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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...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Skylar Lee: Each Loss of Life is Significant

As my sisters Kripa and Cathy shared honest and brave accounts, I was celebrating Chuseok in Korea. On the tail-end of this feeling of connection with the Koreans, I was reminded how precious the lives of the marginal are, and more specifically the Asian males.

As my former sisters wrote, it is often secretive the loss of an adoptee to suicide. Mental health and depression are swept under the table. The strong faces individuals put forth in public mask pains that are difficult to heal. Expressing our suffering is criticized when it exhibits anger. So, it seems best to keep it quiet with a “stiff, upper lip.”

Our family contends with anxiety and depression, and my son has had his fair share of bullying. Last year, his first in high school, he experienced both physical violence and verbal abuse. While he presented a brave face at school (cameras showed him carrying on after being thrown to the ground, and act that burned a hole in his athletic pants), he broke down at home. He called suicide hotlines, visited emergency rooms and our little family closed ranks to support him.

In his mind, his Asian background betrayed his American masculinity, and for this, he blamed me and my unknown history. He pushed me away, and I blamed myself too. I had no Asian father figure to give him, but I desperately wanted to bring him to Korea, so that he could see other men who looked like him.

My husband and I have achieved that goal, and my son has really enjoyed his time in Korea. He loves that he can walk down the street or take the subway and just blend in. It is truly beautiful to see. He is the happiest I have seen him in quite some time.

School is internet school, so the bullies of last year are functioning without him. But what we discovered is that others were bearing the same.

Tuesday morning, the news hit in Korea. In our Madison community, a trans teen boy had died “unexpectantly,” as reported by the funeral home and the local news. When I asked my son if he knew Skylar Lee, he said that in fact he did and that they had talked before about their shared experiences with depression; they were schoolmates. I imagine they shared many of the same problems like being called derogatory names that elude to femininity. For Skylar, I suspect these words hurt more profoundly.

Skylar had a beautiful writing voice and a brave face. Please read his words and share them in his recent post about developing his identity. Share his story. Show support for Asian male teens as they navigate an American society that pushes them to the fringe.

Our schools need to be aware of the challenges of the marginally smaller groups and commit to protecting them as well.


Feminist columnist, Rosita González is a transracial, Korean-American adoptee. She is married to a Brit who refers to himself as an Anglo-American and is a mother to two multiracial children. Rosita was adopted in 1968 at the age of one through Holt International. Her road has been speckled with Puerto Rican and Appalachian relatives and her multiracial sister, the natural child of her adoptive parents. While quite content with her role as a “Tennerican,” her curiosity has grown recently as her children explore their own ethnic identities. She considers herself a lost daughter, not only because of the loss of her birth family, but also because of the loss of her adoptive parents. Rosita is currently living in Seoul, South Korea with her family and their three cats. Follow her adventures as an adoptee on her blog, mothermade.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide - Suicide Prevention Month

Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide
Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide
Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide
Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide

I write that four times because adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide than



non-adoptees. 

You don't like reading it, do you? - I don't. 
It makes you uncomfortable, doesn't it? - It makes me uncomfortable. 
I hate it. 

I've intended to blog about Adoptee Suicide since I learned that September is Suicide Prevention Month, but it's taken me until now to actually do it because I don't like talking about it any more than you do. 

It's hard. 
It's dark. 
It's the worst thing that's ever happened to me. 

My adopted brother took his own life when he was 29. 

By the time someone gets to the point where they're desperate enough to end their life, they have often accumulated a lifetime of battle-scars along the way. My brother had issues in school, was put on medication, had problems getting along with other kids, was bullied and just couldn't fit in. As an adolescent he started drinking and began taking drugs. By the time he was an adult, he was a heroin addict, couldn't hold down jobs and was in and out of jail, rehab and mental hospitals. 

Adoption seemed the least of his problems. 

But adoption was the first challenge he faced. The one no one treated as a problem. It was the root of the weed of suffering that suffocating the life he might have otherwise had. 

Adoption leads to an increased risk of suicide. 

It's what no one wants to talk about, but everyone needs to hear. 

___________________

To understand more about adoptee suicide and what can be done, I've added some links:

  • Huffington Post had an excellent post about the adoptee suicide and prevention.
  • Light of Day Stories has more information and helps call out the need to get people talking about it.
  • John Brooks is an adoptive father who lost his daughter to suicide and wrote Girl Behind the Door as a way to explore the ways that adoption had contributed to her tragic death. 
  • This is just a short list. Please post more links and reading suggestions in the comment section!
___________________

If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cathy Heslin is a reunited adult adoptee of closed domestic adoption in New Jersey. She met her birthmother when she was just 18 and moved out to Portland to live with her after graduating college. She has been in reunion with her birthmother for over 25 years, and with her birthfather for 15. She now has a complicated extended family that includes all sides.

She writes about adoption with a focus on long-term reunion. She has written a memoir in partnership with her birthmother called Kathleen-Cathleen where she and her birthmother write alternating chapters sharing their experience of reunion from both the perspective of the adoptee and the birthmother (not yet published). They also write parallel blogs on shared themes: Cathy's blog is reunioneyes.blogspot.com. Follow Cathy on Twitter @CathyHeslin.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Orphanhood and Batman: New Labels for Foster Children

It has been a long time since anyone looked at me and used the term "orphan," but it happened this week. In a clinical sense, the word may fit, but its connotation implies weakness. As my mini me told me, "Aren't Batman and Superman both orphans? So that's it, you are my Batman."
While I do not look good in capes, I do want to redefine the term "orphan" away from the idea of victimhood of foster children, and instead define it by eternal superpowers. Orphans do not have parents as children and are raised by strangers. While they do lose the grounding of being consistently parented, foster children have an inner strength that others do not gain until adulthood. They can use that energy to become their own heroes as adults.
Foster children are children who are taken away from biological relatives due to abuse, neglect, or parental addiction. They are placed in temporary homes until they can be reunited with a safe family member, or even adopted. Many are left in children's homes or on the street. Homelessness, academic failure, drug use, and suicide rates are very high for former children in care. My goal as a former foster child, is to help others become advocates for themselves, create their own family, and encourage girls in foster care to redefine their strength as they become women.

