Archive | September 2012

Adoptee, Natural Mum, Obvious Facts…

As an adoptee and a mother it surprises me how facts that are pretty obvious, are not so obvious for everyone. How can adoptive parents still believe in nonsense, when the reality of adoption has been so thoroughly documented?

I overheard an adoptive mother who said that adoptees would have an easy life and no problems whatsoever if we chose to, “because it all depends on our personality”. Simple as that! I did not bother to argue with her, knowing only too well that it would lead nowhere. I just shook my head and felt sorry for her adoptive son who was, of course, the only coloured kid among the white children in the park.

She really did not get it, and there are surprisingly few who do. How long will adoptive parents continue to stick their heads in the sand and pretend there are no problems? We do not choose to be torn away from our natural mother and dragged to a faraway country, and we certainly do not choose it simply to learn to deal with our weaknesses, just to become strong. Not to show tears if we are teased, not to show sadness if we are mistreated. Not to feel anger if we are treated unfairly. Personality has nothing to do with it. It’s like taking a child who has not yet learned to swim, throw her in the ocean and expect her to “deal with it”.

Even if the adoptive parents have the best intentions, and they mean well and wish to protect us from the troubles of a cruel world, it does not help if they insist on denying we are different, and we are not yours, we did not come from you. It’s obvious to each and every one of us as soon as we learn to recognize our own face in the mirror, and see that we don’t look like you and everybody else around us. It’s as plain as the nose on your face, whatever colour it happens to be.

We each came from the womb of our mother. We spent nine months inside her, and until we were born that was the only world we knew. For our entire lives we had been surrounded by the warmth and sounds, the movements and the heartbeat of our natural mother. It was an intimate relationship, to say the least. Babies and mothers already love each other from the start, nature prepares us for meeting her, our mother. We belonged there, cradled in her arms, and it was never meant to be just for a little while. A newborn baby who is put to her mother’s breast after birth feels safe, comfortable in familiar surroundings. A newborn who is taken away from her mother, even to be held by another woman, is thrown into a world that is not familiar, not comfortable, and she does not feel safe.

Why is this not obvious to everyone? Only the real mother can make her baby feel secure enough to develop fully, and give butterfly kisses and true love. All first mothers do that. I was no exception when I saw my two precious daughters for the first time, how wonderful it was to see them and cradle them in my arms, and when I looked into their eyes I saw part of me in them. I had felt them inside me for nine months, and I loved them in my heart long before I could hold them in my arms.

The child-and-mother bonding is a continuation of the relationship that began during pregnancy. Why are adoptive parents shocked to find that the adoptive child does not bond immediately, or maybe never? Keep in mind that all babies are adapted to their mothers when they are born. Placing a child with an adoptive mother is like trying to fit together two unmatching pieces from two different puzzles, which inevitably becomes a problem. It’s as simple as that.

Seasons and years have come and gone, and my kids are growing up. One is now an adult, and one is still a teenager. I am grateful that they have different and better lives than I got. They’ve never had to wonder who their mother and father is, never had to deal with adoption issues, of being “unmatched pieces of a puzzle”. They’ll never have to feel that a huge part of their lives is missing, never wonder where they come from. Never had to experience trauma upon trauma and later have to deal with the resulting emotional problems as adults. They are spared this suffering, and this is the way life is meant to be. They feel secure and they will always have someone who truly, truly love them, whom they belong with.

I have told them about memorable moments of their lives, things that they themselves may not remember. I told my youngest daughter how proud I was when one day she could stand all by herself on the floor for the very first time. It only lasted for a few seconds one evening, but the memory of that moment is still fresh. Her face just a big smile, shining brightly with happy rays where she stood. I’ll never forget that special moment. She was my shining star too, right there in our little Universe in the kitchen, she and I, our two hearts beating together as one.

When my first born was just over a year old, almost twenty years ago, we were watching the first snow together through the window. It was close to Christmas, and she was so cute wearing her little brown hat. When I lit the the first of the four Advent candles and saw her expression, I could see stars in her eyes. It was so touching, and so very precious. She pointed at the candles and smiled, and my heart was filled to the brim with love. A very precious moment for me, which I never forget.

