Archives for posts with tag: Adoption

Abandonedadoptedher

Well the camera rolled and cut on the final substantive filmed interview for the documentary on Monday 15th October talkin to the actor/director David Yip brought (for the most part) the filming on the documentary to a close. Fitting really as my first professional acting job was starring along side David in the film Ping Pong.
Apart from perhaps some context shots and a few “location” shots the filming part of the documentary is now complete
I now go on to the full edit. 
It has been a steep learning curve and not without substantial challenges some positive and some unfortunately negative
But thankfully with the support of my family, close friends and you who have so generously given of your time and your thoughts I literally made it.

If anyone would have told me back in 2010 that I would end up making an independent documentary I would have told them that they were insane or that they were taking the */?~@!!

But here I am two years on, film in the can and onto the edit

 

This is a copy  of the guest post I wrote after much deliberation for the My Overthinking blog
I’m totally unsure whether this is the done thing but I thought that people would find it interesting if the comments were included.
 
9.06.2012

Transracial Adoption According to a Recovering Adoptee

1:30 PM | Posted by Kelly the Overthinker
Her words and the heart behind them have fueled some fires. Regardless of if you agree or not, one cannot turn away from her experience and the convictions that have resulted from it. Adoptive parents and waiting adoptive parents of children from other places, prepare yourself and read on. 

___________________________________

Some people are surprised when I tell them I am neither protransracial adoption nor antitransracial adoption. I readily accept that in my own personal circumstances, had I not been adopted I may not have lived to see my fifth birthday. If I had survived infant mortality and grown up in the orphanage, it is very unlikely I would have grown up and become the actor, writer, and filmmaker I am today. For that, I am profoundly grateful. But, I no longer feel that I have to be grateful; I no longer feel beholden to the people who adopted me. 

Is that cruel and disrespectful to the people who adopted me? 

No. I freely acknowledge what the act of adoption gave me in material terms. No one can deny that. But life, living is not comprised solely of materialistic attributes. It has taken years of therapy to partially unravel the Gordian knot that transracial adoption created in me. It has taken 20 years to show me that there is no need for me to feel guilty, beholden, or duty bound. I was adopted in a time where knowledge and understanding of self, identity, and culture just was not there. Whilst no one is to blame for how transracial adoptions were administrated during that time, how these adoptive parents were advised to deal with adopting these Hong Kong babies, I can only surmise. However these early adoptive parents were counselled or guided, one cannot get away from the overriding feeling that the thinking at that time was that a “clean break” was best. 

The cost for me personally was/has been/is too high a price to pay. The years of therapy; the nervous breakdown; the loss of culture; the impact on confidence and low self-esteem; the loss of personal and cultural identity and, most devastating of all, the loss of my native language can never be recovered. Rejected by the British who adopted me and the Chinese who gave birth to me presents a constant challenge to maintain balance and perspective even now.

I was denied contact with my birth culture, stripped of my name, denied the tools or resources to learn how to communicate in my native tongue, and I was cut off from my heritage and ancestry. No amount of therapy can return the birthright to me that was denied me. To my recollection, the family who adopted me never ever sat me down and explained to me that I had been adopted. Where I had come from and why I had been adopted. I asked, I persisted, and I was reprimanded and punished for doing so. Ignorance is not bliss. I knew very early on that I was unlike most children. I did not look like my parents, and my parents did not look like me. In fact, I did not look like anybody else. In the age of premulticultural, pre-Internet, premobile phones and social media, finding others like me in the 60s and 70s even in a relatively small country like the UK was nigh on impossible. 

As a mature adult, as a recovering adoptee, I consider the effects of transracial adoption. I wonder how families can see adopting a baby as a “perfect” solution, how they imagine then being the “ideal family,” perfectly made, handpicked. I wonder how some believe that somehow having an instant family by adoption could be the fairy-tale ending with all living happily ever after. Even in this day and age of supposed cultural awareness and sensitivity, I still come across adoptive parents and would-be adopters who state quite openly that love is the be all and end all, that a “loving home” is all that is needed to raise a transracially, transnational, cross cultural child. Well if “love is all we need,” the human race irrespective of religious, cultural, and ethnic standing, we would be at peace. We would be getting along famously. We would be forging a head en masse eradicating world poverty, hunger, and disease.

But that is not the way of the world. For us as human beings, diversity and difference are as important to the individual as they are to the nation. We need our identity as surely as we need air to breathe. Difference makes us who we are, finding the commonality reminds us that in spite of our differences, we are essentially all the same under our skin. Belittle, trivialise, deny, quash, or ignore those differences at your peril. Understanding is what is required. Understanding, understanding, understanding—which in turn means acquisition of knowledge, knowledge, and more knowledge. When the challenges ahead are already multifaceted and too numerous to mention, ignorance and denial are rods of one’s own making which will bear down upon the back.

Transracial adoption should, in my opinion be the very last option when all other options have been exhausted. Then and only then should there be any thought of removing a child from his or her country of birth. For once you have severed the cultural umbilical cord, no matter what you do, it can never fully be reattached.

Better support for third-world countries to deal with adoption and fostering domestically is preferable. And, more international cooperation from first world countries to support and financially uphold and better such systems and procedures for adoption and fostering domestically is needed. And, those children who can only be helped by such a drastic intervention as transracial adoption should receive linguistic and cultural support, mandated by law. I’m not talking about joining a Sunday school or after school club comprised solely of other adoptees or just being taught a few traditional songs or doing a collage about the Moon Festival. I’m advocating that all transracially adopted children be fully supported until at least the age of 16 to learn their native language and to understand their cultural heritage and where they have come from. If they choose not to pursue such an interest at an age when they are able to make such decisions, they can do so; but, they will have the cultural and linguistic skills to be able to communicate, to exist, if they so wish to amongst or in the country of their birth.

