Things Change…But Stay the Same

I’ve been gone so long I doubt anyone still reads this, much less cares at all what I’ve been up to…My last few posts were nearly a year ago! I can’t believe how much my life has changed since I was here last, and yet how much things stay the same. Honestly, I think that’s one of the hardest “coming of age” lessons to learn…that things change but always stay the same.

Anyway, I recently (four Saturdays ago!) married my sweetheart. I won’t get too cliché and go all “he’s the love of my life” or anything, but I will say that it finally feels right to say I was “chosen” by someone. Okay…enough cheese J

I’ve also started a photography business for myself. Over the last summer I became increasingly obsessed with my camera…to the point where I was outside on the patio taking shots of my engagement ring on the wood background so I could learn how to use the macro setting on our point and shoot. Fall came around and the obsession lingered so I bought myself a DSLR as an early Christmas gift. After reading that Katelyn James (a wedding photographer I admire) said her best advice for newbies was to learn to shoot full manual, I set out to teach myself just that.  Well fast forward six months and I’ve booked three wedding photography gigs and a handful of portrait sessions. I feel very honored that people really seem to like my work, but at the same time this can be kind of tough for me because I’m always concerned with what people think, if people will like me, and if I’m really even capable at being good enough. It seems like photography has helped me get out of my shell a little more…having to direct client meetings and pose strangers for portraits will do that to you.

I also said goodbye to my younger sister…she joined the Army and moved away. I spent the spring missing her and have spent a lot of time being depressed about all of the goodbyes we’ve had to say. Just thinking about the goodbyes is so hard it makes my chest hurt. I’m not cut out for it…not in the least bit. I don’t think anyone really is…but I spent the week before my wedding sad because she wasn’t supposed to be able to come. (Spoiler: she made it at the last minute) It’s not healthy and I could feel my old sadness making its way into the pit of me.

So to summarize a crazy year-ish in my life since I’ve been gone…some happiness, a new (ad)venture, and the same old emo me. It’s crazy how things change but always stay the same.

 

June 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm Leave a comment

Be the Match

Today we depart from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about something important to me.

I opened my email this morning to find a confirmation that I have now become a member of the Be the Match donor registry. Be the Match is a registry set up to help match people with life threatening illnesses find possible marrow donors. Donating blood marrow is not an invasive procedure, it doesn’t cost you anything, and could save someone’s life.

As an adoptee, I don’t have access to any immediate family members who could help me out if I became ill. I also don’t know anything about my medical history. That’s one of the reasons becoming a donor is so important. You could be the match and save someone’s life.

Please take the time to go to Be the Match, read up on what they’re about, and become a donor!  It is really one of the most loving things you could ever do.

August 16, 2010 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

I Was Googling Today…

This documentary was broadcast on BBC International last Friday. I found it today on google and thought it was worth sharing. I was pleased to see the article calls out Holt International for creating a system of “mail order” babies.

I was abandoned in a public market in the beginning of winter”, claims one Korean adoptee.

Every year, around 1,000 South Korean children are given up for adoption in Western countries. The overseas adoption programme began in the 1950s as the impoverished government’s answer to the masses of mixed-race orphans from the Korean War.

All told, around 200,000 Korean children have been adopted overseas over the past 60 years. About 300 of them have since returned to live in Korea – and many are now involved in trying to change the adoption laws.

In this programme, BBC journalist Ellen Otzen meets Jane Trenka and Suki Leith, both of whom were adopted by American families, to explore the impact foreign adoption has had on them.

Successive governments have pledged to end the practice of trans-national adoption. South Korea is now one of the world’s most developed countries, and has one of the lowest birth rates globally, so why are Korean children still being sent away?

Today, 89% of Korean children sent overseas for adoption are born to unwed mothers, who say they are approached by private adoption agencies during their pregnancies and urged to give their children up for adoption.

One of the major players, Holt International Adoption Agency, has often been criticized by Korean adoptees for disregarding the rights of unwed mothers and setting up a system that made Korean “mail-order babies” possible.

Agency head, Molly Holt, argues that the organisation’s main goal is simply to give “unwanted” Korean babies “a permanent, loving family.”

The adoptees say it is time the Korean government makes laws that promote family preservation instead of international adoption.”

You can listen to the documentary here. Please share your thoughts with me!

August 12, 2010 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

On Grief

I think we should be allowed to grieve.

When I was “in the fog” so to speak, I never thought of it that way. I would have said “Grieve?? I’m so grateful I’m adopted, what is there to be sad about?” But it makes sense to grieve. Think about it. As an infant you pretty much lost the only people you ever knew. If you’re an international adoptee, you also lose the only place you ever knew, the only language you ever heard, and more than likely you lose people around you who look like you.