A few years later we had our own little chicken farm. Every day my daughters were busy collecting eggs and feeding the hens. Some times my oldest daughter would pick up the rooster, place him on the handlebars of her bicycle and give him a windy ride downhill with her little sister in tow on her tricycle, two proud and happy faces in a hurry. They used to sell eggs to our nearest neighbours, with the rooster still sitting on the bike’s handlebars, and I don’t think the neighbour will ever forget that. She told me she could not believe her eyes the first time she saw that. We have smiled at that memory many times since.

These and many more are little glimpses of my children’s childhoods. They are my precious diamonds because they are both part of me, they will always be in my heart, because they are my flesh and blood. I share these pearls with you to illustrate that natural mothers and their children have a special bond, one that no one can truly replace.

“I’m givin’ ya pearls here!”
— Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, “Scent of a Woman”

There is so much documentation about attachments problems, racial problems, insecurity, grief and anger related to adoption. It can hardly be called a secret. It’s high time that you who have already adopted, and you who want to adopt, pull your heads out of the sand and realize that you have to deal with all this, in addition to “just raising a child”. It is no walk in the park, no piece of cake, and it is no Disney fairytale, there is no guarantee of a cute and happy ending.  Adoption is equal to loss, sorrow and grief for the child whichever way you look at it. It is you, the adoptive parent, who is going to have to “deal with it!” . You can’t push the responsibility for your choice onto the child.

Make sure you’re up to the task, or don’t adopt. I would honestly prefer that you didn’t.

Namasté

Khara

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Words to adoptive parents and others touched by adoption

Love is a very powerful word. It can be beautiful, it can touch your heart and soul, or it can be the most hurtful and misunderstood word ever.

Why is it that our natural parents are supposed to have given us to someone else out of love? Many of us adoptees have been told this since we were children. Adoptive parents said, “They chose us, it was a part of Gods plan, they saved us from a life in poverty or other rotten circumstances. They gave us a place to live, food on the table, education, clothes, bought lots of stuff to make us feel loved. We are their golden trophy, we fulfilled their dream when we arrived. We are the lucky ones, and we owe them from the moment  we entered their home, throughout our lives. There is no end to how grateful we must be, since we are the ones they worked so hard to get.” But at what cost for the natural parents and for the adoptees?

We are called ungrateful, hopeless, immature, angry and difficult if we suddenly one day, as children, youths or adults, wake up from the fog, from our denial and your brainwashing, because we stay true to you as long as possible. The day we start asking questions, wanting to know why the things in our lives happened the way they did, that is the day all hell breaks loose at home. Why? Is it not because we then rip up a wound, at the core of the truth? That we were never really your children, that we never came from you, that we don’t look like you, that we have different personalities that we inherited from someone else. We carry a price tag, and you helped the adoption business to flourish, and to hide the fact that we may have relatives, families somewhere. Still you choose to make us the guilty ones, teach us to be ashamed for thinking about our natural families, making it a big taboo, not to be mentioned, or we hurt your feelings, and we shouldn’t do that because OMG! we owe you so much, and have to stay true to you all of our lives.

Why do you think it is that so many of us, when we’ve grown up, cut all ties with the adoptive family? Because the barriers were too high to climb. The cost of trying to fit in and live up to your expectations was too great. We suffered so much that we couldn’t take it any more, and now it’s too late to be reconciled. Many adoptees really suffer in so-called loving homes. Some are driven to taking their own lives, and some turn to drugs or alcohol to escape the truth, our reality.

And then the pretence that we are loved “as if we were your real daughters and sons”: We are loved only because you could not have a baby yourself, so we are welcomed as a substitute, to take someone else’s place, or you take us in out of misguided charity, a poor child to be saved from a terrible fate in a distant land and brought in to become just that one more family member which you thought you wanted.

How I hate these lies. And how when the hard times come you cannot pretend to love us any more because we no longer live up to your expectations, if indeed we ever did. When out of frustration we act out and rebel against you because we see that we can’t fit the pretty picture of a perfect family that you are trying to paint, and we never will. No doubt you have heard about the Russian boy¹ whose American adoptive mother put him on a one way flight back to Russia because she was fed up with disappointment and no longer wanted to parent him. Truly an act of love, don’t you think? If he was indeed adopted out of love, it certainly wasn’t out of love for him! Adoptions happen because of the adoptive parents’ love for their own ego. It’s a selfish need for which we adoptive children are provided as merchandise to satisfy. We are sold to the highest bidder, mainly rich people of the Western world.