I am fine within myself now. I know who, what, and what I am not, and I am at peace with that. I no longer try to fit in to other people’s narrow expectations. I am who I am, a woman pursuing my dream in the field of the arts, and a recovering adoptee.

___________________________________

An original contribution from The Forgotten Adoptee. British-Chinese actor, writer, film maker. Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama graduate. 30+ yrs of professional experience. Hong Kong transracially adopted child and a dyslexic who still can’t work out how on earth you’re supposed to use a dictionary.

 
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27 shout outs:

 
Jessica @ The Abundant Wife said…

Thanks for having the courage to share your story! I’m sorry to hear that your adoption story was such a sad one. Whether orphaned or adopted, you have lived a very lonely life. I hope that you have since found a place where you fit in, and have found the opportunity to re-learn your native language and visit your homeland. I hope that you have or will find the love, identity, and understanding you have always longed for. Thank you for advocating for other orphans like yourself.

September 6, 2012 6:55 PM
Life with Kaishon said…

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your words were powerful and made an impression on me this evening.

September 6, 2012 9:24 PM
autti34 said…

i am adopted an have friends who are adopted from other countrys an so on who seem to be doing fine .i think it how you are rasied if your family is good at exposing you to your culture an stuff ,im gratfull everyday i was adopted an i no my friends are to maybe that therhuist wasnt the ruight person to help you with those iusse .for me having friends that are adopted we can talk about things .

September 6, 2012 9:33 PM
Mama Jama said…

Everyone has a cross to bear. The sooner we accept it, the sooner we can move on. I feel for you and for your parents for whom you seem to have no love. Perhaps you.ll do better with your children.

September 7, 2012 6:50 AM
 
Melissa said…

As another transracial adoptee, who is also an adoptive mom, I can agree in parts. I agree transracial adoption should be a last resort. I’ve blogged about it at length also. However, there are many transracial adoptees out there with a lot less emotional baggage. It is weird to return to your country of birth to realize you don’t fit in there, but I never felt rejected in the US as a person of color. Transracial adoption is definitely no joke. Bringing kids to first world countries is not a great solution on paper in so many senses but I love and serve a God who has the power to redeem the broken. I am not anti transracial adoption but I wish the world would stop seeing it as a solution to the orphan care crisis…it’s just not.

Melissa
http://www.thecorkums.com

September 7, 2012 7:18 AM
Kelly the Overthinker said…

Mama Jama, I don’t read this and think that the author had no love for her adoptive parents. I read it and sense the pain she has from her adoptive parents failure to acknowledge her loss and allow her to communicate that loss freely. I trust that if the author does become a parent herself, she will “do better with her children,” something we all hope for.

September 7, 2012 11:58 AM
Designed with Purpose said…

Wow, so much to think about! I love that you shared your story with us, so openly and honestly. I am also adopted and so is my brother (from different birth parents) and it never ceases to amaze me how each child can have such different reaction to their life circumstance. My brother feels angry but I feel loved. Same adopted family but two drastically different reactions.

I am sure there are other adoptees that feel the same way and your story will be a source of comfort for them.

September 7, 2012 1:10 PM
Barb said…

I’m glad you stepped out and shared your story. From a distance, I can see that you were raised in a different time & a different place. British culture is different than American, though I’m not sure how many American families felt comfortable with transracial adoption during the 60’s and 70’s.

I do feel sad that your family kept secrets. It’s so tough to feel comfortable with one’s identity if parents keep secrets.

However, sharing your story reminds us all that people aren’t perfect. There are pros & cons to everything. It’s reality. 

My hope is Kelly’s sites and others like hers can help people make a fully informed choice when it comes to any type of adoption. I know from personal experience that even now, bad things can still happen.

September 7, 2012 1:51 PM
theadoptedones said…

The entire foundation of adoption is built on loss. Getting new parents, a new life, does not erase the life you were born with. Adoptees can all give the “appearance” of doing just fine, we learn to fit in, adjust, be the perfect one, the people pleaser, because if we don’t society will judge our parents. Many of the adoptees speaking out about the losses today, were also just like the adopted children pointed out on forums and blogs as having no issues, happy, smart, loving life – because we do. 

Please don’t kid yourself that your child will never feel the loss or a good cry and then a hug and all will be fine. Please don’t kid yourself that your child won’t feel what we do because you have knowledge now to support your child – knowledge amd support only goes so far. An example of a different loss is helping those with infertility get through it. Having someone acknowlege the pain you are going through with inferitlity, support you through it does not make that pain go away when everyone around you is announcing their pregnancy or bringing home a baby. It makes it better – but the pain of infertility still exists. 

The adoptee voice has been missing and who else is an authority on what it is actually like to be adopted? Again, use infertility as an example – whose voice is the only voice that can speak to what it is like to live with infertility with authority? Using the infertility example thre will be those who do just fine and carry on, those who learn to accept it and live life but get triggered by events and those inbetween. Loss is loss…yet only adoptees are not given the right to own that loss without it being dismissed as something you need to get over. 

Some adoptees can and will live their lives never feeling any differently. I do think personality can make a big difference, and likely more so than any parenting technique. Yet many will have to process their losses at different periods throughout their life (each will process it differently). Common triggers are when you become a teenager and start your separating yourself from family and forming your own identity, when you move away from home or get married, the birth of your first child – often their first person you have ever met that is related to you, the death of a close family member or friend, a health crisis, when you become aware of your own mortality, when you are at the end of your life and things are left undone. Each of those events trigger a deeper reflection of who you are, what you have lived through, your losses, and will still live through. 

For many of us, we live our lives with the groundlessness involved in not knowing ones origins, and no way to get any answers to any of the questions – it is all unknown and “facts” provided is not “knowledge”. I don’t think anyone has the ability to fully comprehend that type of loss unless you to have no knowlege of any of your origins.

