Adopted to be abused?

I often heard people saying they don't understand how someone  can adopt a child to abuse it.

Is it possible that I was adopted to be abused? No, the answer is definitely no. I don't believe that my adopters (or abusers) adopted me to abuse me. I'm sure that my A-mother adopted me because she wanted to become a mother and there was no other way to become one except through adoption. I'm also sure that my A-father adopted me because he wanted to build a family with his second wife and there was no other way to build one except through adoption.  I also believe that in general, normal people don't adopt to abuse a child.

To justify their assumption that  "abuse has nothing to do with adoption", people (usually non adoptees or "happy" adoptees ) will say that abuse also happens in non adopted family.  I'm sure that my A-parents didn't adopt me to abuse me but I don't accept when people say that abuse has nothing to do with adoption.

In my experiences, adoption had played a leading role in the abuses.
My Afather used it to "prepare" me by scaring me. To do this, he talked to me about "Center for Youth in Canada versus orphanages in Korea". I was scared to end up in a center for youth because when my parents were not with me, I was always a subject of teasing, mockery and racism. When I started "behaving badly" in reaction to the abuses, my parents blamed my past in Kore, they blamed my korean father abandoning me and the death of my korean mother.

He only stopped abusing me after I lost weight. 
Then he started to rent  videos.  I saw him taking a video in the porn-section but he denied. He said: "It's nor pornograpy. It belongs to a series of videos. There is a history and suspense...It's a love story." One night that I couldn't fall asleep, I went to watch TV with him. I came in the middle of the "love story". There was a geisha saying that she was raped and she liked it so much that she decided to become a geisha. While she was talking about her story, the film was showing the rape. The following images were focus on the genitals.
I went back to my room without saying a word. I coudln't stop asking myself: "Did daddy stop touching me because I lost my Asian look or because I became anorexic?" No matter the answer, I felt responsible for not becoming "white" sooner or for being fat.

Two years later, while my parents and I were in the car, we heard at the radio that an actor married his A-daugther. I didn't pay much attention to it but my father did. He said (in front of my mother) that he could marry me when mom will die.He said " people will be outraged at first but when they will know that you are only my A-daughter, they will not see any problem."

Until then, I only wanted to believe that adoption had nothing to do with the abuse because I needed to belive they loved me as their real child and because I needed the sense of permanence that I lost. That day, I understood that he abused me because I was only his adopted daughter, not more than an asian girl with the slant eyes like a geisha.

My answer is still no. He didn't adopted me to abuse me but, he abused me because I was only his adoptive daughter.


Crossing the line of family boundaries

I have often thought when I was little, "it's easier to think less of me, because I'm really an outsider".  In my case, the abuse and mental torture was not limited to my "nuclear-family". Extended family members, on both sides, were vicious and cruel, too. I remember often being told, "You're not one of us".  [Yes, I knew my place.  How could I forget?]

I agree with you about adoptive parents not planning on abusing the new-child; I believe it just happens to be a lot easier to do so.  Biology, at least in my, seemed to draw it's own line, separating me from them in all ways.

The worst part for me was knowing it did NOT have to be this way.  I could have been kept by a loving parent; I could have been adopted by more stable people.  Either way, the outcome for an adoptee is based on how well an adoptive family appreciates and respects personal boundaries.

of course blood is thicker than water

here are some ideas i'm forming:

there is something essentially narcissistic about having children:  they are a reflection of yourself, they carry your genetic code, they are half you.
there is, therefore, a self-reinforcing desire to not harm your offspring.

this boundary does not exist in adopted children.  no matter what the adopter's good intentions are.  no matter how much they desire to take the higher ground and dismiss the fact that offspring and adopted are in two different classes and estimations.  the adopter with good intentions will erect a substitute boundary - but can it ever be as strong as the boundary of biological offspring and narcissistic preservation?

the relationship with an adopted child is a process.  it was not august born with the promise of family legacy.  the relationship with an adopted child is hallmarked by shifting boundaries. 

in the hands of self-centered and infantile adopters, these boundaries appear and reappear conveniently to suit the adopters needs. 
compound that with the innocent abandoned child in need of love and nurture, and you have a recipe for exploitation.

who's watching woody

the actor you mentioned was woody allen who married Soon-Yi Previn

Soon-Yi was the adopted daughter of Andrew Previn and Mia Farrow. 
she was part of Mia Farrow's brood while Farrow was involved with Woody Allen over the course of twelve years.

Farrow found naked photos of Soon -Yi taken by Allen and separated with him.
in addition to her six children from the previous marriage, Farrow and Allen had adopted two children and had one biological child.
Farrow accused Allen of molesting one of his own adopted daughters, which Allen said was grounded only in retaliation and which the courts did not want to traumatize the girl with the very public case.

debates over incest have raged in public, with arguments against based on Soon-Yi's non-minor age when the photos were discovered and the fact that Allen and Farrow maintained separate households.

