Thursday, January 20, 2011

"You need to grow up...I feel you have no gratitude for the good in your life"

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and this woman's opinion, I suppose, is just as valid as is mine. I am not surprised nor unaware that there are plenty of other people, APs and adoptees and others, who would echo the following sentiments and opinions regarding me as an adoptee. (The below comment was written in response to my post, "Not Luck But Choice" at the adoption website, Grown in My Heart, but it was not permitted to post there.)

I don't even have anything to say really. Maybe I am an ungrateful, whining little girl. And if I am, then God help me to change...

All I can say is that I feel crushed, maybe because what the commenter said might be true or maybe because I'm just too weak to handle the scrutiny to which I expose myself. And maybe I just need to shut my trap and finally walk away...especially being only 6 days away from the estimated due date of our child.

The one thing I will say is that this person made some serious assumptions about me (without knowing me at all--my blog is only one part of me) and my relationship with my American family without knowing anything about the nature of my relationship with them. I often don't talk in depth about my relationship with my American family, because I love them and want to protect them...But I guess where I have remained silent, folks assume that I don't have a good relationship with them. For the record (despite the fact that I actually have communicated and expressed this time and time again here at my blog)--I love my American parents and consider myself to be very grateful for them and close to them. And I would venture to say that if anyone were to talk to my parents or my brothers, they would say they feel very loved by me...

I know other people feel the way she does and that just comes with the territory...and who knows maybe I am ungrateful and need to grow up. It's worth considering...I'm certainly not perfect...

But anyway, here's the comment. I share this simply to demonstrate what it is that we as adoptees face on a daily basis and why it's so challenging at times to not feel completely misunderstood and repressed...Also, I think it's a good example of the vastly varying responses and perspectives that characterize the adoption community:

yoon, i have been reading your blog for awhile- and this is the first time i have commented.

i think you are actually quite lucky. lucky does not imply that no choice played a role in you being adopted or finding your birth family. quite often the lucky ARE chosen…that is WHY they are lucky.

i have been following your blog, and i think i am going to stop. it is just too hard to hear what i think is whining on your part.

i do think you are quite ungrateful. i wonder how your adoptive parents really feel about the way you treat them and your adoption on the internet.

i understand the need for APs to have their eyes wide open and not believe they are “saving” a child. I get it.

But the more I read your blog, the more I think you need to grow up and realize that as bad as you had it, you actually WERE really lucky. I think about the kids who lived their whole lives in orphanages. Those who never had a voice. And all you choose to do with your voice is criticize and whine…on and on.

I have lived through intense tragedy. I have buried two of my children, which is something no parent should ever have to do. Yet, I choose to see the good in life and the best in others.

I hope that when you do become a parent, you are able to see things differently. I feel you have no gratitude for the good in your life, and as a result, I am afraid I am going to have to respectfully stop reading your words.

Life is too short.


Jake said...

Oh what is this noise? I hate that website so much, adult adoptees voices and feelings are so often dismissed and belittled there. I think you are strong just for writing for them in the first place.

you have the right to feel however you feel.

Von said...

So who made this comment,was it the usual anonymous? While we are sorrow for his/her losses they do not give the right to judge the losses or others.
If you don't like reading someone's honesty and truth don't read it.This type of adoptism is so prevalent, you're not grateful enough, would you have rather been aborted, grow up in an orphange etc
It's never lucky to be made into an adoptee!
Very good wishes for your new role and the future of your family xx

Anonymous said...

As Yoon's husband, I don't often post on her blog, but I do feel a need to speak up at this point. To the person that wrote the quoted post:

I am sorry to hear about your loss. Our losses and grief can help us come closer to others as we relate to their pain, rather than pushing them away or silencing them.

First of all, my wife loves her adopted family dearly. She demonstrates this to them regularly and has a very loving relationship with them.

Secondly, please go back and look at previous posts regarding the "lucky" state of adoptees. No one would label you as lucky in your grief, though you may have avoided many other potential woes. You are lucky that you don't live in a tin-roofed lean-to, but not so lucky that you lost your children.

My wife is lucky and unlucky. She has a depth of pain that she is soldiering through and growing through and I am intensely proud of her. She will probably be embarrassed by this defense here, but I feel compelled. (Forgive me Yoon)

So, stranger, please do not stop up your ears to the cries of others. They are not "whines", they are meaningful words that are an attempt to process and connect and ultimately help others who endure the same.

May God bless us all with more patience and compassion for one another.

