Auf der Suche nach meiner Familie in Kolumbien

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Suche im Bereich internationale Adoption series. These individual stories are being shared from our Perspektivenpapier that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

von Jose Taborda, born in Colombia, raised in the USA

First journal entry by my adoptive mother

In the spring of 1978, I was born in Medellin, Colombia. Separated from my first family by adoption, I was brought by my adoptive parents to New Jersey and grew up with my younger adoptive sister in a Northern New Jersey suburb just outside of New York City.

I was lucky as an adoptee because my adoptive parents made a conscious decision to talk to me about my adoption from an early age. They attended a couple of workshops about adopting a child offered by an adoption agency prior to my adoption where they had been counselled to inform me as soon as possible about my adoption so as to normalise it for me. This advice informed their approach in terms of collecting information and artefacts of my adoption. This included stories of my adoption in Colombia in the form of journal entries written by my adoptive mother, a photograph of my first mother, and my adoption records containing identifying information about my first mother. 

Upon refection, it wasn’t just luck and good advice, my parents were compassionate people who made the decision to share what they knew about my origins with me throughout my life. They had the right instincts that led them not only to send me a dossier containing every artefact about my adoption while I was in college and I first expressed an interest in searching, but also to support my search when I began. 

 When I moved to New York City in my mid-twenties, I started searching. At the time, I had a Yahoo! Email account and noticed that it offered searchable interest groups. There was a group called Colombian Adoptee Search and Support (CASAS), which gathered many people like me: twenty-something Colombian adoptees who grew up around New York City and living in the area! I was shocked to find hundreds of people who were sharing resources about searching, so I started making connections and attending meetups and dinners in Brooklyn and Manhattan where we enjoyed sharing stories and Latino fare. 

Through these meetups, I had gotten the contact information of a private investigator in Medellin with whom I started to interact about my search. Because I had identifying information about my first mother, it took him two weeks to find her. A couple weeks after that, I had my first phone call with her. As one can imagine, finding my first mother within a month of beginning my search was all a whirlwind and very overwhelming. My excitement got the best of me, and I dove right into making plans for a reunion. Well, all of this came as a shock to my adoptive mother and sister, who weren’t as excited as me. They felt threatened by my news. I remember spending a lot of time convincing them that I wasn’t trying to replace them, but rather, it would be an opportunity to learn about my origins. They were not convinced that it was so simple. Searching for first family by adoptees may bring up many past trauma wounds for all members of the adoption constellation. I have heard stories of adoptees shying away from doing any searching while their adoptive parents are still alive due to the raw emotions around adoption that are very rarely acknowledged and dealt with during an adoptive family’s time living together. And when the possibility of a reunion arises, adoptees may find themselves having to reckon with these complicated emotions. This reckoning is not our responsibility as adoptees, but it may be an unanticipated and unwelcome reality that adoptees must face when searching and reuniting with first family.

Coincidentally, the film “Las Hijas” was going to be screened. It was timely that Maria Quiroga, a local filmmaker, was releasing the film profiling three female Colombian adoptees and their reunions with first family.  So I invited my mother and sister to join me. It was an interesting experience because the filmmaker handled the subject matter responsibly in presenting the reality of how complicated reunions between adoptees and first family can be. It helped to see this objective perspective on the emotionally charged situation that was playing out for us. It provided a context for our sensitive conversations, and it helped us to understand that we were not the only ones experiencing the feelings we were. Despite all of that, we continued to have conversations that required my soothing their frayed feelings around my upcoming reunion. 

One thing that stands out for me now sixteen years later as I reflect on my reunion as a young man, is that I did not pursue any mental health support to guide me on that complicated endeavour. In my local adoptee community, the discussion was more centred on the topic of search and reunion in my memory and not as much on adoption mental health issues. However, I acknowledge there is a high likelihood my antenna wasn’t tuned to that particular signal, so to speak. More recently, I have read a lot of highly-respected literature about adoption and mental health including Die Urwunde by Nancy Verrier and Journey of the Adopted Self by Betty Jean Lifton to name a couple of outstanding examples. I am a regular listener to adoptee podcasts including Adoptierte auf with host Haley Radke and Adapted with host Kaomi Lee among others. I have met many adoptees and I am lucky to live close to an adoptee organization called Also Known As, Inc. that hosts meet ups for transracial, intercountry adoptees. Wise adoptees and adoption professionals these days counsel adoptees who are engaged in reunion to set some boundaries that include having a third-party present during reunion meetings, not staying with first family right away, and pursuing therapy before, during, and after reunion. I did none of those things. 