September 7, 2012 3:06 PM
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy said…

This is an an amazing strong piece and I thank the author for writing it. 

That said, how sad I feel yet again, to see the words so easily dismissed because you don’t want to agree with them or since they do not completely echo your own: 

“i am adopted an have friends who are adopted from other countrys an so on who seem to be doing fine” 

“Everyone has a cross to bear. The sooner we accept it, the sooner we can move on.”

Yes, I Know that many adoptive parents hope against hope that they can adopt form another country and IF they do everything right, then they will NOT have another “unhappy, ungrateful” adoptee on their hands. 

Please stop trying to mitigate the loss and possible unhappiness that only the ADOPTEE has a right to say about their life experience. You do not know if your child will be willing to bear this cross with a smile or a heavy heart until it is too late. And no dismissal of another person’s truth will save you. I suggest instead, you learn how to LISTEN. WHO better to speak about what it is REALLY like for them than the Adoptee? And if you are an adoptee and you don’t have the same feelings, then fine.. but neither is wrong and neither is right. They just ARE.

Signed.. not an adoptee, but a birthmother who learned to listen!

September 7, 2012 3:38 PM
Liz @ The Six Year Itch said…

Thank you for sharing your truth. I do not know enough about transracial adoption to write authoritatively, but feel for your loss. As a birth mother, I find so much of my time thinking about what I have lost that, in a very real way, I have only skimmed the surface of my daughter’s. The reason why she has glasses and curly hair and why she is such a fierce advocate for the environment. But in a way those are trivial things. The loss that you write about is profound: an identity. 

The “gratefulness” you touched on hit home for me. I recently wrote about the idea that,duh, adoption is complicated: adoptive parents are not saints and birth parents are not a hot mess. I realize now who I selfishly forgot to add to the equation and why we are all in the 
triad to begin with and the person that mattters the most: my daughter, you, the adoptees. 

Thank you for telling us how you were let down in so many ways and I’m sorry you did not have a supportive community and advocate when you desparetly needed one. Your success s a testament to your strength.

September 7, 2012 8:33 PM
Ms. Chic said…

I am an adoptive mother of a little girl from China. I have never been adopted so I cannot speak about that. However, in my opinion…and it’s just my opinion…MANY of us (adopted or not) struggle with who we are. Yes, I can look down the line of my ancestors and see where I get my blue eyes and dark brown hair, but I can not work out my own identity through my lineage. Adopted or not…we all have times in life that we feel alone, misunderstood, unloved, abandoned and that we don’t fit in. It’s unfortunately apart of living in a sinful world. I don’t know how any of us (adopted or not) could every fully understand who we are until we know and accept what God Himself feels about us. When we fully understand our identity in Christ…then we have healing…adopted or not. Again, just my opinion.

September 7, 2012 10:43 PM
Anonymous said…

IMO, Ms Chic, you seem very quick to dismiss the feelings of the author. Why is it so difficult for some to understand that maybe God does have a plan and that’s the reason you don’t have your own children. Perhaps his plan was that you help the children stay with their family and culture. Couldn’t it be that one is very selfish and arrogant to go against that plan? Again, my opinion.

September 8, 2012 9:08 AM
Christie said…

Hi! I’m your newest follower and fellow adoptive mom!! I found you through Top Mommy Blogs and look forward to connecting with you!

Christie
http://satisfactionthroughchrist.blogspot.com

September 8, 2012 11:18 AM
*Ashley Lou* said…

It’s a tough read. Mainly because it scares us. When we (I) look at our children, we want nothing more than for them to be happy, secure, loved, and feel whole. While I know that my son might never feel “complete”, my heart breaks with the understanding that he might- at times- feel lost.

Thank you for being courageous enough to write this and giving adoptive parents everywhere a glimpse into the struggles our children may {or may not} face into adulthood.

I’ve linked this post on Sunday Share over at Smithfamilylowdown.blogspot.com.

Thank you for sharing.

September 10, 2012 10:25 AM
Tiffany said…

I really appreciated this, most especially the vulnerability the author is exposing in sharing her story. 

Adoptive parents would do well to carefully listen to ALL the voices of adoptees. We have absolutely no idea how our children will someday process their adoption, and in order to be prepared to assist them as best we can, we should take to heart and listen carefully to every word spoken by an adoptee. They have a unique window into our children’s world, one we can never have, and we should be grateful when they are willing to share their heartache and hurt. 

My youngest is a different ethnicity, but she was not adopted internationally. We are so blessed to have her first parents in our lives, and I am hopeful that this will help her find her identity as she gets older. However, even while I feel that our situation is different, I still closely listen to these types of stories and store them away in my mind. I do not know how my daughter will someday feel about her adoption, so I appreciate every opportunity to understand.

September 10, 2012 3:59 PM
Anonymous said…

‘Anonymous said…
Why is it so difficult for some to understand that maybe God does have a plan and that’s the reason you don’t have your own children. Perhaps his plan was that you help the children stay with their family and culture. Couldn’t it be that one is very selfish and arrogant to go against that plan? Again, my opinion.’
September 8, 2012 9:08 AM 

Answer to Anonymous Sept.8: according to your way of thinking should we then leave orphaned children alone to die since God did not intend them to have their family and it’s arrogant to go against God’s plan? Or did God give us brains, heart and means to think of other ways to form families beside traditional way, maybe? Because let’s face it there
will always be children who become orphans for whatever reason (e.g. both parents die in an accident and child doesn’t have other family members capable to provide for him/her) So let’s not go to extremes because the answer certainly doesn’t lay there.
~Nina~

September 11, 2012 12:08 PM
mrs. r said…

Powerful and wonderfully though-provoking!

Thank you!