I was taken from my mother and placed in foster after I was found in her basement starved, abused, and left to die. For years, a lingering court case against her and others kept me as an emotional prisoner to her apologies and to biological connections I lost forever. I was adopted, but both of my adoptive parents died within months of each other, when I was 13. Orphan-hood was in my blood it seemed and so I navigated alone. I watched foster brothers and sisters come and go, some living a life of crime, depression, and drug use. Others, who succeeded, went on to love themselves and won their internal battles against those who left them at their most vulnerable.

Without any guidance, good or bad, as a developing child the brain takes in the environment with little shelter. For some orphans, we see only the bad and keep ourselves in a bubble. For others, they absorb attention and affection anywhere they can, and often the abusers of the world hone in. Orphans are, after all, a weak link. In some ways, this is true. My weakness was and is a codependent helping of others. Out of guilt and maybe shame, I blamed myself for whatever happened in that Brooklyn home as a toddler and infant. That guilt led me to try to fix anyone and anything. It led me to poor boundaries personally. My real solace was found in being alone. When I was not fixing friends or lovers, I sought out time with myself by wandering aimlessly to recoup. It gave me a convenient excuse for not taking care of my own heart. 
While my past did dictate my solace, it did not lead me to victimhood, in fact I was determined to rewrite my story. I  had loose connections with some foster brothers and sisters. Some were good influences and believed in my few talents. I never drank or partied, in fact I was basically a very short adult, even as a teen. I studied hard and became absorbed in books. What my favorite writers like Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath could not heal for me was a sense of belonging to something. I was introspective, very much self-aware, and a mother hen. As I look back, I grew very attached to women teachers, friends' mothers, strangers even. I sought out maternal attachments everywhere.
Some were positive, some were not, but I concluded that rather than seeking out answers from the past, searching for long-lost family, (which proved disastrous emotionally), having my own child was the biggest part of my healing. After years of quiet envy listening to friends complain about their parents, siblings, extended family, I wanted something of my own. On January 22, 2003, whatever higher power exists, decided I needed a little blue-eyed girl to put my heart into, to build walls around, and to help design her own future with strong roots.

It has been 12 years of non-orphanhood for me! In my eyes, becoming a mother shatters that term altogether. I finally got the normal I heard so much about. It has not been easy. Everything I wanted for her did not happen as I expected. But I got the up all nights, the lioness protection, the graduations, the crying, the sadness, the pain, and the joy of childhood laughter. For the first time, I found myself playing hopscotch and picnicking in the park. I started to love who I was and was proud of my new lineage. I had photos to hang on the wall, photos that resembled me, the good parts of me. With this new piece of me, I strived to become better. I stumbled a few times, but she helped me believe in myself and improve myself. I am forever in her debt.
For other fellow successful orphans, a strong network of close friends, or animals, or successful relationships, became their family, but the commonality is that we all tried to rebuild what many people took for granted. While my girl cannot be my only grounding, which I'm learning painfully as she gets older, I finally have let myself become more vulnerable to a deeper adult relationship and a sense of not being alone. I may even have another child or let someone lift ME up when I need it. For this orphan, that is a huge feat.  After all, what I want my daughter to see, and other former foster children to see, is that Batman or not, every orphan has the opportunities to find success amidst the ruins of our childhood enemies.


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This work by menaanne.wordpress.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The next generation of Korean women …

Since that moment, when the face in the mirror seemed that of a stranger, I had wondered from where my features came.

In walked … 23andMe. “Welcome to you,” it said. I spat like a crazy woman one morning to find out who I was. Being an unknown is highly frustrating. You’re an other, an outlier; and frankly, it sucks.



The results arrived soon there after, and I was reminded that long ago, a Chinese international, fellow grad student once told me she thought I didn’t appear Korean at all.


This all struck me as odd. Me? Equally Japanese and Korean with a dash of Chinese? Wow. Since moving to Korea, I am only beginning to fully understand the complexities of a country I thought I wanted as my own. The ever present need within me to satisfy someone else fills me with shame. I cannot nail down my identity. I need an anchor.

Around me, I have watched the younger set of adoptees embrace their original cultures. They attended culture camps, learned their native languages and visited their countries well before marriage and kids, and more have begun to find and connect with their original families. I want so much to have their confidence. They proclaim that they are American. American in Korea.

I once proclaimed I was “American.” I have since struggled with this idea and flopped between American and Korean. One minute, I will be Korean. The next, I meet a Korean man my age who tells me he has a daughter my own daughter’s age. He shows me a photograph of her; she’s sweet but looks very unsure of herself. He asks me, “Isn’t she fat? Very fat.” I am once again reminded of the false sense of beauty and the pressures on Korean women to be an ideal. Pressures are also on the men to achieve and make lots of money to snatch the ideal beauty.

These ideas have worn me down, and yet …



The strong women emerge. Our family attended the Kim Unmi Dance Company’s 70th Anniversary of Korean Independence celebration performance. Their goal? To “awaken the social consciousness.”

The performance focused on the women of Korea during the Japanese occupation. Sadness flowed in the tension between mothers and sons parting as the men were sent to fight. Mothers’ sadness was a common thread throughout.

The most profound movements of this dance were those that focused on the young women of the war. In one powerful scene, a Japanese soldier pulls white cloths that seem to symbolize the waters that flow between Japan and Korea. Each band of cloth is pulled taut so that another Japanese soldier may stand on its end and look to the shores of Korea.

Once all the soldiers are lined up at the shore, young women are seemingly pulled toward them, wrapped in the water’s white foam. They wash ashore at the soldiers feet, but the soldiers are stoic. The women writhe, struggling to break free but are wrapped in the bondage of the sea.

Image provided by the KUM Dance Company

Suddenly, the men ravish and thrash the women as they try to escape. There is violence against them and eventually they die … their limp bodies are thrown on the death cart.

Image provided by the KUM Dance Company


In the following scene, I witnessed a mother’s remembrance of her lost children. She lit incense and knelt. The bodies of women appeared in angelic layers of white crepe. They were free from the bondage of war.

These images solidified my beginnings … why my DNA reveals the struggle among the people I outwardly represent. It was exhausting and terrifying to watch. Women and war.

Here however, a woman, Professor Unmi Kim of Hanyang University, leads this group of dancers in changing the course of conversation. She makes statements about the use of women in the past, the power of business women today and the strengths of mothers.