All of this gathering of resources and self-education on the intersection of adoption and mental health has demonstrated to me that I took a very impetuous, uninformed, and quite risky path on my reunion journey. I stayed with my first mother and her family for three weeks at their home in an outlying municipality of Medellin. I do have very positive memories from my first visit in 2006 that led me to return in the two subsequent years. However, somewhere down the line some members of my first family started to develop expectations that involved money. It was not much at first, but, with time, their boldness grew. This expectation made me uncomfortable because I didn’t want to have to explain to any of them that I am a professional in a field that is not very highly-compensated. To them, I was just the more fortunate one who was able to escape their humble circumstances. No matter how difficult my personal situation was, they are right that I had many more opportunities in the U.S. than they did in Colombia, but I did not feel that it was my responsibility to have to provide for them. I wanted to just get to know them knowing that it would take time to develop a family bond. Truly, I faced hard feelings when they asked for money and that made things very confusing for me. While I know that my experience is not unique, I wished that it wasn’t part of my reunion story. At some point, I stopped contacting them because it all became too much for me. This is where an intervention such as adoption-focused therapy would have been helpful. 

Some years passed and I turned the page on my adoption by quite literally ceasing to think about my adoption and pausing all the actions I had taken to learn about my origins during my twenties. I turned thirty, I got married and became a new father, and I wanted to focus on my new family in Brooklyn. I was also in graduate school, so juggling responsibilities was the theme starting in 2010. Since that time, a lot has changed.

Nowadays, I am divorced, I am co-parenting a budding teenager, and I have settled into a career as a college educator. As I moved into middle-age, I became more introspective, and I found myself interrogating some difficult feelings that felt like depression and anxiety. When I realised that I did not have easy answers to that line of inquiry, I began searching for ways to remove barriers to happiness that had started showing up. It started to dawn on me that my adoption may be the cause of some of my bad decisions in life and the source of a feeling of malaise that crept in every now and again. I remember once sitting on a beach in the Rockaways with my best friend and confidant of many years and reflecting out loud that I should look into therapy for adoption to try to answer some nagging questions. 

About six months after that conversation in 2021, I got around to doing some basic internet searching and was amazed by what I found. There was so much work that had been done in the intervening years since I started my search. As I previously mentioned, I went down a path of self-education, I engaged in some adoption-focused group therapy, and I have been attending online and in-person support groups made up of adoptees since that discovery. I have learned so much about myself and adoption since I started to reconnect to my adopted-self. Some of it has been difficult, but I am very happy to have opened myself up to feel, meditate, inquire, grieve, and build community. It is cliche, but I wish I knew during my reunion and prior what I know now. 

In short, I hope that adoptees who are on the bold path of searching and reuniting with first family will take careful, well-informed steps. I know from my experience that there are no easy answers, and reunion may be when many hard questions rise to the surface. However, that search for the discovery and recovery of self and identity is worth it all because even if one does not find first family, there is so much to learn about oneself along the way. 

I hope that adoptees take the time to explore all of the particular intersections of adoption and mental health including, but not limited to, the Primal Wound theory, the post-traumatic stress implications of adoption, ambiguous loss, and the Adoptee Consciousness Model. Most definitely read the two books by Verrier and Lifton previously mentioned. Check out Damon Davis’ podcast Who Am I Really?, and the two others previously mentioned. Read JaeRan Kim’s brilliant blog Harlow’s Monkey. If looking for a therapist in the U.S., check out Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker’s adoptee therapist directory curated on her website Grow Beyond Words. If one does not have the money to pursue therapy, there are plenty of books, podcasts, and support groups that could provide information and resources helpful in informing decisions around searching, finding, and reunion with first family. Just start checking out all of the amazing resources on Lynelle Long’s comprehensive treasure of a website InterCountry Adoptee Voices. Search on Facebook for a group you can join that holds online support groups, or, even better, search for a local group in your area to meet up in person with adoptees. A great place to search for a local group in the USA is on Pamela A. Karanova’s website Adoptees Connect

The above is just a cursory glance at some of the most salient resources I have found that have nourished my soul as I step into more consciousness about my adoption on my journey of self-discovery. My greatest hope is that someone reading these words may find something in them to hold onto. 

Coming Next: Auf der Suche nach meiner Familie in China


Suche und Wiedervereinigung bei der internationalen Adoption

Trauer in der Adoption

von Cosette Eisenhauer von China in die USA adoptiert, Mitbegründer von Adoption navigieren

Trauer ist ein seltsames Konzept. Ich erwarte, dass ich Menschen betrauere, die ich kenne, Familie und Freunde, die verstorben sind. In diesen Zeiten macht es Sinn, den Verlust eines geliebten Menschen zu betrauern. Ich kenne sie und ich habe sie geliebt. Ich bin in der Lage, eine Person zu betrauern, die ich getroffen habe, eine Person, die mein Leben aus dem einen oder anderen Grund beeinflusst hat. Menschen trauern auch, wenn es zu tragischen Ereignissen kommt, oft kommt es dazu, dass sie ihre Namen und Gesichter kennen.

Meine leiblichen Eltern und das Leben, das ich in China geführt haben könnte, zu betrauern, ist eine seltsame Art von Trauer. Menschen zu betrauern, die ich nie getroffen habe und die ich nie gelebt habe, ist eine verwirrende Art von Trauer. Es gibt keine Person, auf die man schauen könnte, es gibt keinen Namen, der mit der Trauer einhergeht. Dann gibt es die Trauer und Taubheit, wenn es darum geht, die Informationen zu betrauern, die ich nicht kenne. Trauer als internationaler Adoptierter ist insgesamt ein seltsames Konzept, es ist ein seltsames Wort.

