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Adoption and Child Separation at the Border

On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Maybe I'd be a "twinkie" either way: Can the origins of transracial adoptees be preserved?

Even though I'm two years shy of 40, it's only recently that I am beginning to come to terms with my complicated, often paradoxical experience and idea of racial identity.

As a result of a blog post I wrote a few weeks back and the discussions that ensued, my conclusions about my own racial identity have been challenged even further, and I've quite honestly had to come to terms with some realities that are hard for me to admit.

Firstly, as ridiculous as it may sound, I am finally accepting that I am as much a White person as I am a Korean person. And along with this realization, I'm beginning to wonder if I would have turned out a "twinkie"--Yellow on the outside, White on the inside--no matter what my parents had done to try to inculcate me with Koreanness.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Reclaiming my Adoption Narrative


My daughter had never heard the words, “adopted" and "adoption" until recently.
Granted, we live in Serbia located in Southern Europe, not Siberia, and these days, I’m the only person with whom she speaks English. Yes, I avoid ending sentences with prepositions--she has to learn proper grammar from someone! It’s not that I was hiding the word, "adopted," it’s just it never came up.
While she was working hard on one of her many drawings, I set out to remedy the situation ... And that's when I realized I could actually rewrite my adoption narrative, and explain it on my terms. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Beauty of Coming Out of the Fog and
Finally Being True To Ourselves

Allowing myself to face the harsh realities of my adoption situation was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Clearing the fluff and considering the facts pragmatically hurt like someone was pouring alcohol into a gaping wound.

Photo Credit: Farlane, Creative Commons

I wanted to believe something different than what was...than what still is.

The fantasies I conjured up as a child were much more workable for me than the fragments of truth I discovered.

"God...why can't things be different?" I cried out over and over again.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why my race matters to me: It's all that I have left

I had a revelation recently, in part due to a  post I published on race, and the discussions that ensued in the comments.

I finally realize why it is so important to me that my race be recognized. Why it's so important to me that people do not view me through a lens of "color-blindness."

My color, my race--it's all that I have left.

It is the only tangible evidence that remains that I was born a Korean, that I am my Omma's and Appa's daughter.

All other perceptible connections have been erased--the language, the culture, the family, the people.

By these measures--by language, by culture, by family, by people--I am a White American. All that visibly remains of my connection to Korea is the way that I look.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston You're My Home

Our two tallest buildings
"Everybody throw your hands up the in the air and pump them up and down!  Congratulations, you just crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon."  Anyone who has ever been on a Duck Tour in the city of Boston has heard those lines as the big duck boats meander across the thick painted line near Copley.  I have been on three of them (schools love using them for field trips) and they have never failed to point out the finish line.  I have walked a part of the route (the end part) the last several years raising money for cancer research, surrounded by family and friends, in some of the most uplifting moments of my life.  I knew dozens of people running the Boston Marathon this year, and even more spectators   Imagine my surprise when I went to check my cousin's time and instead seeing the breaking news.  It could not be real right?  There are moments in your life that you know everything is changing and there's nothing you can do to stop it.  Yesterday was one of those moments in my life.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Illinois Adoption Legislation: Why "Not Clean" Doesn't Necessarily Mean "Dirty"

I began writing this at the American Adoption Conference in Cleveland this weekend. It was a wonderful conference, as always. Lots of dialogue, art, and research-sharing on the hurts, hopes, and complexities of adoption from all different members of the triad. (And I saw a few more people of color! It's usually so unbelievably White here.)

Representative Sara Feigenholtz shared the story of Illinois' adoption laws and the 2010 legislation that allows adoptees access to their original birth certificates. (People adopted through closed adoptions in IL have only ammended birth certificates which list their new names and their adoptive parents' names, removing the original information. Prior to this new law, adoptees were never allowed to have their original birth certificates.)

Adoptee Poet Rachel Rostad

The video below is a sample of the work of the Macalester College slam poetry team in St. Paul, Minnesota. Please take a few minutes to watch this powerful performance by Korean adoptee Rachel Rostad.


 
Rachel Rostad from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.