- how is it that a couple with three children maintain their relationship over twelve years?  doesn't the separate residence argument fall through in that case?
- how is it that Allen, surrounded by Farrow's nine children at the time, could not have had any influence over the then minor Soon-Yi?

currently, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi have themselves TWO ADOPTED DAUGHTERS.

how is it that a man who married his step daughter who was adopted by his common-law wife and was also accused of molesting his own daughter by adoption is allowed to adopt?

that your father identified with Woody Allen and joked about walking in his footsteps in front of your mom should have been grounds for divorce right then and there...


All one has to do is look at the power fame, fortune and celebrity brings... and that's how a child can be sold quickly and easily to a complete stranger.  In fact, that's the scariest thing about adoptions... if you have the cash and connections,  you can find a child.  No questions asked.

Scary, isn't it?

talking about grounds for divorce

My A-mom told me few months before dying that she though about asking the divorce less than a year after my arrival but didn't for me.  She had many reasons to divorce during the following years but curiously,  even after learning that I was abused by her husband, she wanted to stay with him. They stayed four more years together after the secret was unveiled and she finally decided to divorce only because he left her for another woman.

I hear ya

i used to watch my mother struggle with her role.
i'd vacillate between empathy and disgust.
i used to fantasize she'd get a spine and the two of us would leave together. 
she would get a career and some self esteem
and we could become women together

but she never left him
even after she found out
because the harm had already been done
and she felt worthless and powerless anyway

it wasn't until just recently i realized how she was complicit in my abuse
by ignoring all the signs
by not looking after my interests
by not being a parent to me
she was no innocent bystander

so, even if she had found out at the very beginning
the odds are she wouldn't have done a thing to protect me
the irony is my captivity was based on me protecting her.

as a mother myself i can not fathom this

i am thinking there is something fundamentally infantile and self centered about people who adopt...


It's funny you both wanted your mothers to grow a spine; I wished my father would grow a set of balls and man-up against the woman who made us all so miserable.  Instead he always acted as if her moods and manipulations didn't cause any damage within the family he so strongly wanted to see survive.


I have remembered three signs that could have been red flags of my husband's perversion.  They are about 8-10 years apart, but put together they are alarming!  You stated, almost_human:  " it wasn't until just recently i realized how she was complicit in my abuse by ignoring all the signs."    What were the signs?



  • bedwetting ('til i was five)
  • excessive masturbation (my mother caught me)
  • i started having a hard time hiding my contempt and hatred for my father (my mother actually took me aside and chastised me for this on several occassions and obviously there was no apparent reason why i should hate him)
  • so to balance things out, i shut her out as well
  • shutting myself in my room
  • leaving the house whenever humanly possible - thank god for public libraries and my bicycle
  • just being extremely reserved and remote
  • i did all the things bad teenagers do - except without one argument or mouthy word.  it was not born out of childish rebellion.  it was born only out of the need to be around people yet also be able to isolate myself from the human race with drink or drugs or whatever at the same time.
  • really really early promiscuity (my mother caught me)
  • had a sort of dark and nihilistic mind-set

but the last three items were not extreme either.  i still conducted myself within the framework of keeping up the ruse of a perfect family with totally normal boring mundane domesticity.
in our household, there wasn't really much tenderness, affection, or communication to destroy to begin with.  i merely added a little ice to an already chilly atmosphere.  we ate together, went to church together, watched tv together, etc. etc.  well, in the same room...not talking at all.

and you know, that's the genius of these manipulators - because they trick you/force you into covering up for them.  so you're in the frustrating position of digging your own grave.

all of these are puzzle pieces over a long long time that in isolation didn't say much - i was still impeccably polite and helpful and compliant.  i really don't think you can blame yourself too much - psychopaths are very clever and amiable at manipulating everyone around them.  however, i believe my mom purposefully ignored all the signs.  unlike you, she would never choose between her adopted child and her husband - and she didn't, either.  i was always on my own the second the honeymoon wore off.

if i had reported my abuse, i would have definitely not been supported and my mother would have correctly been viewed as a hostile party and i would have totally been in the foster care nightmare.  i'd heard stories about the abuse and violence of foster care and i didn't want to go through the nauseating denials, tears, recriminations, accusations, testimony, etc., only to end up with yet another crappy family. 

and i loved my mom, at least i thought i did.  she was a really tragic figure and easy to sympathize with and care for.  it has only recently dawned on me how she didn't really love me.

worry not, teddy.  you tried to be there from the sounds of it, and you prosecuted the bastard.  that's one hundred times more than my mom did for me.  my mom just brushed it under a rug.  and me with it.

oh yeah - signs from my father

excessive doting on me
too many trips w/ just the two of us
GIVING ME SHOWERS for gods sake
my mom NEVER tucking me into bed - only him
i don't know - there must have been semen around on things, and she was the only one who washed everything
but mostly, mostly, mostly, that sicky sweet look on his face that is just NOT the way you look at your children.

going public

This post first appeared in our private group "adult aftermath". Kimette, who wrote the original blog entry kindly asked all participants in the following conversation if they felt comfortable about making it public. Since all participants agreed to it, this post is now open for public viewing.