Es gab immer eine Lücke in meinem Herzen für meine leibliche Familie. Ein Traum von mir war, meine leibliche Familie bei meiner Hochzeit zu haben, und je näher der Tag rückt, desto realer wird das Verständnis, dass dieser Traum wahrscheinlich nicht in Erfüllung gehen wird. Die Trauer war so real, sie hat mich übermannt. Manchmal kommt die Trauer, die ich habe, und ich merke nicht einmal, dass es Trauer ist, bis ich zu der Zeit kämpfe. Es ist das gleiche Konzept der Trauer um jemanden, den ich persönlich kenne, es gibt keinen Namen, kein Gesicht für diese Person(en). Ich kannte nie ihre Stimme oder ihren Lebensstil. Es trauert um jemanden, den ich nie getroffen habe.

Ich habe gelernt, dass es in Ordnung ist zu trauern, ich bin ein Mensch. Jede einzelne Person hat jemanden verloren, den sie kennt, und sie haben den Trauerprozess durchlaufen. Menschen trauern auf unterschiedliche Weise. Ich vergleiche die Art, wie ich trauere, nicht mit der Art, wie jemand anderes trauert. Es gibt keinen Zeitplan, wann ich aufhören sollte zu trauern. Ich denke vielleicht, ich bin fertig, und dann geht es wieder los.

Sie können Cosette folgen unter:
Instagram: Linkedin: Adoption navigieren Webseite:

Bestätigung, dass wir als Adoptierte geboren wurden

von Hollee McGinnis geboren in Südkorea, adoptiert in die USA, Gründer von Also Known As (AKA), Assistenzprofessor für Sozialarbeit an der Virginia Commonwealth University

Wie bei vielen Adoptierten waren die einzigen Bilder, die ich von meiner Geburt hatte, die von mir, als ich ungefähr im Alter von zwei Jahren in das Waisenhaus kam, das meine Eltern davon überzeugte, dass ich ihre Tochter sein würde, und Fotos von meiner Ankunft in den USA, als ich es war drei. Und so fühlte ich mich als Kind, als wäre ich auf einer Boeing 747 vom Himmel gefallen, gehend, sprechend und aufs Töpfchen trainiert.

Geboren zu sein war fremd. Ich hatte keine Beweise dafür, dass es mir passierte, niemand, der mein Spiegel war, der mich daran erinnerte, außer als ich in einen Spiegel spähte und ein Gesicht sah, das mir fremd vorkam, weil es nicht zu den Gesichtern derer passte, die ich meine Familie nannte , blickt zurück.

Es war eine lange Reise, dieses Gesicht, diesen Körper, der all das Wissen meiner Geburt in sich trug, zu kennen ~ und zu akzeptieren und zu lieben ~. Das Terrain meines Gesichts trage ich von meiner Mutter und meinem Vater und meinen Vorfahren in Korea. Doch die Lachfältchen, die Krähenfüße sind alle geprägt von einem Leben voller Liebe meiner Familie und Freunde in Amerika.

Nachdem ich meine Umma, meine koreanische Mutter, zum ersten Mal getroffen hatte, gab sie das obige Bild von mir (links) als Säugling, das sie bei sich getragen hatte, an meinen Pflegevater, den Direktor meines Waisenhauses, der es mir schickte . Ich erinnere mich, dass meine Mutter Eva Marie McGinnis und ich beide schockiert waren, mich als Kleinkind mit meinen lockigen Haaren zu sehen! Auch ihr war jeglicher Beweis meiner Kindheit verweigert worden.

Später, als ich meine Umma wiedersah, erzählte sie mir, sie hätte es gekräuselt und dieses Foto von mir gemacht. Sie lachte herzlich über das Fotografieren und es war klar, dass es eine glückliche Erinnerung für sie zurückbrachte. Ich versuchte, mir den Moment vorzustellen, der auf diesem Foto festgehalten wurde: meine Umma, die sich die Zeit nahm, einem Kleinkind die Haare zu kräuseln (ich muss die ganze Zeit gezappelt haben!), die Kleidung, die sie auswählte, und einen Platz für mich zu finden. Alle Gesten fühlten sich so vertraut an, Erinnerungen an meine Mutter, die mir half, meine Haare zu kämmen, nach einem schönen Kleid zu suchen, einen Platz für mich zum Posen zu finden (siehe Junior-Abschlussball-Foto unten).