Update, 4/16/13: After seeing this video here, Land of Gazillion Adoptees has posted a nice interview with Rachel Rostad. Go check it out!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Round Table: Why We Write What We Write

It can be triggering for both adoptive parents and biological parents, as well as others, to encounter expressions of pain, loss, anger, etc, in the writings of adult adoptees. Readers sometimes wonder why we "dwell on the negative." Others may feel uncomfortable with our tendency to be so open and public about matters that were once considered private family matters. And yet, many of us feel compelled to tell our stories in an honest and transparent way. 

Lost Daughters, what motivates you to write? Is "silence is not an option" an accurate statement for you, and if so, why?



Susan Perry Silence has not been an option for me ever since I was treated so poorly by my adoption agency and by an attorney as I attempted to find out the truth about myself. Until I searched for my original parents, I wasn't aware how discriminatory adoption law really is. I did delay my search because I was afraid of hurting my adoptive mother's feelings, and I do find it easier to be open now because my adoptive parents are both deceased. Maybe my a-mother could have handled my desire to know more, and I'm not giving her enough credit. But I really did love her, and I did not want to cause her pain. I can remember when as an older person she said, "Oh, I hate to think of you coming from another mother -- I like to think you came from me." She certainly didn't intend to be hurtful -- she was just being totally honest. The problem, from my perspective, is the adoption system itself, a system that continues to present adoption as the win-win solution to difficult circumstances, and refuses to address the problems and inequities. My a-parents were not prepared at all for the complexities of adoption, just as many a-parents today are not prepared. I write to share whatever wisdom I have gained from my 62 years as an adopted person in the hope that my voice, along with many others, will bring about some much needed change in the institution of adoption. Denying grown adopted people access to their own certificates of birth is a sad reality that must be changed.

Rebecca Hawkes I write about adoption because adoptee voices have been left out of the conversation for too long. I write because an entire system has been created, supposedly with the "best interests" of adoptees in mind but with very little input from those most affected. I write because it took me so long to find my voice and now I am determined to use it. I was given a map by others that was supposed to guide me through my experience of adoption, but it was inaccurate and more-or-less useless. It was a map created by people who hadn't walked the territory. So now I am a cartographer, drawing on my experience and the experiences of others to help create a truer map.

Karen Pickell When I began writing about adoption, I didn't realize that's what I was doing. I just felt I needed to write about my life. Initially, the impetus was to make sense of it myself, but gradually my intent has shifted as I've realized the truth of my situation. I was surrendered for adoption during the Baby Scoop Era--a term I only learned last year. Before I began exploring my adoption in my writing, I didn't fully understand how much larger my situation is than only my own life story. While the details of our stories differ, I now realize that the basic human truths in my own story echo those of millions of other adoptees all over the world. At this point, I write not only to tell my story, but to give voice to the many others who do not have this inclination to speak publicly. I also write about adoption in the hopes that by speaking openly, I am helping to alleviate some of the stigma surrounding being adopted. My goal for my writing is the same as for my life--to tell it like it is.

Deanna Doss Shrodes Silence is not an option for me anymore. I have encountered resistance and that shows me all the more reason why I must keep going. I use resistance as fuel to move forward. I write about adoption for several reasons. Catharsis is one. The fact that truth must be proclaimed is another. Connecting with the amazing people in the adoptee community is a great benefit. And being a voice for the voiceless is yet another. I remember what it was like to be an adoptee in the closet, afraid to share my truth. I remember what it was like counting the cost of all I had to lose and making the decision to go public. I remember what it was like to face the consequences of my choice to come out of the closet. These things are not easy and countless adoptees are not able to do it yet. But their voices are crying out behind the scenes. I know many of us at Lost Daughters receive private mail from people who say, "you're saying all that I feel. But I can't say it yet. Please keep going for those of us who can't put ourselves out there." I've had adoptees tell me they won't even "like" my Facebook posts even though they want to, because they know their family or others they fear will see it and they will face retribution. It is for these people and so much more that I write what I write and will not be silenced.

Jenn I write because I deserve to have my story heard. I'm very much a secret, and I hate the lies and shame that seems to go hand and hand with adoption. The only way to truly break the mold is to speak out and shed the veil of secrecy. When I started searching, I never felt so alone in my entire life. I felt like nobody understood me. By blogging, I'm doing my best to show others that they aren't alone. We each have our own stories, but there are commonalities throughout them all. And they all deserve to be shared.

