In the night

PTSD is a bitch. One hour of sleep, or perhaps if I am lucky I get two or three.

But sleep is not something I can take for granted, so the usual routine is to be up at late hours, make a cup of tea or hot chocolate and turn the computer on again, sit and take little sips of my mug and have another look at Facebook.

And think, is the world ever going to be a better place to be?

Is it better to join the majority of sheep, and go blissfully nowhere, or is it to be the lost sheep who suffers in silence, or to be the one that bugs them all with my thoughts and opinions, to be The One Who Annoys The World With Truth?

Well, I have always been the Black Sheep anyway, so nothing has really changed In Adoptionland either. So many times I feel I stand alone with my view of adoption.

But I know that we are millions out there who want changes, mothers and adoptees alike. And for that I am so happy, and I feel that there is hope for the future.

But here and now, with a mug in my hand, and my cat at my feet, here and now at least I feel loved for who and what I am. I am The One Who Spoils Her With Treats In The Night, and she does not mind at all.

She and I are a pair, a Grumpy Cat and a Grumpy Woman with PTSD, have found each other across the borders of race and species.

Namasté 🙂


Updates – New facts fall into place

One of the things with being adopted is that you can never be sure whether the information you have about yourself and your natural family is correct, inaccurate or even true. You also never know if errors are made intentionally, tailored specifically to make you more “adoptable”, or just due to laziness or sloppiness on part of those managing the information, or whether there simply wasn’t any accurate and correct information available to begin with.

Occasionally you come across something new. It could be trivial, or it could be ground-breaking in that it explains major aspects of your life. In the last six months I’ve come across two bits of information, one somewhat trivial, and the other of the more ground-breaking kind.

Both the posts mentioned below have been changed to reflect the updates.

Update One: In Memory of Appa

(Link to post)

A while ago, about a year after I wrote “In Memory of Appa”, my sister wrote to tell me that my father died in July of 1974, not 1976 as I had previously thought. While this isn’t a detail that changes much in my life today, it still matters that I know, and that I know that I know, and for that little peace of mind I am grateful.

Update Two: Birthdays

(Link to post)

My sister also wrote me to discuss my birth date. We established long ago that the birth date as stated in my passport and all other official papers is not correct. She pointed out that birth dates were often recorded according to the Chinese lunar calendar, not the Western one. Yet when translating dates from Chinese to Western, such as in the case of adoption, it was and probably still is the sloppy common habit to keep the month and day numbers, and just add the Western year, rather than going through the complicated work of calculating it properly.

For example, someone born on the seventeenth day of the third month during the Western year 1968 would simply get their birth date translated to March 17, 1968, when in fact the proper birth date would translate to April 14, 1968.

My sister was not only concerned with the date, rather she was firmly certain that the year was wrong as well. I had been born in the spring … but a year later!

Since the Chinese calendar follows the moon, the months and day numbers move quite some distance from year to year, as seen from a Western calendar perspective. In the example above, it’s a matter of about a month’s difference. But if that person had been born on the seventeenth day of the third month a year later, instead of March 17, 1968 or April 14, 1968, their birth date would be May 3, 1969.
Passport photo

Why someone would change my birth date by a whole year is unclear. It might be a simple matter of misreading sloppy handwriting in the original documents, or it could be something else. The consequences, however, are more serious. When I was adopted, I was said to be two years old. I was small and allegedly underdeveloped, the explanation for which was that I suffered from malnutrition.

But when I look at my passport photo now, I see a barely one year old baby girl. I was thought to be a year behind in every aspect of my development, it was even suggested that I was “retarded”, but in truth I was really simply a year younger than everybody thought. I even lost my baby teeth at the same time as children believed to be a year younger than I was. I had learning problems in school, but I was really struggling to learn stuff meant for kids a year older than I was.

A whole host of issues that I went through as a child now makes perfect sense: You can’t expect a one-year-old to match the development of a two-year-old, and you can’t demand that a six-year-old matches the learning abilities of a seven-year-old. And if a child is already a year behind in school, without being offered help, she most likely won’t be able to catch up, resulting in poor grades, endless frustration, and a shattered self esteem.