Mothers. That brings me to the most profound experience I have had so far. Since choosing activism and my part on the Baby Box, I have longed to help the women of KUMFA, The Korean Unwed Mothers Families Association on a personal level. Once we landed, I scheduled a time for our family to volunteer. It was an easy gig … playing with the most delightful young children.

After our work finished, a mother who spoke English insisted I stay. She wanted me in this very large group of single mothers. I felt honored and inadequate. A news crew from Korean Broadcasting was there taping the class the women were taking.

The reporters noticed me and my husband and asked if I wouldn’t mind being interviewed. I agreed. But I was not the one they should have interviewed. They repeatedly asked me why I would be supporting the group. I spoke of how I saw the face of my own mother in these women’s faces and how the bond between mother and child is so strong. I said these women were brave, and yet, the reporter did not want this sound-byte. He said he didn’t want to know about my adoption, but he wanted to know the American way. I felt inadequate to answer his questions. I told him America did not put the same stigma on single mothers that Korea does and that mothers had value. I left it at that.


As long as I keep my mouth closed, I mix in. Old women stop me to ask for directions, but I must then reveal my insecurities. I pass but only for so long … I am American, reluctantly.

Just like anything else, I cannot live in absolutes and Korea cannot either. The absolutes are crumbling as the next generation of Koreans begin to pave the way.

In Korea, single mothers receive a mere $59 a month for each child while group homes and orphanages receive $900 a month for each child. 

If you are looking for ways to help the women of Korea, consider making a contribution to KUMFA; you can donate through their PayPal account at kumfa.volunteer@gmail.com. Your donations help single mothers settle in housing and provide for their children. 



Feminist columnist, Rosita González is a transracial, Korean-American adoptee. She is married to a Brit who refers to himself as an Anglo-American and is a mother to two multiracial children. Rosita was adopted in 1968 at the age of one through Holt International. Her road has been speckled with Puerto Rican and Appalachian relatives and her multiracial sister, the natural child of her adoptive parents. While quite content with her role as a “Tennerican,” her curiosity has grown recently as her children explore their own ethnic identities. She considers herself a lost daughter, not only because of the loss of her birth family, but also because of the loss of her adoptive parents. Rosita is currently living in Seoul, South Korea with her family and their three cats. Follow her adventures as an adoptee on her blog, mothermade.

Friday, September 25, 2015

JE NE SUIS PAS FRANCAIS, by Guest Author, Maggie Gallant

By Guest Author, Maggie Gallant

August 15th marked the one year anniversary of my birth mother’s death. When she passed away I thought I would feel something, some evidence of a ‘cellular connection’. A tingle? A shiver? Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Lifetime Television. But at 11pm in Austin, Texas/5am in England I was just getting home from a lovely dinner with my husband. All I felt was slightly too full and a bit tipsy.

I’d known that Sandy was going to die. Two months earlier she had revealed to my half-siblings that a year earlier she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live. My half-sister Ingrid and I had been in pretty much daily long-distance contact ever since. I played the role of big sister: listening, empathizing, letting her rant, and occasionally being the voice of reason.

It was the least I could do. Especially since Ingrid had just given me the answer to a question I’d been waiting 27 years for.

Ingrid and I hadn’t been in touch since 2009, but last May something compelled me to email her. We first met in 1986, when I was reunited with Sandy. She and my birth mother had been on my mind for reasons I couldn’t explain.

Ingrid and I aren’t much alike in appearance or character but we share a strong sense of doing the right thing. Which explains why, just before Sandy died, Ingrid decided that it was only fair for me to know the name of my birth father.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Getting Over It

Society including our adoptive parents often encourages us-(interracial) adoptees to realize, come to terms with and accept that we now are different from our birth families and parents. Of course, we do oftentimes grow up to resemble our new forced upon-family, because we had to be taken and removed from our birth country and culture. 



How is it that adoptive parents generally refuses to acknowledge that they are the ones that are largely responsible for this in the first place. Or that they only are supposedly open towards meeting their adopted daughters birth mother and father-always mindful of what are at stakes- what they could lose. If the reunion starts to develop into something messy and dirty the adoptive parents tends to be the first ones to point fingers and to say I told you so.

Is it possible for adoptees to live in a world where the birth family and the adoptive parents equally respects each other ?




I fail to see and understand how it is possible for my birth parents to suddenly turn the other cheeck, blame and blackmail. Emotional blackmail and ultimatums has recently been added in my own reunion. I find myself trapped in this situation, wishing things could be different-wondering where things started to go wrong. Realizing also that neither the demands or requests ever will be met, because my birth family are actually trying to blackmail and place ultimatums-not on me but on my mum and dad. Which is why I need to come to terms with the fact that my adoptive parents never will met their demands-as far as they're concerned they have no emotional and deffinitely not any legal obligations towards my birth parents. My (adoptive) parents sees no reason to offer economic assistance to my birth parents or to help my birth family improve their living conditions.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Starting with Chapter 2, by Guest Author, Natalie Manolakis

By Guest author, Natalie Manolakis,
Adoptee in reunion, Volunteer Search Angel

My story used to start at Chapter 2. For years, I had no chapter one. I was missing, gaping holes in my story, the kind of holes that other people take for granted. Who am I and where did I come from?  You would think that with time, those feelings would dissipate, but the curiosity to know why you look the way you do or if you should be seeking preventive care due to unknown medical information, doesn’t ever go away.  The simple piece of paper holding my chapter one, my identity as a U.S. citizen, is actually not real. In fact it isn’t even true. I am not entitled to my original birth certificate. Instead the document holding my identity has a big fat stamp on it - “Amended.” I have been labeled since birth with something I will never escape. I was ADOPTED.

Even though we are all US citizens, the birthright of those not adopted entitles them to any information about their ancestral heritage and medical background that they so desire. They are able to seek medical care for preventive health measures due to their family histories. I do not have the same privileges and rights to my history; my information is sealed, locked away and a secret to me.