September 15, 2012 2:15 AM
Mrs. Holliday said…

Ms. Chic & Nina, I agree. Adopted or not, submersed in our own culture or not, our true identity can only fully be found in Christ. And only then will we be truly satisfied. I also agree that this is a very great article to inform potential adoptive parents and help them make the best decision for their future child and their family but I also don’t think we should go to the extreme of not adopting orphans from other countries who desperately need families and opportunities in life that their country cannot provide for them. In the end, do what God has called YOU to do and don’t worry what others think. And in all, every orphan’s story and path to healing is different. But most of the time, I believe they’d rather have family of another culture than no family at all.

September 18, 2012 5:57 AM
Jess R said…

Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I have been considering adoption, and you brought to light a point of view that I had never been exposed to before.

September 18, 2012 5:02 PM
Some Difference said…

Thanks for the article! I enjoy reading varying viewpoints and like to tuck these nuggets of information back for future use. Do I think about my daughter’s identity as an adopted child from China on a daily basis? No. I’m too busy running her to school, changing diapers, and working. BUT… someday, 10-15 years in the future, she’ll start asking the ‘heavy’ questions. That will be the time that these nuggets of information will be helpful. 

I think identity formation is something that is an individual’s responsibility. It’s your interpretation of life events that shape your identity – good and bad. In the end, it’s up to my daughter. I can provide her with opportunities to learn about her culture, travel to China, and speak Cantonese – but it’s ultimately HER choice as to whether or not she wants to. This is the same for all of my children, bio or adopted.

Julie

September 20, 2012 11:08 PM
Anonymous said…

I am anonymous2.

Mrs Holiday, Ms Chic and Nina, I take it that none of you are adopted? I would therefore ask that you respectfully refrain from imposing your biased views, superstitious beliefs (religion) and judgments upon us and try tapping more into your humane side by listening to us with an open heart, mind and spirit. Please also note that adoptee does not equate orphan. Many adoptees have been child trafficked, kidnapped, stolen or where parents have been coerced to giving them up. Many adoptees have parents, hence are NOT orphans. Also we do not come from ‘third’ worlds, we are born into the same world as you, but have been turned into economically developing countries due to years of colonialism and imperialism. Transracial and transnational adoption is an extension of colonialism as it continues the displacement, divide and rule of people by the domineering Europeans. If you wish to ignore our voices I can only hope that experience will teach you and maybe one day you will think back and say ‘I should have listened to those adult adoptees’ I am very concerned for your adopted children. Your biased and overly religious views remind me of my adopters with whom I’ve severed all ties with, to protect myself from all the damage & abuse they inflicted onto me. As any marginalized group in society we will always be victimized by the oppressor and domineering group. And please do not think for your adopted child, all you need to do is listen, and a starting point would be to listen to adult adoptees. I second anonymous and have found all three of you to be very dismissive and subjective in your views. You serve as an excellent example as to why inter-country adoption MUST be abolished once and for all and that more should be done for communities and families to keep their children. You are NOT our saviors and our lives did NOT start with you adopting us. We have a rich history, culture, language and FAMILY. Get that through your heads. Stop robbing families of their children and their communities future! We are not here to fix ANY of your problems be that infertility, relationship breakdowns, or some other perverse need! There is no privilege to being adopted, I would have rather died in my mothers loving arms than endure the abuse from foreigners through adoption. The amount of ignorance that I am reading on this thread is really disturbing……

September 22, 2012 7:52 PM
Anonymous said…

I am anonymous2.

Mrs Holiday, Ms Chic and Nina, I take it that none of you are adopted? I would therefore ask that you respectfully refrain from imposing your biased views, superstitious beliefs (religion) and judgments upon us and try tapping more into your humane side by listening to us with an open heart, mind and spirit. Please also note that adoptee does not equate orphan. Many adoptees have been child trafficked, kidnapped, stolen or where parents have been coerced to giving them up. Many adoptees have parents, hence are NOT orphans. Also we do not come from ‘third’ worlds, we are born into the same world as you, but have been turned into economically developing countries due to years of colonialism and imperialism. Transracial and transnational adoption is an extension of colonialism as it continues the displacement, divide and rule of people by the domineering Europeans. If you wish to ignore our voices I can only hope that experience will teach you and maybe one day you will think back and say ‘I should have listened to those adult adoptees’ I am very concerned for your adopted children. Your biased and overly religious views remind me of my adopters with whom I’ve severed all ties with, to protect myself from all the damage & abuse they inflicted onto me. As any marginalized group in society we will always be victimized by the oppressor and domineering group. And please do not think for your adopted child, all you need to do is listen, and a starting point would be to listen to adult adoptees. I second anonymous and have found all three of you to be very dismissive and subjective in your views. You serve as an excellent example as to why inter-country adoption MUST be abolished once and for all and that more should be done for communities and families to keep their children. You are NOT our saviors and our lives did NOT start with you adopting us. We have a rich history, culture, language and FAMILY. Get that through your heads. Stop robbing families of their children and their communities future! We are not here to fix ANY of your problems be that infertility, relationship breakdowns, or some other perverse need! There is no privilege to being adopted, I would have rather died in my mothers loving arms than endure the abuse from foreigners through adoption. The amount of ignorance that I am reading on this thread is really disturbing……

September 22, 2012 7:54 PM
Anonymous said…

Just came across this blog this morning and this post. I have an adopted two year old from China who I love to pieces. She is smart, beautiful, kind, funny, and most of all happy. So now what? What do you suggest Anon2? How do I keep her this way? She is in our family now. We love her. You have scared the crap out of me! How do I keep her from resenting us?

September 23, 2012 8:52 AM
Anonymous said…

I am Anonymous2 – Part 1 of 2

To Anon. who adopted the beautiful two year old from China, how much information do you have about her family? Did you get her from an orphanage? If you did, I bet they told you that the child was abandoned or orphaned. And be honest with yourself, how much do YOU as the adopter really want to know about the childs family? Many foreign adopters adopt for that reason alone and prefer it to domestic adoption as there are fewer check ups from social workers, fewer questions asked and because the adoptees family will be harder to trace.