I didn’t get help, I wasn’t able to catch up, and that has followed me to this day.

~ Khara

Felix Sit Annus Novus! (Happy New Year!)

Adoption starts with loss, and ends happily ever after … Or does it, really? To share one’s life journey with the world takes courage. It is tough and often painful work. It’s not the adoptive parents’ right, or the so-called happy adoptees’ right, to criticize what is written, because it comes from the writer’s soul. Please respect that, and respect the fact that not everyone who is adopted has had a great, wonderful life.

You may have heard the phrase “Adoption is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. I know that I have used it myself a few times before on my blog. The part about “temporary problem” has to do with the situation which leads to adoption, such as single motherhood or poverty. Many adoptions could have been avoided if, instead of taking the children away from their natural parents during such periods of hardship (which is the “permanent solution” part) the parents might receive help, financial or otherwise, which would allow them to raise their children themselves. Adoption is permanent – and often destructively traumatic both to the children and to their parents. By helping the natural parents one would ensure that, when whatever difficult situation they are in, the children would still have a chance to grow up in their proper home in the care of their proper family. And yes, Adoption is a business, a trading of souls. This must be understood. It is as plain as the nose on your face.

And adoptive parents must also understand that we adoptees never came from them: we came from our natural parents. To deny this truth is disrespectful and ruthless. So many books, blog posts, essays and articles have been written about the problems of adoption and the struggles of adoptees. The truth is all out there, easily accessible, and anyone involved or interested in adoption has only to reach out to learn. To not do so is to blindfold and lull oneself into a dream of lies that says problems do not and cannot exist. Please wake up! You can’t mould us into something that we are not. If you think you can, then you have swallowed the fairytale whole, and you’ve chosen to believe that everyone will live happily ever after. But so many things can and do go wrong with adoption! To think that an adopted child can simply start over fresh is an illusion. It’s not that simple. The fact is that every child, however young when adopted, carries emotional baggage, the results of traumatic experiences that led up to the adoption – and the adoption itself is one more of those.

It’s time to recognise things for what they are. For the people in Adoptionland this means to think different, and to rid themselves of the illusions that keep them from seeing the truth. Adoptive parents must learn to raise their adopted children with the respect and care that they need, and adopted children must understand that many of their emotional problems stem from being adopted – both the adoption itself and their experiences from before that. And, above all, things must change so that adoption no longer is the preferred solution to any problem, but that it instead becomes a last resort when all other options have been tried and exhausted. Personally, having grown up as an adoptee, I would prefer to see adoption abolished completely.

Those of you who read, understand that when someone writes from the depth of their soul, it is not an invitation to find faults or make rude comments. Do not criticise someone until you have walked in their shoes. And if you have nothing nice to say, then it may be better if you say nothing. Not many share as much deep, personal stuff on their blogs as I have chosen to do. I could of course have chosen not to, but then this blog would have had no purpose: it would not have been the same without sharing my heartfelt feelings, painful memories and warm ones, as well as humour and despair. Much of the raw emotion that I have dug out of my heart and the core of my soul has found its way into my blog, and I have cried enough to fill rivers and streams in the year that went by since I started writing my very first blog post. I wish for 2013 to be a year when we learn to be more compassionate towards each other, no matter where we come from.

A happy new year to all!

I’d like to share a few words that I wrote last year in a moment of sadness, for my dear Umma:

An endless longing
For a while you held me. I looked at you and I felt safe. I was loved for a moment. Like the wind, your sweet, kind words flew away, never to be heard again. Your kind touch, your voice and face, gone in a second. I was just a tiny bundle when you went home to God. You left me when I needed you the most, though we shared your last moment on Earth. My heart has ached now for over four decades. When will I find peace? Where can this girl find treasures, like hidden memories of you? Somewhere inside I know you well, your face, your shape, your voice, but its so hard to find you again. And my grief is an endless ocean of tears. I miss you Umma. I am craving for your love. Your absence filled my world for too long. I think of you whenever I see a falling star, the rainbow or the Northern Lights. I think of you when I see the waves on the sea and feel the wind in my face. Because like the Elements on Earth mean everything for our lives here, you were everything to me for a brief time: my beloved Umma.



