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Khara now also on Twitter

As I’m warming up to other venues on the Internet, I’ve recently started a Twitter account where among other things I will post links to websites, articles, blogs and other things that I find relevant. Please, feel free to follow me on twitter.com/kharanine 🙂

My most recent Twitter posts will also be visible in the right-hand bar on my blog.

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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

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!

Namasté

~ Khara

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,

Khara

Summer heat

I’m melting these days. After a very long Norwegian winter it’s very nice to face a long summer. Even though its a shock for body and mind to face this incredible heat. In winter we can have –20°C or colder, and now we facing +30°C or warmer. I can’t decide which is worse. Either way my mood is too much to deal with at times. I am glad that the beach is waiting for me, and I’ll spend many days there. Just sit and stare at the waves and feel the cool wind in my face, listen to the sound of boats out on the sea and wish I could have been on one of them. Just sail off to a lonely island in the sun and relax, catching fish and crabs, and jump into the sea. Hopefully the water will be at least twenty degrees warm. Maybe a surge of Vitamin D from the sunlight can help recharge my body before the next long Northern winter.

Everything comes to life here during a few, hectic months. It can be a paradise. Norway is a beautiful country, and nothing can beat the fjords here. Norwegian nature in summertime is very grand. Lots of mountains, with many huge waterfalls with crystal clear water that comes all the way from the mountains and the glaciers. All of the colours, and the northern light is so beautiful. Often this season we’ll see a big rainbow, and hear the loud rumble of thunder. Thor and his hammer really keep themselves busy up there 🙂

Many evenings near the sea, with barbecue and good food. Long evenings, listening to seagulls up above, and watching the sun go down. And then it’s the perfect time to try to trick the fish into biting. I do hope I catch a few fish this summer 🙂 Some evenings it’s ok to simply sit on the balcony and relax with a good book or a cold, fresh lemonade. In this season I feel really alive, because of the light, warmth and the new energy.

I remember the smell of the roses in the garden back home, and the sound of buzzing bees. This abundance of pink roses. I really love them, so hopefully I’ll be able to grow my own some day. My cat loves water, so if i get a place with a little creek the cat will probably sit there and stare all day at the moving water and be very happy. She is the first pet of mine that insists on drinking water from the bathroom faucet. If we serve her water in a bowl, she doesn’t wanna drink it, yet she is so fascinating with water. She could sit there all day, watching the running water instead of catching mice and insects.

One day she came in with a huge, green grasshopper that was still alive. I screamed and jumped onto the sofa, and yelled at my oldest daughter (she is not afraid of them) to take that monster away! And now my kids will never forget that incident, they laugh and think this is very funny. I cant stand those insects, ever since I was about 8 years old, as I was running through a field full of flowers, I found a huge green one on my thigh which had found its way up inside my trouser leg.

I think the mosquitos will love me this year too, but I can afford to lose a little blood if I can just feel some peace and happiness in my heart. Now is the time and I will enjoy the echoes from my inner child, who really loved the summer and the sea, the little girl who would smile at the waves and jump right into the water.

I will bring my towel and be ready for the waves soon.

I wish all of you who read this a very nice summer. I probably won’t write much during summer, but will be back in the autumn. If anyone are thinking of going to Norway I would definitely recommend doing so in summertime 🙂

Namasté

~ Khara

Say it again

When I look through my blog posts, I notice that there are several things that tend to be mentioned over and over. I write about my own life, as a method of self-therapy and “exorcising my demons”. During this process I try to view myself and my history from different angles. Naturally, since I am only one person and have lived only one life, some of those angles tend to intersect and overlap.

Also, when I sit down to write, I write each blog post separately, so that as much as possible it can stand by itself, and not require that a reader jump back and forth between posts in order to understand the whole picture of just one.

And lastly, because I write about memories and emotions, some of them quite painful, it sometimes takes more than one time to deal with them (if indeed they can ever truly be “dealt with”).

As a consequence, some aspects of my blog, if viewed as a whole, may tend to be a little repetitive. Thank you, everyone who read this, for understanding, and for having patience with me.

~ Khara