My search journey began nearly 20 years ago, but I would refer to the majority of those years as “closet searching.” When I turned 18 and requested my non-identifying information from the adoption agency, I was required to meet with the social worker and learned that my natural mother came to into the agency two years prior looking for information about me.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dear Family (ለውድ የሥጋ ቤተሰቦቼ)





"Birch Wheel" by Jo Thilwind 


Dear Family, 

I never thought I’d feel the need to write you. I used to pretend that it didn’t bother me to not know you, but it does. I felt like I would betray my adoptive family. I also never thought it was possible to even find you because for some reason, I don’t even know your names or the circumstances around my birth. Are you aware of this? Granted, I was born at a tumultuous time in 1985. I can only imagine what you were going through. All I know is that I feel awful between the months of September and November, which is probably around the time of my birth. I feel like my body remembers something that my mind cannot. 

I’ve tried searching for you but it’s very difficult because you or the person you left me with did not document your full names. I’m not sure if my last name belongs to my mother or my father. I’m still waiting to hear back from a searcher, we will see. I’m not sure what it will take to find you. I don’t even know if you want to be found since I don’t know if you abandoned me intentionally or not. I feel like there are a lot of lies and secrecy around my relinquishment. It’s hard to find people involved in my adoption process and the ones I do know insist that they told me all they know. 

Anyway, the truth is that searching has become a business and I don’t have enough money to pay for a full-fledged search. I’ve been approached by journalists who want to help find you but I’ve declined their offers. I don’t want anyone putting words on my experience or yours, especially not without your consent and full approval. I also don’t want anyone making money or getting a book deal by writing about us. I’ve had so little control in what has happened to me. Having someone else profit from this is just another form of control and exploitation. I refuse, so I’m choosing the long route, which is to gather information bit by bit.

To be honest, I’m scared to return to Ethiopia a second time. I don’t want to go there and come back empty-handed. You could be living in one of the many remote villages that are quite inaccessible for non-natives and non-Amharic speakers. Maybe you’re in Addis or maybe you’ve even left the country. Anything is possible, but I’d be surprised if you are in the same place though, because I was told you were internally displaced since you were fleeing the famine.

I guess the other thing is that, I’m scared to uncover some awful truth about you. I’m even more scared that I won’t be able to handle it. I know our story is tragic. When I returned to Ethiopia the first time in 2009, I felt it. It was a very heavy feeling that I can’t express in words. I mourned for a few days before we headed North to Gondar. I did not look for you. I was hurt and did not understand why you left me. I’m sure you have a thousand good reasons, but my inner child does not care about them. She just feels hurt. 

I don’t blame you for what you did, whatever you did. We’re all just trying to survive. We don’t always make the best decisions or we think we have but our judgement was clouded at the time by our circumstances. I cannot say that I’m at peace with what happened or with your decision. I’m still very angry, not at you because I don’t know what you did, but at the situation and how it was played out.

I’ve been trying to accept the injustice of not knowing you and not being able to find you but I’ve been unsuccessful. I can’t get over wrongdoings easily, especially if they aren’t explained. It’s like a big lump in my throat that I can’t swallow. I’ve tried to redirect my angry energy towards motivating other adoptees to speak out and doing lots of physical activity. It helps to a certain extent.

In the meantime, I will try to be patient about looking for you. I’m writing you this letter and making it public because I need to release this anger and sadness into the universe (sorry, not sorry). I also want you to know that I am thinking about you even if I really don’t like talking about it publicly.

I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. As I write, I’m also thinking of the thousands and thousands of adoptees and birth parents in my situation. I share their pain and their struggles. I’m sure you do too. I hope you have found healthy ways to release whatever your feelings have about our situation. I will try to respect your thoughts and feelings if we ever meet. I hope we do. But if we don’t, I’ll always know that I’m connected to you because I feel it deeply. I know that SO much of me comes from you. You are a big part of me even if you’re not in my life. And I am also part of you even if I am missing from your lives. 

I will leave you with the words of E. E Cummings which sums up a little how I feel about losing you, my unknown family but still being close to you; “I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart), I am never without it (anywhere I go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling).

I wish you well,

Kassaye 



ለውድ የሥጋ ቤተሰቦቼ፣

ለእናንተ ለመጻፍ እነሳሳለሁ ብዬ አስቤ አላውቅም ነበር። እናንተን ማወቅ ያን ያህል ግድ እንደማይሰጠኝ አስመስል ነበር፤ ግን ያሳስበኛል። በማደጎ ያሳደጉኝን ቤተሰቦቼን እንደመካድ ይሆንብኛል ብዬ አስብ ነበር። እናንተን ማግኘትም የሚቻል ነገር ነው ብዬ አስቤ አላውቅም፤ ምክንያቱም ስማችሁንም ሆነ ስወለድ ስለነበረው ሁኔታ ምንም የማውቀው ነገር የለም። ስለዚህ ነገር ታውቃላችሁ? የማውቀው ነገር፥ እጅግ ዘግናኝ በሆነው ጊዜ በ1977 መወለዴን ነው። በምን አይነት አስቸጋሪ ወቅት እያለፋችሁ እንደነበር በሃሳቤ ልስለው ብቻ ነው የምችለው። የማውቀው ነገር ቢኖር ከመስከረም እስከ ህዳር ባሉት ቀናት ጭንቅ ጥብብ ይለኛል። ይህም ምናልባት በዚህ ወቅት ስለተወለድኩ ይሆናል የሚል ግምት እንድይዝ አድርጎኛል። አእምሮዬ ጓዳ ላይ ያልተከተበ ግን በልቦናዬ የተቀረጸ አንዳች ትዝታ ወደ ሰውነቴ እየመጣ እንደሆነ እንዳስብ ያደርገኛል።

እናንተን ለመፈለግ ሞክሪያለሁ። ነገር ግን እናንተ ወይም እኔን ያስረከባችሁት ሰውዬ ሙሉ ስማችሁን ስላልመዘገበው ድካሜ ሁሉ በጣም አስቸጋሪ ሆኗል። ከስሜ ቀጥሎ ያለው ስም የእናቴ ይሁን የአባቴ እንኳን እርግጠኛ አይደለሁም። እናንተን እንዲያስስ አደራ ካልኩት ሰው ምላሽ እየተጠባበኩኝ ነው። የሚሆነውን እስኪ እናያለን። እናንተን ለማግኘት ምን ያህል ዋጋ እንደሚያስፈልገኝ እርግጠኛ አይደለሁም። ፈልጌ እንዳገኛችሁ ትፈልጉ እንደሆን እንኳ አላውቅም። ምክንያቱም እኔን የተዋችሁኝ ሆነ ብላችሁ ይሁን ወይም ከአቅም በላይ በሆነ ችግር አላውቅም። በእኔ የቤተሰብ ቅይይር ዙሪያ በርካታ ውሸቶችና ሚስጥሮች እንዳሉ ይሰማኛል። በማደጎ በመሰጠቴ ሂደት የተሳተፉ ሰዎችን ማግኘት በጣም ከባድ ነው። የማውቃቸው ውስን ሰዎችም የሚያውቁትን በሙሉ እንደነገሩኝ አበክረው ይነግሩኛል።