Have a Cookie Christmas!

One of my few happy childhood memories is an old Christmas cookie recipe from my grandmother on my adoptive father’s side, which my adoptive mother baked from time to time. I’ve made a tradition of baking these with my children before Christmas every year. They are a light, golden colour (my boyfriend says they’re Golden Retriever-coloured), sweet and slightly crispy, and have their place right next to the gingerbread cookies on our table. And like gingerbread cookies they may be decorated with frosting, plain white or coloured according to your personal preference. You may eat them along with hot chocolate, coffee or mulled wine (which in Norwegian is called “gløgg”), whilst watching the snow falling outside the window, listening to Christmas carols and feeling the butterflies in your stomach flutter about as you look forwards to the holiday and to spend time with your closest family and friends, which for me is what Christmas is all about: lots of good food in the company of dear, happy faces, and making sure every year that my children experience a much better Christmas than the ones I grew up with.

May this season be blessed, and help heal old wounds in the depth of my soul and others’. May it bring joy and peace to children who live in troubled families, who maybe suffer abuse, and may not look forward to Christmas. I know this too well, as I was one of those children myself.

This post is a season’s greeting from the cold North. I wish you all a merry Christmas, and a happy new year, everyone who read my blog and have followed me so far on my journey of healing. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and I hope that each and every one of us can help a troubled child in this season, which is indeed meant to be a happy one. It could be the kid next door. Reach out a hand, as a good, compassionate fellow human being. Even if it means you have to contact the police or child protective services. Pay it forward and get the ball rolling. I wish someone had done that for me when I was a little girl. If everyone will take a small part in this responsibility, maybe this world will become a better place to live for all some day.

I’d like to share my recipe with you, in case you’d like to try it too. Unfortunately I’m unfamiliar with American/imperial measures, so I’m afraid this is all going to be in metric. I wish you good luck with the cookies 🙂

1/4 litre soured milk
1/2 kilo sugar
30 grams Salt of Hartshorn (ammonium bicarbonate)
50 grams butter, melted
Wheat flour to make a perfect doughMix everything together in a bowl, keep adding flour and knead until you have a smooth dough.

Take about a quarter of the dough at a time, place on table and flatten with a rolling pin until about 2-3 millimetres thick. Use gingerbread men cutters to cut out cookies from the dough, put onto baking plate covered with parchment paper, and place in oven at 200°C for 3-4 minutes. They are finished when they are white to light golden brown and slightly puffed up.

If you use a hot air stove, the cookies will be more puffed, and a bit more crispy too. Do not leave in oven for too long, as they burn easily. A bit of trial and error may be required the first few times. Leave on a cooling rack for a few minutes. When they’re done cooling, they should be sweet and slightly crunchy, and ready for the cookie jar to wait for Christmas.

Be warned that the ammonium bicarbonate does smell rather intensely, both when you mix the dough and when you take the cookies out of the oven, so you may want to keep your kitchen windows open during the worst of it. It’s well worth it, though.

These cookies represent one of the happiest memories from my childhood, from a Christmas many, many years ago when I was overwhelmed by a whole mountain of them. Baking them, and eating them, brings that memory back to life from the depth of my soul, and makes my inner child smile. I wish that this year it will rain cookies on everyone! 🙂

Once again, Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
God jul!
Feliz Navidad!
Fröhliche Weihnachten!
Joyeux Noël!
Hyvää Joulua!
즐거운 크리쓰마쓰!
And a Happy New Year to all!


~ Khara

Congratulations! It’s a Living Doll!