Stories of adopted children are heartbreaking to those who hear them, but are also to the children whose hearts are broken while they live them. My life is one of those stories, my heart was broken over and over, and I’m learning more and more how my entire existence has been built on lies. My records are full of them, and my adoptive parents did nothing to help; today I know what I suspected for so long: that they can never have truly loved me.

And my natural father didn’t give me away out of love; he turned me over to the children’s home out of despair and poverty. Yet, aside from my natural mother who died before I was taken away, he is the only one who ever truly loved me, and he paid for it dearly, with pain, tears and suffering, until he died, blessed be his memory. Many natural mothers, and some fathers, suffer even today, all over the world, after having their poverty and need exploited by the adoption agencies, their precious children taken away never to be seen again, and they will never get over it. That is the truth.

So I ask, what is so beautiful and loving about adoption? The world chooses to believe the lies that adoption is such a blessing for the children, and for their parents. The world wishes to stay in denial out of old habit, refusing to see the pain and suffering that is part of this, content to keep feeding the lie, that adoption is a ticket to Heaven for saving a poor child. Adoption has existed for so long now, that we think it’s the only way to help out of love.

The adoption agencies still paint the picture that adoption is noble, beautiful and honourable, that it is for the best for mother and child. They tell us the mothers will forget, and that we the children will benefit from it all. It’s a web of lies, period! How much longer, for how many years to come, will the agencies be able to keep this up?

Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.
—Ruth E. Renkel

Real love is suppose to be good, something beautiful and powerful. Let us all take this word love and cherish it in our hearts, and give it its rightful place again. But leave it out of the entire adoption business; it has no place there.

For adoptive parents, both those who already have and those who plan to adopt, I recommend reading the books by Nancy Verrier² and Joe Soll³, and other books that are written about us, or by us, we the adoptees, we who have lost so much, just because you need to satisfy your egos, to make your dream come true, at our cost. Read them so that you can understand us better.

If you are thinking about adoption, please reconsider. Why not instead help a single woman keep her baby? It will be more rewarding to see both their faces smile at you, because they can be together, instead of ripped apart for ever. This way you could save two hearts from breaking. This is my recommendation, my request and my prayer to all future adoptive parents. Don’t adopt, don’t feed the adoption business. If you truly wish to help, then help the mothers and the poor families keep their children. You can be benefactors by way of remote adoption, donating money to children’s homes or young mothers’ collectives, or to children of poor families or poor single mothers, or find other ways to help. The main thing is, do not rip children away from everything that they know. Instead let them keep their heritage and their mothers, relatives, their culture, and their names. Use your hearts and souls and go for the real love.

Adoption is a permanent solution to a temporary problem at all times.

The following video carries the words of a mother who lost her daughter to adoption. Young mothers-to-be ought to watch it and consider what they let themselves and their children in for if they choose adoption. Adoptive parents-to-be should watch it and consider what they take part in, how they contribute to the pain and grief of someone who has lost, or been forced to give up, the most precious thing they had.

Before you comment, please also read my post Shades of Grey. Thank you 🙂

Namasté

~ Khara

Footnotes:

  1. Adopted Russian boy, 7, returned by US mother on one-way flight to Moscow… alone
  2. Books by Nancy Verrier: “Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child”, “Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up” and “Coming Home to Self: Healing the Primal Wound”
  3. Books by Joe Soll: “Adoption Healing … A Path to Recovery”, “Adoption Healing … A Path to Recovery for Mothers Who Lost Children to Adoption”, “Adoption Healing … A Path to Recovery – Supplement”

When the Soul Cries

In loving memory of my Appa, who died in 1974, on July 17, in the Land of Morning Calm.

