Would you tell?

Many of us have not - or cannot (for many different reasons) - meet and speak with our first parents.  Many adoptees have suffered abuse or neglect either during the child placement process, or after.  [Meaning abuse took place at the orphanage/children's home/foster home or within the adoptive home.]

If search and reunion were in fact possible, and you were promised an opportunity to have a quiet conversation with one or both parents, would you tell them you were abused by other people?  Is there a parent you would be more likely to tell?  Do first-parents have a right-to-know what happened to their relinquished child?


like children

I would tell if they asked.

I would say it isn't pretty, are you sure you want to know.
but i wouldn't mention it or offer any indication of it without their prodding.

i have worried about this, on the outside chance my family can be found and is alive. 
but i'm an adult and i would want to know all they've been through, so in that sense it somehow makes it okay.

i don't know.  i would hope revealing my life would not cause more damage.
i would hope the chance for some relationship would balance out loss and regret and compounded guilt.

we would take this wherever they wanted to take it, and just go from there. 

My worst dread...

My luck, I'd find myself in yet another "family situation" where I had to offer all the comforting words because what I said was so upsetting.

Nothing like bringing bad news to an unsuspecting family, eh?

I think of that quote [I believe Niels mentioned it somewhere....]

"How was your childhood?


I think that just about sums it all up.

<Bartender, Check, please??>

I told her

If I had found my father alive, I would have told him. I though about it before finding them.

When I found my family (live on television), I had to wait until the next week to meet them.
So during my week waiting, I wrote down every questions for my sisters. I had more questions for 2nd sister because my other sister was already married and had two kids when we were separated.  Two of the questions were: were you sexually abuse by your employer? were you verbally abused? Because at 12 years old, she was working as a maid.   (Finally, I didn't ask one question, due to language barrier).

I also decided that I will not tell them about my life since the beginning but after telling me that our father didn't abandoned me, died in despair after losing me etc.,  she said  "abandoned or not, it doesn't matter, it was better for you to be adopted because you had a better life..."   and " Why don't you have any kid? I have two kids and they make me happy. I don't understand, why aren't you married."

Finally, before leaving Korea, I wrote a long letter to my sister giving some details of my "happy and better life". I wanted her to know that adoption didn't give me a better life and explain her why I wasn't married yet.

the spectacle

god, i've been dreading having to possibly end up on a reunion show.  was it awful?

for those of you who don't know - adoptions are so prevalent in Korea, they even have regular shows reuniting families all the time.  Is that a sick indictment of society, or what?
i can't get my records from Korea until the fall, because the orphanages and social workers are OVERRUN trying to deal with all the adoptees returning during the warm months.

How gut wrenching!

I never realized how horribly demeaning this whole procedure could be for adoptees.  Thank you for sharing what this is like for you.  My son's say it is different for a male than for the females that are grown up now.  What do you think? My son is from Korea and I went to get him when he was 6 months old; he is now 20.

One Step Up From Bottom,


My son's say it is different for a male than for the females that are grown up now.

I definitely think this is true!  I learned this when I started having private conversations with adoptees who got married and started families of their own.  In fact, I believe THAT's when the hard-core adoption issues really begin to start hitting.... hard, like a baseball bat.

I remember for myself, pregnancy made my adoption experience all too painful and real for me.  For the men/fathers I have had this discussion with, they were hit with a similar reality when they held their own child for the very first time.  As one very dear friend of mine expressed, "When I held my baby for the first time, I looked down and asked, 'How could she do that to me?'"

How does a mother say good-bye to her baby?  Not easily, that's for sure.

As we grow older and start asking these questions, far too many of us begin to learn what we were told was not exactly how things really happened.


sex differences

i feel for all KADs

the guys are never allowed to be alpha males here and are viewed as weak and less attractive
the girls are seen as exotic acquisitions and we have to work hard to diffuse that by de-sexualizing ourselves

we are all expected to be nerds of some type

it's a lot of stupid social pressure white people don't have to deal with here.

Race and Sexual Identity

Only the adoptee can have both these issues, and not have it recognized as a social-movement worth changing.

yeah, we don't count for

yeah, we don't count for nuthin'

well, actually, these issues

well, actually, these issues ARE being addressed sort of as a movement by the young HAPA  communities on-line, as well as some of the second-generation asians on-line. 
but, like us, it is mostly them catching all the injustices, discrimination, and stereo-typing and reporting it amongst themselves.

the thing that sucks for us transracial adoptees is we are adoption issues, AND transracial issues, AND race issues, AND gender issues, and for Kimette and me, abuse issues.
fuck.  nothing's ever going to be done to fix any of those things in our lifetime.  not one.  so we are really pissing in the wind. 


There used to be a show on TLC that used to feature reunions, in general, which means many of the episodes had mothers meeting their adult-children for the first time.  [I think the show has been cancelled and replaced with yet another baby-story-type of program.]

In a thirty-minute program, the first 15 minutes featured the stories of the child (usually it was a daughter) and then the mother in their own home-towns.  [I don't recall if the show ever featured dad's being reunited....]

After the mid-way commercial break, the big moment arrived:  mother and child got to meet face to face for the very first time.  Usually this scene would be filmed at an airport.  The sobbing pair would hug and cry and then find a more intimate, quiet place to exchange photo albums and discuss "what happened".  Many shows included a party-scene where the mother would introduce the lost-but-found child to friends/family.  According to the filming of things, a grand time was had by all, and just before the closing credits, a brief written "update" would be given about the two participants since filming.

More often than not, the show would close with the following statement:  "They are planning to visit again, soon."