Like any other day the playground is filled with children going about their playful business under the watchful eyes of their mothers. A little to the side, however, slightly away from the others sit a separate group of four women gossiping loudly among themselves, laughing and clearly enjoying themselves and the fantastic thing that they have in common: they are all adoptive mothers, each of them has adopted a little child from Korea, all of them girls, and would you believe it, they all came from the same children’s home and, as if that by itself wasn’t perfect enough, they all even happen to have the same birthday! What a remarkable coincidence! How could such a thing come to be? It can be nothing less than a sure-fire sign of luck, that Destiny and God’s will have collaborated to make these women’s adoptive motherhoods utterly, utterly special. The girls are by no means siblings: A pair of twins might have been possible to explain, even a group of triplets if you really wanted to push it, but four? No, they had clearly been given the same birthday for a higher purpose.

And what purpose more perfectly obvious than to celebrate their birthdays together, every year for the rest of their lives? They will be so happy, and it will all work out so nicely, said one mother. And just think about the birthday cake, replied another. And the third, laughing, said why not pretend they’re all siblings and dress them all alike. And they all agreed that this was a wonderful idea, very happy and content with themselves.

I was watching and listening from a distance, and my heart cried for these children. Where’s the respect for the child? We’re met with this attitude the very moment we get adopted, the moment when we lose everything, and it continues to follow us throughout our whole lives. A birthday is a painful reminder of what we lost, an unfathomable loss of everything that was near and dear, safe and true.

And since apparently, to Western eyes, all Koreans look alike, it does not matter that we are treated like dolls, little Asian dolls for Western women to play with and dress up in Asian-looking clothes, with Asian-looking haircuts. And each of the little doll-like girls get an Asian-looking doll to play with. How thoughtful of their adoptive mothers to ensure that their adopted children are brought up as outsiders within the society that surrounds them, to drive home, as if with a jabbing finger, the continuous reminder that they are different, as if they don’t stand out enough by their looks alone.

When you stand out like that, as a child, you don’t stand out as something special. You stand out as a clown. And not the funny, happy kind of clown, but a clown that is sad and afraid because she’s so different, and because all the others tease and bully her for it. It’s a part that suits us so well because we’re tailor-made for it, having been brought up as cute and adorable little Asian living dolls.

And I am truly amazed. Do you, the adoptive parents, really buy this nonsense? Do you not see the connections that are right in front of your eyes? Right, then I shall give you some shocking news. Imagine, if you can, row upon row of baby beds at a hospital or children’s home, and in each bed is a child earmarked for adoption. Some administrator decides that the first few from the left will be given this birth date, the first few from the right another, and so on. Record-keeping is hard work, so why waste it on getting the details right, when the demand for children to adopt is great enough that nobody really cares, and when it’s just as well that there is no paper trail that leads inconveniently back to the original, natural parents? Change a few little things here and there, a new birth certificate with a new birth date, a new name, and falsify any names of birth parents, and you have a falsified record. The children will get new birth certificates anyway, when they get to their new family: birth certificates where the adoptive parents are listed as the real ones. Thus everyone will live happily ever after, and we will celebrate our fake birthdays, with grand parties that you adoptive parents give us, smiling and cheering on that fabulous day.

But our true past, that which made us who we were up to the moment when you took over our lives, has been effectively amputated and is lost. Even our names, everything old that might remind us of our past, and thus make us curious about our true origin, must all go, be kept hidden away for as long as possible, until the day the adopted child gets curious enough to begin asking questions.

Adoption never ceases to amaze me: how people don’t know anything, or choose not to see the truth behind adoption because their ego comes first. You can buy anything with money, even a child. Where is the conscience, that little voice within who says “Stop! Think again! You shouldn’t do this, because there are so many things that can and will go wrong. And they will go wrong, that’s for sure.”


Korea – The Land of “Morning Quiet”?

Like aliens in a strange land, far outside the Korean border, many of us struggle with feelings of loneliness and of being outcasts. We grow up looking different from those around us. Some of us wake up, sooner or later, and  go on homeland tours and adoptees’ gatherings, and a whole new world presents itself up to us. Suddenly we’re able to see that each of us is no longer a lonely alien individual, but that instead we are parts of a group of many aliens, strangers with similar backgrounds, and similarly out of place. A true eye-opener.