My heart and soul cry for you, even though I never got to know you.
You held me in your arms, I felt safe.
You gave me a name, which I cherish so much in my heart.
You truly loved me,
You spent the last four years of your life searching for me in Korea.
You died too young, only 42 years old.
You suffered too, you cried too.
No one ever told you I was gone forever.
My pain is unbearable, I am yearning for you, I miss you so much.
We will never meet again, how can I live without you?
I feel like a living dead, my heart died a long time ago.
No one understands why I miss you, but I know the reason:
You were my true Father, a part of me, You loved me because I was your daughter.
How can the world understand my misery, my unfathomable loss?
You were everything to me, after Umma died, your wife.
Why won’t the world understand I am in shock right now? I got the date of your death only recently.
I am mourning, the death I was never allowed to grieve.
What happened to our family is the reason why tears keep falling, and it really hurts, it stings.
This little girl wants go home, but she can not. She doesn’t know the way, and even if I did find the old house still standing, you would not be there.
Only a grave is waiting for me now.
So my heart cries for you, always, my dear beloved Dad.
I feel there is no solace for me, ever. Like a lost and lonely soul I will walk until my last day on Earth, never lingering, always wandering, searching for comfort that cannot be found.
I miss you so much. Please watch over me from above, and help me find peace tonight, every day, and especially the day that I sit by your grave.
Appa, your lost daughter will return one day, to finish the circle of life and death.
We will once again be together for a while.

And these words that a friend of mine wrote to me; they touched my heart and my soul.

“Universal dust surrounds us, and in the night they are the skies’ diamonds, and many are those of your mom’s and dad’s for sure … for sure they treasure you and are watching over you …”

Namasté

~ Khara

Khara’s Thunder-Speech

Why hasn’t the lousy healthcare in Korea improved for everybody? They’ve certainly been busy getting a large income from the adoption business over the years.

Thunder and lightningIt’s common practice in Korea that young, single mothers who give birth in hospitals, are confronted by adoption agencies who give them a choice between having the hospital charges covered in return for giving up their newborn child for adoption, or paying the entire bill themselves.

There are endless reasons why so many women decide to part with their babies: Some because they are too poor to afford the hospital expenses, some because single mothers are, by and large, not accepted in Korean society. Some mothers are even tricked into signing the release papers while they’re still under heavy sedation after birth, unable to know what they’re doing.

And the state of Korea gets their cut of the adoption profits, from this heartless exploitation of desperate young women, causing so much grief for both the mothers and their lost children. Would it not be better instead to help those young mothers, preventing future tragedies by letting them keep their babies?

In time I hope that adoption will finally come to an end, and maybe the Korean government would set up a fund to help adoptees too, so that we could have a chance to heal, and to find our lost natural family, without ruining ourselves both financially and emotionally on our search. I think it would be the least you could do for us, a sign of respect to those of us who lost everything.

Many young mothers see no other way than to give up their babies. They are told it’s for the best, for them and for their babies. I think it’s tragic that adoptions will not end before the Korean government decides to help people who need more financial support, to develop proper social welfare.

Old ways and customs must go. The threshold for deciding to give up a child in this closed society is way too low. Even children of divorced parents are put away in orphanages and put up for adoption as if they were really orphans, and this is generally accepted. As usual, children always suffer at the hands of stupidity, poverty, prejudice and the everlasting up-keeping of appearances.

My advice to single mothers in Korea? Don’t be a single mother in Korea! Not the way things are now. You will swiftly find yourself at the lowest step of the social hierarchy, right down there among adopted and orphaned children, homeless people and prostitutes. I wish I could tell you different, I really wish that things would change, but this is how it is for now.

And we adoptees are right down there with you, because we don’t have family trees or the right blood lines, really. Shame on us! Its all our own fault that we got sent abroad. And according to old traditions we can never get married to anyone, because we know nothing of our history. We can not tell our prospective spouses where we come from, simply because we have no idea. We have been denied this knowledge. We are doomed, according to Korean tradition, so our only option is to find someone not Korean, or a Korean who like us is adopted

I now fully understand what my Korean sister meant when she told me that she was happy I was living here in Norway, and not in Korea. I thought it was a strange thing to say, and I was hurt when she said it, but now I see it clearly. Koreans have a very old-fashioned way to think of life, and my life would have been weighed down with shame.

I was married, then divorced, and now I am together again with the man that I first fell in love with. We have two perfect daughters: They are of mixed race, Korean and Norwegian, yet still I can keep my head held high, knowing that they carry within them the best of both worlds.