Integration ist ein Weg zur Ganzheit, und doch ist dies für so viele Adoptierte nicht möglich, weil es keine Gelegenheit gibt, die Geburtsfamilie zu finden, kein Foto, keine Erinnerung, um den Geist anzuregen, sich etwas vorzustellen und Bedeutung zu geben. Und so bleibt uns ein vages Gefühl, natürlich zu wissen, richtig, ich habe eine Blutslinie, ich wurde geboren. Aber uns bleiben nur die Alterungsmerkmale unserer Gesichter und Körper als Zeugen dafür, dass wir wie der Rest der Menschheit in diese Welt hineingeboren wurden, aber daran gehindert werden, wahrheitsgemäße Informationen darüber zu haben.

Daher wünsche ich mir an meinem Geburtstag, dass alle Adoptierten Zugang zu Informationen über ihre Herkunft haben, damit sie die Bestätigung ihrer Geburt und ihres Menschseins erhalten können. Und ich lade alle ein, die sich von ihren Ursprüngen getrennt fühlen, zu wissen, dass du sie in deinem Körper trägst. Ihre Fähigkeit, in den Spiegel zu schauen und Ihre Mutter und Ihren Vater mit der Liebe, dem Mitgefühl und der Zärtlichkeit zu sehen, mit der Sie ein Babybild betrachten würden, ist das Foto, nach dem Sie immer gesucht haben.

Sie können sich mit Hollee bei Insta verbinden @hollee.mcginnis


Lesen Sie Hollees früheren Anteil bei ICAV ab 2014 Identität

Andere Artikel von Hollee McGinnis

Die Gedanken eines Adoptierten zu Haaland vs. Brackeen

von Patrick Armstrong von Südkorea in die USA adoptiert, adoptierter Sprecher, Podcaster und Community Facilitator, Co-Host der Janchi-Show, Mitbegründer von Asiatische Adoptierte von Indiana

Heute wird der Oberste Gerichtshof den Fall verhandeln Haaland gegen Brackeen.

Was auf dem Spiel steht?

Der Indisches Kinderwohlfahrtsgesetz (ICWA) und möglicherweise andere föderale Schutzmaßnahmen für indigene Stämme.

Laut New York Times:

„Das Gesetz wurde entworfen, um auf mehr als ein Jahrhundert zu reagieren, in dem indigene Kinder von Sozialarbeitern gewaltsam aus Stammesheimen entfernt, in Regierungs- und Missionsinternate geschickt und dann in weißen christlichen Häusern untergebracht wurden.

Das Ziel des Gesetzes, die Wiedervereinigung – die Unterbringung einheimischer Kinder in Stammesfamilien – ist seit langem ein Goldstandard, wie aus Schriftsätzen hervorgeht, die von mehr als zwei Dutzend Kinderschutzorganisationen unterzeichnet wurden.

Der Aufbau der Verbindung eines einheimischen Kindes zur erweiterten Familie, zum kulturellen Erbe und zur Gemeinschaft durch Stammesplatzierung, sagten sie, sei inhärent in der Definition des „besten Interesses des Kindes“ und ein kritischer stabilisierender Faktor, wenn das Kind die Pflegefamilie verlässt oder altert. ”


Die Brackeens kämpfen gegen dieses Gesetz, weil sie 2015 ein Navajo-Kind aufgezogen und dann adoptiert haben und zusammen mit anderen Familien glauben, dass es einfacher sein sollte, indigene Kinder zu adoptieren.

Das behauptet die Verteidigung "Das Gesetz diskriminiert Kinder der amerikanischen Ureinwohner sowie nicht-einheimische Familien, die sie adoptieren wollen, weil es die Platzierungen auf der Grundlage der Rasse bestimmt." 🫠🫠🫠

☝🏼 Es ist mir nicht entgangen, dass dieser Fall im November verhandelt wird, der sowohl National Adoptee Awareness Month als auch Native American Heritage Month ist.

✌🏼 Dieser Fall weist vor allem auf die systemischen Probleme hin, die indigene Gemeinschaften unterdrücken und die Erfahrungen von Adoptierten ungültig machen.

Weiße Leute, die adoptieren wollen, müssen diese einfache Tatsache verstehen:


Vor allem ein Kind der globalen Mehrheit.

⭐️ Uns zu fördern oder zu adoptieren macht dich nicht automatisch zu einem guten Menschen.

⭐️ Uns zu fördern oder zu adoptieren „rettet uns“ vor nichts.

⭐️ Zu glauben, dass Sie berechtigt sind, das Kind eines jeden zu adoptieren oder zu pflegen, ist die Definition von Privileg.

Wenn die Brackeens und ihre Nebenkläger so viel Zeit, Energie und Mühe investierten, indigene Familien und Gemeinschaften zu unterstützen, während sie versuchten, das Verfassungsrecht aufzuheben, wer weiß, wie viele Familien hätten gerettet werden können?

Warum arbeiten wir in diesem Sinne nicht aktiv daran, Familien zu erhalten?

🧐 Das ist diesen Monat die Frage: Warum nicht Familienerhalt?

