Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Terror of Teasing

23 Jan

Teasing is worse than PTSD. It’s a living terror of every day, every second your heart pounds that someone will single you out and humiliate you. It’s only a whisper there, and glimmer there, a passed note on the other side and the tide mounts and continues to get worse the more you stay with those people. It plays with your identity and every foundation of who you think you are. And those whispers start with childish jeers of race, religion, and impossible questions that don’t want answers. Then it builds to a peak where the teasing gets smarter and smarter. Where a kid can’t be reprimanded for singling someone out because of a feature of who they are.

A little teasing made my life a living terror. The only way I could escape was to go into my mind. The more they teased, the more I day dreamed. The more that I day dreamed, the more I tuned out the world. I started to disconnect myself completely from the world. I also plunged myself into school work to try to get some kind of praise or approval that I craved so desperately. I put myself into wanting to get perfect grades, to being the top of my class. I wanted to escape the whispers.

But I couldn’t escape the whispers because they began to whisper in my own head too. Maybe I wasn’t pretty. Mothers say their own children are pretty, don’t they? There weren’t any other Asian Kids in the class. Maybe I was really ugly. There weren’t any Asians on television either besides Mr. Miyagi and Jackie Chan. The women were all arm decoration supporting the hero.

What my mother said, I knew, were insecurities. Because the underlying words were, you’re more beautiful than I.

I ran home at times, crying over being teased. I cried from the bus stop. I asked why. And my Dad wouldn’t say anything. “It’ll make you stronger” My Mom would see the tears and would hand me a wash cloth. She’d ask my Dad what was wrong and he’d tell her, but she would forget. Neither of them could face my pain. Neither of them stood up for me.

I began to fish for praise, but finding none, and getting scolded at home for not getting a perfect report card, and being teased at school, I found the world of imagination beckoning me in. And there I flew until my parents thought I had ADD, not being able to face their daughter was being teased.

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Posted in Parenting


My Mom and Korea

23 Jan

My Mom smiles at me with that stiff smile. “I don’t understand why Korean is so difficult.”

I say, “Hangeul is phonetic.”

“But the sounds change. Korean is so hard.”

I shake my head. “Many languages are like this. English is like this too. Wa-ter turns into Wader in Standard American English.”

“Yeah, but Korean is so hard. I will only learn hangeul” I can feel myself getting upset at her. I wonder if I have the right to yell at her for pushing away my heritage with such ease.

“English has ‘through,’ ‘rough,’ and other words that sound different, but are spelled the same. No language is harder than another. They are just different.”

“I don’t have a gift with languages.” I refrain from snapping, “I don’t have a gift either, the difference is that I was forced to try.”

My Dad chimes in, “[My brother] will translate for us.”

I say, “No, he will not. I will get you guys a translator.”

The room grows silent. I try to hide my anger.

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Posted in Korean Culture, Parenting, Parents, Racism


Report Card Time

23 Jan

I would see my report card in the stack of mail and cringe. I knew what was coming. No matter how many A’s I got in a class, no matter how many B’s I would get picked over for my C’s D’s and F’s. I rarely got F’s, but when I did, I knew that it would be handed down with a punishment and my parents arguing over discipline.

If the report cards came on the same day, my brother and I would ask each other who wanted to go first. We would rotate, knowing that our mother would yell at us, no matter what we got. She would lecture to us about college, even though we were nowhere near the age, and then she would say no TV for a week.

And then for that week we would find ways to disobey her. One time she banned us both from watching television. So we disobeyed. She caught us. She took the cable line. We disobeyed and my brother through his engineering skills he’d learned managed to reroute the cable for when she was gone. She took the VCR, without telling her we disobeyed and managed to watch cable TV without the VCR.

We did not respect her. We could not. She who yelled at us when she had stress from work. She who yelled at us when she got home fishing for things to yell about. She who distanced us by saying she had work to do and we were not to bother her. She who would not purely play with us after I was seven years old. We never obeyed her. We only obeyed our Dad because she was never around–because she always made excuses. Because in essence she refused to take care of us we refused to obey her. We would instead pretend to obey her. We would complain to each other about her behavior. And when I found my voice, I argued with her. I tried to get her to hear my grievances. But she never learned to listen.