During and after the Korean war, many children were born who were of mixed race, born from Korean women and American soldiers. Many were sent out of Korea, because Koreans would neither accept nor tolerate them. Now, if I had lived in Korea today, with my daughters and their father, we would have faced those same old prejudices, been treated with less respect, and found ourselves at the bottom of this patriarchal society. What would be fair about that?

Nothing is fair when it comes to adoption business, and downright medieval Korean culture. My motherland has become a very rich country since the war ended in 1953, partly on the profits from sending their children away. But society changes too slowly, and the old attitudes still make it too easy to keep sending children out of the country.

And now there’s complaint of the rising number of elders. The growing question is, who is going to take care of them? Most of the children who get sent away are girls, and we even see young Korean men today facing the lack of young women to marry. It’s still not as bad as in China, but even so, a man looking for a bride is up against tough competition – and the requirements for what they have to be able to offer in terms of professional and financial status only increases. I have a nephew to prove it.

Another part of the problem is that Korea is divided between North and South, and the South has to realize that they have sent away a considerable part of a whole generation – actually two generations now – and left them to their own destinies, most of them girls. We won’t come running back some day to pick up where we left off for the greater Korean good.

You’ve taken everything away from us, from me, and in my heart I both love and hate you so much. I used to blame my adoptive parents, I’ve blamed the worker at Holt in Korea, I blamed myself for not being loveable enough, I’ve blamed the world, but I have learned that in the end the only one to blame is in fact you, my motherland, for selling me, having me kidnapped and sent away for money. And really, you who live in Korea today ought to thank us adoptees for your improved lifestyle. Our contribution as human merchandise has helped make Korea a much wealthier country, and we’ve featured as a regular post on the national budget for many years.

We’re the generation – generations now – that you sent abroad. Maybe you will remember us one day, when you see how useful we could have been in Korea when the void left behind after us begins to catch up with you. We’re the ones who would have taken care of your elders, who would have married your sons, and borne and raised you new children, but you went for the money instead, and now it is too late.

When I was in Korea as a tourist in 1986, travelling with other adoptees to see where we come from, the Korean people we met pitied us for being adopted. We were pitied because if we returned to live in Korea, we would be at the lowest level of society, frowned upon and resented or even despised by everyone around us. I was, and would forever be, a lost daughter, missing abroad, and in their eyes it would perhaps be better if I stayed that way.

I say that it is the other way around. I pity you for having lost us, for having sent, and still sending, your children out of the country. I pity you for the shame you will feel on the day you come to realize what you have done, both to us, and to yourselves.

Recently I was invited to listen to the South Korean prime minister when he visited Norway. I decided that as long as he wasn’t going to say anything about the unfairness of foreign adoption, maybe even offer an apology, however minor a comfort that would be, I wasn’t interested.

Korea can never fully compensate me for what I have lost. And they can never grant me my biggest wish, that I’d meet my natural mother and father again. He was lost to me along with everything else. And nothing can mend the mental and emotional scars from my abusive childhood.

So what do I want from them? The one thing that would give me comfort is if they give up the human trafficking that is so cleverly disguised as “adoption”, so that no more children will have to go through what I have, and others like me. That they will realize and publicly admit that adoption is a painful road of tears and sorrow, and that it can never be the beautiful thing that it is said to be.

But what can I do? What can we do? I have a dream! Like earthquakes and lightning can knock down big trees and huge buildings, we adoptees, and the natural mothers who have lost children to adoption, together we can knock down the way many people look at adoption today. We could shake the adoption business down to its very foundations, and perhaps even end it once and for all.

If we lined up together, in front of the Court in Haag, and in front of the United Nations, to unite our voices and share our stories with the world, then perhaps the world would listen and understand. If you can imagine it, it can happen.

Together we would be dynamite!

Namasté

~ Khara

#6076 – Jung Kyung Sook

Tiny and fragile. Frightened, sick, and in shock. Traumatized. Yet a survivor, called a dandelion child. You always reached for the sky, like an Eagle. The world took your hopes and dreams, and shattered them. But from the ashes rises within you the will to live and survive; your task in life is to tell the world what happened to you.

Definition of Inner Child: The child you once were, the child within, which must be embraced and expressed. Which must be set free, by reflecting fully on the experiences of your life. Which must be given a chance to heal, to recover from the painful horrors of your past.

