Reblogged from another platform ….This month of National Adoptee Appreciation Month means more to me than some of my non adopted people could ever start to comprehend. I was left on the steps of an orphanage, without a name. I was taken in and eventually given a case number thru Holt International as they proceeded to prepare me for adoption.
I am case #8300 and became Choi, Kyung-ae/ai. I am an international transracial adoptee. I am one of over 220,000 South Korean babies adopted out. Korea was the largest child exporter for years generating an estimated 3.3 billions of dollars between adoption agencies and Korea.
Not all cases were legitimately done. I became a survivor of domestic violence in the form of child abuse of near 15yrs as a young adoptee. I tried to commit suicide at age 8 and no one knew about this attempt until my late adult life, including my adopted family of which some still don’t know, until now. I am also an aged out foster child.
I am indebted to Honorable Judge Robert Foster, my attorneys, the late John Torreano and then prosecuting attorney, Michael Kusz, and finally, social worker, Susan Cox who’d been part of my case since a child. I did not choose my life, my parents or have a say who could adopt me. However, I love my adopted family and they mean everything to me and they love me.
Though my story is deep, complex, full of trauma and intricate sadness, not sure if I would trade it in. I became the fierce woman I am today, because of my circumstances. Understand this, not all adoption stories are wonderful and fairy tale like.
I share my story for raw and pure awareness of how complicated adoptions are, human trafficking is real, and when there’s suffering, it’s the adoptee who does the most suffering along with birth parent(s).
Day 6 #notmynaam#naam2020“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou
Most adoption happens when a child is removed from their own family in order to “grow” or “complete” another, non-related family. This is what happened to me. I grew up as an only child. This was both a blessing and a curse.
It was a curse in that I missed out on knowing that I have at least 4 siblings. I missed out on knowing what it was like to have a sibling relationship. I missed out knowing them, as human beings, as my siblings, until I found them more than 36 years after being separated from them. (I was the only one of the 5 of us who was adopted.)
It was a blessing in that I didn’t have to grow up in a family that had any biological children of their own. I don’t think I could have handled that on a psychological or emotional level. I didn’t look like anyone in our household, but neither did anyone else, and I dealt with that pain alone.
But my mom and dad both have siblings. And their siblings have children (and, by now, grandchildren). Back when I was growing up, I either traveled with my mother or father (they divorced when I was 2 years old) on vacation. Either way, we almost always went to visit their respective siblings’ families – my aunts & uncles & cousins.
Being in those spaces, sitting around the dinner table with their families, watching tv on the sofa with their families, was incredibly sad for me because they all looked alike. Between my mom’s and dad’s side, there were 3 sets of aunts/uncles, and they each had 2 children. Each set of cousins looked like their sibling. And each set looked like their parents. And they all looked like the photos of their grandparents and great aunts and uncles. And then there was me.
To lose your own family – without a trace – is horrific. But then to be placed in situations in which you are subjected to small, nuclear family groups who have and take for granted the very core familial relationships you lost…and who are also the only family you have ever known…and who are also very kind and loving to you (except in that they don’t recognize the re-traumatization you are living through each and every time you are A Part of their daily lives while also being Apart)… it’s an undescribable pain and feeling of separateness and otherness.
Like I said, I don’t think I could have handled growing up as an adoptee in a household in which there were biological children. It may sound weird, but I am grateful I didn’t have to.
Without recognition and validation of the deep and nuanced impacts the loss of their entire family has on an adopted person, especially when they are children and absolutely need guidance to manage their grief and trauma in a healthy way, then even well-meaning adoptive parents are inevitably going to continue to re-traumatize their child through seemingly mundane, everyday (family) activities.
Without experiencing that loss, it simply wouldn’t occur to most people that some of the things they consider normal and joyful may actually be very hurtful to an adopted person.
Adult adoptees are speaking up about the various ways their initial trauma was multiplied during their childhood by the uninformed acts of “adoption professionals” (like non-adoptee, non-adoptee-trauma informed social workers) and adoptive parents alike. Now that we know better, I expect today’s adoptive parents to do better. There are no excuses. ~Abby Forero Hilty
Reblogged from anpther site: …….Please share & tag your teacher friends You have adopted children in your classrooms. I was one of them! Now I’m almost 30 and able to express some of ways I was hurt during my school-age years by well-meaning educators. My intention isn’t to shame anyone, but to hopefully open your eyes to some of the situations I was put in. Some were just awkward, some were harmful. I know you love your students & want to do right by them, which is why you’re reading these words.
1. There may be adoptees in your class and you don’t even know it. I had a pretty uncommon last name growing up and attended a small community school corporation. I dreaded the first day of school because, like clockwork, this conversation took place, sometimes multiple times a day once I was old enough to switch classes…Teacher taking attendance: “Morgan ____ – oh, are you ___’s sister? I should have known – you look so much like her/your mom!” Me: Instant cringe! I am not genetically related to my sister! Or my mom! I know that I cannot look like them because we are not actually related.
Now I’m in an awkward position – do I say something and potentially make the teacher feel bad? But moreover…this teacher *seems like a liar to me and someone I can’t trust* because they’re saying something that isn’t true. I don’t look like people who aren’t related to me, but you’re saying I do, and now I remember that I’ve never actually seen anyone who looks like me and I’m spiraling for the rest of the class time.
My anxiety takes over and I have a stomach ache. I wonder if and when I should tell this teacher the truth. When I tell them I’m adopted, it’s always such a big deal and they say a lot more awkward things and it doesn’t seem worth it.
2. Please get rid of family tree assignments! Because…which family?! I feel like a big fat phony faker writing down my adoptive family, because I know it’s not actually where I came from. But I also don’t know where I came from, so I can’t write that down either. And please don’t just make an adjusted lesson for adopted students – because, as previously mentioned, you might not even know who the adoptees are!
Students might also be the children of adoptees! I imagine my own daughter would struggle with such an assignment because she knows my adoption story. If state standards/curriculum require a family tree project, can it be about characters of a novel the class had read, or a historical figure instead?
3. Same goes for genetic traits! Oh, biology class. Please don’t ask me to figure out my parents’ possible blood types based on my own. Or eye color. Reminder after reminder after reminder that I don’t know where I came from, I don’t look the same as my family, and it feels like everyone else here does. These type of assignments can still be done in a more generic way, not with our own personal situations.
4. Baby/childhood photos Depending on the time of their adoption, many kids might not have access to pictures of themselves as a baby or as a child. And please don’t do something stupid like “Well, just draw a picture of yourself instead!” Adoptees already struggle with identity. We don’t know who we are. Now you want me to draw it for you? BIG YIKES, teach.
5. Don’t tell adopted kids they are “chosen” or “special” This is like, the chief complaint of adoptees I know. We don’t want to be special, we want to be normal. Special is pressure. Special is a high standard to live up to. Special is the nightmare for adolescents who just want to fit in with their peers. We also were not chosen – no one lined up 100 potential babies in front of our parents and asked them to choose the one the liked best. I know it comes from a good, well-meaning place. But we’re adopted not because we are special or chosen, but because we are no longer with our biological families. That’s it. We know this. We wish everyone knew this and would be okay with it, instead of trying to put a positive spin on it.
It makes me feel like I’m not allowed to be sad. It makes me feel like my loss doesn’t matter.——————-Teachers, I know it’s already just *so much*. This year has been an entire cluster and dumpster fire and you’ve been pushed to the limits of your professional capabilities and sanity. I admire you all.