Folgen Sie Patrick auf Insta: @patrickintheworld oder auf LinkedIn @Patrick Armstrong


Der Oberste Gerichtshof befasst sich mit einem Fall, in dem es um die Frage geht, wer indigene Kinder adoptieren kann

Live hören: Der Oberste Gerichtshof befasst sich mit Fällen zum Adoptionsgesetz, das zum Schutz der Familien der amerikanischen Ureinwohner bestimmt ist

Anfechtung des indischen Kindeswohlfahrtsgesetzes

Wie sich der SCOTUS-Fall eines evangelikalen Paares auf Kinder der amerikanischen Ureinwohner auswirken könnte

Der Oberste Gerichtshof wird über die Zukunft des indischen Kindeswohlfahrtsgesetzes entscheiden

Jena Martins Artikel das sich mit den Unterschieden und Ähnlichkeiten zwischen dem ICWA und dem Haager Übereinkommen über die internationale Adoption befasst

Angst und Verwundbarkeit von Adoptierten

von Oleg Loughed, von Russland in die USA adoptiert. Gründer von Widerstände überwinden.

Ich habe meine Geburtsfamilie vermisst.

Ich wollte sie wiedersehen.

Aber es war nicht mehr möglich.

Stattdessen musste ich mich mit dem zufrieden geben, was war.

Das Telefon.

Ich, als ich ihre Stimme hörte, als sie Tausende von Kilometern über den Atlantik reiste.

Eine Stimme, die voller Angst und Liebe war.

Sie, die meine Stimme hören.

Die Bestätigung, dass ich lebe und dass alles gut läuft.

Die Wartezeit zwischen den Anrufen war schwer zu bewältigen.

Jeder Anruf brachte viele Emotionen hoch.

Emotionen, auf die ich nicht vorbereitet war.

Während ich in Russland lebte, wurde mir nicht beigebracht, mit meinen Gefühlen umzugehen.

Ein Teil von mir wollte etwas Neues ausprobieren.

Ich wandte mich an meine Adoptiveltern.

Doch jedes Mal, wenn ich meine Schultern drehte und meinen Mund öffnete, schloss er sich sofort.

Ich hatte das Gefühl, dass das Teilen dieser Emotionen mit ihnen ihnen das Gefühl geben würde, weniger oder so zu sein, als ob sie etwas falsch gemacht hätten.

Also behielt ich sie für mich.

Verborgen, Tiefen unter der Oberfläche.


Erst einige Zeit später konnte ich mitteilen, was ich durchmachte.

Das Narrativ, an das ich geglaubt hatte und das meinen Eltern das Gefühl gab, dass sie etwas falsch gemacht hätten, diente mir nicht mehr.

Ich brach zusammen, als ich mit meiner Adoptivmutter an meiner Seite in meinem Schlafzimmer saß.

Rückblickend spielte sie eine große Rolle dabei, mir zu helfen, zu verstehen, wie ich fühlen und darüber sprechen sollte, was ich fühlte.

Ihre Entscheidung, mir zuzuhören, gab mir ein sicheres Gefühl.

Ihre Worte, nachdem ich mit dem Teilen fertig war, boten den dringend benötigten Trost und die Bestätigung, dass es in Ordnung war, zu fühlen, wie ich mich fühlte.

Ihre Neugier auf mich und über mich wurde zu einem Sprungbrett, um mir zu helfen, mich für die kommenden Jahre zu fühlen.

Weitere Informationen von Oleg finden Sie in seinem TedX-Vortrag. Widerstände überwinden
Folgen Sie ihm auf Facebook, Instagram und LinkedIn @overcomingodds

Adoption kann ein psychologisches Gefängnis sein

How do I start over?

The question echoes in my brain every day here in Hawaii, now totally away from the relations of my former adopted life.

How do I live anew as one person in this world?

I left my adoptee ties that were technically governmentally bonded relations that I had no control over as a Filipino orphaned child circa 1980’s. For me, they had been total strangers and I didn’t have any oversight or support in post-adoption.

As time went on for me, I wasn’t able to have the fortune to get to know my biological family as after my reunion in 2012 in the Philippines, I decided to go my own way once I discovered our language barriers and my inability to confirm any facts on them.

So yes, fast-forward to current times and it is Sunday, and I have relinquished my bond of my adoptive ties for various reasons, and it hasn’t been easy but for me, it was necessary.

This break action has been mental, emotional and physical. Slamming this lever down included making physically strategic distance by moving far, far away on my own to the Pacific islands in 2019, re-establishing dual citizenship to my birth country in the Philippines in 2021, and civilly sending a kindly written email to my adoptive parents this year after my adoptive brother’s jarring and untimely death.

Additionally, the extended adoptive ties I’ve noticed can also naturally deteriorate with time itself after years of peaceful but gently intentional non-communication.

What happens after you’re on this path of annexation, you wonder?

For me, I’ve arrived at an interesting intersection in my adulthood when I’ve sort of returned to a former state of orphanhood with no real station in life, no bonds, all biological history, heritage and economic status obsolete all over again.

Doesn’t sound that appealing, I know! Tell me about it.

The perk is that instead of being a vulnerable child, I am a 36-year-old woman living in Hawaii. I have rights. I am in control of my wellbeing and fate. I have responsibilities. I drive my own car, I pay bills, I have funds; I have a job and I am not helpless.