Why is it so difficult and painful to find my Inner Child? With every step of this journey I come face to face again with the same feelings that I buried so many years ago. I see her again so lonely and scared, feel her pulse racing, become immersed once more in the sadness and hurting of the memories, the nightmare which is my Pandora’s Box. Every time it is opened I hear echoes of angry voices,  and see again in exquisite detail a slow motion replay in my head of those things which I want to forget. I still have many of her dreams, still feel her loneliness, and in those dreams I never seem to find my way home. My nightmares are endless variations on that same everlasting theme.

I once dreamt I was screaming, loud and clear, “I want to go home!” I was sitting in the orphanage in Korea, next to a little boy barely older than me, on a bench by a wall, watching the other children play, and I was crying, feeling alone, afraid and abandoned. I was sad for days after this dream, which felt like a strong memory emerging from the depths of  my body, a traumatic experience that my conscious self forgot, but my body and my Inner Child still remember.

Every day such sore, raw bundles of old hurt knock on the door of my mind, right in the middle of my life, after having been hidden for so many years. Why now? Is it perhaps because now, for the first time, I can finally comfort my Inner Child, and tell her that all this is a chapter long gone?

Dear Inner Child of mine, none of your shame, fear or guilt was ever your fault. You did all you could to please those around you, but they never understood you. They never cared enough to help or to give you the comfort, love and support that you needed. You learned to hate, to cry, to feel like a burden. You even thought seriously about taking your own life. You felt like the loneliest soul in the whole world. But know this: The first part of your life was a very difficult path to walk; trauma upon trauma. But the second half, where you are now, will bring all those things your heart ever wished for; happiness, security, love, and dreams fulfilled. Yes, even that Teddy you always dreamt of 🙂

And other things will follow; your future holds a little haven where you can meditate and grow flowers, go fishing, or simply sit and listen to music, or to the waves of the ocean, or the wind, or go for walks in the forest, amidst the trees and the flowers, admiring life around you, perhaps catch glimpses of wild animals; or just admire the evening sky, all the stars and planets, occasionally seeing meteors and Northern lights.

“This moment is sacred. I am now ready, willing and able to embrace my inner child. All is well.”
— Louise L Hay

Never again will your nightmares come true. Only a shadow will now and then remind you of the past. When you brush it off, it will be gone, like dew disappears from the leaves and grass when the morning sun breaks through the clouds.

Dont be afraid. Nothing more can happen to you, because you are all grown up now. Forgive me for leaving you alone. I hid you away for years and tried to forget you, because being reminded of you was too painful to deal with. I let my body and soul go numb, and I tried so hard to bury you deep, deep down in my heart. But that made me sick, and I felt like a living dead, as bad as the pain I was trying to hide. So I promise you, from now on I will be true to my feelings and cry, laugh, be angry, sing and dance when I feel like it in my heart, and I will listen to little Kyung Sook, see things from her lovely, enchanted perspective, her simple yet cute ways.

I remember, as a little girl, the pride I felt at making perfume; I picked rose petals which I dropped into the water in my little, red bucket. I made it for the parsley in the garden, and of course for myself too, while I was singing a Norwegian nursery rhyme about the little Parsley who was going to a ball, just like Cinderella. I believed she attended a ball every night, and the rose-petal perfume would make her smell sweeter than everyone else 🙂

That was me, when I was you. That little girl, innocent and sweet, though nobody knew your heart and saw what a precious diamond you were, my Inner Child who suffered so much, but still you dreamt of the most beautiful things. You are not forgotten and never will be. You were never weak; you simply carried more weight on your shoulders and in your heart than any child should have to. But you remained strong to the core, a strength which you inherited from your mum and dad. Be proud of yourself, as they would be proud of you. From now on we will walk side by side, you and I.

Namasté

~ Khara


“Little miss Parsley, just standing there
In bright green dress, and your curly green hair
Why be so shy, dear, little miss Parsley?
Maybe you’ll go to the ball this year.”

— Inger Hagerup

Original in Norwegian:

Lille Persille i hagen står
Lysegrønn kjole og krusete hår
Hvorfor så stille, lille Persille?
Kanskje du ville på ball i år?