Liberty No one has a problem with us adoptees writing. They have a problem when we publish, or write publicly. Because our stories intersect with others', and, further, because often our stories highlight the problems of the mainstream view of adoption.

Lynn Grubb I love this round-table discussion. I echo what everyone has already said about finding my voice and speaking for those who cannot or will not out of fear. I also write to show people that it's o.k. to search, even when you are scared of the outcome. My writing is a testimony to others that you can take big risks, fall down, get back up and still be happy your searched even if the outcome isn't perfect. I think some of my coworkers think I'm nutty doing DNA testing at my age, but I'm o.k. with that. I would challenge anyone who tried to shame me, "Do you know both of your parents?" "Do you have your birth certificate?" "Were you lied to your whole life?" Once people can really put themselves in an adoptee's shoes, I know they can get it. The Ohio adoptee rights bill is proof of that.

Peach: I auditioned for "Listen to Your Mother" only because I feel (like all of us here) that WE need a voice too, in the issues of Motherhood. I am glad I didn't "make the cut", because I know it would have been extremely hard on me to get up there and be so vulnerable. However, it reinforces the pain of being "the odd man out" in that our stories are so different than the rest, and we are swimming upstream to dispel the myths that society has accepted about adoption. Even during the audition, I was trying to read the faces of the women listening, and it was exactly the same as other times I have been brave enough to share my story ... the "deer in the headlight" look. I so hope you girls can bust through "Listen to Your Mother" next year and get our stories heard. Love you all. Here is the submission I used: http://peachneitherherenorthere.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-dream.html

Unwanted


I was unwanted, and I'm okay with that.

All of us adoptees have to face that we were unwanted. Maybe not by our birthmothers, maybe not by our birth-families, maybe just by society not wanting a bastard child out in the world.

Yes, some birthmothers were coerced or brainwashed or lied to. That sucks. That REALLY sucks. It makes me sick to think of it. But, for me, that's not my story. I happen to come from someone who wanted to give me up. That doesn't mean that's the norm - maybe most birthmoms didn't want to give up their children - but theirs is a different story - my story is that I was unwanted.

I realize that those of you who know my story may think I'm not walking my talk here. Now all of my family spectrum are part of my life and, for the most part, it's honky-dory. I realize that not everyone has that. Some birthparents still don't want the connection with their relinquished children. I don't know how I would handle that; I haven't gone through that.

I do know it takes a lot to be okay with being rejected. Sure, now they all want me in their lives (well, mostly...the grandparents still don't know quite what to do with me). But, back then, back when I started, my birthmom didn't want me. My birth-grandparents - they really didn't want me. My birthdad  - well, he didn't even totally know about me - so we'll leave him out of it. But, for the most part, I feel safe in saying...I wasn't wanted.

But, really, how many kids are wanted? How many of us were mistakes? Not just those of us who were adopted, but those of us whose parents married because they got pregnant, or who were married but didn't plan on getting pregnant, or who had kids and then got pregnant way after they planned to stop having kids?

At some point, you just have to say...it doesn't matter. You weren't wanted but you're here, so the hell with being unwanted. You're here and you're great and, really, that's what matters. It's up to you to find your way and find people that love you. Now you have to make your family - whether it be by blood or bond. And, in the end, you just have to be enough for you, because that's what matters. What other people want of you...that's their thing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

White adoptive parents of transracial adoptees: Being non-racist does not mean being color-blind


White people must feel like they just can't do anything right these days.

And White adoptive parents, well, they must really feel like every effort they make is scrutinized and picked apart until every flaw and shortcoming is found.

And when it comes to issues of race, White people are really struggling to figure out what they're supposed to do these days. And even more so, White adoptive parents of transracial adoptees,* with culture camps and language classes, and trying to figure out how to cook the food of their adopted children's original country, or how to do their hair or where to live or shop, how to include the birth parents in their lives (if they in fact even do this), and the list goes on.

It's a lot to try to figure out.

Surprisingly, I'm not being sarcastic.

And although I feel for them at times, I'm not making excuses for White adoptive parents. And I certainly don't feel sorry for them or pity them. I actually believe it is their responsibility to do everything they can to help a transracial adoptee connect with and cultivate his or her origins inasmuch as the transracial adoptee desires to do so. And if a White adoptive parent is not open to actively (not just perfunctorily) doing so, then I believe they are failing their child.

