Archive | August 2012

A Milestone

My boyfriend suggested that I ought to mention that today my blog reached 5000 views! I started out on February 18 this year, just six months, 1 week and 5 days ago. That’s more than 25 views per day, from all over the world. Incidentally, this is also my seventieth blog post 🙂

When I began writing I never thought that my story would get attention from so many. I’m quite overwhelmed, to be honest. It means so much to me, it touches my heart, and has inspired me to keep working on this project of self healing. Thank you, each and every one who has taken time to read, to comment, to follow or in any way given me feedback. It makes a world of difference to me.

Thank you very much!


~ Khara

Tears are the most bitter liquid

I just want to state for the record that I am not trying to compete with anyone about having the worst childhood. My experiences are quite enough for me. If your childhood was worse than mine and you’ve found your peace, please don’t be angry at me for still being hurt, angry and bitter. I haven’t got that far yet, and I’m not ready to forgive and forget. Please read my post Shades of Grey about this.

It’s no good dwelling on the past, some say. But much as I would like to forget, if I did then I would not be true to myself. To let go I will have to face my horrors, and it takes time to admit and accept that this was a huge part of my life.

A room thick with layers upon layers of smoke. This is one of the first images that strike me when I think back, and probably the reason why I have asthma today. I remember seeing the blurry shadow of my adoptive mother through the cloud of cigarette smog, sitting in a chair by the TV, often with no clothes on, drunk and stuffed full of pills, face expressionless. Occasionally the chair doubled as a toilet if she was too drunk to lift herself out of it and go to the bathroom. She didn’t care, her mind wasn’t in this world. Inside her heart she was grieving over a little boy who died a long, long time before they brought me to Norway.

Alcohol, tears, loneliness, a hurtful mix of feelings that sting inside all the memories that my heart has been burdened with for a long time. It’s not easy to shake off the gloom. Just because I smile doesn’t mean that I’m happy. I’ve seen wine, beer and drugs set the tune of a home. How can they love the drinks more than they love their children? It’s still haunting me, like the hands of a ghost around my throat.

As a little girl I knew when it was time to be silent and invisible, sometimes hiding in the cupboard in my room, or under the bed. In summertime I would often hide in the garage behind the car. I could sit there and cry silently so no-one could hear me and find me.

How could it possibly be fair that a little girl slowly began to think about taking her own life? She didn’t see any solution, she was thinking like a child, how it might gain her and her adoptive parents if she was dead. She didn’t wish to be a burden, and then she would no longer have to be afraid of being beaten. She could sit there and think about how the little white coffin had to have wings on both sides for the  long journey up to God in Heaven, followed by a group of angels to lead the way. Would it hurt to die? And how would the Angels find her if she couldn’t pray anymore?

First there’d be a glass of wine with dinner. Later the whole box of wine would be brought to the table, or my adoptive dad went with the decanter to get more, and when after a while my adoptive parents started to argue with each other, then I knew that it was time to slip quietly away. I remember my adoptive parents drunk and angry, shouting, my father calling my mother ugly names.

A typical week would go like this: Sunday they would sober up for work on Monday. Wednesday they would celebrate the upcoming weekend. Friday they started celebrating that the weekend was here, and it did not end until Sunday morning.

This went on for years, until their economy got better so that they could drink every day, all year round. Occasionally they’d go off to Spain for two weeks of heavy celebration, so heavy in fact that sometimes my mother had to return earlier by emergency flight and spend a few days in hospital, getting nursed back to life from the land of the half dead.

How could a little girl not be affected for life by this? The yelling, the ugly words, towards me too, the screaming and shouting, the slamming of doors, the tense atmosphere in the house, my adoptive mum crying, and I lay there as a little girl, frightened in my bed and wished I could run away forever. The only thing I could do was to hide under the duvet and pray that one day it would be better.

Any child growing up in a home like that would be scarred for life. For my part, this came in addition to adoption-related issues, as if one or the other wasn’t enough. Some days it just hurts too much. I have no energy, only tears, and all I want to do is to sleep forever. Which is worst? My upbringing in that home, or knowing that my father in Korea searched for me for years, not even knowing how far away I really was?

Had I stayed with my family in Korea, I could have spent my childhood being loved for who I was, instead of being told every day by my adoptive parents how stupid and useless I was. I would have felt love instead of hate, happiness instead of sorrow, and escaped many of the problems that I am left with today, as a grown-up adoptee. There are many could-have-beens and might-have-beens, but one thing is for certain: The liquid in my tears come from the greatest trials in my life, from pain and grief, not from an expensive vintage wine bottle on the top shelf at the liquor store, but from the well of my soul.


~ Khara

More truth about Korean overseas adoption for profit

I recommend reading this insightful article by Kim Do-hyun in The Korean Times, about Korea’s adoption-for-profit practices through the years.

Overseas adoption: child welfare or abuse?

A passage from the article:

«According to these statistics, through overseas adoption, we sent away the mixed-race children, the children of unwed mothers, disabled children, and the children of broken families. That is why I define Korea’s overseas adoption as a kind of “systematic social segregation.” Of course, as a member of Korean society, I am also complicit in this massive “systematic social segregation project.”»

And further:

«First, overseas adoption is a kind of child abuse by the state. Second, the overseas adoption policy of the government was likely a part of its economic development strategy, which means the overseas adoptees have been used as part of a project to create wealth and prosperity for the rest of the South Koreans.»