I can take care of myself. So to me, the biggest perks are in being healthy and reclaiming my life, identity and sovereignty needed over my own needs and wellbeing.

So quickly the adoptee bond can turn into toxic relations if the parents are narcissistic or emotionally or physically abusive.

After the death of my adopted brother, who was also a Filipino American adoptee and died of severe mental issues and alcohol poisoning, I had a stark wake-up call of how these adoptee relations were silently impacting me too.

And I had to make better choices for myself, I would be risking too much if I ignored this.

It is like leaving a psychological prison, I told Lynelle on a weekend in May.

After some reflection, I realized that as a child and having to make structured attachments from being displaced, this legal bond fastens.

And as a displaced, vulnerable child, I think one falls privy to co-dependency, the need for a family structure overrides even the need for safety for his or her own wellbeing, like if abuses arise in this domestic home.

Or other aspects might not nurture the adoptee, like when the child isn’t being culturally nurtured according to their birth country.

Or when the parents or family members are financially and socially acceptable as to meeting criteria of adoption, but possess narcissistic personalities which is also detrimental to the child’s personal, emotional, psychological and cultural development.

A child stays glued and psychologically devoted to their family ties through development stages and on past adulthood because the need for foundational attachments is paramount to one’s psychological upbringing and success.

And if these ties are in any way bad for the adoptee early on, I think these relations that were once saving can quickly turn into a psychological prison because you are truly bound to these social ties until you’re strong enough to realize that you have a choice.

And you can break out of this bond, this governmentally established bond, although possibly later on as an adult. And, with some finesse.

As an adult adoptee, from my experience adoptive ties that develop healthily or dysfunctionally, after a certain amount of time both types transitions into permanence to that adoptee. Adoptive ties mesh and fuse just the same as biological ties, once you’ve gone so long in the developmental process.

This adoptive relation is totally amazing when it’s good, like any good relationship.

The spin is that when there are issues plaguing the adoptive unit, which can be subtle, interplaying with the personality and culture of the adoptive relations, these issues can go totally disguised, unreported, and it can be toxic and the affects can last a lifetime.

From experience, I see that it is because the adoptee child is vulnerable and doesn’t know how to report issues in the relations, because the option isn’t even granted to them.

No one is really there to give or tell the adoptee child that they have these rights or options. When it comes to post-adoption, there isn’t much infrastructure.

Sadly, if dynamics are not supportive to the adoptee, in time, it can cost an adoptee the cultural bonds to their own birth country or the loss of their native language.

It can cost an adoptee their sanity and mental health.

It can cost an adoptee their self-esteem, which all bleeds and returns into the social sea of their placement or back out into other countries.

And, it can cost an adoptee their life.

On the upside, if the placement is good, it can save a person’s life as well! And it can allow this adoptee happiness and joy forevermore.

Each side of the coin both instills an adoptee’s human value and the toll the placement takes on every child who becomes an adult in society is also expensive, leading to exponential advantage and success in society, or potential burnouts.

For me, my adoptive placement was costly in the end. However, I was still able to survive, work and live. I was materialistically taken care of, thankfully.

I honestly think much was due to my own faith, offbeat imagination and whatever blind luck I was born with that all carried me through this.

Overall, this has been a total trip and my journey has been very far from embodying the traditional fairy tale adoption story.

So now, it’s time to do the hard work, an adoptee mentor messaged me today. But I can do it, we all can do it! It just takes good choices and regular upkeep.

Nearing the end of this post, I will share to my adoptee community that we have a choice especially once we’re of legal age. I’m sort of a wildflower in general, and a late bloomer, so I’m coming out of the fog and becoming aware now in my mid-thirties.

Yes, we have a lot to rear ourselves depending on the economic status we find ourselves in without our adoptee ties. But like other adoptee peer support has shared, you should not do this kind of thing by yourself. You can have support structures the whole time in this.

And yes, it is terrifying, because you will have to rebuild your sense of identity when leaving toxic family relations. As yes, it can be like rebuilding your identity all over again from when you leave them and start anew, as a now a self-made, sovereign person.

From a Hawaiian private school I work at now, I have come to find that cultural identity building begins in the present and it is built upon values, history, education and the wisdom of the past. Now that I have found a home in Hawaii, maybe I can learn more about it.

I will also be working on weekly goals that I hope to share to the community as I continue on this never-ending journey.

In conclusion, if you are in a good adoptive family, God bless your fortune and I have so much love and happiness for you! However, if you are needing to split away from the ties, like if your adoption wasn’t that healthy, then please know it isn’t impossible.

Professional and peer support is here for you, every day on your way to freedom. You can create your own sovereignty, it will just take work.

Read Desiree’s earlier post at ICAV: What I Lost When I Was Adopted and follow her at Weebly or Instagram @starwoodletters.

