Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Few Pet Peeves: Koreans scolding me, AP's addicted to martyrdom, etc.


The tone of this particular blog post may strike some as a little "different" from the overall tone that I try to maintain on my blog. Just been feeling a bit irked and annoyed by some things lately and felt the need to vent...

Before moving on, however, to clarify, yet again, I want republish a "disclaimer" that I wrote to preface a previous post, "Listening to Adult Adoptees":

...I would like to clarify that when I write, "adoptive parents," I hope readers have the discernment to understand that I am not writing "all adoptive parents" but rather simply "adoptive parents," which can more specifically be interpreted as "those adoptive parents to whom the said description or behavior applies."

If you read a post and the said behavior or description does NOT apply to you, then voila, it doesn't apply to you. If you read a post, and it does happen to apply to you either at some point in the past or currently, understand that it is not meant to tear you down or make you feel poorly about yourself. Rather, it is meant to help. The intention of blogging about these topics is never to tear down, but rather to build up, out of a hope to educate those who are willing to read along.

I "republished" the above statement simply to remind everyone that I often speak in general terms not because I'm generalizing to ALL people, but because it's simply easier. Maybe it's laziness or maybe it's exhaustion or maybe it’s both...

But, please, take what applies to you and leave what doesn't and assume that I speak in generalities for the sake of concision and sanity. The constant demand to always add disclaimers & clarifications is exhausting & maddening both emotionally and intellectually. Sometimes, I just get dang tired of having to constantly add disclaimers to every post I write...

Understand, folks, that I understand that adoption is complicated—I have to live it every day of my life. Yes, when I blog I’m blogging from personal experience and encounters, and I realize that everyone is different. But I also hope that you realize that I’m not just making this stuff up. I know that what I write is not going to apply to ALL people. Duh and okay. But the things I say and write are not coming out of my derriere—they’re coming from the life I live and the people I encounter…

* * *

With that said, here are just a few personal "Pet Peeves" (the numbering is arbitrary and not meant to be any kind of ranking--they're all equally irksome):