One of the most damaging experiences for me personally as a transracial, intercountry adoptee was growing up completely isolated within a predominantly White community. All my parents' friends were White. All my White siblings' friends were White. The neighborhoods we lived in were White. The schools we attended were majority White (with a few token minorities here and there).

And the ironic thing is that my adoptive family lived in Asian countries for a good part of my childhood. So, it wasn't that I never saw other Asian people. It was that my parents never made an effort to make Asian people and culture a part of our family and lives.

Rather full assimilation within the Whiteness was what was thought to be best. In some ways, I grant them grace because that was back in the 70's. But today, White adoptive parents have no excuse. You don't even have to leave your house to educate yourself. Just get on the internet. There's a plethora of resources.

(Now I will say that I don't think it's actually possible for White parents of a transracial adoptee to ever be able to fully maintain the adoptee's ethnic heritage, no matter what they do, simply because, well, they're White. But that doesn't mean the parents shouldn't do everything they can to create an environment that is conducive to the adoptee being able to seek out and cultivate his or her origins.)

Even so, I know it must be confusing and overwhelming at times as White adoptive parents try to navigate what probably feels and looks like a field of racial landmines to them. (I mean, I'm still trying to work through racial identity issues.) But I still think they have no excuse for being ignorant about race and identity, especially as adoptive parents of transracial adoptees.

Seriously, there are so many resources available to you to be able to educate yourselves about the way "non-White" people experience race and identity, including the words I am sharing with you.

Here's what I've noticed over the years:  A lot of White people, and hence some White adoptive parents think they're supposed to be "color-blind." And they think that being "enlightened" means that they view every racial minority as "just like them"--what that practically translates to and means is "just like White people."

This thinking is embraced by some White adoptive parents, because that is what is taught in White culture as the socially and politically correct way to deal with race. And if a White person doesn't have any non-White friends (I mean real friends, not just acquaintances and co-workers) or never tries to educate him- or herself outside of their White culture (and yes, White people, you have a culture), then they never learn how to undo this type of thinking.

Okay, White people, here's a helpful insight--"non-White" people, we don't want you to be color-blind, i.e., we don't want you to view us as "just like White people," because, well, we ain't just like White people. And it's actually pretty ignorant to think that the standard for "normal" is White people. (Of course, I can't speak for every living non-White person, but I can speak for some.)

I know you mean well when you say to me, "I don't see you as Asian. I just see you as you." I know, my White friend, that you thought this was an enlightened statement, and you're perplexed as to why this bothers me.

But, let's be real, of course, you see that I'm Asian. It's the first thing you notice, whether you're aware of it or not (read Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Blink"). I mean, look at my hair and eyes and skin--of course, you and every other White person see that I'm Asian. Other Asian people see that I'm Asian.

And if you really want to mean it when you say to me, "I just see you as you," then you would recognize that being Asian is an inextricable, undeniable part of who I am. I ain't ashamed of it (well, on good days--but that's a whole other post), and neither should you be. But just don't use the recognition of my race to treat me with disrespect--that's where you start to go wrong.

My White friend, you actually can acknowledge a person's race in a positive way. Race is not a negative thing unless you view it that way. (White is a race, too. It just happens to be that the White race has for so long thought that it was better than every other race.)

Being non-racist does not mean ignoring someone's race, i.e. being color-blind. I'll say it again, being non-racist does not mean pretending that you do not see the color of someone's skin or hear the way that they speak or smell the food that they eat. Being non-racist means you see all these things without devaluing them or thinking they're somehow less than your Whiteness. 

Being non-racist means that you embrace and acknowledge someone's race and ethnicity and the culture that comes with it as just as meaningful, valid, and equal. It means that you don't see being White as the Absolute Standard for physical, social, and cultural norms.

Yes, of course, we're all human beings and on that level we're all the same. But c'mon, Pollyanna, that isn't really the practical experience of racial minorities in America. And it's definitely NOT the practical experience of this adult transracial, intercountry adoptee. (For more on what your transracial, intercountry adoptee might experience as they enter adulthood, and hence, why it's crucial for you to recognize your child's race, read this post, Hey mom, they don't see your little girl, they see an Asian woman.)