Go in peace.

mrkmommy said...

Yikes!!! I have read your blog for awhile now and I have no idea what blog she is reading. I have never taken away any of those feelings or ideas from you.

But believe it or not I think I can sympathize with her. If what she says is true about having 2 children die, then everything in comparison is a wonderful life. From what I understand from friends, nothing compares in the scope of pain.

So don't take what she says personally but with the prism of how she now views life. It doesn't mean that I think she is healthy in how she sees things or that she might not need help because it is a destructive way to go through life. Or that she even has a right to take her pain out on you or anybody else. But incredible pain makes us do and say stupid things sometimes.

Anonymous said...

This, "my life is so tragic and I don't complain so you don't deserve to" game is ridiculous. Nobody would ever be able to improve or fix anything if all we can spout is rainbows and unicorns rhetoric. Yes, life is great and life is terrible.
Talking about it and sharing our experiences is what makes us human and individuals, living in a common society.

She hasn't walked a day in your adopted person shoes. If more people could, I'm sure they would slam their mouths shut before telling adoptees to be quiet and be grateful. Your vision is stronger than her condemnation. Fight on.

Anonymous said...

While losing a child is something I could never imagine,(and I say this as a mother of three, in case she thinks I'm speaking without experience like she did), underestimating the trauma of adoption is heartless. The tragedy one person endures can't be compared to another. Yes. We adoptees are blessed to have been taken in by our families. And yes, those of us whose searches became fruitful are amazingly blessed by the fortune for some reunion and possibly closure. But voicing our pain and experience is our right. We didn't choose to grow up in a foreign land, lost and unsure of our identities. We didn't choose to lose our culture to such an extent that revisiting Korea makes us realize exactly how much we no longer belong. Write your experience with all the pain and heartbreak and hope and healing that comes as you move forward. Don't let someone who can't understand silence your voice. This blog is a map of your experience as an adoptee, both physically and emotionally. For every ONE who chooses to close their eyes and ears, there's hundreds who will benefit, and hopefully begin to understand a bit better.

The Richerts said...


You are put yourself out there and you will be hurt. I am an AP and what you write has had a huge impact on me. You have stretched me and made me think about things that I would have been oblivious to in the past. I am blessed by the fact that you are willing to deal with the hurt that comes from exposing your feelings and struggles.

I have been reading for the past year and have totally gotten the fact that you love your American family.

I really dislike the term "lucky" -- especially when some use it to describe my daughter's adoption. She is not lucky to have been born with a serious birth defect. She is not lucky to have been abandoned. She is not lucky to have been adopted.

I also do not believe that God likes what is happening to His beloved children on this earth. It is not part of His plan that families would live without resources. He did not want our daughter to be abandoned. You are spot on! Our sinful choices (or the sinful choices of others) get us where we are, not God. Everything about God is good. He causes no harm. Your examples of free will are exactly what is in play here.

I do believe that Christians are called to respond to the plight of those in peril, though. You have made a strong case for helping the root causes of the orphan crisis. I really appreciate that. People with good intentions can sometimes make a situation worse by doing the wrong thing to "help." It is an important point to make in many arenas.

I know the pain that comes from being vulnerable. I know the feeling that you are describing. Words like those are hard to shake off. I hope that you will take stock in the fact that you are doing a good thing by sharing your experiences. They have changed my thinking, made me a better parent, and opened my eyes to a side of adoption that I was unaware of. Its not always easy to read what you write. But I am glad that you write.

Very excited for you and your husband! Being a mom will change your life. Guard yourself (especially for the first six weeks or so). It was always really hard for me at first with my babies. Then, at about six weeks, they would start to smile at me. It melted those -- I can't do this for another second -- feelings and I fell in love.


Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

I have never gotten the impression that you are in anyway ungrateful for the good in your life. There are problems that come along with adoption = you have no gratitude? It just doesn’t make sense.

Sometimes when people have had a rough go of it they think everyone else is just supposed to suck it up because they had to. There are times when my 12 year old balks at something or is upset and I have to stop myself from thinking “if she only knew how good she has it.” But she didn’t live my life, she has no clue and how could she? Her pain and struggles are just as tough and burdensome to her as mine were to me. That is something I have to respect.

I am sorry that she said what she said, and that it hurt you.

Good luck, I am very excited for you guys. Parenting…the toughest job you’ll ever love.

The Declassified Adoptee said...