ለማንኛውም፥ እውነቱ ፍለጋ ሥራዬ መሆኑና ለተሟላ የፍለጋ ስራ ግን በቂ ገንዘብ የሌለኝ መሆኑ ነው። የተለያዩ ጋዜጠኞች ቀርበው እናንተን ለመፈለግ በማደርገው ጥረት ሊያግዙኝ እንደሚፈልጉ ገልጸውልኛል። እኔ ግን ችሮታቸውን ችላ ብዬዋለሁ። በእኔ ወይም በእናንተ የህይወት ጉዞ ላይ ማንም ቃላትን እንዲሰድር አልፈልግም። በተለይ በእናንተ ላይ፤ ቢያንስ ይሁንታችሁን ሳትሰጡትና ሙሉ በሙሉ ሳትፈቅዱ ማንም ምንም እንዲል አልሻም። ማንም ሰው ስለእኛ ጉዳይ በመፃፉ ምክንያት ገንዘብ እንዲያገኝ ወይም የመጽሃፍ ህትመት ውል እንዲገባ አልፈልግም። በእኔ ላይ ስለሆነው ነገር የነበረኝ የቁጥጥር አቅም በጣም ኢምንት ነው። በዚህ እድለ ቢስነት ሌላ ሰው ትርፍ እንዲያጋብስበት መፍቀድ ለሌላ አይነት ቁጥጥር መውደቅ ወይም ራስን ለብዝበዛ አሳልፎ መስጠት ነው። እምቢ አልኩኝ፣ እናም ረጅሙን መንገድ መረጥኩኝ፤ ወደ እናንተ የሚያደርሱኝን መረጃዎችን አንድ በአንድ መልቀም።

እውነቱን ለመናገር፣ ወደ ኢትዮጵያ ዳግም ለመመለስ በጣም እፈራለሁ። ወደ’ዛ ሄጄ እንደገና ባዶ እጄን መመለስ አልፈልግም። ምናልባት በጣም ሩቅ ከሆኑትና ለአገሬውና አማርኛን አጥርቶ ለሚናገረው ካልሆነ በስተቀር ለማንም ተደራሽ ካልሆኑት የገጠር መንደሮች በአንዱ እየኖራችሁ ሊሆን ይችላል። ምናልባት በአዲስ አበባ እየኖራችሁ ሊሆን ይችላል ወይም ከነአካቴው እናንተም ከአገር ወጥታችሁ ሊሆን ይችላል። ማንኛውም ነገር ተከስቶ ሊሆን ይችላል። ነገር ግን አሁንም ያኔ በነበራችሁበት ቦታ ከሆናችሁ በጣም ይገርመኛል። ምክንያቱም ከርሃቡ ሽሽት ከቀያችሁ ሙሉ ለሙሉ ተፈናቅላችሁ እንደነበር ተነግሮኛል።

ሌላው ነገር ደግሞ ስለእናንተ መጥፎ ነገር አውቅ ይሆን የሚል ስጋት የያዘኝ ይመስለኛል። የማውቀውን ነገር ችዬ መሸከም ያቅተኛል የሚለው ፍራቻም የበለጠ ያሳስበኛል። ለመጀመሪያ ጊዜ ወደ ኢትዮጵያ በመጣሁበት 2001* ዓ/ም ይህ ነገር በደንብ ተሰምቶኛል። የተሰማኝ ስሜት በቃላት ልገልጸው የማልችለው ከባድ ስሜት ነበር። የሰሜኑን አቅጣጫ ይዘን ወደ ጎንደር እስክንጓዝ ድረስ ለተወሰኑ ቀናት በሃዘን ስሜት ተውጫለሁ። በእርግጥ እናንተን አልፈለኩም ነበር። ውስጤ በጣም ተጎድቷል። እንዴት ትታችሁኝ ልትሄዱ እንዳስቻላችሁ ሊገባኝ አልቻለም። እርግጠኛ ነኝ ለዚያ ውሳኔያችሁ አንድ ሺህ ጥሩ ምክንያቶች ሊኖራችሁ ይችላል። ውስጤ ያለው ስሜት ግን ስለሰበቦቻችሁ ግድ አይሰጠውም። ለውስጤ የሚተርፈው መጎዳት ብቻ ነው።

ምንም አደረጋችሁ ምን፣ ስላደረጋችሁት ነገር በጭራሽ አልወቅሳችሁም። ሁላችንም የምናደርገው ሕይወትን የማትረፍ ጥረት ነው። ሁልጊዜም ትክክለኛውንና ምርጡን ውሳኔ አንወስንም። ወይም ምርጡን ውሳኔ የወሰንን ቢመስለንም፣ እውነታው ግን ብያኔያችን በጊዜው በነበርንበት ሁኔታ እንደ ጭጋግ የከለለው ሊሆን ይችላል። የሆነው ነገር ወይም የወሰናችሁት ውሳኔ ሰላም ሰጥቶኛል ማለት አልችልም። አሁንም ድረስ ውስጤ ብግን እንዳለ ነው። ግን በእናንተ አይደለም፣ ምክንያቱም ምን እንዳደረጋችሁ እንኳ በውል ስለማላውቅ። በሁኔታውና ሁኔታው ባለፈበት መንገድ ግን ውስጤ ተጎድቷል።