We want to be validated for our physical qualities, for our different tastes, for our distinct cultural traditions--not taught that if we try hard enough we can be just like White people or dismissed as though we're doing something wrong for wanting others to acknowledge our ethnicity.**

In short, I'm just trying to make the point that being White is not the standard for humanity. And yet, that's how racial minorities are made to feel every day of our lives. I'm not saying progress hasn't been made. But we still live in a world where race matters.

And as a transracial adoptee, I can say without hesitation, that growing up in a White family that was oblivious and ignorant to racial issues and identity was damaging to the core of who I am. I'm approaching my 40's, and I still struggle with feeling like my race is a defect or is somehow less desirable, less beautiful, less meaningful than being White.

Yes, yes, I know it does no good to be bitter toward society or my parents about it. And I'm not. But I can at least share my experiences, insights, and thoughts with the hope that White adoptive parents today won't follow along in the same White parade. But rather, that they will truly try to understand that being non-racist does not mean being color-blind.  

Your thinking, whether on race or adoption, has real, practical effects on your adopted children. Ignoring the realities of your child's race might appear to make life easier and more pleasant for you and your children upfront, but in the long run it can be damaging and stifling to your children's true identity and sense of self.

Respect and love your children enough to respect and love their origins.


[Just a note: I would like to thank my awesome White husband for the many conversations we have had regarding this subject.]

____________

* I realize there are other types of transracial adoptions that take place, but I am choosing to address those that involve White adoptive parents and non-white children simply because that is my area of experience and what is most common in America.

** I've so often heard White people express confusion, frustration or even anger over the fact that racial minorities in America have "their own" organizations, media, stores, even towns, businesses, etc. White people complain, "Minorities get all upset because they say that White people discriminate against them for being different, but then they go and do all this stuff that emphasizes their differences and separates them from White people."

Again, this just shows how ignorant and out of touch White people are from the everyday experiences of racial minorities. These organizations, media, stores, businesses, etc. are created not to separate us from White people, but to help racial minorities survive and thrive in a society and culture that favors White people in every way. It has gotten a little better. But next time you're in a grocery store or just out and about, pay attention to the covers of magazines, commercials, bill boards, etc.--the majority of it is ALL WHITE.

Please, White people, try to imagine living in a society in which you never see yourself validated and included in organizations, media, stores, businesses, towns, etc. in ways that are truly representative. (Sure, I see Asian women here and there, but almost always portrayed as exotic, sexual objects that lack depth or personality.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Norwegian Nine tells her story (part 1 one in a series)

By Jaesun 

I want to make readers and followers aware of what lifes adoptees may be forced to through... -------just telling my own story is of course tragic and horrible on its own. But I want to do more than just tell my story and that is why I asked a dear friend of mine (whom I never actually met in person) if she'd be willing to share her story....

Korean girl (Wkimedia Commons)  not related  to the authors in any way.


When I was born and ultimately surrendered for adoption Korean adoption "was considered safe" and I suspect it had become quite popular too... Honestly I was born in the peak period of Korean adoption so even though I consider my experiences and memories valid and justified they alone cannot give an accurate picture of what it's like to be a Korean adoptee. In all fareness that would mean I'd have to retell the stories from over 10000 adoptees (over 200000 adoptees have been adopted all in all so far, including males).

Not surprisingly USA is on the top of the list for those countries who has adopted the most Korean children, followed by France, Sweden , Denmark , Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Germany and Canada. The mentioned countries has adopted over 1000 Korean children....There are several more but those I mentioned are the ones that have used the Korean adoption system the most.

This what my Norwegian friend Nine told me of her story and herself...
I was about one year old when I was adopted. My journal said I was two years old, but as we know today Holt and many more agency’s falsified papers, so mine is full of lies. I was teased at school when I was little because of my looks and because of my Asian face. I experienced lots of bad stuff in my adoptive home, my adoptive parents just loved the bottle more than us kids, and I was very neglected as a kid. Today I have papers that say: if I had prosecuted my adoptive parents while they were alive they would have had to face several years in jail for severe neglection of me and a lot of abuse. Like beating, not giving me things a child need: clothes, food, support, love, comfort but instead I was met with hate, a burden throughout their lives. I was the one who prolonged their suffering and their debt, on the house, because I added to the cost so much. They had taken a loan on the house to get me. That's what I heard when I was little.