In the Netherland we also have such a show, Spoorloos (without a trace), which reunites long lost family members, with a strong focus on adoption, though not exclusively. It's a fifty minute show in documentary style, which has aired now for over ten years and is both very popular and highly acclaimed. Years ago there was another show on Dutch television in which reunions were done in front of a large studio audience, which clearly exploited the emotions of the people on their show. Spoorloos is of course also being watched because of the emotionality involved, but is much more subtle in its approach. I still don't like the snooping into people's personal lives though.

the spectacle on youtube

I put my reunion on youtube six months ago.
I first put it to encourage a KAD friend who was planning to go back to Korea to search his mother, to tell him that "luck" or "miracle" could happened. (He knows the details of my search). I couldn't send it by email because it was too big, so I put it there and send him the link. I finally decided to leave it there for other intercountry adoptees.

Indeed, it's a spectacle. In the first broadcast (when I received the phone calss from my sisters on the studio), I learned that my father and brother were dead since few years. In the second, I was sick (I had fever but I didn't know) and I was trying to not cry when I realized that I didn't bring any tissue with me.
I knew that Koreans like to watch soap operas, they like to cry for sad stories, ( I never forgot how my neighbours reacted the day my mother passed away) and I felt  they  were using me once again. But finding them was more important than my thoughs.

that sounds horrible

i have probably seen it then, there are a couple out there on youtube.

the korean reunion shows are set up more like a combination talk/show game/show.  it's not in a natural setting like an airport.  it's not given any sensitive reporting like it sounds the dutch one has. it's not even comfy like oprah. the first time i saw that, i, too, felt the adoptees were being used.  but it is the best avenue we have to reach the most people when there is nothing but lies in our paperwork. 

i dread it. 
and i'm hoping my scar will help me then.

kimette, when i go on, which


when i go on, which i am afraid i will probably have to, do you think it would be more beneficial to tell, briefly, my story in order to get more press?
i wanted to be sensitive to whatever family might be listening.  but i also don't want my search to be buried, and am interested in as much press as possible.

do you have a handle on korean culture enough to know what would be attractive vs. what would be repulsive?  would my story create too much shame for my family to come forward?  or would it's dark nature help draw my family to my side? or is this spectacle restrictive in where you are allowed to go with your public search?

What I know/feel of korean culture

There is a possibility that with the informations you have in your records, you only need to put someone (police, post adoption service of your agency) to search.
if you need to use the media, I don't think the life you have/had in your adopted country will help you to find your family.
Anyway, if you can go to television, you will need to be very brief for the public to know what/who your are  searching, tell your name, parents names, the place you were found, etc. and not more than that.

What I know/feel of Korean culture. (Remember my opinion is only based on my feeling during my short stay there).
In Korea, people you're placed in a social hierarchy, a vertical hierarchy, depending of your profession, your age, your education.  They will be more impressed by your high salary than by your story.
When the host of television said I was doing Ph.D in mathematics, they were all impressed and interested. Had he said something about my life, I would have been placed in the bottom of the hierarchy.
You can tell about your story for but not for the purpose of your search. You will not benefit (for the search) by telling even briefly about your story because they will feel guilty about it.

[Shaking head]

You will not benefit (for the search) by telling even briefly about your story because they will feel guilty about it

______-FORBID someone should feel guilty for the acts done to an innocent child.  [In whose name should this guilt and shame be kept???]


what i meant

I meant I believe they feel guilty... It's the only explanation I found for their reaction.
Koreans are proud people and patriotic. Instead of being ashamed of adoption, they are ashamed of adoptees.  Of course, not every koreans are like that. So better keep not tell eveyrthing during the search time.

that fits

with everything else i have recently heard about korean culture. 

that kind of pride is stupid.  i'm glad i didn't grow up there - i might have been a big trouble-maker! 
(i might still be a big trouble-maker)

it's too bad my story won't be very impressive with them.  the bad parts make the good parts seem more impressive.
it's not every day a welfare mom gets accepted to Yale's master program in architecture. 
(my parents fucked that up for me, btw - i'll NEVER forgive them for that one)

i know there will be nothing in my records.  Holt in Oregon pretty much said that - the records in Korea are the same as in Oregon, and there is absolutely nothing of value in them.  unless i can nail down one of the people there who signed off on the paperwork, and i am just one of thousands, and forty one years ago to boot.

i think all i have is that birthmark, and the time i was abandoned. 

almost makes me not want to bother. 
seems i'll only be supporting the economy.
the returning adoptee tourism industry.

I wouldn't tell

I've never seen my mother after the day my "aunt" started taking care of me and I have chosen not to meet her. Over the years I heard various stories about my mother from different sources to satisfy some of my curiosity and knew she was not doing well, being homeless, most of the time having financial problems. Maybe it is heartless of me, but I didn't want to meet her just to be asked to help her with her life, so I chose to stay away.

Had I chosen to see her, I probably wouldn't have told her about my experiences in my adoptive family. As an adult I don't need a mother's comfort. I need unadulterated comfort from a loving woman, but that's not something I look for within my family.

I met my father when I was in my early 20's. He had refused contact ever since I was six. In his own words at the time: because he didn't want my adoptive parents to show off how well they were doing (this I read in a letter he sent my adoptive parents and which i found when snooping in their mail). When I met him there was not really anything to talk about. He didn't seem open to discuss our biological relationship and I didn't dare to ask. I've seen him a few times since and he probably will never be ready to accept the role he played. He doesn't even want to see my brother's children, because he hates to be called "opa" (grand father), which makes him feel old (he is almost 80 now).

Even if I would still see him I certainly wouldn't tell him about my experiences in my adoptive family. There is nothing to be gained. As far as I know him I am sure he would only use it to fuel further animosity in the family.

Pound Pup Legacy