  1. Koreans and other folks who scold and reprimand me for not knowing the Korean language as though I could have done something about the fact that I was adopted out to a White American family that didn't even know kimchi existed, much less what is was. It's understandable to me when Koreans or Americans show surprise when I say that I don't speak Korean. I can deal with that. But it's when I get these looks and remarks of how unfortunate or irresponsible it is to my heritage and people that I don't know the language--first of all, as if I don't already have to deal with feelings of failure and inadequacy without you pointing it out to me, and second of all, as if I could have done anything about it. What, as a 6-month old Korean infant adopted into an All-American White family surrounded by other All-American White families, I was supposed to teach myself the Korean language and figure out how to make kimchi? That sounds feasible.
  2. When folks, especially Adoptive Parents, ask me the question, "Would you have rather grown up in an orphanage?" First of all, I think the answer is obvious. Second of all, they don't really ask this seeking answers, but rather as a way to justify themselves and deflect from the deeper isssues...
  3. Which leads me to the next pet peeve--AP's and PAP's who are constantly justifying themselves in conversation, in the blogosphere, in the media, etc. It's hard not to think that AP's and PAP's who spend a majority of their time justifying themselves are making the mistake of making adoption, ultimately, all about themselves. It indicates a self-focus & a self-righteousness that misses the profound effects that adoption has on the actual adopted person. Sorry, you can call me judgmental and presumptuous, and tell me I don't understand...and maybe you're right to a certain degree, but if it walks like a cat and talks like a cat...
  4. Related to Pet Peeve #3 are Prospective Adoptive & Adoptive Parents who contact me, saying that they really want to hear my insight & feedback, but once I share it with them, they either run in the other direction or respond with self-righteous justifications as to why what I shared does not apply to them...or why I'm wrong somehow...or how I don't understand their particular situation. Sure, okay, then why did you ask me in the first place? (see Pet Peeve #3)
  5. Adoptive parents who use the experiences of some adoptees to invalidate and discount the experiences of other adoptees. This one really irks me. Again, the self-justification song and dance are counterproductive and miss the point.
  6. Even worse--when adoptees do this to each other. I've encountered it over and over, adoptees pitting themselves against one another rather than showing understanding and respect for each other and the variations in our experiences. Look, folks, let's recognize that there is a spectrum of adoptee experiences ranging from those who are happy and resolved about their adoptions to those who are enraged and disgusted with their adoptions and everything in between. Why does one have to invalidate the other? With as complex as adoption is, doesn't it make sense that the range of experiences is going to vary vastly and that each experience is just as valid? C'mon, my fellow adoptees...and Adoptive Parents...stop pitting one against the other...
  7. Adoptive Parents and the like who think they "get it" but actually don't. These are the most difficult parents and people to work with...it's like trying to teach someone to drive who thinks they already know how to drive...You can see all the potential danger and disaster coming, but there's not much you can do but bear with them and hope that they'll start to listen up one day.
  8. The disproportionate focus on Adoptive Parents and their experiences and perspective. There is such an imbalance that favors the perspectives and experiences of Adoptive Parents over those of adoptees, and in particular Adult Adoptees. The majority of people, whether the media, the blogosphere, the general public, other Adoptive Parents, they all turn to AP's for answers and insight into the adoptee experience. Not that AP's can't or don't have helpful insight, but they certainly will never be the experts on the adoptee psyche and experience. I don't care how many books you read or how amazing as an AP you may be--you just can't know. I don't mean this as an insult or a put-down--just a fact. I'm not the first to recognize this, of course, I'm just wondering when in the world it will finally change.
  9. Adoptive Parents who view themselves as martyrs (whether in secret or out in the open), and cry out about how difficult it is to be an adoptive parent, and how the rest of the world just doesn't understand their plight--all the sacrifice, all the hardship they must endure as an AP. I'm not saying that being an AP is easy, but, er, being an adoptive parent, being a parent (period) ain't about YOU. Your poor child, is what I have to say about that...
  10. The disgusting dearth of depth of the so-called education courses that adoption agencies provide for PAP's and AP's not only pre-adoption but also post-adoption--included in this "dearth" is the almost absolute absence of Adult Adoptees' inclusion as a part of the education process. If an agency does happen to include Adult Adoptees as educators, the agency often only features specific types of "model adoptees" that complement and laud adoption.
* * *

Okay, I suppose that's enough for now. Again, forgive the lack of grace in my tone, and I hate to feel like I'm complaining or being bitter. I do believe in forgiveness and grace, ultimately. But I've also never claimed to be Mother Theresa...and I never will...I'm too imperfect and too flawed for all that.



32 comments:

Sona said...

Yup, yes and amen, sister. I also get harassed now by all people whether adopted or not, "why don't you learn Korean? You should learn Korean." should I also dress up in hanbok, too and pretend to grasp a culture I have never known? I can do whatever I want.

And it's also fun when a Korean person harass me about why I don't remember even 3 words of Korean to say, "koreans, like yourself, do not care about taking care of their children. So I was shipped away to a foreign country to be raised by white people and forced to adapt to a new language and country. That's why I don't speak Korean." it leaves them a little stunned, but staying silent doesn't help all the other kids to are forced to adapt and take abuse in this manner.

Sona said...

Oops. Many phone-related typos.

Amanda said...

These things you've mentioned are frustrating--I couldn't imagine why you wouldn't be irked.

But thank you for keeping on speaking your thoughts and experiences even though it can be frustrating.

About learning Kimchi, I feel you on a smaller scale. Learning about and diving into my natural ancestry, even as a White person adopted by White people of a different ethnicity, is overwhelming because I am starting from 0 on my own. Wanting to find the documents and trace my ancestral roots at the age of 25 in the middle of everything else in my life is overwhelming. This ought to have been something that was intertwined with my life and that I could have embraced growing up. I could not even imagine experiencing and learning about a different culture and language than the one you were raised in on top of that.

And my answer any more to the "would you have rather grown up in an orphanage?" is "would YOU?" Adopting children from an orphanage doesn't keep the orphanage from filling back up. Why isn't everyone looking into keeping that orphanage from being needed instead of accusing me of preferring to live in one (or in my case, foster care) because I think adoption is an ill-fitting "solution" to society's problems?