I was a very scared little girl while I was growing up, and I have scars today, because of it. I was told lots of hurtful stuff, like I was very ugly, I was an idiot, the black sheep and of course a whore when I was in my teens. My childhood and teens was one huge ocean of tears, sorrow, longing after my real family, natural family. I always knew I was adopted, I saw that early on in the mirror. My life been a hell on earth from I came, and as an adult Asian adoptee I now face racism by grown up men. They think I come from Thailand and ask me how much do I take per hour? They see me as a whore because of my Asian look. Not all men, but it’s there. Since so many Norwegian men nowadays take so called sex trips to Thailand for that purpose and finding themselves an obedient wife. 

Well I am the youngest of my three other sisters in Korea, I am in touch with one of them a little bit. I may have an Uncle still and some cousins, maybe an aunt on my mother’s side. We were totally six children, but because of poverty and illness my only brother died very young, and a sister too died to early. My Mum died of heart problems some months after I was born, so my Dad was let alone with four kids when his wife died. He began to drink out of sorrow and despair, he gambled too, he tried to give us food on the table but the task was too hard on him, it was only 15 years after the Korean war had ended and there were so many things who went wrong that year in 1969 when I was born, so he had to deliver me to a children’s home for a while. It was never meant forever, but just until he could feed us all. He did come back for me, to take me back home one day. But then I was sent abroad without his knowing or consent. So they obviously told him a lie, because he searched the rest of his life after me in Korea.

So I have ended up being one of them so called angry adoptees, I fight for justice and hope to see adoption abolished someday. We lose too much as adoptees, our names, mothers tongue, culture, close family, love and the feeling of belonging somewhere, see the mirror of who you are, in the face of our natural Mums and Dads that is only few of us who experience, and it is so sad. 

I was in Korea in 1986 a long time ago now:) I have not been there since, one day I wll go to visit a lonely grave where my parents are buried in the land I hate and love. To hopefully close my circle in life, get some peace. 

I always been a lonely wolf, not felt I belonged anywhere and I always dreamt of my Inner peace, but I have to chase after it still and now I am in my 40's. I have two grown up kids now, one 14 years old and one 20 years old, both mixed, I met a real Viking when I was 19 years old:) we got married early so for me to get two daughters in life is a great blessing, I have given them everything I never got in life that is the only difference I think, being an adoptee mum. We are more aware of little things, like giving lots of love, smiles, support, show them they are really loved for what they are. 

This story is a true story from a female Korean adult adoptee. In the following months instead of reading my own stories you will be offered the oppertunity to read stories from female Korean adult adoptees... 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What does it mean to heal & why do we expect every adoptee to heal?

It is a slow torture knowing that your birth family wants to be in your life and you want to be in theirs, and yet you remain separated and disconnected because of one decision made so long ago that everyone has come to regret.

It has wounded me and pains me in ways that I can only utter through tears and sobs and gags that although we have found one another we still remain lost to one another in so many ways.

After 4 years of "reunion," I question whether we will ever truly be found to one another...

Yet, everyone--from adoptees to adoptive parents to friends to strangers--tell me that I'm supposed to heal, that I can find complete healing if I just try harder, if I just get my thinking straight, if I just open my heart to it, if I'll just be more grateful, more positive, more of anything but...me.

Why is it that I am made to feel as though "where I am at" is never good enough unless I have somehow arrived at this place of epiphany where I no longer feel anything about my adoption other than peace and goodness?

Maybe this is me, folks. Maybe I'm actually ok with not "healing"--whatever the hay that means, anyway.

Why am I obligated to heal? Why am I expected to "heal completely?" Seriously. Maybe that's not really the way it's "supposed" to be for me. Did it ever dawn on anyone that maybe some folks never heal completely--but that that's ok, that that's just the way it is. And we learn to accept it and live with it and still can be happy and have a full life even though we walk around with this endless wound?

Why do we assume that all such wounds are meant to heal? Have we ever thought that perhaps there are some wounds that forever remain, that never fully heal, because that is simply the nature of the wound?