Never forget that adoption is about the children; you were once that child. If we do not listen to your voice, and the voices of other adoptees who were the children much like the ones adoption intends and claims to help today, how in the world will we ever really help anything?

Your voice matters.

I think them insulting you as a person, rather than dicussing what you wrote, was quite rude and uncalled for.

I love your blog. Keep writing ((hugs))

The Declassified Adoptee said...

I think, ironically, what I chose to quote in my blog earler is fitting:

"Loss itself is not very well understood in our society. We tend to deny its importance on many levels. We get married and celebrate the joy of the new phase of life without ever considering that there may be a loss involved, much less that we might need to mourn that loss. Or a couple has a baby and sends out happy announcements, while neither dares think about the loss of a different kind of relationship, what impact a new family member will have on them, and that grieving might be in order. There is no permission in our society to recognize in each life's transitions the polarities between gain and loss or joy and sorrow. We are expected to be happy, sing songs, dance jigs, but never to mourn" (Verrier, The Primal Wound, page 69).

Mourning is an individual thing. Mourning does not mean one does not have joy or respect for others. Mourning is a normal part of life. So is healing and talking about that experience so that others can understand or experience empathy. To often in our society do we appreciate others being quiet about their feelings and experiences as a sign of "getting over" something. I think that's a shame.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Melissa, you are a gentle, wise voice speaking hard truths about adoption. I have learned so much from you. I am a better adoptive parent because of you.

My cousin (an adoptee) still talks about the day she gave birth to her daughter. She has met her biological family, but the day her daughter was born... it was indescribable for her. There was no... chasm... separating her from her daughter. It meant so, so much. I'll never forget her sharing those thoughts with me.

Congratulations on soon becoming a mom!

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I cannot add anything more eloquent than the other sentiments spoken here. But I just wanted to voice my support for you and what you're doing.

Mei Ling said...

I seriously contemplate if it is a good idea to still be reading these kinds of thoughts "be grateful because everyone else suffers too, you know" when you are so close to your due date.

That can't be healthy.

I would defend you - you know that - but I think it will just fall on deaf ears, and I'm also more than certain your husband is happy to. :)

Tara said...

Melissa, I am so sorry you got this comment from this person. I just really hope that you are able to take his/her words with a HUGE grain of salt.

Anyone who writes a comment to you, first threatening to not read your blog, and then deciding to not read your blog. While insulting you throughout has got some issues. This comment says much more about the commenter than it says anything about you and your blog.

The thing about anonymous commenters, is that as bloggers, we have no choice but to try to be respectful and to take their words at face value, but what it boils down to is that all we REALLY know about this particular individual is that he or she is an a$$hole. I mean really. Who sends a woman a message like that just a few days before their due date??

I hope you are able to put this solidly away on the "a$$hat shelf," and then carry on thinking of tiny booties, baby giggles and the tremendous amount of joy you and your husband are about to experience. xoxo

Michael said...

You are so reflective in your writing and have stretched my role as adoptive dad. In other words, you have made me a better BaBa to my little guy. For this I thank you.

I have NEVER in my reading found that your have even slighted your American family let alone written poorly of them.

Keep writing. I send my best wishes for your and your husband as you shortly await the birth of your first child.


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You're not whining, nor are you ungrateful or immature. That woman is just too wrapped up in her own "tragic" life (AND too wrapped up in trying to convince everyone that she's wise about suffering) to acknowledge that anyone on Earth might feel pain about something other than having dead children.

You want to know what life is actually too short for? People who feel the need to say things like: "You could have had it worse!"

Someone should say to her: "You could have had it worse! You could have children who are still alive but also have crippling chronic illnesses or severe mental handicaps and therefore need round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives until YOU die! So no one wants to hear about your 'my-children-are-dead' sob story!" Sorry to keep it real, but the scenario I made up is definitely worse than your children being dead. My adoptive mother's daughter is mentally handicapped and she has literally lost her mind trying to take care of her.

So YES, we adoptees could have "had it worse", but we didn't. We had it exactly as we had it. We live and analyze our lives according to how they really are, not according to hypothetical land.

I feel like people are just straight-up accusing us [KADs] of being liars whenever they criticize us for having legitimate negative emotions about our adoptions

Real Daughter said...

Oh, Yoon....I am sorry. I really don't think these types "get it", and they don't WANT to "get it".

Time and time again, we see these types of comments.

Our pain from our loss and the disdain many of us have for unethical adoption & those who engage in the practice, has nothing to do with the love we have for our adoptive parents.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this. Not surprised, but Im still sorry that another member of my "tribe" has to witness the ridiculousness of yet another person who has no idea of what we go through.

ps- Your husband is awesome!!!