And report card time was the same. We did not respect her. We did not respect her who would put us down all the time. I only respected her for the knowledge she carried. I respected her out of duty, because that’s what she said she felt for us too. Duty. Obligation. And buried in there was love, but it was not love through communication and understanding. It was love through pure duty, fear and respect.

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Posted in Parenting, Parents


I’m beaten up to happiness

05 Feb

I’m beaten up to happiness
What are you going to do because
I don’t smile at you
I won’t, I should
I could, but I don’t
Do I even have the right
to dislike you even a little
Or are you going to make it all go away
with a quick solution
swallow a pill and make it all OK
The drugs will take it all away
But without the faith
in the madness
I find peace in chaos and the sadness
feed the children the drugs
even if you say it’s wrong
After all what is one more
year, month, week, day, hour, minute, second
when you can quickly make it all go away
spend no time with them at all
make excuses of work and taxes
and make them fall in love with a lighted box
typing, watching
like little drones that don’t know better
and to cure that
for surely that’s not healthy
feed them something more, like a quick fix
to make them smile as they once did,
when time really mattered

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Posted in Childhood, Parenting, Poetry


Dealing with Adoptism

19 Feb

After twenty plus years of answering questions about adoption, here are my ways to deal with questions–for those inside the triad dealing with those outside the Triad. The triad is made up of the parent that surrenders legal rights to their child, the child that was adopted and the parent(s) that adopts the child. Also all family involved in any of those three legs.

Firstly, I use birth parent because Google and a bunch of parents have labeled themselves as such. However, I know and do consider this unfair to use in many ways. It doesn’t honor the foster parent. It doesn’t honor the adoptive parents either. However, the English language is limited in this fashion where it thinks that parents are either “adopted” or by “blood” so it doesn’t really honor much. I default to birth parent, though I respect those who want me to use different terms when I am conversing with them.

Secondly, I should emphasize that there is no obligation for you to answer a person who is being rude and inconsiderate. There is also no obligation for you to answer these questions at all. I also think it shows strength to your children to not answer the questions occasionally–and also it shows strength to yourself if you are adoptee or adoptive parent. This is your life, not theirs. It is your decision to give them the power to ask questions about you and examine your life under a microscope, not theirs.

To those outside of the triad, one should realize when you ask such questions, you are asking questions that are more invasive than, “How much money do you make?” and “How much do you weigh?” as well as, “So what is your real age?” These things people don’t do in normal conversation. When people ask these questions, they are invading and questioning the ability of the parents. This plays with an adoptee’s self-esteem. This also plays with the adoptive parent’s ability to parent their own children. To an adoptive parent you are questioning their rights to raise this child.

Thirdly, for years I’ve been wondering what rude questions birth parents get too. As it stands there are no memoirs about the legal surrender of children by birth parents. The rest are in filters through various organizations (Usually orphanage organizations who later edit their messages.) This puts a really big wrench in the works. I wish I really could help with dealing with this part of the triad too, and the grief that’s felt, but I have a true lack of information. I will be sure to add information as I find it. I will try my best to address the questions that might be associated with legal surrender of children. But again, I am short on information. I truly apologize for not being able to direct this part towards birth parents properly. So please write me when I am stepping on toes and correct me.

Fourthly from my surveying and research, the adoptess always get more and more of the rude questions. Prepare accordingly–just because the adoptive parents don’t get these questions, don’t mean you shouldn’t teach other methods to your children.

1. Answer all questions with a question. This is also called the Socratic method.
ex. Who are your/their real parents?
a. sarcastic question– Are yours real too?
b. Make them think–”Which ones?” (said confused) or the more philosophical, “Are step parents real parents?”
c. Make them explain their answer so they can hear themselves– “What are you saying? I don’t understand.”
d. More passive and polite (engage their intellect)–”Do you think that children can have more than one set of parents?”
Pros: This has an off chance of actually making the person think about their questions to you in the future. Also f you phrase your question right, they make be distracted off topic if they aren’t that bright–and believe me, there are plenty of those kinds of individuals.
Cons: They don’t notice they made a social taboo.

2. Answer questions with a rant about the injustices of adoption. (Will not work for adoptive parents that well.)
ex. Do you want to go back to Korea?
a. Make them bored–Hell Yeah. I mean the Korean government won’t even give us Korean adoptees a dual citizenship! What’s up with that? I can’t understand why they woulnd’t give it to us. We were born there. Did we choose to leave the country? No… and so on.
b. Rant about the US if you don’t want to answer questions about Korea.
c. Go on a tangent and don’t answer their question. You can rant about the unfair media representation of adoption and Asians instead.