All in one day.

All in one day you lose your entire extended family, your identity, your culture, genealogy, familiarity. All in one day you lose so many things that other people take for granted. In any other situation, people would rightfully expect you to be devastated. They would not demand you forget about the past, move on from your old family to a new one. They would not tell you to be grateful or chastise you for missing your family. They would tell you to grieve. They would hold you as you cried. They’d bring casseroles and let you wallow for a while.

Why is it different just because I was a baby when I lost my whole life?

I really think we should be allowed to grieve.

August 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

I’m a Coward

Yeah.

I’m a coward because I haven’t sent out for my file again. My bank account has seen its fuller days…planning a wedding and saving up for a car have made sure I have very little disposable income lying around. To be completely honest I’d have to admit that it’s actually a little more than the money thing that’s holding me back. I could have saved up the money I needed. I could have eaten out less or waited to put down a deposit on a wedding gown. The real reason I haven’t done it is because I’m a coward.

See, I’ve spent 23ish years building up a sort of sense that I DO matter and I AM important and I AM worthy of love. I’m afraid of what the truth might do to my somewhat fragile façade. I don’t know how to handle it. I’ve just begun to admit to being Asian and slowly embrace my heritage. I am really not sure just how to go about steeling myself for whatever the truth really is.

How do I know when I’m ready? How do I know what to do when the envelope comes and I find out (or don’t)?

I know I’ve let myself down as well as anyone else following my story. And I’m sorry.

August 10, 2010 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment

Teen Mom

I’ll admit it…One of my favorite past times is watching junk tv. Some of my favorites are: Keeping up with the KardashiansKendraThe Real World, and more recently,Teen Mom. This kind of stuff provides a welcome distraction from my real life and zone out. Usually there isn’t anything on these shows I’d consider really “blog post worthy”, but Teen Mom, really deserves a write up here on TQOD.

Teen Mom (which airs on MTV) is a spin-off of Sixteen and Pregnant. The first season featured a different pregnant mom every week and followed from the last few weeks of pregnancy to the first couple months after birth. The show was pretty interesting to me because the majority of the girls kept their babies. Usually the girl decides to give her baby up for adoption ala Juno. And I hate that because it’s so unrealistic that Juno would really be so flip about it all and move on two weeks later.

One particular episode of Sixteen and Pregnant was difficult for me to watch. It followed Caitlyn and her boyfriend Tyler as they decided on adoption for their baby girl Carly. Their parents were not happy with them. They believed Tyler and Caitlyn should have kept baby Carly and parented her. Out of all of the parents from that first season, Tyler and Caitlyn are the two I believe could have been the best parents. They really seemed to love each other, and while their living situations and family life could have been more ideal, the “better life” offered to Carly by adoptive parents is little in comparison to the love they both have for their daughter.

It was sad to me. The adoption agency and adoptive parents promised them an “open” adoption. The adoption didn’t seem open to me at all. They restricted the “openness” to a few letters and photos. Caitlyn and Tyler did not even know their daughter’s new last name or address. They were not able to see her. Not able to visit. Not able to send gifts. How open is an adoption like that? I’d say barely if at all.

I did appreciate the fact that MTV has documented how difficult it was for them. Both have dealt with immense grief surrounding the relinquishment, although the way they rationalize the decision is to tell themselves the same “better life” crap. This season I’ve noticed they are starting to realize that they could have kept their daughter and tried to make a life for her themselves. Sometimes I wish I could reach through the screen and shake them. Tell them what it’s like to be the other party, the one who had no choice. Every time I see the episode where they cry and say goodbye to little Carly, a little part of me hurts for her and for myself. It’s kind of like watching a car accident. You can’t tear yourself away, but it makes you sick to watch.

One of the things that bothers me most about the whole thing is when I see people say they think what Tyler and Caitlyn did was “brave”. Or “selfless”. To me it was really the easy way out. The other moms on the show took the harder road. They’re struggling to balance school, work, friends, and raising a child at a young age. They’re dealing with baby daddy drama, sacrificing their education, money woes, etc. To me they’ve taken the more difficult road.

I think I will continue to watch the show. I hope Caitlyn and Tyler ’s daughter will find her way back to them one day. In the mean time, I hope other people will watch and learn from their heartbreak that giving up a baby is not easy or Juno glamorous.

August 10, 2010 at 5:51 pm 5 comments

Get Your Vote On

Chances are, if you read my blog regularly, you are connected to adoption in some way. That in mind, I ask you to take a minute or so from your busy life to sign this petition at change.org to return adult adoptees the right to their original birth certificates.