The more I read about adoption, the more I feel—in addition to the loss of my original life, childhood and family, and having grown up in a home with abusive adoptive parents—that I have been, and still am deep inside, a piece of merchandise, torn away from the life I was born into and thrown away into a future uncertain, in order to make someone else a little richer, namely the Holt agency and the state of Korea.

In other words, I and all other overseas adopted children, have been treated as objects that could be bought and sold, rather than human beings, pretty much the same way as slaves, or prostitutes.

This feeling has been gnawing on my soul ever since as a child I was old enough to grasp the concept of being adopted, but it is only recently, in the last few years, that I have been able to identify it as such.

I am a person, not an object!



A letter to my Oldest Sister

My dear sister.

I’ve never thanked you enough for thinking of me, for searching for me after our dear father died many years ago, and for working so hard to be a mother for us three younger sisters, after our mother suddenly died. You fed me with what little we had, sometimes only water and a little bit of sugar, and you picked me up when I cried and carried me on your back. You had to take work as an housekeeper with another family so we would have something to eat.

You saved money for our parents’ resting place, and have looked after it to this day. You were only a child yourself when you searched for me in many children’s homes. I can only imagine how you and our father must have felt, arriving at one home after another and never finding me. I can barely begin to imagine how many tears you cried, and how desperate you must have felt, when you promised our father on his death bed that you would keep searching for me so that we sisters could be reunited again. Thousands of tears must have fallen when you saw him leave this world for ever. How lonely you must have been in that moment, wondering how you could make a living for the rest of the sisters.

You told me you hoped I would find you one day. I did, after sixteen years, but no one even knew that I was outside Korea. One sentence will for ever stand out in my heart: My soul cried that moment, dear sister. When you told me: If you only had known that I had a hard life here in this foreign country, you would have come for me! You would have done all that you could to come and help me. It hurts so terribly to know so much was taken from us, and what our destiny turned out to be. You cried in Korea for years, I cried in Norway for years, all thanks to the Holt agency who took me, kidnapped me and sent me away for money.

And the agency will keep getting away with it as long as the world looks upon adoption as a beautiful thing. As long as the world praises adoption. As long as there are buyers for those children. I wish the world would think about all those who are affected by adoption; not only we, the adoptees, but also our families. I will never forget the first moment when we met, when I hugged you, and I felt with all my body and soul that I was home at last. Two souls, yours and mine, finally reunited to find some peace.

Dear sister. Although we live far apart you will always have a special place in my heart. We are sisters, even though we are strangers. We don’t understand each other, separated by language and distance. But I will forever remember your love for me, and that you never forgot me. I still keep your gift for me close to my heart, a very special ring. I hope to see you again before too many more years pass,  and that you have peace for the rest of your life. You said we must try to look forwards; not backwards to face all of our horrors again. I will try that. It’s not easy, but I will try when I am ready to let go. When I can forgive the world for all my childhood suffering and the deep hurting in my grown-up heart, when Kyung Sook, your little sister, has found the end of the rainbow filled with peace.



A faded old letter

Dear Mommy and Daddy.
Even after all these years it is not any easier to let out all of my deepest feelings. They say that everything will heal with time, but I don’t think my sorrow and grief will go away. My heart has always missed you both, my whole life.

In my loneliness and in times of trials I have always wished that you were there for me. Dad, my heart has cried for you for decades now. And Mum, my heart longed for you in all these years. All those times I was afraid and in shock, I cried for you, screaming and hoping that you would come for me. In my prayers I wished I would meet you some day. As a frightened girl in a lonely corner, sitting with my knees up and my head down, shedding thousands of tears over the years. I always missed you. Many times I ran along the beach, alone in the rain and in stormy weather, and my tears fell to the ground, making a trail of tears and sadness.

My four-legged companion was my best friend for a decade. She followed me to the end. May she rest in peace, too. I have always missed feeling real love, to be secure and hear words of love, to get a hug, to have a lap to sit on, a shoulder to cry on, to receive comfort and support, and feel true happiness like other kids. Just to hear words like, “I am so proud of you, my daughter. I love you as you are because you are my little treasure”.

I wish that I could see for myself which of you I resemble the most, and hear your voices again, see your smiles and tears. I want to hear my whole story, why we had to say goodbye, and exactly what happened after that. I would like to have seen you come back for me, dear Daddy, the day you came to the orphanage in Korea to bring me back home again. I would also have liked to see you smile with happiness because you were now able to take care of me. I would have hugged you and held you, and it would have been like a birthday, Christmas and New Year’s celebration all at the same time in my heart. It would have been the best day of my life, ever!

I dreamt of this when I was little, in my adoptive home in Norway, wished that you would find me here, and come to take me back home. I might have been six or seven years old, and I would have greeted you and come running to you with tears of joy. This skinny little girl with too much sorrow inside would finally have had a chance to heal. I would not have been able to understand the words you were saying, but my heart would have recognized you. Maybe some of the Korean language would have come back to me. Anyway, the language of love doesn’t need any translator. I would have cried and whispered softly in your ear, I always missed you.

My inner child has been angry for so many years. Why did this have to happen? How could you deliver me to the children’s home and then go away? I am sure you heard me crying when you left. How your absence filled me with anxiety over the years, you will never know, because you died before we ever had a chance to meet each other again.

All this happened during a very difficult time for our family. And dear Mommy, you died when I was only a few months old. I lay beside you, in your arms, when you left this world. All I know is that your final resting place lies somewhere in Korea.

I will light a candle to bring peace over both of your memories, and may you rest in peace until we meet again. Your youngest daughter here in the cold North never forgot you. I will always treasure you in my heart.

All my love,