እናንተን ያለማወቅና ፈልጎ ያለማግኘትን ኢ-ፍትሃዊ ያልሆነ መንገድ ለመቀበል ብዙ ጥሬያለሁ። ግን ምንም ሊሳካልኝ አልቻለም። ስህተቶችን በቀላሉ መርሳታና ማለፍ አልችልም፤ በተለይ አስፈላጊው ማብራሪያ ሳይቀርብልኝ ሲቀር። ጉሮሮዬ ላይ ተሰንቅሮ አልወርድልኝ እንዳለ አንዳች ነገር ሆኖብኛል። ብስጭቴን ሌሎች የማደጎ ልጆችም እንዲናገሩ ወደ ማነሳሳትና በርካታ ስፖርታዊ እንቅስቃሴዎች ወደ መስራት አዙሬዋለሁ። ይህም በተወሰነ ደረጃም ቢሆን ረድቶኛል።

ለጊዜው፣ እናንተን ለማግኘት ባለኝ ጉጉት ላይ ትዕግስተኛ ለመሆን እሞክራለሁ። ይህን ደብዳቤ የምጽፍላችሁና ጉዳዬን ለአደባባይ የማበቃው ይህን ብስጭቴንና መከፋቴን ወደ ዓለም ማውጣት ስላለብኝ ነው። (ይቅርታ። ኧረ እንደውም የምን ይቅርታ ነው?) ደግሞም በአደባባይ ስለጉዳዩ ማውራት ባልፈልግ እንኳ ስለእናንተ ግን ሁኔም እንደማስብ እንድታውቁልኝ እፈልጋለሁ።

እንዲህ አይነት ስሜት የሚሰማው እኔን ብቻ እንዳልሆነ አውቃለሁ። ይህን እየጻፍኩኝም ቢሆን፣ በሺዎች ስለሚቆጠሩት የማደጎ ልጆችና ስለየስጋ ወላጆቻቸው ሁኔታ እያሰብኩኝ ነው። ህመማቸውን እና ትግላቸውን እጋራለሁ። እናንተም እንደምትጋሯቸው እርግጠኛ ነኝ። ስለሁኔታችን የሚሰማችሁን ማንኛውንም አይነት ስሜት ለማስተንፈስ የሚያስችላችሁ ጤነኛ የሆኑ መንገዶች አጊኝታችኋል ብዬ ተስፋ አደርጋለሁ። ምናልባት ከተገናኘን፣ ሃሳባችሁንና ስሜታችሁን በሙሉ ለማክበር እሞክራለሁ። እንደምንገናኝ ተስፋ አደርጋለሁ። ነገር ግን ካልተሳካልን፣ ምንጊዜም ቢሆን ከእናንተ ጋር ቁርኝት እንዳለኝ አውቃለሁ። ምክንያቱም ውስጤ ድረስ ዘልቆ የሚሰማኝ ስሜት ስለሆነ። አብዛኛው እኔነቴ ከእናንተ እንደመጣ አውቃለሁ። በሕይወቴ ውስጥ ባትኖሩም እንኳ፣ የእኔ ትልቁ ክፋይ ናችሁ። እንዲሁም ምንም እንኳ ከሕይወታችሁ ብጎድልም፣ እኔም የእናንተ አንድ አካል ነኝ። ስለዚህ፣ እናንተን፣ የማላውቃችሁን ግን ደግሞ ቅርቦቼ እንደሆናችሁ የሚሰማኝን ቤተሰቦቼን፣ በማጣቴ የሚሰማኝን ስሜት በተወሰነ መልኩም ቢሆን በሚገልጽልኝ የኢ.ኢ. ከሚንግስ ቃላት እሰናበታችኋለሁ። “ልባችሁን በውስጤ ተሸክሜዋለሁ (በልቤ ውስጥ ይዠዋለሁ)፣ መቼም ቢሆን ተለይቼው አላውቅም (የትም ቦታ ብሄድ፥ የእኔ ውዶች፥ ማንኛውም በእኔ ብቻ የሆነ ነገር በሙሉ የእናንተም ነው፥ ውዶቼ)”። “I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart), I am never without it (anywhere I go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling).”

መልካሙን ሁሉ እመኝላችኋለሁ። ካሳዬ



Kassaye is an Ethiopian adoptee living in Montréal Québec (Canada). She co-founded Ethiopian Adoptees of the Diaspora and is currently working on an anthology by Ethiopian adoptees entitled "Lions Roaring Far From Home".


Amharic translation by Zecharias Zelalem.

Photo credit: http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-BIRCH-WHEEL/78806/1264750/view











Saturday, September 12, 2015

Gone Too Soon: The Heartbreak of Adoptee Suicide

photograph © 2012 mothermade design
Earlier this year, the Indian adoptee community lost a beautiful, precious sixteen year old girl to suicide.
Her mentor, Rhea, is my “little sister.” I first met Rhea in 2008 at a gathering for Indian adoptees that I led. I saw in Rhea a sweet, giving spirit so it didn't surprise me she had chosen to give back by mentoring another adoptee along the way. On the day of the funeral in March, I woke with a heavy heart – sending love, strength and prayers to the family, Rhea, friends and extended community members that gathered to honor this young teen's life. In April, I stood beside and hugged Rhea close, as any big sister would, while she bravely shared at a conference about the place in her life and heart that her mentee occupied.
In an age of technology and social media, heartbreaking news travels fast. Since October 2012, our Indian adoptee community has lost six lives to suicide that I know about - they were ages 13, 15, 16, 21, 23 and 31. They were sons, daughters, sisters, brothers — all gone too soon. Each suicide shook our community with a devastating ripple effect as we reeled from one to the next. The suicides also often brought three companions — silence, shame and stigma.
As a trusted confidant and insider to the Indian adoptee community, I listened, counseled and coached adoptees and adoptive parents through their varying stages of shock and grief. As a social worker clinically trained in individual and community crisis management, I know the importance of creating brave spaces for survivors of suicide – family and friends left behind – to cry, grieve and be heard on the journey ahead. Everyone grieves differently – some want to talk openly while others need privacy. Anniversaries can be triggering when loss and heartache resurfaces.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Consider the Lilies (Part 4) by Guest Author Megan Culhane Galbraith

Guest Entry by Megan Culhane Galbraith


After my mother died of pancreatic cancer, my sisters and I took an inventory of her bedroom — the closet, her dresser, the desk – deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. I hadn’t known Mom had sought out The Hemlock Society, the right-to-die organization, until I unearthed the brochure in her nightstand. I hadn’t known she was that religious until I found the rosary and the tiny parchment paper bible in the same drawer. I looked in her jewelry box, and it was as if nothing had changed from my childhood. She kept everything we ever gave to her. I took the Shalimar bottle with its evaporated perfume now brown and gummed to the bottom of the glass. Inventorying her things magnified my feeling of loss because it made me look at her in the way I felt I should have seen when she was alive. The things, it seems, we yearn to know have been right in front of us all along.

