Tag Archive | adoption

The Scarlet Letter A

The Scarlet Letter A: Melanie Chung-Sherman, LCSW, PLLC, teases her upcoming podcast with some thoughts about “rehoming”

After catching up with Kevin, he asked me about my new endeavors as an adoption therapist, branching out with my own private practice, etc., when the topic came up – adoption disruption/dissolution and the new term being used now, “re-homing” or “re-placement.” (As most can imagine, these terms were not coined by adopted persons.) I got Kevin’s response immediately – dead silence, followed by a candid remark that only he can deliver. [read more]

My background, in a nutshell

Anyone can see the smile, but the deep sorrow in the heart is invisible. I arrived in Korea ten years too late to meet my father, the one person in my life whom my heart treasures so, who I had hoped so much to see again.My mother died very young, when I was only a few months old; I lay beside her in the bed when she passed on, and my screams made my sister come running; my mother’s arm had fallen on top of me so that I almost couldn’t breathe. Because of this, I have had difficulties ever since with clothes and blankets that cover my throat and up.

Father spent the last years of his life searching for me, and told my oldest sister before he died that she had to keep trying to find me, that we sisters had to stay together and look after each other. My mother died only 33 years old; my father was 42 years old when he died, eight years later, from grief over losing my mother and me.

My sister had a hard life, she even managed to earn money and buy a place for our parents to rest in peace. Although our relatives knew that the four of us children were starving and very lonely, they did not help. My sister told me that she gave me water with a little sugar in, and that was all she and my father had to feed me as a baby. Therefore I was delivered to an orphanage, but it was never meant to be for always. Father came back for me one day, but by then Holt had already sent me to Norway. So thanks to Holt, instead of being reunited with my father and my family, I got a childhood filled with so much sorrow and problems.

I was two years old when I arrived Norway in 1970. I grew up being a slave in the house, a servant, being the one person you could hate, beat up, the one that you could lay all your frustrations upon. I was called no good, bad genes, a whore, retarded and I was also one more mouth to feed. I was a kid who had to be quiet, not heard, or else I got yelled at and beaten up. I was always afraid of my adoptive father, who was a psychopath, and my adoptive mother was also afraid of him because he beat her. But she stood by him, yelled at me, and she was the one who beat me up. They both sure loved drinking, they took lots of medicines, and the cigarette smoke lay so thick throughout the house that you could easily have cut the air with a knife.

From the age of three I had to walk to and from kindergarten all by myself. One day I fell and hurt my knee, which started to bleed. I ran home, but was afraid. My mother got very angry, though she washed and dressed the wound. Then afterwards she followed me back to kindergarten; she drove the car slowly, and I had to walk beside it, crying while she yelled at me through the car window the whole way.

A few years older, overcome with sadness, I thought seriously about taking my own life. I wrote a list on how to do it; I could take some of my mother’s pills, or a knife, or just walk down to the sea nearby and drown myself. I felt that I was no good, not perfect enough for my parents, never had been and never could reach the level of  perfection where I would deserve love in their eyes; they never loved me with their hearts. But I know that my real father loved me in his heart, God bless him.

I had friends, but I could never even wish for what they had; every once in a while their parents would give them something, like a chocolate or a little toy, or just a hug or kind words, because they were loved. All I got was yelling and beating, and I wished so badly that someone would help me, anyone, but nobody ever did. Even friends of my parents saw things that made them wonder, and think that perhaps not everything was as it should, but none of them ever even picked up the phone to call for help, because they enjoyed too much the friendship and the ever popular parties that my parents would arrange; they couldn’t just turn their backs on all that fun and alcohol.

So here I am today, and my heart cries because now I know that it was not I that was no good; it was my upbringing that was no good, and that ruined my childhood. I was just a little girl who came to Norway by a huge, terrible mistake, and I was shown no love, no mercy. My adoptive parents even told me that they used their house mortgage to pay for me. I was just something to show off to friends and neighbours while I was little and cute; later on I became just a big burden. I had to be grateful to them for saving my life, and for all they had done for me; given me clothes, given me food and a place to stay, or else I would have been dead. And God knows how many times during my childhood that I really wished that I was dead.

I am not thankful for coming to Norway; I never asked to be brought here, nor for the roof over my head or the food on the table that my abusive adoptive parents took such pride in giving me. My gratitude is for those few people in my life with whom I have shared happy moments, those who cared about me and brought a glimmer of happiness to my soul, even if just for a moment now and then. I was a stranger in a foreign land, with a soul already full of baggage; a shy and frightened little girl, all alone, half a world away from home.

Tears run down my cheeks, it still hurts so badly to write it down. Every day my mind echoes with memories from childhood; Khara do this, Khara do that, or else … So many bad things happened. I was traumatized when I came here, and my inner child is still traumatized by a life in fear, not understanding why everything in life was my fault. Why I was never good enough, why I deserved a life like this one. If I didn’t have my belief in life I surely would have been dead. In a way I feel as if a part of me is dead, inside. My memories and grief will never end.

So this is a short part of my life’s resume … Therefore I am an angry adoptee but most of all I am just a little sad girl who misses her APPA!.

Love, Khara.