I don’t talk about them that much because they don’t apply to me personally since Korea doesn’t have birth certificates anyway. But the denial of original birth certificates to adopted adults in America is unjust and should not be allowed. I personally feel that it goes against all of the civil liberties that the United States stands for. I believe it’s wrong for adult citizens to not have access to birth records due to “confidentiality” of other adults.

In addition to the fact that denial of birth certificates is unfair and discriminatory, since the Patriot Act went into place after 9/11, some adoptees have faced difficulty getting passports or other documentation because their birth certificates are amended.  Can you imagine not being able to go on vacation, to visit family, or on a honeymoon because you are LEGALLY not allowed to get a certain piece of paper? Millions of adopted persons around the country live with that reality every day.

Please go to change.org and sign your name in support of adult adoptees having access to their birth records. Be against discrimination of ANY kind.

The ten petitions with the most votes will be presented to President Obama, so we need all of the votes we can get! Post this to your blog, twitter, or facebook. Email to your friends. Ask them to vote and stand behind all of the Americans who deserve their records.

March 5, 2010 at 11:50 am 4 comments

Adoption Quiz Time

I stole this from my awesome friend Christina who posted it on her blog “Out of the Fog”. If you haven’t been to her site yet, check it out! She’s a great writer and always has something interesting to say. I love hearing her POV on things.

1. How old were you when you were adopted?

I was maybe four months old? Allegedly born in July and adopted in late November.

2. How were you told you had been adopted and at what age?

I can’t remember a time I didn’t know. But then, it’s hard to hide it and lie about it when you are a different race.

3. Were you ever spoken to in a negative way about being adopted by friends, classmates or family members?

Not particularly by my adoptive family…But classmates were known to ask questions like “Why didn’t your real mom want you?” and things like that. Which I suppose are valid questions, even questions I ask myself. But they hurt me a lot at the time.
4. How did you handle questions or comments about your adoption?

Back then? Yikes. I’m sure I was full of sunshine and cupcakes about adoption. I really did believe those sickeningly sweet things I spouted about adoption. I think mostly it was a coping mechanism. Now I keep my statements short, simple, and factual. I don’t speak of it much because it is so damn personal and it’s hard to verbalize it sometimes.

5. Did you ever seek out your birth parent(s)?

Yes/no. As you can see from reading my blog, it’s been really difficult for me to get started on my search. Fear is holding me back at this point. I’m a coward, I know.

6. Were your adoptive parents supportive of your decision to meet or to find your birth parent(s)?

I haven’t given them the chance to be supportive because I haven’t told them. I’m not emotionally ready for that conversation or for having to be responsible for how other people feel about the situation.

7. What made you want to find your birth parent(s) or to meet them?

Natural curiosity. The need to know someone with my same DNA. The desire to find out where I came from and to know I’m not really alone.

8. Has adoption affected you positively or negatively?

More negatively than positvely. But there are some good kernels of happiness that have come to me too. But really more in spite of it than because of it.

9. Do you have siblings? Biological or adopted?

My adoptive sister is a domestic adoptee.
10. If you have adopted siblings, was it beneficial to have someone you could relate to?

We don’t really relate about adoption. She has too much on her plate to be able to open up about how it’s affected her. Right now we’re not able to have those conversations.

11. Do you view adoption in a positive light?

Not really. But it’s not adoption per say that I hate so much. It’s relinquishment.

12. Would you like to adopt? Why?

No. I don’t really feel that adoptees make good adoptive parents. I think there would really be too much reparenting of our old selves to really do any good for a child.

13. Any advice for adoptive parents whose children may be experiencing negative feelings about being adopted?

Acknowledge the loss. Help get them into therapy with a counselor who has experience in treating adoptees.

14. What would be your number one piece of advice for adoptive parents?

Again, acknowledge the loss. That is huge.

15. Anything else you would like to share? Anything prospective adoptive parents or those who have already adopted should know?

Culture and heritage are huge. Understand that diversity is beautiful and if you adopt interracially you need to ensure your child is well immersed within their heritage. It’s who they are and if you love them, you love that part too.

March 5, 2010 at 8:36 am 3 comments

Poverty and Relinquishing Moms…A Fairy Tale??

Um…NO.

I really don’t know why I bother sometimes. I was visiting this site today and reading a post about how a young woman and her husband are trying to adopt a baby. She states in the article that their combined income is less than 13,000. Can you imagine? I mean, I make double that and with my fiance’s income we are close to three times that. And it can still be a struggle! Especially in a down economy!