Pagoda in South Korea. Photo by vansero on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

Pagoda in South Korea. Photo by vansero on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

And we realize that we could all have grown up anywhere, anywhere in the world: here, there, or anywhere else. Ending up where we did was just as random as a lottery ticket. And just as there are winners and losers in the weekly lottery draw, and just as no-one can tell in advance who will win and who won’t, some of us were lucky enough to be put in good homes with suitable adoptive parents, whereas others … well, not so fortunate. And just like with the lottery, the losers by far outnumber the winners.

But how much is that golden ticket really worth? And why were we selected for the lottery?

We are the debris left behind from the Joseon* (see description in the frame below) or Cho-sen period, when much of the Korea that we know today was formed. This includes the social norms, and specifically the attitude of the government and of people in general towards orphans and children of single mothers: Neither are in very high regard, and society would rather we had been swept under a rug and forgotten about if that was possible.

* From Wikipedia: Joseon” (also Chosŏn, Choson, Chosun, Cho-sen), was a Korean state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. Joseon was the last dynasty of Korean history and the longest-ruling Confucian dynasty. The Joseon period has left a substantial legacy to modern Korea; much of modern Korean etiquette, cultural norms, societal attitudes towards current issues, and the modern Korean language and its dialects derive from the culture and traditions of Joseon.

Then came the 1950’s, and the Korean war, after the end of which, in 1953, the adoption frenzy began. In addition to the usual Korean orphans, a new wave of children were born of Korean mothers and American fathers. Those fathers were soldiers who for the most part had returned to the United States, if they had not been killed in battle. Left behind were single, unwed young women and their fatherless children, along with the shame that followed in the eyes of Korean society.

In 1955 commercials started to appear, mainly in USA, advertising the need for adoptive parents to take in orphans from Korea, particularly those of mixed race. Korea then became known as the Land of Orphans, a view that it unfortunately has been stuck with ever since. The process was fuelled and fired for a great part by Harry and Bertha Holt who, according to themselves, went into the adoption business for good Christian and humanitarian reasons, although the fact that they made a great deal of money in the process did not seem to slow them down even the slightest.

The children who were sent out to be adopted during the first wave, from 1955 to around 1970, were considered true war orphans. Later, through the Eighties and Nineties and to this day, they are mainly children of single mothers, yet still considered orphans for the purpose of adoption. Unfortunately, little has changed in Korea in terms of attitude towards orphans and single mothers since the war. For almost every single “orphan” that gets sent out of Korea, a mother is left behind, heartbroken and very much alive, wondering where on Earth her precious baby is.

So are we really fortunate, or what? Our golden ticket is a leftover from the legacy of the Joseon era, making us truly the Cho-sen ones, sent away not because we were lucky, but because we were an inconvenience, a symbol of poverty, a burden of shame, and … surprisingly easy to get rid of.

However, many of us visit Korea, once we grow up, and find that our lives have been based on lies. Many of us have families in Korea, or at least had at the time of our adoption, meaning we were never really orphans. In order to be an actual orphan, you must be without living natural parents. For a bewildered number of us, this turns out not to be the case. Many have found their families, even their parents, still alive. Others were not so lucky: To use myself as an example, I was sent away for adoption when I was one year old, yet I learned from my living family in Korea that my father lived until I was five, and he had been searching for me until he died.

Today Korea is forced to face their shame: Not that of having to deal with orphans and single mothers, which is why they entered the adoption race to begin with, but that of having to admit the lies behind the adoption trade when the adoptees return to find out the bitter truth. Finally, matters are beginning to get addressed, but Korea still has a long, long way to go. Despite being “found out”, they keep on doing it. Despite the country’s low birth rate, babies are still being sent abroad for adoption as orphans, whether they are really orphans or not. Single mothers are still being pressured, and pressured hard, to give up their newborn. Even today, divorce is considered an acceptable and legal reason for putting your kids up for adoption, and the horror is that these children have living parents.