I honestly never expect to heal completely from these wounds. And I don't expect or want others to pity me for it or to try to heal me or rescue me. To accept this as my life, and not feel pressure or expectation that I must heal completely does not send me more deeply into despair but rather gives me relief. To surrender to this idea does not mean I walk around depressed and cynical nor does it mean that there is something defective or damaged about me. Rather it gives me solace and hope. I can breathe. I can finally accept that my wounds are a part of me just as are the actual physical scars that I bare on my body.

There are wounds physically from which human beings never fully heal. It would be cruel to tell people that have suffered such wounds that if they would just believe more or try harder or do more that they would finally heal completely.

But rather we embrace them with their wounds. We not only support them but often find inspiration from them as they learn to live their lives with these wounds--believing in them and knowing that they can still have hope and live full, meaningful, happy lives. But we also realize that their lives have been irrevocably altered and that daily they will face challenges as a result of the wound, the loss, and the consequences of it all.

Similarly, then, the loss and wounds from being relinquished and adopted will never fully heal--at least for me. I feel it always. It is with me always. Why am I told that this is a bad thing, that somehow I am missing something if I do not feel completely healed and resolved regarding my relinquishment and adoption?

Why am I viewed as though I am to be pitied or that I am neurotic or that I am a negative, unhappy person for accepting that these wounds are a deep, inextricable part of who I am?

And why in the world should I be expected to be "ok" or be "at peace" with my family circumstances? Why should I be expected to be "happy" about a crappy situation? It doesn't mean that I'm miserable about life as a whole or that I walk around moping.

I simply want the space and respect and compassion to be able to accept the complexity of my life and that there are aspects of being an adoptee that for me will always stir sorrow and longing in my heart.

I am not ashamed of this. Why should you be?

Rather, to me, "true healing"--if that's what you must call it--comes to me by accepting that I will never truly heal from these wounds, that I will never truly feel at peace with what has happened and what continues to happen. 

I accept it inasmuch as it is acceptable. But understand that what might work for you as an adoptee or other person who experiences similarly difficult circumstances does not mean that it will universally work for other adoptees or other people.

When someone is vulnerable about the pain and grief and sorrow they experience, the loving thing to do is not to tell someone how you think they should feel but to listen and to have compassion. Pain is not a competition or on a hierarchy. Pain is pain according to each individual. It's fine that you deal with your experience as you choose. But that does not mean that your way is universally appropriate or right for everyone else or that you should expect everyone else around you to deal with their lives and experiences as you do. 

We are complex emotional beings--and hence the ways that we find to deal with our complex and individual situations will vary. Hence, do not so harshly judge those who perhaps arrive at different conclusions.

I do not believe that I can be fully healed from being abandoned and adopted in this lifetime--and why am I somehow wrong or ignorant or obstinate for thinking such? Why am I somehow aberrant for thinking that perhaps I will never feel resolved?

Why is it viewed as somehow lesser or a failure or immaturity for accepting that perhaps I will never fully heal or feel fully resolved? Am I a fool? Am I missing the secret?

I do not believe so.

Rather, I believe this journey I am on is a lifetime journey--one that will not end until I meet death. I realize that it is fluid and subject to fluctuation. Recognizing such, certainly it is not impossible that "healing" can evolve, but for me I believe it will be in a different form than what others have come to expect--they express an expectation of complete emancipation from pain and grief and sorrow that results in absolute peace and resolution. This is not my expectation or my goal. Instead for me, the pain and sorrow will never cease, because I cannot ultimately close the door on the pain and sorrow that come with being an adoptee. Why? Because the journey has no end for me.

And I do not view this as a negative thing.

A commenter named, "madeinkorea" so wisely stated in response to a previous blog post, "How can 'getting over' being adopted be contained as a one time event in your life and you are freed from being an adoptee?" Part of why I do not ever anticipate "complete healing" is that I do not believe my adoptee journey is one that will ever end. I do not believe being adopted is a one time event.

So, please, stop telling me that I am supposed to find healing if I'll just read this book or think this thought or change this perspective or feel more grateful or focus my mind on what you think I should.

I listened to the mob for the first 30 years of my life. And it got me nowhere but into a deep, dark hole of confusion, repression, and self-hate.

I certainly have not "arrived." But that's just the thing--now, I'm not expecting to. And perhaps, that is true emancipation.