((((hugs)))

Von said...

Agree or understand all of these.I'm particularly 'fond' of the arguments over the primal wound and whether or not it exists.Some of us know by now what damage has been done us!
Entitlement is another favourite and I've been rather taken this week with "Visit an Orphan-the ulitimate religion"
Thanks for your post, always thought provoking, hope all going well for you.

Jae Ran said...

I just had # 1 happen to me at a national social work conference. The Korean American tenured professor actually asked me if I spoke Korean and when I said no, leaned in to me and asked, "What happened?" like I had a disease. My response: "I was adopted by white people." He then went on to tell me how I should learn Korean. I gave him a mini-lecture right there. It really really bugs me when Korean Americans or Koreans get all high and mighty. If they cared so much about our linguistic and cultural literacy maybe they would have tried harder to keep us in their communities.

Kris said...

As an AP, I can wholeheartedly agree with #5. I was clueless and probably still am clueless in a lot of ways. The agencies do not include adoptees AT ALL in any of their education/preparation when that is precisely who SHOULD be preparing APs. Duh.

Kris said...

Ooops, sorry, my comment was actually directed at #10...

Linda said...

Excellent post!! I am so glad to have found you and your blog!!

I would like to add that one of my personal pet peeves is that when we speak about the negative issues stemming from adoption, ap's think we "had a bad experience".

To that I say, "Duh. Yeah. Losing everything to gain a new family through adoption is pretty much a bad experience."

I sometimes feel like a science experiment.

Anonymous said...

Come on. If you of all people aren't allowed to vent on YOUR blog then who?? And I can use all your thoughts including the venting ones.
Besides I didn't really feel a different tone in this one. As usual you do a great job at explaining what you mean - and even though you didn't want to you added the disclaimer ;)

Mia_h_n said...

PS. I'm not anonymous but my PC mucked up on the above comment.

Terra said...

Another excellent post!

I've linked to you, and may your words spread far and wide.

Melissa said...

@ Sona...very appropriate response. I could picture myself using that response, and adding to it: "Okay, [insert Korean person's name], teach me Korean. Teach me how to say--[insert Sona's response]."

@ Jae Ran. First of all, Grrrr & Ugh. Second of all: "If they cared so much about our linguistic and cultural literacy maybe they would have tried harder to keep us in their communities." EXACTLY.

Julia said...

Just want you to know that I am listening, and taking in, and completely support the venting.

korean war baby said...

I have lived in the 'motherland' confronting most of the issues but spared some (as a Half-blood sometimes, no many times I am hurt and insulted by comments "You don't look Korean at all"). Therefore, long ago I decided to NOT learn to speak fluently, though I can understand what they are saying LOL.
Your comments are so rich, like the best of "spectrum" of stories. Well there you are, truth in a sound bite.
We all do have to listen to each other with openness and not prejudge or jump to conclusions, Hard to do in This Thing of Ours-Adoption.

Yoli said...

Stop putting disclaimers, you are not a medicine bottle. Keep telling your truth. I believe that those that claim fervently, "oh no that is not me!" Are the ones who are the most guilty of all.

Angry Adoptive Mom said...

Vent away, Melissa, your vents are always enlightening!!

#1 bothers me a lot. Frankly, I think it's time for Korean Americans and Koreans in the U.S. to stop using language as some kind of yardstick to measure one's "Korean-ness." This happens to Korean Americans who weren't adopted, too, but I think it's especially painful for adopted Koreans.

Reminds me that many of the most egregious comments I have received when in the company of my children came from Koreans. I love the Korean American community dearly, but see a need for some serious adoption education there.

Melissa said...

@ Angry Adoptive Mom:

"I love the Korean American community dearly, but see a need for some serious adoption education there."

My sentiments actually...although I probably have a bit more of a love-hate relationship...And you're right that non-adopted Koreans who don't speak the language fluently get a lot of flack too...

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I came here from an adoption forum... literally feel here by accident.
I'm both a parent by birth and adoption and certainly try to keep away from adoptee blogs.
Simply because the amount of rage and anger that exist in them towards AP.
I feel abused often.
I feel many active adoptees feel adoption is a huge mistake that should be stopped at all cost.