Von said...

Please check out my post at
Very best of wishes......x

Elle said...

Yoon, sadly your post and especially the comment represents the daily life and social encounters that adoptees go through every day. I have seen this very often in the most unlikely places. And no I certainly don't think you're ungrateful despite the fact that I don't know you other than through this blog.

Jenn said...

Some people get by in life by putting other people down to distract themselves from their own pain. While I feel for this person for losing two children (I can't even imagine) I wouldn't try to compare my pain to theirs because I don't know what they are going through, just like they don't know what I am going through. Stay strong and thanks for your courage posting here what some are too scared to. You are an inspiration.

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh my sweet friend...that just makes me so angry. If someone wants to stop reading your blog...then they need to just reading it and not leave you with such hurtful words. I just really don't understand people sometimes. Just know that I appreciate your blog...your honesty...and your heart to educate others. My life has changed because of your posts. I have a better understanding of what my little Emma has been feeling and I am forever grateful to you. Praying for your family and your precious little child.

Lika said...

I have lived through intense tragedy. I have buried two of my children, which is something no parent should ever have to do. Yet, I choose to see the good in life and the best in others.

As someone who's the daughter and sister of a family that watch four very young sons and brother die during a civil war, I find it tacky that you'll use your pain to invalidate someone else's. I understand it though. My family who suffered through the war used to tell me how "lucky" I was not to have experienced it.

It took me a long time but I'm finally not letting the fact that I'm "lucky" for not having been in a war invalidate my pain elsewhere in my life. My pain is real, even if I didn't go through a war. I'm both lucky and unlucky in so many ways.

Melissa, nothing you write come across as "whining" to me. I see someone who loves everything that's beautiful around her but who's clear-sighted about the wrongs. I wish you and your family all the best :)

Cassi said...


Always remember, the quickest way for the weak to try and silence another is to do their best to make them doubt who they are or what they are saying.

We all disagree with others in our lives, but there is a way to do it without knocking another down at the knees.

You have helped so many, including myself, see things different and challenge our current way of thinking. And you've done it with grace and an obvious love for your adoptive parents. Anyone who can't see that, in my opinion, is deaf to what you are saying and hears only what they want.

Anonymous said...


What she/he said was not true. You have never said anything negative about your family - either family. You have instead given voice to feelings many of us are unable to voice and you do it with empathy.

I know it is hard but try to erase this from your conscious memory simply because it is NOT TRUE.

I keep watching for a far more happy announcement from you.


ms. marginalia said...

First, congratulations on the soon-to-arrive new baby!

I am am adoptee who has been reading your blog for awhile, and I have always found you to be caring, insightful, and extremely polite. I appreciate your thoughts in every post.

I don't--and never will, probably--understand why there has to be one-upmanship in suffering. Or why sharing one's feelings, especially difficult feelings, should be labeled as "whining." It's hard enough to put oneself out there in the first place.

Wishing you all the very best.

HollyMarie said...

Oh Melissa... eeek... You are too kind giving any sort of validation to his/her opinion... they haven't lived it. I think you make perfect sense to me and I don't ever read you as whining! Take heart and keep on keeping on... and many blessings as you await the arrival of your little sweet pea! Only days away! :)

Reena said...

Oh Melissa!


Holy Crap-- I was so wrapped up in stuff for the past several days and the A-blogs are full of all kinds of stuff! Mostly crappy comments from aparents.

I am so sorry that the commenter has expereinced the loss of a child by death. I cannot imagine the pain she has/is feeling. One would think that would have given her a better foundation for providing support to others who have also expereicned a great loss-- albeit different, but still a great loss.

This woman who posted that comment clearly has no clue about adoption or about you. I have only recently found your blog and several others-- I've not ever interpreted or gotten the impression that you do not love ALL your parents.

Your blog and posts are some of the most insightful, emotionally open, courageous writings I've ever read and I feel privledged to have the opportunity.

A few days to your due date-- what a happy happy time!

Best wishes to your for an easy delivery and a healthy baby!

Kim said...

I have been following your blog for a while and just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am an adoptive Mom who loves her little girl more than life itself but realizes that there is so much more to her story than me or her. Your heartfelt posts have taught me so much and I hope that I will be able to use what I have learned from you to be a better parent to her. I hope you had a quick and painless delivery as you begin a family of your own.