As I have said in my earlier posts, Korea needs to part with its medieval ways and bring themselves into the twenty-first century. To allow more generations to grow up as victims of the outdated and ruthless adoption practice is unacceptable. Those children need to grow up in their natural surroundings, and if possible with their natural family. Even actual orphans would be better off growing up in the country where they were born. The war is over now. Korea is no longer the poor country that it once was, back when this all started. In fact, their financial growth has been built in part upon the adoption business. The Holts have caused more  than enough damage. It is high time to turn things around. No more mothers should be forced to give up their children, and no more children should have to grow up without their mothers or their natural family. It is madness, and it must end.

Korea, the land of Morning Calm. No wonder why you are called that. Since you’ve sent away so many of your children, for generations now, your mornings must be exceptionally quiet. The ghosts of Harry and Bertha Holt must be exorcised, but it will take time for the wounds to heal. Meanwhile children will continue to suffer … but now they cry for justice, and the world needs to hear them. Be quiet no more.



An Angry Adoptee

“Why in the world aren’t you happy, grateful and content with your life,” people ask. “You must count your blessings. Think of all that you have, and do not look back. Anyway, things pass, your adoption story is old stuff. Why even bother thinking about it? Go on, get over it. It’s only a small crumb of your life. It’s the here and now that counts. Look forward. Don’t just stand there, do something with your life. You have so many possibilities here, a new country that is giving you every chance to become something.”

Yes, the possibilities are many, but this girl lacks the energy to do anything. Inside my heart I know I have used all of my strength on just staying alive through the years. I got scarred for life when I was a little girl. I have done all that I can possibly do, to help myself, to understand why my adoptive parents behaved the way they did. I have spoken to friends and also my old elementary school teacher about my parents and what happened during my childhood. I have written down bits of my life, both here in my blog, and on paper. I’ve fought to see therapists and am still fighting to get the right kind of help. But that which I need isn’t available in this country. There simply hasn’t been any focus on the issues surrounding adoption, and the problems that many adoptees come to face as they grow up. I hope now that I can get help abroad some day.

In this “great place” which I never asked to be brought to, I am an outsider. Both here and in my country of birth I’m considered to be at the bottom rung of the social ladder. In Korea I’m looked down on it’s because I am adopted. In Norway it’s because the issues I struggle with have kept me from getting a proper education and a sufficiently high-income job.

I have played my life the best that I could with  the cards that I was dealt. Now I see how unfair life is. I’ve struggled all of my life to live and be the way I thought the world wanted me to be, and it was never good enough. I had to take care of myself since I was a very little girl, because my adoptive parents certainly wouldn’t. Every day was a living hell, all year around. I was either neglected, or faced frequent beatings or scolding whenever they were disappointed in me or thought I might have done something wrong, which was most of the time. All this abuse did something to me that has stayed with me to my adult age.

I remember the quarrels, the yelling and the beating, being called ugly names, and the cold, hard looks from their eyes. Always hearing how much of a burden I was to them. It makes me sick just to think about it, and it hurts like hell. I was only a substitute, something they wanted to complete their façade: A little baby girl, which they thought was what they needed to get over their child that died shortly after it was born.

Later, when I was a teenager, I remember my adoptive father’s sleazy looks at me, and all those remarks that a father should never utter to his daughter. I remember how I never had proper warm clothes, and walked to school freezing in winter, how dirty and old my clothes were, and that they were often much too small for me.

I remember that I was often very hungry, that whenever I had been scolded or beaten I had to go to bed without any supper. I saw other kids get things or signs of affection from their parents, like hugs or perhaps a chocolate. All I ever got was “Go away! Come back in time for dinner, or else! You know what happens if you don’t.”

And I knew too well what would happen if I didn’t. Beaten with hands or a belt, or a slap on my cheek. And then I had to endure all the names for each stroke. “Ugly girl!”, “Bad girl!”, “Imbecile!”, “Idiot!”, “Whore!”, “Loser!”, “Damn black sheep!”, “Why don’t you ever learn?”, “Retard!”, “You are such a burden to us, you cost us a damn fortune, and you still do, and this is how you thank us?”.