Then I turn my head to the other side and look at my son, a happy 4 year old adopted last year at 3, who florished and grew a lot this last year, a funny, giggly, deep, insightfull little boy, that everydays surprises and amazes us.
I compare the son I have now with the little person I met last year, I see how much more happy he is now that he knows how it is like to have parents and someone that really cares and I know I'm not such a horrible disgusting person for adopting him.

So I simply keep away from all the rage.

I adopted him because I wanted to parent a little boy and he is an amazing son.
Nothing else, no charity, no poor me, no poor him, no "starfish stuff", no nothing.

He was growing in a group home and had been there since his BM decided she couldn't parent him, it sucks, but again life is horribly hard for single parents.
I have a huge respect for his experience and feel that being adopted sucks.
I have all information I could gather for him, and try to keep it real.
But do keep away as much as possible from angry adoptees.
And I feel that is probably one of the reasons many adoptees are not included in PAP training, because many of the most active ones, are active against adoption, and
if I was taking in everything I read, I would have never gone to adopt my wonderful son.

Wrong simply wrong.
Wrong when I look into his eyes and see what we mean to him and what he means to us.
I'm very sorry he couldn't grow with his birth families, the way my birth girls are growing with us.
But I can not change all the stuff that sucks in this world.

This weekend he will be going trick or treat with his sisters and I'm sure they'll have a great Halooween.

I, I'll continue to keep away from adult adoptees. Specially the raging, angry ones who are too busy being furious at me to look in my son's eyes.

Just AP 2 cents.

Have a nice weekend,
Teresa

Corissa said...

@Teresa
I can tell that you deeply love your son and feel you've done the best for him. I'm just wondering whether or not you ever considered giving the money you spent on his adoption to his birth mother. There are sometimes other alternatives out there to adoption that are overlooked because they don't fulfill the needs of the person who is able to help. Many adoptees are angry because they feel a great loss having been separated from their birth families and cultures and oftentimes that separation is forced due to economic circumstances. In my opinion, that is a poor excuse for tearing apart the bond between a mother and their child. I'm sure you can relate to that having your own birth child.

You obviously care deeply for your son, wanting the best for him. If more prospective adoptive parents used that deep need to help a child and funneled it to providing the birth mother or family assistance so that the child could keep the most precious thing there is in life - the mother and child bond - than there wouldn't be so many angry adoptees out there for you to shun and avoid. I hope your views have changed by the time your son gets older, so you can support him in the likely event that he questions his adoption or wants to search for his birth family. It isn't about you or your partner. It's about the need for him to seek out his birth identity and fill some of the loss that unfortunately many adoptive parents can't, as much as they want to. If you love and adore him as much as you say, I hope you'll remember this when he grows up. He will be one adult adoptee you cannot keep away from.

Melissa and other adoptee bloggers (whether angry or not) are courageous for speaking out these deep, unpopular feelings that many adoptees have and giving us a collective voice. If you want to avoid angry adoptees than I recommend not posting your comments on these blogs, whether you just happened upon them or not. It is disrespectful to the person who is speaking their truth, their heart, and their voice. Once again, this isn't about you.

Sandy said...

Melissa - I think you were just called/labelled an angry adoptee...all because you list a few pet peeves...amazing seeing as you care so deeply.

For that I am sorry because no one should be labelled, especially by those who adopt. Words do come back to haunt and karma does exist.

Keep talking...

ManyBlessings said...

Interesting list :)

About #8-Is it possible that part of the reason for this is because that the people who generally write are ones having trouble and not ones who are content? I'm talking about adoptees specifically. Do you think that could have something to do with the way the balance is tipped in cyberworld?

About #10-My gosh yes. Absolutely hands down yes.

Michelle said...

I'm an adoptive parent in training. (I'm already an adoptive parent...I say training because I'm constantly learning about the hurt they've endured.) Thank you for sharing your pet peeves. I agree with them all. I'm actually currently a fourth year social work student and my senior project is to develop a need missing in our society...mine is transracial adoptive parent training. It's SORELY lacking in our community. Not all people should be transracial adoptive parents...that's for sure.