Amerika – Sie haben es schwer gemacht, stolz darauf zu sein, asiatisch-amerikanisch zu sein

by Mary Choi Robinson, adopted from South Korea to the USA

As I sit down to my laptop it is May 2, the second day of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Awareness Month and I reflect on Alice Wu’s The Half of It I watched last night to commemorate the first day of AAPI month. Watching the movie with my daughter, I thought how I wished it or something like it had been available when I was a teenager or even in my early twenties. To see an entire film focused on the life of a young Asian woman on the cusp of self-discovery and adulthood would have made me feel seen and a part of the fabric of American identity. So while this month is meant to showcase AAPI heritage I am not in fact proud to be Asian-American…yet.

I am sure my previous statement will elicit reactions from disbelief, to shock, to anger, and everything in between from varying groups of identities. So let me explain why I am not proud yet, how America made it nearly impossible for me to be proud, and how I’m gaining pride in my Asianness. As a Korean adoptee, raised by white parents in predominately-white areas, I have always navigated two racial worlds that often oppose each other and forever contradict my identity. The whiteness of my parents did not insulate or protect me from racism and in fact would even appear at home. When I first arrived to the US, my sister, my parent’s biological child, took me in as her show and tell for school with our parents’ blessing. Her all white classmates and teacher were fascinated with me and some even touched my “beautiful silky shiny jet black” hair, something that would continue into my early thirties until I realized I did not have to allow people to touch my hair. Although I start with this story, this is not a piece about being a transracial, transnational adoptee—that is for another day, maybe in November for National Adoption Awareness Month—but to illustrate how my Asian identity exists in America.

As I grew up, I rarely saw other Asians let alone interacted with them. Instead, I lived in a white world full of Barbie, blonde hair and blue eyes in movies, television shows, magazines, and classrooms. The rare times I did see Asians in person were once a year at the Chinese restaurant to celebrate my adoption day or exaggerated or exocticized caricatures in movies and tv shows. Think Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Long Duck Dong in Sixteen Candles, or Ling Ling the “exotic gem of the East” in Bewitched. Imagine instead an America where Wu’s film or To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before oder Crazy Rich Asian oder Fresh Off the Boat oder Kim’s Convenience would have opened up for generations of Asian Americans. Rarely would I spot another Asian in the school halls. However, I could never form friendships with them, heavens no, they were real full Asians and society had taught me they were weird, ate strange smelly things, talked funny, and my inner adolescent warned me association with “them” would only make me more of an outsider, more Asian. In classrooms from K-12 and even in college, all eyes, often including the teacher, turned to me when anything about an Asian subject, regardless of whether it was about China, Vietnam, Korea, etc., as the expert to either verify or deny the material. I always dreaded when the material even had the mention of an Asian country or food or whatever and would immediately turn red-faced and hot while I rubbed my sweaty palms on my pant legs until the teacher moved on, hoping the entire time I would not be called on as an expert like so many times before.

My white family and white friends would lull me into a false sense of belonging and whiteness by association. That false sense of security would shatter when they so easily and spontaneously weaponized my Asianness against me with racial slurs during arguments. Of course, I was used to racist verbal attacks from complete strangers, I had grown up on a diet of it, but it especially pained me from friends and family. The intimacy of those relationships turned the racism into acts of betrayal. That was the blatant racism; the subtle subversive racism caused just as much damage to my sense of pride. As a young professional in my early twenties, a white colleague told me how beautiful I was “for an Asian girl.” A Latina student in one of my courses loudly and clearly stated, “The first day of class, I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to understand you and I’m so glad your English is so good!” And of course I regularly receive the always popular, “Where are you from? No, where are you really from?” Because Asian Americans, whether born here or not, are always seen as foreigners.

AAPI Awareness Month did not even become official until 1992. But anti-Asian sentiment in the US has a long history and was sealed in 1882 with the first national stance on anti-immigration that would be the catalyst for future immigration policies, better known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, coincidentally signed into law also in the month of May. In February 1942, the US rounded up and interned Japanese-Americans and Asian-Americans of non-Japanese decent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Now in 2020 amidst the global lockdown of Covid-19, anti-Asian attacks, both verbal and physical, have increased to startling numbers. As recently as April 28, NBC News reported Over 30 percent of Americans have witnessed COVID-19 bias against Asians. Think about that—this is Americans reporting this not Asian Americans. The attacks have been worldwide but this report shows what Asian Americans are dealing with alongside the stress of the pandemic situation in the US. Keep in mind the attacks on Asian Americans are not just from white folks, indeed we’re fair game for everyone as evidenced by Jose Gomez’s attempt to murder an Asian American family including a two-year old child in Midland, Texas in March. Let that sink in—a two-year old child simply because they are Asian! Asians are being spat on, sprayed, Und worse by every racial group.

To help combat this current wave of American anti-Asian sentiment, highly visible leader and former presidential candidate, Andrew Yang advised Asian Americans in a Washington Post op-ed to:

“…embrace and show our American-ness in ways we never have before. We need to step up, help our neighbors, donate gear, vote, wear red white and blue, volunteer, fund aid organizations, and do everything in our power to accelerate the end of this crisis. We should show without a shadow of a doubt that we are Americans who will do our part for our country in this time of need.”