Speaking out

I never really thought that abuse could happen in other adoptive families until I went to Korea to search my birth family. I was 34 years old at that time. I told Ms Holt that my adoptive father started abusing me when he became a born again Christian. It was surprising but she believed me without defending her Christian world. She told me that she knew another adoptee who had been abused by her adoptive father, a man deeply involved in various ministries of his church. Because of her spontaneity and her honesty of her answer, I though that abuses in adoptive families were unusual.

This past winter, I started corresponding with a Korean adoptee. She has the courage to say publicly that she was raped by her adoptive grandfather.  When she talked about it, one’s answer was: “there is no need to be adopted to be mistreated”.

I was 39 years old when I told my best friend that I was abused by my adoptive father and it’s only recently that I talked about it “publicly” from my computer. Here are some answers I have given by people and friends.

  1. “Abuse also happens in non adopted families” –“Children can be abused also by their biological parents.”
  2. “Abuse has nothing to do with adoption” – “There is no connection between abuse and adoption”
  3. “Abuses must be rare in adoptive families” – “Oh! You were unlucky in your adoption” (before it always has been “you were lucky to be adopted”)
  4.  “It doesn’t change that your father was generous for adopting you. He already had five children but he adopted you”

Indeed, abuse also happens in biological families; child can be killed by their own biological parents. But, let me just recall that (birth) parents abandon their children (make an adoption plan) so their children could have a better life. And in my case (and probably in many other cases), I’m sure that if my adoption agency had done a serious investigation prior to my adoption,   I would not have been placed into my adoptive family ( except if they only wanted to make money from the adoption).

 If abuse has nothing to do adoption, how would you explain me that out of his six children, I was the only one to be abused by my adoptive father, knowing that his other children were his biological children?
I recently met a Korean adoptee. Her adoptive parents wanted a boy but they adopted her when the agency told them they could adopt a girl. Despite their desire to have a boy, they adopted another girl. After that, the parents had another girl, their "own" girl. After the birth of their biological child, they started to beat their two adopted girls. The two adopted girls became too much for them after the birth of their bio-child. To fulfill their desire, they finally adopted a boy. How would you explain to the two girls that abuse has nothing to do with adoption when the bio-daughter of their parents was not mistreated like them?
Another Korean adoptee with whom I have been corresponding few months ago told me that he was beaten by his adoptive mother. How would you explain him that abuse has nothing to do with adoption when his siblings (biological children of his adoptive parents) were not mistreated?

With her post, never reported, almost_human, who is actually a human and has a name, made me realize that many adoptees were abused by their adoptive parents while they didn't abused their biological  children.

Since there is no statistics about abuses in adoptive families, I will not talk about the third answers.  Without study, we can neither confirm nor deny such assertion. I hope that a serious study be made soon. I am grateful to PPL for bringing to light the child abuse after placement. I’m also grateful to almost_human for the site adopted-abused she is working at. I'm grateful to Kerry for offering me to be part of the group Adult aftermath. I still need a private group to talk freely about things that I have difficulty to talk. 

 If I had been questioned about my life as an adoptee during my adolescence or in my twenties, I would have contributed to distort the statistics by showing only my gratitude expected by the society and my adoptive parents.

Since I talked to many adoptees abused by their adoptive families; I decided to speak out despite the offensive remarks given by some adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents or friends who think that adoption can only be marvellous. Why is that adoptees are not allowed to talk about their abuses without having some rude comments defending the adoption industry or the adopters?
Don't tell us that child abuse must be rare in adoptive families, just show me the statistics.

That which is Different

Statistically speaking, is it not easier to hate or abuse the person who seems "different" from the rest?  I cannot begin to count how many extended family members snarled in secret to me, "You are NOT one of Us."

Alientation and rejection are nothing new in any social situation, yet for some reason those with an adoptee identity are told "this type of abuse is new and different".  No... it's only been silenced and shunned by many.

It cannot be said too many times, abuse is abuse, there is no excuse to ignore or dismiss any source of it's origins.

Pound Pup Legacy