Mia_h_n said...

@Teresa/Anon,

Contrary to what might be expected I really liked you comment. As said before you obviously love your son very much and if he flourishes you must be doing a good job.

I also agree with you that the anger is probably why many PAP/AP steer away from AA blogs and such. I have no doubt that some are angry and hate adoption and wish they'd never been adopted and unfortunately as in so many aspects of life in general, the loudest are often the angriest.

However, this is not one of those blogs. It's as simple as that.

If this was your first visit here, you should really take time to read more than just the first entry before having an opinion - at least if you want it to be an informed one. And if you do read more posts you'll see an adoptee that doesn't necessarily hate adoption and all APs. You'll see a woman that loves her family, all of it!

But you might also learn that the scars that come from being put up for adoption in the first place often can not be healed by the wonderful love of an AP. It might be helped but often not healed. And that doesn't make our APs bad parents. At all.

And should your boy grow up and be sad, mad or frustrated by his BMs decision to give him up, it doesn't mean you weren't a good enough mom or didn't love him enough. For your own sake and sanity you shouldn't link those things.

And perhaps for that reason alone you should spend more time reading AA blogs. Who else can tell you you're NOT a bad mother just because your boy might want to meet his BM? Other APs? They're guessing but we know. We've been there.

And I'm not saying you should force yourself to sit through those very angry ones, but this isn't one of them.
Besides, dare I ask, have you ever wondered why you take strangers' words so personally if you have no doubt you're a good AP?`

And I'm not saying this blog will be EXACTLY how your boy will grow up to be/feel. It's one AAs thoughts, but the comments always suggest she's not alone.
So it might give you some valuable insights into how he might feel.
Enough of us very different AAs agree on enough things that it might be a good thing to at least consider some of it.

Melissa, sorry for also speaking on your behalf. Please, feel free to correct my wrong assumptions on your behalf.

Mia_h_n said...

@Teresa/Anon,

Contrary to what might be expected I really liked you comment. As said before you obviously love your son very much and if he flourishes you must be doing a good job.

I also agree with you that the anger is probably why many PAP/AP steer away from AA blogs and such. I have no doubt that some are angry and hate adoption and wish they'd never been adopted and unfortunately as in so many aspects of life in general, the loudest are often the angriest.

However, this is not one of those blogs. It's as simple as that.

If this was your first visit here, you should really take time to read more than just the first entry before having an opinion - at least if you want it to be an informed one. And if you do read more posts you'll see an adoptee that doesn't necessarily hate adoption and all APs. You'll see a woman that loves her family, all of it!

But you might also learn that the scars that come from being put up for adoption in the first place often can not be healed by the wonderful love of an AP. It might be helped but often not healed. And that doesn't make our APs bad parents. At all.

And should your boy grow up and be sad, mad or frustrated by his BMs decision to give him up, it doesn't mean you weren't a good enough mom or didn't love him enough. For your own sake and sanity you shouldn't link those things.

And perhaps for that reason alone you should spend more time reading AA blogs. Who else can tell you you're NOT a bad mother just because your boy might want to meet his BM? Other APs? They're guessing but we know. We've been there.

And I'm not saying you should force yourself to sit through those very angry ones, but this isn't one of them.
Besides, dare I ask, have you ever wondered why you take strangers' words so personally if you have no doubt you're a good AP?`

And I'm not saying this blog will be EXACTLY how your boy will grow up to be/feel. It's one AAs thoughts, but the comments always suggest she's not alone.
So it might give you some valuable insights into how he might feel.
Enough of us very different AAs agree on enough things that it might be a good thing to at least consider some of it.

Melissa, sorry for also speaking on your behalf. Please, feel free to correct my wrong assumptions on your behalf.

Mia_h_n said...

Sorry for repeating myself. Computer problems :(

Melissa said...

@ Teresa/Anonymous,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts...although, I don't know that you'll ever read this since you communicated you will continue to avoid adult adoptees. Hence, I suppose it's likely you won't ever read this...