My reaction to Mr. Yang’s response bordered on anger at the implication for Asian Americans to continue the perpetuation of the model minority myth. The danger of which, besides reinforcing divides between racial and minority groups, extols the virtue of suffer in silence. Do not make waves, keep your head down, be a “good” American. Sorry Mr. Yang, I am finally gaining pride in my Asianess and I cannot and will not stay silent any longer.

It has taken me my whole life to gain nuggets of pride in my Asian identity. Now I appreciate the color of my tan skin and dark almond-shaped eyes and no longer compare my physical beauty to white women and the standards society has forced on us all. For the first time I actually see myself, and all Asian women and men, as beautiful because of and not in spite of being Asian. I no longer avoid other Asians and cherish friendships with those who look like me. I love to explore the diversity of Asian cuisines, cultures, and traditions and continue to learn about them since, remember, “Asian” is diverse and not a monolith of just one culture. Now I speak up without fear of rejection or lack of acceptance when I witness anti-Asian or any racist behavior and use those moments as teaching opportunities whenever I can. I no longer resent not being able to pass as white. I am becoming proud to be Asian.

Read Mary’s earlier blog My Adoption Day Is An Anniversary of Loss

Poetry Reflects My Inner World

von Kevin Minh Allen, adopted from Vietnam to the USA.

I came to poetry late, but it surfaced in my life at a time when I needed it most. Poetry has always been a means for me to collect, investigate, and reflect my inner world, which has been undoubtedly imprinted with the indelible mark of adoption. The following poems seek not answers but to raise questions inside anyone who may be listening:

You can follow more of Kevin’s work at website: Sleep is No Comfort

Mein Adoptionstag ist ein Jahrestag des Verlustes

by Mary Choi Robinson, adopted from South Korea to the USA.

This is Choi Soon Kyu.

She is about 4 years old in this picture and recently orphaned and sick from the ravages of poverty.

Before this picture was taken she had a prior life and was someone’s child, someone’s daughter with most likely a different name.

About 8 months after this picture on February 18, she will be delivered to the US, be given a new identity and family; a new life that is foreign, scary, and imposed upon her. Her name will be changed and she will lose her language and culture to new ones.

Her three identities, her three lives, are borne of trauma and loss. She is now me and I survive every day from all she lost.

Don’t tell me to be thankful or grateful, or that every child deserves a safe, loving family and home.

Instead try to understand that I carry this unbearable grief and loss every day. A grief that is not worse but unlike other grief that cannot always be easily expressed. A grief I’m not certain how to mourn and will most likely never recover from, that may have generational consequences.

Some days I struggle more than others, especially when unexpectedly blindsided by adoption.

So today is not just the anniversary of my adoption/arrival to the US, but also an anniversary of loss. But I’m still here and doing the best I can making the most of this life, so I’ll celebrate that.

If you’d like to read more from Mary, her Masters thesis is included at ICAVs Research page – Living a Parallel Life: Memoirs and Research of a Transnational Korean Adoptee.

Anonym teilt über Adoptee Anger

Dies ist eine Serie über die Wut von Adoptierten aus gelebter Erfahrung, um Menschen zu helfen zu verstehen, was unter der Oberfläche ist und warum Adoptierte manchmal wütend wirken können.

von Anonymous, von China in die USA adoptiert.

I have experienced anger as an adoptee. For me it occurred in my late teens and early 20s in that transition time between high school and college. I was angry at my parents for adopting me and not putting in effort to learn or share my birth culture, I was angry at my birth parents for putting me up for adoption and having a baby they could not care for. I was angry at larger systems of poverty and inequality that put people in difficult situations. I was so angry at people telling me I was Chinese or Asian but I had no idea what that meant.

I was angry at Chinese people I met that were disappointed I wasn’t more “Chinese.” I lashed out at my parents and said very hurtful things to them about adoption. I also unfortunately turned much of this anger and toxicity onto myself and it negatively affected the way I viewed myself. For me, the anger was about being confronted with the understanding that adoption didn’t just give me a family, but also meant that I had one in the periphery that I might never know. I felt like a foreigner in my own body, constantly being judged for my race but not claiming that identity. I couldn’t process how to come to terms with the effects of poverty and the larger systems that led to me being placed for adoption.

I really felt anger as the onset of grief.

Now the anger has faded, and I do feel a deep, complicated sadness when I think about these topics. What helped me the most was reaching out and connecting with other adoptees. It helped me to channel and validate my feelings about adoption, see more nuances in the process, and regain a lot of self-confidence and self-worth.

As I have gotten involved with adoptee organizations, I’ve found solace, healing, and joy. My parents, while we’ll always have differences, love me and they never retaliated when I said mean things about the adoption process or them. From close friends and family, I was treated with compassion, love, understanding, and community. I think that’s what every person needs when working through these big, unexplainable things.