The way you describe the child from China is reminiscent to how my adopters described me when they picked me up from Amsterdam. They were surprised by how good tempered we were and that we never cried. Infact every picture in their photo album had me grinning from ear to ear even in the one where the male adopter had his hand under my dress fondling my breast during my developing years at the age of 10 (I was told that this was a sign of affection, hence ok – that really screwed me up when growing up and dealing with men in my later years). Any outsider looking at these would think that I was the happiest child alive and that my adopters were awesome parents, if not saints. Truth is, I was terrified, confused, ashamed and lost. I quickly learned that smiles could mask my true self while at the same time please my adopters. They lapped up the praise this won them from approving adults and this further stroked their egos. I was brought up with the lie that my mother abandoned me, so I felt I owed my adopters my eternal gratitude for ‘saving’ me from ‘imminent death’ and from a nasty, poor country.

They never knew how every single day of my life as a child & teenager I cried for my mothers return and that I sent out messages to her to tell her that I am alive and that I love her. I was four and half when I was adopted. They never knew because they never cared to ask and because they were so wrapped up and gloating in their grand deed of ‘charity’ to this poor little brown girl from that filthy, poor, nasty and corrupt country. 

So ask yourself how much do you know of your child, would you care to find out, perhaps go to china with her, visit people/ places she is familiar with, keep links open so that when she is old enough she has the choice to go back and know who and where to go to? – and keep her language alive. Appreciate, value and learn from the country she is from. The way you view her home country will affect her views towards it. I was brought up to feel ashamed of my country…little things that you may not realize you do can affect this view as well. For instance my adopters regularly laughed at jokes that demeaned people who were non-white, they seemed to forget that I was non-white. So I’d laugh with them, but with every joke the greater my shame became of who I was.

September 23, 2012 11:00 PM
Anonymous said…

I am Anonymous2 – Part 2 of 2

There is no text book on how to parent a child be they your own or adopted. The best way forward, in my opinion is honesty. Being honest with yourself and your child. Identify issues you have, accept them and find ways of dealing with them so you do not end up making them the adoptees issues or letting them come between you and the adoptee. Start by being honest as to why you adopted to begin with and why someone from China as opposed to in-country adoption? My adopters preached they were called by God to adopt us, to bring the ‘East closer to the West’ as was the trend back in the 70’s. Open your eyes and realize that there are better ways in this day and age to help children and poverty. Its also changing your mind-set, ‘cos poverty is not something that just is, it is man-made as is well recorded about the colonialists and imperialists of the past. Stripping a country of its future, by adopting out its children, is not the way forward if anything its just an extension of colonialism to keep these countries poor and dependent. 

Finally, why would you think that the child you adopted would grow up resenting you? As an adult, I do not resent my adopters –as I was an abused adoptee (meaning physically, emotionally, verbally and sexually)… I have broken all ties from them as a way of protecting myself. I am still terrified of them and lack social skills as an adult as I learn to ‘re-parent’ myself every day. I am still searching for my family, but I lack the funds. I managed to save some money to go back once and that’s when I found out that I could have been stolen. There are so many funds supporting adopters, but when an adoptee wants to find her family and reclaim what’s rightfully hers there’s no support what so ever. I am told that my records can’t be found, that I should give up, live my life and be grateful for what I have got. I have a mother out there, siblings, aunts, uncles, grand parents, nieces, nephews etc……I feel so robbed…..

So Anon with the adopted child from China, you asked ‘how do I keep her this way’, well you don’t. Every child grows up and develops their own character, you can’t ‘keep’ them in this or that way. Just learn & grow with them, include them in your life and appreciate who they are and where they come from (their country/ culture/language) including their family and parents. Accept that you can never replace her parents.

September 23, 2012 11:02 PM
Anonymous said…

Wow! Very powerful article and comments. i appreciate hearing from adoptees on this since my son is also an adoptee. My brother is adopted too, from America and although he is white like me, he doesn’t look like me. I know he suffered from feeling different and wish I had been more supportive of that as a child. I try to learn from that and from other adoptees to support my own child as best I can, so I really appreciate the open and honest comments here. One thing for sure, is I will now take language lessons more seriously to tie my child more with his birth country.

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Well it’s been a roller-coster of a ride from a summer meeting in 2010 and a small seed planted by another Hong Kong Adoptee.

The highs of establish a production set up for the documentary. The disbelief of filming the first interview. The shock and delight of almost establishing a co-pro with one of the leading UK documentary producers, only to see this vanish. The hard lesson, that in this world, in this sector, as in any other business sector, never, never ever air anything publicly you have not committed to paper and copyrighted.  

To the absolute lows of having to dissolve the original production setup in 2011 just before Christmas. Hitting rock bottom when I realised that the adoption community was not free of negative politics or people with their own personal agendas.

I hit rock bottom was when I had to deal with the griefers and trolls online and a few malicious individuals who for whatever reason decided that a project about and by a HK adoptee was something they didn’t want to happen. It was at that point I seriously thought about packing in the entire project. I had no funding –  I still have no funding. The support I was getting wasn’t coming form the wider Chinese community or the creative arts community (and that wasn’t for lack of trying) neither was it coming from the wider adoptee community. But from close friends and family, other creative professionals who know me and my work. 
But I am if nothing else, a bloody-minded person. So having other people trying to dictate to me what I should or should not do, how I should or should not do this was like waving a red rag to a bull. 

So what could have been a crash and burn in 2011 phoenix like Abandoned, Adopted, Here, rose from the ashes and off I went.

Those who were willing to support and share their views on camera where to a fault generous with their time and their views.