I'm glad your experience as an adoptee and AP have been so positive and joyful. And as you've expressed, it's obvious you have deep affection and love for you son, which fortunately, my American parents have always shown such affection and love toward me also...

You wrote: "I, I'll continue to keep away from adult adoptees. Specially the raging, angry ones who are too busy being furious at me to look in my son's eyes."

Of course, that's your personal choice and there's nothing I can do about that but simply suggest that you need not use your personal experiences & emotions to invalidate or condemn the experiences & emotions of other adoptees. Your experience AND the experiences of other adoptees are equally valid. You don't have to agree with me or other adoptees, but you also don't have to treat us as though we're a plague...ALL of our experiences are valid and make up the wide range of experiences that characterize the adoptee journey...

Hence, I simply refer back to Pet Peeves #5 and #6.

#5: Adoptive parents who use the experiences of some adoptees to invalidate and discount the experiences of other adoptees...

#6: Even worse--when adoptees do this to each other. I've encountered it over and over, adoptees pitting themselves against one another rather than showing understanding and respect for each other and the variations in our experiences. Look, folks, let's recognize that there is a spectrum of adoptee experiences ranging from those who are happy and resolved about their adoptions to those who are enraged and disgusted with their adoptions and everything in between. Why does one have to invalidate the other? With as complex as adoption is, doesn't it make sense that the range of experiences is going to vary vastly and that each experience is just as valid? C'mon, my fellow adoptees...and Adoptive Parents...stop pitting one against the other...

Teresa, it's not about saying one adoptee's experience is wrong and another's right, avoiding one or another, condeming one or another. It just is. It makes me sad when some adoptees reject or invalidate other adoptees. You don't have to agree with other adoptees (we're all individuals), but at least have some compassion...the same compassion that you show your son, I would hope you could show to your fellow adoptees...

If you familiarize yourself with my blog, you'll realize I have never referred to AP's as "horrible, disgusting" people for adopting, and in fact I consider many AP's allies.

I simply ask AP's not to shut their minds & hearts to the realities and complexities that various adoptees experience...

Again, I acknowledge the validity of your experience. But I do so no more and no less than I do with another adoptee who has had a very different experience. The experience of adoption is too complex to put in a box...just like people are too complex to put in a box...

I hope one day you will open yourself to show a little more understanding and compassion toward other adoptees, just as you desire for others to show you and your own son compassion and understanding...

Take care, Teresa...

Melissa said...

@ Many Blessings, you wrote:

About #8-Is it possible that part of the reason for this is because that the people who generally write are ones having trouble and not ones who are content? I'm talking about adoptees specifically. Do you think that could have something to do with the way the balance is tipped in cyberworld?

Hmmm. Well, there are actually KAD blogs written by KAD's who are overall content with their adoptions (I include some of them in my list of Adoptee Blogs under "More Blogs & Resources," such as "Kimchi & Sweet Tea" or "Mica pie," etc.).

Honestly, I think the imbalance of power and attention is reflective of the fact that people just don't want to hear from adult adoptees & don't consider us a valid resource, especially if we've been identified as the so-called "angry ones"--as exemplified by the comment left here by Anonymous/Teresa who is both an adoptee and AP.

If even fellow adoptees don't want to hear other adoptees, then indeed, the world & AP's are not going to listen either...

I think at the root of the imbalance is a discomfort, even an aversion, that AP's and other adoptees feel when faced with the angry and painful (yet valid) feelings of those adoptees who experience the deep grief, pain, anger and so forth of adoption. To acknowledge the pain and suffering is hard for anyone, but in particular other AP's and adoptees who prefer the "fairy tale" because emotionally & psychologically that's much easier to process.

I've read other adult adoptee blogs that chastise or reprove other adoptees who have expressed "angry" feelings toward their adoptions, adoptive families, etc. There is simply an overall disdain and disapproval in the adoption community toward anyone who criticizes, whether constructively or destructively, anything having to do with adoption.

Folks prefer to avoid the harder realities and that is reflected throughout society from the blogosphere to the media.

I also think adult adoptees are often viewed as perpetual children (as Mei-Ling at Shadow Between Two Worlds has blogged about previously) when it is convenient. So, in other words, we're not taken seriously.