I guess in their hearts it must have been very tempting to beat the hell out of me. Why didn’t they just end my life? I could never become what they wanted: Their happy, successful daughter, one that would worship them, and be forever grateful.

When I was twelve, my adoptive mother had the “serious talk” with me, the one that all mothers have with their daughters when they getting close to puberty. Or rather, she did her version of it: She opened the door to my room, and threw a packet of menstrual pads at me, gave me a sour look and said “You’ll need these soon.” And that was that. Then came the day that I got my first period. I was disgusted by the new way my adoptive father looked at me, a new and different kind of interest. I was embarrassed, and wished that he had never known. His new repertoire involved comments on how I was getting into shape, growing curves, and he even said to me, “Well, now we’ve got us a little whore in the house.”

What can possibly make up for all the times I had to run and hide, frightened out of my wits and with my heart trying to pound its way out of my chest? What do you think could ease away the memories of an abusive childhood? I still dream about my adoptive father touching me, in ways a father never should. I’ve had my share of life, and I’ll never be able to forget it. I was taught that I was useless and hopeless, and every time I try to get up, I hear their voices telling me that, over and over. It’s in my head, sure, but it feels like getting beaten down with a fist. That is what I got from the people who were responsible for giving me a proper upbringing.

That alone would have been bad enough. On top of it all there’s my adoption issues, and knowing that I once had a Dad in Korea who really loved me, but I was taken away from him. I’m glad that he never saw what I went through: It would have broken his already troubled heart.

“Adoption,” they say, “saved you from a life in poverty in Korea, and brought you to a country where you can have everything you need.”

That may be so, but it also saved me from a loving father. And the everything that I got, well, you’ve already read what that was.

How can I not be grateful for that? Why bother thinking about what I don’t have?

“You were chosen!”

Indeed. I am struggling with PTSD and severe depression today because I was lucky enough to be chosen, to be given this unique opportunity. To be a special little girl, who could live with this fine, solid, caring, Christian family. I was chosen to be their house slave, their scapegoat and punching ball. My needs, like food, clothes and toys, were taken care of in the sense that they came last, long after they’d had their booze and cigarettes, meaning they were last priority.  I never got a cuddly brown teddy bear when I was little: I had to wait until I was old enough and buy my own.

I hate how the adoption agencies promote adoption as something beautiful, and how much money they make on tearing innocent children away from their natural families. My childhood sucked: It was a hell that no one can even imagine unless they have walked in my shoes. I will never be grateful, and I can never forget. Others may think that I prefer to live like this, to stay angry, but at least that means I’m still alive: I’m not numb, paralysed into passive submission.

Don’t condemn a person for being different, for not fitting inside the box that forms the boundaries of what is “acceptable” in society. There are always reasons for it.



A Bunch of Crazy People in a Crazy World

At last it’s Friday, and yet another week has gone by. I slept five full nights out of seven, but only a few hours those other nights. I rarely dream anymore. Sitting up at nights is not funny at all, though I spend the time writing and try to scribble something sensible down. It’s not an easy task when all the little grey ones are turned off for the night. At this hour I am perhaps even more sensitive, and my moods strengthen. My PTSD blossoms, and like on so many other days I feel sad, enraged and restless. In short, on the inside I am like a bomb with too short a fuse. That fuse is lit, but the bomb itself never explodes; it’s always a moment from detonating. This inner pressure does something to me in the long run. My never ending background radiation of sadness is killing me slowly, I am sure. A friend told me, “You’re never going to get rid of it, so you’ll have to learn to deal with it. Get some alleviating, and then set up small goals for yourself along the way.” I am proud to be one of the Crazy People in this Crazy world.