The amazingly talented crew that I found via Mandy.com 

From filming (which is the easy part) to editing, it may take me some time!

Even when the edit has been finalised there is still much to do post production wise, sorting out licensing issues. Looking for a distributor, do I remain independent. Looking to the film festivals, trying to raise money to enter some of the said film festivals and so it goes on

 

But I made it – literally. So watch this space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Her words and the heart behind them have fueled some fires. Regardless of if you agree or not, one cannot turn away from her experience and the convictions that have resulted from it. Adoptive parents and waiting adoptive parents of children from other places, prepare yourself and read on. Click here to read the full article

 

The Forgotten Adoptee has had a lot on their mind recently. Not excluding trying to get the final dates of filming organised for the documentary before the summer well and truly hits.

Sometimes think that things are just conspiring to thwart the Forgotten Adoptee. Other times it’s WOW who would have thought?!

Forgotten Adoptee’s mind has been thinking seriously about emancipation – seriously.

Given recent developments and veiled legal threats (whether substantive or hollow) it got the grey matter thinking. How possible would it be to legally to sever all ties and associations with the people, the family that originally adopted?

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In the UK do adult adoptees ever do this?  If they do what are the grounds under which this is done? Or if you are an adult do you need grounds to legally sever the legal ties that bind an adoptee to the ‘family’? 
As an adult if you have moved on and for whatever reason, have to all intensive purposes cut all contact with those that were responsible for adopting you and those connected to the family that adopted; is there any reason why you can’t legally disentangle from the ties of adoption?

As an adult what does it matter you’ve moved on. You have your own life. You are olde enough to make up your own mind about this, that and the other.

But for some, it does matter. Because you’re legally tied to a family that perhaps, now that you’ve come of age and understanding that you don’t want to be. The only reason that you’re tied to these estranged people is because of the adoption. A state with which you had no say. Complicated isn’t it….

Anyone out there have any “answers”?

 

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I must express my gratitued to Chan Chian Ka who first shared the link to this extra-ordinary piece.

An open letter to APs, PAPs, and anyone who has even considered adoption

The following was written by an anonymous adult adoptee who has given permission for this letter to be posted. Click here to be taken to the orignal post
 

To all adoptive parents, hopeful adoptive parents, and anyone who has ever even considered adoption:

 

Being adopted hurts.  Being adopted is hard.  It is not beautiful; it is brutal, it is tragic, it is a cause for great sadness. For in order for a child to even be available for adoption, that child must first go through some sort of tragedy; whether that be abuse, hunger, homelessness, neglect, or even the simple fact that he or she is losing the life and family he or she was born into.  This makes adoption a thing to mourn; not a cause for celebration or joy.  To be joyful about adopting a child is to be glad that this tragedy happened.

 

I don’t think there’s a soul alive who would actually choose to be born into a situation where being relinquished for adoption, voluntarily or otherwise, was necessary.  

 

Of course there will always be a need for children to be removed from their parent(s) and placed in safer, more stable, loving homes – but please understand that no matter how good and loving and wonderful the adopting parents are, nothing will ever erase the pain, the grief, and the loss that comes with being adopted.

 

The very foundation of adoption is that of loss – a child loses his or her mother, father, and entire family; a mother, father and family loses one of their children.  And, yes, even a loss for the adopting parent – sometimes the loss of the expectation of having their own, biological offspring, the loss of a dream of having a baby of “their own.”  A separation of one family MUST occur before a new one can be built through adoption.  Maybe it isn’t a voluntary destruction, maybe the destruction is necessary for the health and safety of the child – but it is still a destruction of the very core, fundamental foundations of that child’s life that will forever be altered.

 

Think of it this way…one of your parents dies, and your surviving parent eventually goes on to remarry.  Though you might grow to love and have a great relationship with your parent’s new spouse, no amount of love and happiness in this present situation will erase the grief you feel over the loss of your other parent.  So please, if you have adopted or are considering adoption, keep this in mind.  

 

Adoption should be the very last resort after all other options have been tried.  Ask yourself this – does an adoption HAVE to happen?  Is there anything I can possibly do to help this young mother keep her child?  Are there resources I can direct her to, items I can supply her with, can I offer her the support and encouragement she needs to be a good parent?  If so, then pursuing adoption is not the right choice.  Too many unnecessary adoptions happen as a permanent solution to a very temporary problem.  Adoption, after all, is forever – while a current living situation, job situation, etc., is temporary and can be changed and improved.  Most women who relinquish their children do so because they feel they have no other choice…but what if she does have another choice, and only needs the support and encouragement to make it?

 

Adopted people know we are a second choice, a “Plan B,” a solution to someone else’s problem.  While there are some people out there who would choose adoption first, most only do so after failed attempts at pregnancy or to “complete” a family of all boys or girls or to give their current child a sibling.  Adding to your family through adoption should never be about meeting some need of your own…it should always and only ever be about providing for the CHILD’S needs.  Please don’t put the added pressure on an adopted child by forcing them to live up to the unspoken standard of the child you couldn’t concieve or the son or daughter you couldn’t produce.  Adoption is not a cure for infertility, nor are adopted people “gifts” to be passed around in order to complete somebody else’s life.  We are human beings in our own right, with our own feelings, needs, and wants.  Don’t add to an already painful situation by expecting us to be something we weren’t born to be.

