emotional and psychological strength to adequately care for an adopted child as well as tools and resources (including a network of people) who they can rely on for advice and support. I also think it is extremely important, if not, paramount that the child have adequate support and regular and constant access to members of his or her cultural or racial community. (Note: I’m talking about adults, NOT other adopted children—how are other adopted children who are in the same circumstance, a source of real support? They need role models and a connection to their roots and culture which is done through connecting them to their community, which is also the adopted parents' community by extension!). I think that if adoptive parents (including prospective parents) were better informed and willing to listen to adoptee advocates and other trusted adoption professionals with an open-heart and mind, there would be less suffering for younger adoptees and future adoptees. 

Kassaye is an Ethiopian adoptee who lives in Montréal, Québec. She is the co-founder of Ethiopian Adoptees of the Diaspora and is currently working on an anthology entitled, Lions Roaring Far From Home featuring the voices of Ethiopian adoptees from North America and Europe. 



Quest For Love

For a very long time-years in fact I allowed my family or more importantly parents to project their personal fears onto me which cast a shadow in my own life. Restricting me, keeping me from my own happiness-but not any longer. Their fears say more about who they are their mistakes, memories or opinions should not be an obstacle in my very own and real life. 
I do love my mum and dad tremendously, yet I am not them and should not strive to be.



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I realize that my failed reunion affected my mum and dad more than they like to admit and their bad experiences or as mum like to call it "her worst fear" came true it is just like they now believe all Koreans are like mine. Which in this case means greedy and money hungry, but I cannot fault them even if I try to. They are my flesh and blood and I love them despite everything.



Because of my own background I am very curious and eager to learn more about Korea and it's culture, I do even consider moving back to Korea - I told my parents this once. Now I rarely mention it because my parents wants me to learn from my mistake and move on with my life. They don't know that that thought and idea still isn't abandoned by me...

I think neither of my parents can fully understand what it means to grow up around people who don't even resemble you... I do want to find love and start a family with children that not only resembles me but that actually share a genetic connection with me. To me that is important-I won't lie anymore...

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 That's why I strive for finding a Korean man, to me that is of utter importance and I recently begun to date just such a guy. I will not allow myself to acknowledge potential problems before I really need to I will instead try to see it as oppertunities and possibilities. Why should my sister's difficult and strained marriage have to become my faith as well, why should my relationship neccessarily end in divorce just because my oldest sister did just that?

I will take a chance at life and happiness, and not stay behind closed doors hiding in the shadows as my life pass me by...