So why are we adoptees a bunch of Crazy People? We want to find our roots, family, relatives, those who mean so much to us. We wish to know our story, our Mum and Dad. We need to get answers to our questions, “Why did it happen? Where are you? Do you still exist, or are you dead? What do you look like? Do I resemble you? Do I have your personality? Do you still remember me? Do you still love me? Will I ever meet you at some point in life? Is it possible to catch up? Will we be strangers to each other? Will I be rejected? Will I get the love and care that I missed out on for so long? What will happen if I really do meet you? Will I lose my courage and vanish into my shell? Will I even dare to look at you after all of these years? Do I dare to say to you, “Mum, Dad, I’ve missed you for so long.” 

To the outside world we are Crazy People, because we want to know such basic things. We want to have our human rights. We want to know our own history, where we come from and who we come from, in order to know ourselves. We need to know our families’ health history, in case there is anything serious that we ought to be aware of in order to take precautions, like heart conditions, allergies, diabetes and so on.

We are Crazy People because we will no longer accept all the bloody unfairness in Adoptionland. We are Crazy People because we have decided to enlighten the world, shout out the truth. We are no longer going to shut up like obedient sheep and simply take what’s handed to us, just to satisfy everyone else.

For how long will today’s norm about adoptions be glued into our consciousness? Will it change in this generation? Or the next? For how long will it be considered OK to rip children away from their natural parents, place them with other families, and think that all is well. It will never be all right. It’s not at all normal that adoptees must go in search of their families. We should not have to do that! We’re taken out of context, like actors in the wrong movie, poorly scripted and with awful direction. We should be allowed to be in the right movie, the one written and directed for us, with our real parents and our natural surroundings. It amazes me over and over how the lack of understanding flourishes in the world. Adoptees are commodities, merchandise for selfish adoptive parents, and a generous source of income for greedy adoption agencies around the world. Had adoption not been so profitable, the business would have vanished. The world needs to take off its blindfold and see this!

Who are the most crazy? The adoptees, who only want to know and have their human rights? Or the rest of the people in the world, who still willingly accept, allow and approve that little children can be kidnapped, sold, abused in so many ways and scarred for life? Those children are doomed to live in an emotional Limbo. To put it rough and simple, they either become so angry and desperate that they play Russian roulette with their lives, and risk ruining themselves completely, or they get stuck in a pink-cloud fairytale life of denial. Either way its not the way our lives were meant to be. We belong with our real parents, our natural parents, our First Mothers. It is as simple as that.

So be proud, all of you Crazy People out there, you who have woken up from the pink cloud charade. We are the true Normal ones, relative to the outside world who go bananas every time we scream for justice, justice, justice.


~ Khara

Dearest Umma

I wish I could send you a message, put it in a bottle, set it adrift across light years on the endless sea of stars, let it float on sparkling rays of light. Within it are written words of my soul, spoken from the bottom of my heart. I pray that this message reaches you.

Umma, my mother, where are you? What distant corner of the Universe? Is there a Heaven, a Paradise? May I speak to you, may we meet, through dreams or meditation? My Inner Child wants to know. So many times she has cried for you, reached out for you and screamed with pain of missing you. She sits with her hands folded, saying her prayers again and again. Why can I not hear your voice? Call for me, please, so I can find you and come running. Why are we apart? For so long have I been wishing you were here with me.

Although death parts us, my Inner Child feels as if you were still alive. Her hopes, dreams and feelings remain the same as they were back then, at the moment when we went different ways. She doesn’t understand that you died, as she lay beside you, that you had passed on and would be gone forever. Her heart longs for you, wishes to meet you, hear your voice, feel your embrace, sit in your lap and give you little butterfly kisses. She wishes to feel that you love her.

Everything happened because you left so soon, that’s when my long journey began, along with the hardships for the family. My only comfort is my belief that I will meet you again, when my time here is over. I hate adoption, which took me as far away from you as possible. Your grave is so distant, and I don’t know the way. But when the time comes, dear Umma, please take my tiny hand in yours, and guide your little daughter home. Until then, rest in peace in the realms of Heaven, and may our souls one day be rejoined and heal together in the light of a bright, distant star.

I miss you so much, you will never know.



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.