 

Please be willing to be completely open and honest with the child you may someday adopt.  It doesn’t matter how horrible of a situation they came out of; tell them the truth, and tell them early.  For the truth can be dealt with, it can be processed and closure can be found; but nobody can get closure from fantasies and daydreams.  Adopted people are stronger than you give them credit for; believe me when I say, we imagine and prepare for every possible scenario when it comes to our families or origin.  Don’t think we haven’t entertained the idea that our biological parents were the worst of the worst, or idealized them as some sort of saintly creatures, and everything in between.  We have already survived the loss of our original families; don’t for one minute think we can’t survive knowing the reason why.  And on that note, if an adopted person ever chooses to search, reunite, or just know more about their family of origin, don’t guilt them into not doing it or make them feel beholden to you.  It has NOTHING to do with you.  NOTHING.  Human beings are born with an innate curiosity about who and where we come from.  For some adopted people to feel whole, they need to know their own personal history and explore their roots.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  After all, you, as the parent, are responsible for your adopted child’s happiness and well being…not the other way around.  Swallow your pride, put away your jealousy, and support your adopted child in any quest for truth they may wish to undertake.  Believe me, they will thank you for it.

 

Don’t fall into the terminology trap.  Adoptees know they have more than one set of parents…two that created them, and the parent(s) who are raising them.  ALL are real to the adoptee.  Don’t get caught up in who is “real” and who is more important; let your adopted child choose the terminology that suits THEM.  If you have been a good and loving parent, that’s all you need.  Besides, a parent can love more than one child, so why can’t a child be allowed to love more than one parent?  The heart has an infinite capability to love.  Don’t begrudge your adopted child the possibility of loving people he or she may not even remember.  

 

And don’t disparage the biological parents or family either.  They may be evil people, the scum of the earth…but to say anything bad about the biological family is the same as saying something bad about your adopted child.  The child did come from these people, after all; and better or worse we did inherit parts of ourselves from them.  The old saying applies here more than anywhere else…if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

 

Adopted people experience a range of issues from having been adopted…many suffer from the fear of rejection and abaondonment, have problems trusting others and forming relationships.  After all, our very mothers could walk away from us, so what’s to stop anyone else?  Though not all adoptees experience these, many do, and to varying degrees.  Just because the adopted person in your life hasn’t mentioned it, don’t think they don’t feel it.  Many will never, ever talk about their negative adoption issues for those exact reasons…fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, and just the overwhelmingly negative response they expect.  If the adopted person in your life (your child, a friend or other family member) ever does talk about it, take your personal feelings and judgments out of it.  Resist the temptation to say things like, “But you had such wonderful [adoptive] parents!” or “but you could have been aborted/thrown in a dumpster/etc.!”  Adoptees are the only subset of society who are wholly expected to be grateful for our very lives, and with this expectation comes the need to try to suppress any negative emotion or feeling.  Most adoptees won’t even admit to themselves, let alone other people, that they are hurting.  After all, we got this “better life,” didn’t we?  We don’t have the RIGHT to feel sad/angry/depressed.  So many adoptees choose to stay silent and instead live a lie.

 

And, yes, that goes hand-in-hand with the child-parent relationship thing…remember, the PARENT is repsonsible for the health and well being of the CHILD, NOT the other way around.  Only in adoption are adoptees somehow expected to always be careful not to “hurt” their adoptive parents; not to rock the boat or bring up something about their adoption because their PARENTS might not like it.  This is another reason so many adopted people don’t speak about adoption…we are afraid of hurting our adoptive parents.  I know that as a parent myself, I would never expect my children to be responsible for my well-being…so please, don’t ever place that expectation on adopted people either.  After all, their adoptive parents WANTED to adopt, they WANTED a child, and chose this path for themselves.  The adoptee most often did not choose it and had no say in the matter.  Don’t expect gratitude.  ANYONE could have been aborted, could have been abandoned, could have been abused.  These are not phenomena that are solely related to adoptees.  Just because a person was adopted doesn’t automatically mean they were unwanted, that they “could have been” anything…they are just people who are being raised by a different family and are living a DIFFERENT life, not necessarily a better one.

 

Please, if you are considering adoption or have already, educate yourself.  Read books such as the Primal Wound.  Read blogs by adopted people and relinquishing parents.  Go into it with an open mind and open heart.  Understand that there is the very real potential that the child you someday adopt might just struggle with it.  And while you can be a terrific parent, a wonderful guide and mentor, the damage has already been done.  Be prepared to do the hard work of helping your child deal with any grief, anger, and other issues he/she may feel.  TALK to them about it.  Adoptees are notorious for keeping things bottled up…let them know it’s OK to talk with you about them.  Reassure them that you will NOT be hurt, offended or damaged by their feelings.  ALLOW them the freedom to feel whatever they feel.  

 

If you are considering an open adoption or have entered into an open adoption, HONOR that.  Unless there is some clear and present danger to the life of your child, KEEP THE COMMUNICATION OPEN.  Don’t cease contact with the biological family because it’s an inconvenience for YOU.  Understand that yes, at times it might be emotionally trying for your adopted child, your child may come away from visits or reading letters and feel depressed and angry, but don’t take that as a reason to cease contact.  TALK to your child. Help them understand WHY they are feeling this way.  It’s only natural that this might happen; and in the same breath, the biological mother/father/family may also feel overwhelmed at times and pull back, but do what you can to keep the lines of communication open.  Remember, adoption is based on loss, and being reminded of that loss can be overwhelming.  But that doesn’t mean it should be avoided.  Your adopted child will thank you someday for sacrificing your own happiness and comfort to allow him/her to keep this very important connection.

 

Try not to make a big celebration out of your child’s adoption day (and PLEASE don’t EVER use the horribly offensive and insensitive term “Gotcha Day).  The same goes for birthdays.  For while it may be a happy occasion to remember, keep in mind that it also marks the day that the adopted person was permanently and forever separated from their mother, their father, their original family.  Birthdays are especially hard; for most adoptees have the knowldedge that our births were not cause for celebration; nobody was bringing our mothers flowers and balloons and offering congratulations; our entrance into this world was one of sadness and trepidation.  And it marks the day we were phyisically separated from our mothers; for many of us, it was the last time we ever saw her.  So if the adoptee in your life withdraws around his or her birthday or doesn’t appear to like celebrating, respect that.  Understand that to many of us, it is not a cause for celebration.