As I slid the hangers, touching each of the dresses she wore throughout her sickness — all cheap, cotton plaid muumuus she called her “organ friendly dresses” — I suggested we donate them. Dad had other plans. He commissioned memorial quilts with huge, garish daylilies (Mom’s favorite flower) for each of us. The woman who sewed the quilts used the dress fabric to shape the petals and stems and a crude, machined zig-zag stitch to attach them instead of the finer, appliqued technique favored by Mom who had hand-quilted a bedspread for our wedding and crib quilts for my two sons and my sister’s baby who wouldn’t be born until years after Mom’s death. On each memorial quilt, upon Dad’s request, the woman machine stitched “Consider the Lillies,” which, had it been spelled correctly, was a favorite saying of Mom’s. We each hated those quilts and for a while I resented Dad for memorializing Mom during her sickness instead of celebrating her when she was healthy. He still calls me every year on the day of her death instead of on her birthday.

I took the framed poem off Mom’s wall and hung it on mine.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Consider the Lilies (Part 3) by Guest Author Megan Culhane Galbraith

Guest Entry by Megan Culhane Galbraith



Mom had many one-liners that stuck with me over the years. She mostly blurted these out without explanation and quickly moved on. I keep a small, running inventory of the ones that have stuck with me.

“Your grandfather was a sonofabitch as a father, but he is a pretty decent grandfather.” Or, “I always worried that you weren’t picked up enough when you were little because of that flat spot on the back of your head.” Or “Just be yourself” and “Marriage is hard work.” Later, when I was driving her to chemo and letting her know she didn’t have to worry about Dad, that we would take good care of him, even move him up near us so he wouldn’t be lonely she said, “I just want you to know that your Dad is very selfish and he will take over your life if you let him.” She also said this to my husband, Jeff, before she died. We shrugged it off at the time, but once Mom’s absence asserted itself, Dad’s presence began to smother just as she had said it would.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Consider the Lilies (Part 2) by Guest Author Megan Culhane Galbraith

Guest Entry by Megan Culhane Galbraith


When I was in grammar school, I used to watch Mom get ready for cast parties. Dad was theatre director as part of his duties as an English teacher at our High School, and she was the one presented with bouquets of flowers before each production. She went to the cast parties with Dad after each play wrapped each High School season. There were parties for “Flowers for Algernon,” “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “The Screwtape Letters” (which we were not allowed to see.)

Much of my after-school time in elementary and middle school was spent with Dad in the theatre, racing up and down the carpeted stairs, unfolding the theatre seats and trying to sit in every one as fast as I could, posing in ways that might attract the attention of (all) the leading men who I had consecutive crushes on; caring for a white mouse that was a prop in “Flowers for Algernon”; and messing around with the lights and the sound board while Dad rehearsed his students. I was a demented Eloise and the theatre was my Plaza Hotel.

It seems to me now that I was fusing myself onto other people, flailing around for someone I could identify with, constantly trying to imitate, act, or pretend my way into a character whose part hadn’t been scripted yet. I had no idea who I was.

Watching Mom get ready to go to the plays and the cast parties with Dad was magical because she seemed happy. She was so pretty, bobby pinning her short brown hair in spit curls in front of her ears and pressing her lips on white Kleenex, leaving red puckered lipstick stains. I would buzz around her like a gnat, asking questions and bouncing on her bed. Eventually, Dad would pull into the driveway with our babysitter Kevin Silk and I would skip down the hall to buzz around him in all his teenage cuteness.

The last thing Mom did before leaving the house was to spray Cotillion on her wrists and behind her ears. Then she leaned over to kiss me goodnight on the top of my head. The first thing I did when she left was lock myself in her bathroom, pick the Kleenex out of the trash and squeeze my lips together where hers had been.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Consider the Lilies (Part 1) by Guest Author Megan Culhane Galbraith

Guest Entry by Megan Culhane Galbraith


Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;

they toil not, neither do they spin.

Matthew 6:28


Their bedroom—I knew it by heart. The Trojan condoms in the bottom drawer of Dad’s night stand; a copy of The Bell Jar on Mom’s side; the shotgun in the back of the closet behind Oxford shoes; and the corduroy sport jackets Dad wore to teach English at our high school.

Mom’s dresser was a trove of white C-cup bras, half-slips, and a jewelry box that opened to a twirling ballerina in a white tutu. She had two kinds of perfume that sat next to the box: Shalimar by Guerlain and Cotillion by Avon. Shalimar smelled spicy and exotic, while Cotillion was delicate and airy. They seemed to belong to two different women. Two women I wanted to be, but didn’t yet know how to become.

As a kid, I took tiny inventories of Mom’s things: the jewelry in that jewel box (mother-of-pearl pin I gave her that said ‘Mother’, lacquered red rose stick pin, string of pearls she wore in her wedding portrait that hung in the hallway); the clothes on the hangers; the sensible shoes she kept in orderly boxes at the bottom of her closet; the Ginny dolls in polka dot boxes on the shelf above whose eyes opened and closed and whose tiny leather shoes had silver snaps. I conducted my inventories in secret, knowing Mom would feel it was an invasion of her privacy. I did it, perhaps, to hew to some form of identity for myself. I had been adopted and while it didn’t occur to me consciously at that time, looking back I realized I felt out of place. Or, maybe I was trying to find my place within the family via objects. Something always seemed to be missing for me, a piece of myself that I couldn’t classify, something within me but at the same time unreachable. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was. I am not sure I will ever be able to recognize it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

For my Sister by Guest Author Brookita R. Braxton

Image provided by Brookita R. Braxton
The above picture is an old post from Instagram. During that time an opportunity presented itself to learn about my biological mom. I believe this was posted on July 26, 2014. Adoptees tend to hold on any information they are given regarding their biological parents. It can be right or wrong; big or small. Sometimes it can be maddening. Part of the journey toward reunion is learning to take the little bits and pieces of information in stride. Sometimes too little information can draw you into an emotional whirlwind. It will leave you wondering which way is up.