There are a lot of AP's that prefer to hear from other AP's because it's easier, less difficult emotionally, less challenging psychologically and mentally...it's easier to be in an echo chamber than to be challenged, you know? (And I'm not excluding myself from that tendency...I try to expose myself to and try to keep an open mind to ALL the varying views...but no doubt, it can be difficult even painful at times...just as it can be for AP's to so the same, but I think it's so crucial to do so...)

Terri said...

Thanks. This was a great post to read.

I hope Teresa will consider that staying away from adult adoptees would make her less prepared to support the future adult adoptee she's raising now. I was a happy 4-year-old, too. Now, I'm a happy adult who gets angry about social injustices. Sometimes those social injustices cut uncomfortably close to home. When my parents and the rest of my family can support my hard emotions and even join me in facing those social injustices...well, that's a happiness all its own.

Anonymous said...

To those who say that if adoptive parents would simply give the $20,000 or so that they spent in adoption costs to preserving birth families: You over simplify the issue. Money is not always the sole, or even a fraction of, the issue when a mother relinquishes a child. My Korean children's birth parents had relinquished custody before to different fathers of their other children. These were not cases of financially strapped women. These were women that simply could NOT parent. I won't go into the reasons - as those are my children's stories to tell. It just frustrates me to hear folks over simplifying an issue than is far more complex than money; probably more times than not. Additionally, single motherhood is still very frowned upon in Korean culture. Things are slowly changing and that is AWESOME. However, I don't think it is fair to deny children families and let them grow up in an institutional setting in the meantime when a better alternative exists.

Melissa said...

@ Anonymous

Not sure why you posted your particular comment on this post or this blog, other than perhaps to express a personal pet peeve of yours...?

You're right it's complicated. That's a given. However, it is still accurate to acknowledge that socioeconomic factors are ONE of the MANY factors that play a SIGNIFICANT and primary role in international adoption--to deny this fact is to choose to be negligent and dismissive. And honestly, $20,000 actually can in very real, practical ways prevent children from ending up in orphanages and preserving families (your children's situations are individual, of course, but there are still very real situations all around the world where 20 grand would keep a mother & child together). Check out some of the organizations at this link listed under "Groups Supporting Family Preservation":

http://yoonsblur.blogspot.com/p/resources.html

I would also encourage you to read the posts featured in the below link, if you're really interested in delving into the complexities of the adoption system and pertaining social, economic, political, cultural, and familial factors...

http://yoonsblur.blogspot.com/search/label/socioeconomic%20factors

TheHappyNeills said...

I just read through all the comments. . . "anonymous" typed that comment because of a previous comment where someone suggested giving all the adoption money to the birthmom instead.

Subscribing to your blog. . . can't wait to read more.

I'm a mom to 2 bio kids and am bringing home our 2 yr old boy with a special need next month from Uganda. I do not pretend to think that my child might not have issues later because of the simple fact that he had no family to take care of him and his special need in his own country, even though he will have a happy, stable, unconditionally-loving family his whole life long. We do not have a lot of money, but putting away $ to be able to take our family to Uganda as often as possible is a high priority for us. We do not want him to have to navigate that journey by himself as an adult with questions, longings, etc. later. We have been fortunate to have adoptive training that addressed so much of the hard stuff that comes with adoption. Yes, even hearing from adult adoptees. We long to parent our child in a way that he KNOWS it is ok to be sad, angry, wonder, question, and hurt. Even though we will love him (and his heritage, skin, etc.) to pieces and his condition in the US is not a big deal--he can live a long, healthy life that he would not have had in Ug. . . the fact still exists that life has just not been fair to him.

It was not his fault that he was left with no mother and father, and left with a special need that was none of his fault. It was not his fault that domestic adoption of boys in his home country is very rare, and factor in his special need--it'd be unheard of.

I have grief and other feelings in thinking about his situation, I can only imagine what he will feel someday. So happy, of course, that he will be our son, but so sad, that he was ever in need of a family at all.

lee woo said...

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that, which has been your delight. See the link below for more info.

#again
www.mocsbar.com