 

I am not trying to tell anyone not to adopt.  I am not saying, “shame on you” to anyone who already has adopted.  What I am saying is, please step back and really think long and hard about the ramifications of adoption on the very person who is at the center of it all – the child you hope for or the child you have brought into your home.  Be ready and willing to put a lot of hard work into helping this adopted child heal, to feel whole and complete in themselves.  Be prepared to put your own needs and wants on the shelf and to put away your expectations, do what it takes to attend to the needs of your adopted child.  All the love in the world, all the toys and gadgets and material things you might provide will never replace or erase what was lost.

 

Family preservation should always be the goal.  Adoption should never, ever be utilized unless it is the last and only option left.  Because adoption should be about finding homes for children in need; NOT finding children for people to fill a need.  Jesus commanded us to help the orphan AND the widow…we as a society should do more to help famlies stay together instead of tearing them apart.  Nobody really wants to be adopted…if given a choice, they’d rather their family situations could improve so that they wouldn’t have to be separated.  Would YOU have liked it if your mother gave you away?

 

Sincerely,

An adut adoptee

 

Yesterday began like any other day. Logging in for work, checking emails and ims.

And there it was

Out of the blue, well at least to me it was. An email pro porting to be from a member of the family that adopted me. But it’s a strange email address. The type that you more readily associate with web domains or websites. It’s not personalised it’s just the overall domain name or company name @ domain name. So curious. It aroused the suspicions of the other people that this email was sent to.
The message itself was simple. A request that a photograph that’s been online, be taken down. Why, because it shows my adoptive sister and also the natural son of my adoptive parents along with me. The email claims that the publication of this photograph associates the other people in the photograph with my personal views. There were veiled threats of legal action and questions as to whether permission had been granted for use of this photograph. Mea culpa. 

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However on a more serious note; for a fleeting moment I was that eleven year old school child being told off. It’s amazing isn’t what little it takes to revert one back to former behaviours and minds sets. If this message is what it claims to be, then it is obvious that my views on transracial adoption are not shared. But then I never thought that they would be.

I am sure that my APs (Adoptive Parents) see me as a betrayer, a Judas, ungrateful and callous. Looking dispassionately at the situation I can see why. But having undergone years and years of therapy to address the legacy of harm that transracial adoption left me with, then you can understand why I can’t accept the view point that the APs hold, let alone ‘sympathise’ with.

IMHO with hindsight and years of successful therapy behind me there is anger on both sides. Not so much from my direction now. I’m channelling that into positive actions. From my APs I suspect lots of anger. Partly guilt ridden and partly because I no longer feel beholden, I am no longer tied or bound emotionally or otherwise to these people. Therapy taught me that I am not duty bound to feel gratitude, that there is “no duty” that I have to fulfil. I have to get on with my life and what is best for me.

I am sure that the APs view me in negative terms if they view me at all, and I can understand why. If I had not been adopted then I would not be here, living a life or doing the things that I do. But the reason that I am who and what I am is not because of my transracial adoption, it is in spite of it.

No amount of cultural study or language learning will ever return to me what was rightfully mine. I’m afraid that even if the motives for transracial adoption were pure the execution was flawed and the end result was an incomplete person. For me it does not matter what spin you put on it, what trade offs you try to imply. You cannot redact the damage that this has done. It can never fully be repaired, healed or mended. The scars that it has created will remain forever.

There are more and more transracial adoptees coming to the surface, breaking the air and wanting to talk and in talking they are exposing the soft underbelly of transracial adoption. Of course their are plenty of people on the other side who would rather that the negatives, the challenges and real concerns about transracial adoption were not aired.
That will always be the case. I respond very well to threats whether veiled or open. To me it signals that I am on the right track, so it’s a boost giving me extra impetus to carry on 

THE BLANK SPACES WITH BLACK LINES INDICATE PASSAGES THAT I HAVE BEEN FORCED TO DELETE FOR FEAR OF LEGAL REPERCUSSIONS 

It’s in the news, even the PM is making statements about it!

But Adoption is a subject that is never far from the societal surface. It engenders great passion, extreme emotions and polarises viewpoints

Yesterday I interviewed the wonderful Anthony Lau. A young, dynamic, erudite, supremely confident yet never cocky or arrogant British Born Chinese. Gently spoken with gloriously correct English (something that I begin to miss and appreciate more and more as I get older!) Anthony is currently the Assistant Director on Bingo now playing at the Young Vic.

It’s clear to me even if it isn’t to Michael Gove, David Cameron or a raft of Adoption savvy experts.
Identity is key –  whether your adopted or not adopted.

Anthony Lau is a rare human being. He is supremely confident in who he is where he has come from and in some senses where is is going. He sees himself as a citizen of the world. Proud of his Chinese ancestry, proud of his liberal “English” upbringing. As comfortable with Yum cha as he is with a twelve course high table traditional English banquet. As at home with Wong Wing-sze as he is with William Shakespeare

Anthony questions why an allegiance to one part of his heritage should take precedence over the other part. For Anthony he is what he is, he is comfortable with the duality, the differences and the similarities in the end we’re all just people, just human beings. Good for him. I wish that more people, especially people in positions of power thought in the same way as Anthony.

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But what happens when one half of the equation has been redacted out? What happens if half of who you are supposed to be has been torn away from you? Is it any wonder that many adoptees spend a love time searching, grasping sometimes at straws trying to find the missing jigsaw pieces.

Whether you are dual nationality, hyphenated ethnicity, of mixed cultures, races and heritage’s identity matters it defines, it shapes, it underpins it is an emotional and psychological skeleton which helps you to hang, you, your personality, your essence in place it give you structure, shape, belonging and a definition space

Without it I think you are very much lost, never complete, never whole always the “other”