I was adopted when I was 14 months old. I was in an orphanage for over a year. (Ah, abandonment, the gift that keeps on giving.) From the time I was small I was told that I was special because I was chosen. What I wasn’t told was that kids would be mean, or that I wasn’t White like all of the other kids in school. I got my ass kicked in first grade by a third grader who thought he would test what turned out to be my woefully absent karate skills. I wasn’t told that people would ask me who my “real parents” were or if I would ever go back to where I came from. Worse yet, they never told me that as I got older there would be people who would tell me to “go back to where I came from.” I wasn’t prepared to feel so out of place. I never felt like I fit in, with anyone anywhere. This is a theme that would play out throughout my life – feelings of isolation, abandonment issues where I sabotage relationships, and just general anger. Awesome. At least I hide it well. 🙂
I have a younger sister who is also adopted, and we are not biologically related. She is also Korean. I am always amused when people comment that we look alike. She is built with a much bigger frame than mine, and outweighs me by at least 70 pounds. I always want to say, “You’re saying that because we are both Asian, you stupid fuck,” but of course, I don’t. We look nothing alike, other than, we are both Korean females.
We never really talked about the adoption in our home, with the exception of the “you’re special because you were chosen” stuff. No talk about who our biological parents were or anything like that. We used to get newsletters from the adoption agency, and my grandmother used to tell the story of when they picked me up from the airport. (She knew exactly which baby was hers. I liked that story. She adored me.) But otherwise, there really wasn’t much.
When I was in my 20s, I started having health issues, really weird shit. I was losing my hair, having night sweats, and I didn’t have any family health history. I asked my mother if there was any information anywhere that they could give me. She said no. She wished they could tell me something, but she said that I was pretty much dumped off the side of the road. Well, let me tell ya, that was probably one of the worst things she could have said, because, if I wasn’t already an angry individual, that didn’t help matters any.
If you have read any of my other posts, you already know, I have some anger issues. While I contain and redirect them, I still have them. Only now, I have this idea that my birth mother has just dumped me off the side of the road. I received this information during a period where I had coworkers who were pregnant and talking about how wonderful it was to be pregnant and the feeling of baby bonding, and I’m wondering how I could have been dumped off at a roadside. Was she a prostitute?? What the fuck? Was I abandoned because girls weren’t worth shit in Asian countries? I ended up in an orphanage for over a year, left to chance, for what reason??? If this bond between a mother and a baby is so special, then how the fuck can someone do that?? Whoever she was, I hated her. The anger that I carried over this was so great that it probably wasn’t helping the health issues.
I didn’t talk to anyone about this. I did ask my sister if she was ever curious about the circumstances surrounding our adoptions. She said no. She wasn’t curious about any of it.
Rather randomly, a few years later, I watched The Joy Luck Club. There is a scene in the movie/book where Suyuan places her babies at the roadside, and I realized that there are other reasons that I may not have understood that may have led to my placement for adoption. While there is no way I could have known, my anger may have been misguided and misplaced. Several years after my mother passed away, I was talking to my father about possibly going to Korea to try to find biological relatives for health record purposes. He informed me that I was actually placed for adoption because the family was a farming family that already had too many children, and they knew they could not provide for another one. They wanted to give me a better chance. I told him what Mother had said. He didn’t know why she had said that; I don’t either. Maybe she had her own kind of abandonment issues too.
I always wanted to look like Waverly, the one in the middle, but I’m not Chinese.