When I met my sister she had a little more information on our mother because she had an open adoption. Even then her information led to more questions. We then connected with a biological family member whose information made things even more confusing. It left us exasperated because the weight of the information was too much too handle emotionally and spiritually. At one point I was bereft of meaning and direction when it came to the search. I questioned myself. I had already met her almost sixteen years prior. She rejected me then. Why would I put myself through the same process again?

The only answer was for my sister. I knew she had not had the opportunity to meet our mother, question her, see her and embrace her. I realized that she deserved that opportunity and who was I to deny it. I couldn't allow my emotions to dictate the road we were traveling on together. I believe there was a purpose in meeting her. I grew up as an only child as my sister did. When I met my mother sixteen years prior, she did not tell me that I had a sister. By stroke of fate, we began a journey hand in hand to meet our mother.

----------------------------------------------------
Brookita R Braxton has always been intrigued by the mother/ daughter relationship dynamic. After being given up for adoption at an early age and losing her adopted mother to a terminal illness, her journey began toward reuniting with her biological mother. It hasn't been easy but there are lessons that Brookita has learned along the way. Her blog "A Hand to Hold" is resource for adoptees to know that they are not alone. Brookita lives in Alexandria, Virginia. www.brookitabraxton.comhttp://brookitabraxton.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An Adoption Legend: Review of The Hundred-Year Flood by Matthew Salesses

A couple of years ago, I became aware of author and adoptee Matthew Salesses via some tweets about a writing/blogging project he was embarking on called This Is Not About #Adoption (a Tumblr which has since been emptied of its posts—I hope because something new is in the works). I thought of that sentence—this is not about adoption—often as I read his new novel The Hundred-Year Flood.

The story follows a Korean-American adoptee named Tee on a fantastical journey from Boston to Prague and back again. As the tale begins, the fact of Tee’s adoption seems to be a minor characteristic of his identity, one that a reader might not give too much thought. This is not a story about adoption. It is about a young man in an old city far from home who becomes entangled there with an artist, the artist’s wife, and the artist’s longtime friend.

“Prague might be the perfect place, after all: a city that valued anonymity, the desire to be no one and someone at once.”

Tee’s story of Prague is set against the many myths its inhabitants share and a great flood that washed through its streets in 2002, the kind of flood that happens only once every hundred years or so. We learn early on that Tee often glimpses the limbs of a ghost. He spies a glowing leg in a crowd of people, a glowing heel heading up some stairs. It is the shape of a woman, and he feels compelled to follow her.

“He felt dizzy with the idea of starting out clean of his past, like a baby.”

He gets a job at a bookstore, where he meets an American girl and begins to reveal himself to her, as he concurrently reveals other pieces of himself to the artist and his wife. Prior to coming to Prague, his uncle—his father’s brother—had committed suicide, and Tee had learned that for many years his father had been having an affair with his aunt. The burden of needing to unpack this new knowledge is an impetus for his journey. His parents’ marriage is in shambles as Tee stumbles headfirst into new, complicated relationships of his own. But this is not about adoption.

“He was filling a container inside of him. Into it, he put the things he couldn’t say—about the seduction of forgetting. When his container was full, he would dump himself out in one dramatic move.”

As there are so few Asians in Prague, his Asianness is what people first notice about him. No one sees him as American at first glance. Tee wants to be recognized as American, but as Korean as well, though Korea is a place he has deliberately avoided. Everyone asks him why he chose to relocate to Prague rather than Korea, and it is in these passages when Tee grapples with his foreignness that we begin to understand how being adopted is more than just a footnote to the development of his character. Because of his adoption, Tee is himself something of a ghost.

“In Korea there was nothing for him that wasn’t already buried deep underground.”

He has grown up knowing that his birth mother died, that his father specifically chose him to adopt. But as he investigates his memories in light of the recent revelation about his father’s character, he discovers questions he has likely carried inside of himself all along for which he is now compelled to find answers.

“I came here because here I’m the only one who determines who I am.”

The magic of The Hundred-Year Flood takes place in the reader’s subconscious, through suggestions that hover beneath the surface of the story line, similar to the way a poem leads through its language to a kind of epiphany. This story that is, at first, not at all about adoption transforms into an adoption legend, nurtured by the mythology of its setting (which I’m glad I looked up).

I don’t want to give away too many more details, lest I ruin the expansive revelation that unfolds. Just as in real life for many adoptees, adoption is not the main focus—until, in fact, it is.




Note: The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Matthew Salesses is a previous guest contributor to Lost Daughters, in a post on Reactive Attachment Disorder to which I also contributed.


KAREN PICKELL
Karen Pickell was born and adopted in Ohio in the late 1960s. She reunited with her birth mother in 2005 and with her birth father in 2007. Her husband is an adoptive father of two children, now grown, from his first marriage, one of whom was adopted from Korea. Karen and her husband live in Florida with their two biological children. She holds a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University in Georgia; she has published poems, essays, and stories, and is currently drafting a memoir. She previously served on the board of directors of the Georgia Writers Association, as editor for the Georgia Poetry Society, and as associate editor of the literary journal Flycatcher. Karen recently founded Adoptee Reading Resource. She blogs about writing, adoption, and other topics at www.karenpickell.com.











Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Coming out to own my Adoption Story by Guest Author Dr. Jasi Joyce

"Little Jasi" (c) Dr. Jasi Joyce
By Guest Author, Dr. Jasi Joyce

Growing up, I can’t remember how many times people asked me, “Why did your biological parents give you away?”

“They did not want any more girls, they already had three daughters before I popped out,” I would say.

“Really?” or “Wow!” was usually their response, depending upon where they came from. If they were Westerners they could not comprehend why a girl or boy would make any difference. Fellow Asians would generally understand that such cultural conditioning prevailed in Asian societies around the time of my birth. You see, I was born in the 70s, and having a boy in an Asian family at that time was a big deal – in order to ensure the survival of the family name. Even today, many Asian people still think it is a big deal.

My birth mother once told me that my biological father didn’t want to visit her after she gave birth to their third daughter. I can just imagine my biological parent’s frustration when they had me - their fourth daughter in a row! DON’T!!

It is incredible to see how much power a man is given in a patriarchal society. I call that collective unconscious ideology.