I made the simple mistake of asking them how they planned to support their child. I don’t know their situation. Maybe they have a really great support system or whatever. I don’t know! That’s why I asked! I stated that it was ironic to me that they would be trying to adopt in such a similar financial situation that generally causes women to relinquish.

And Grand Meister Douche had this to say:

Jim Upchurch

February 17, 2010 at 10:43 am

Ryan & Noel,

Congratulations and best wishes! Don’t be discouraged by the negative comments. They do have points that need to be considered, but if we’re talking anecdotally, I’ve heard both positive and negative stories (mostly positive) from those who’ve been adopted.

kateiskate,

The irony is your logic, not the situation.

You said, “A lot of children are surrendered to adoption because of money issues.” You state this as something you know, but I’m not sure that’s really even knowable. Do you have research to back this up? It would probably be better to say, “my guess is…” or something like that.

But even if a lot of children are surrendered because of money issues, you don’t know if this is true of the child the Cordles will welcome into their family. They’re just beginning. They don’t even know the situation of the “possible” adoption yet, so how could you?

This is what really grates on me regarding those who say “adoption is always evil.” To say that means that you think you know everything about every situation anywhere. I grant that sometimes adoption is wrong and there are terrible abuses and mistakes. But that doesn’t mean all adoption is evil. If you have a beef with how your situation turned out, then warn people of the specifics of your situation. But don’t pretend that you know everything about every situation

Okay, um first of all, if you scroll back through the comments, I definitely didn’t say “adoption is always evil”. I didn’t really say anything bad about it at all. Epic fail, dude.

What bothers me here is the total lack of education that people have about adoption. Of course poverty is one of the main causes of relinquishment. Agencies hound women and make them feel like crap because they can’t afford diapers or formula. Babies are expensive! Over the course of a child’s life it can cost around 184,320 to raise a child.

184,320!!!!!!!

Here are some articles I found on poverty in relinquishing moms just in a quick five minute google search. I’m sure if I looked a little more I could find hundreds of links just like these!

This study by the University of Queensland found that relinquishing mothers were “predominantly in the lowest income group”.

http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:7920

 This article says that “The decision to relinquish a baby appears to be a consequence of an unwanted pregnancy experienced by an economically deprived single mother”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2208982

 This article talks about the coercive tactics agencies use on pregnant women. Including, guess what? Using poverty to convince women they aren’t worthy of their babies.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090914/joyce

 This one says “Poverty is the leading cause of relinquishment”.

http://www.birthmothers.info/infant.pdf

 Poverty IS one of the leading reasons that women relinquish. I hate that there are uneducated people out there trying to convince people there aren’t.

Women are constantly told they are not good enough and should give their child to a family who can give their baby the pony, the pool, and the house in the cul de sac. If all of these things fall through and your child will be poor anyway, what is the point of giving your child away to be poor with someone else? There really is none. At that point it becomes about being honest and stripping away the facade.

Personally I’d be surprised if this couple qualifies to adopt based on their income. If they do, I hope they do some very valuable research into some of the deeper, darker parts of adoption no one really likes to talk about it. And take it from me, you can’t get information about adoption from people who haven’t been there. That’s like telling people who’ve had cancer that you know what it’s like. You can’t. It just doesn’t work that way.

February 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm 14 comments

Back Again (ish)

I’m back again. Sorry to have been gone yet again. I seem to be hanging out more on my other blog and worrying about my wedding and saving up to buy a house. It’s nice sometimes to try and be a “civilian” and not think about things so much.

I never did mail any money to my adoption agency after I got the money back from my apartment complex the way I said I was going to here. I ended up using it on Christmas presents and pushing the file to the back of my mind.

Yes, I am ashamed about it. And I know I can’t talk about missing my first mom or being angry about things having to be this way if I’m not actively trying to change things for myself. Maybe that’s another reason I’ve been gone.

That and it can be totally emotionally draining to think about the loss and what it really means to me.

So as of today I have forty dollars sitting in a jar in my bedroom closet. I keep tossing loose change and any single dollar bills in there. I have to do it this time. I HAVE to. I owe it to myself. And even if I don’t deserve my natural family, my future kids deserve to know their medical history. My future husband deserves to know if my medical history says I might keel over from some genetic anamoly in three years.

So NMama, if somehow you have awesome English skill and are reading this now, I’m sorry. I still feel like I don’t deserve you and that you still won’t want me.  And some part of me really feels like YOU should find ME since it’s YOUR fault we’re apart.

love,

your darling daughter

February 17, 2010 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

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