Pros: If they get bored, they will stop asking questions. And if you have some enjoyment out of making people suffer for asking invasive questions, you get to see them numb. Personally, I think this works best for those who pester you week after week.
Cons: If you see them again, you can’t work with them again. You also have to know your facts so they don’t spread whatever you say around to other people and get it wrong. It won’t work for adoptive parents. This is because it feels fake for you to be angry in the adoptee’s place and most adoption questions I’ve heard growing up directed at my Mom were actually for or about me.

3. Direct approach.
ex. Why did you adopt?
a. honest, but guarded approach–Because family is important.
b. Get lost approach–I don’t feel like answering that question.
c. super-direct–I don’t feel that is an appropriate question to ask. I feel it questions me as an adoptive parent.
d. If you like the person– Because I wanted to build a family. (cut off any questions after that point. This is all your children really need to know. If they ask about why… and if you did it to save your children from a worse fate, then be equally direct by saying that you find this line of questioning rude.
Pros: May work better for adoptive parents who have to see these people over and over again. It also teaches the person the right answer and what not to ask. If this person has to be around your kids often, such as a teacher, it’s best to use this approach.
Cons: This approach is my least favorite as an adoptee. It usually invites a barrage of questions and people start losing sight of the person in front of them.

4. Philosophical platitudes.
ex. Do you speak Korean? (after long questions about adoption–not before)
a. Slightly passive aggressive–It is interesting that people think that because one has a certain blood that they can automatically speak that language. However, we are all of the same species. I wonder what in society and our culture makes people think this way.
b. Softer answer–There are a lack of language programs in the United States. To date, it’s hard for immigrants to even work a job and learn the English language. I find it strange that people are so insistent that one should learn English coming to the Unite States but US tourist are equally insistent about speaking English in foreign countries. One of these major faults in the United States governmental system is that it doesn’t honor many countries outside of Europe in its language programs. I do wonder what brings this about in our society.
Pros: Makes the other person see you as a person and not an object (see below). It shows your competency with the subject asked. It also answers further questions that may lay underneath the original question.
Cons: You really have to be quick mentally to answer in this way. If you’re tired or upset, it doesn’t work. For Dinner parties it might work though. You also have to know a fair amount of information and politics to be this high brow.

5. Meet ignorance with ignorance.
ex. Who do you love more?
a. sarcasm–Myself.
b. alienation (for those annoying people who won’t leave you alone)–If I can help it no one. But don’t worry, you’re sinking fast on my list.
c. gentle approach (more socially acceptable)–I’m not sure what you mean. Please explain. (You have to be willing to compromise your position to do this though.)
Pros: Exasperation. There is a slim chance that by meeting ignorance with ignorance the person will understand their own.
Cons: They ask more questions when they truly don’t get it.

6. Redirection. That is utter avoidance of any questions before they start. So when they ask, you simply redirect their question into a new direction and into a new topic.
ex. I think you should love X more.
a. I think everyone has the right to love everyone in their own special ways. So, how are your children doing? (i.e. ask them a new question)
Pros: Gets them off of the subject.
Cons: They may try to ask you again or ask someone else in your family/friends the question. This can have a major con that they stay ignorant. I generally don’t use this too much unless I know the person they will most likely go to. Then I watch ignorance meet ignorance. It’s rather amusing, because somewhere along the way there is a small inkling in both people’s faces that maybe this is the wrong thing to do.

Generally, as an adoptee, I favor the question approach with a softer side to it. Because there is joy in having a person gage their words. And being able to correct them. I also don’t like dealing with stupidity at all. I have a very low tolerance of it. If the person isn’t getting it by the third question to me, and they aren’t feeling uncomfortable, I find a way to ditch them. Personally, I will never date anyone stupid enough to ask these questions and make these statements. It’s ground for break up if they start telling me who to love and not love. I don’t keep such friends either.

For adoptive parents, I think the direct approach works. Mix in refusal to answer questions with the people you don’t want to deal with because often your children are in earshot. It took me years to realize I had no obligation to answer these invasive questions. Also directly teach your children when it’s OK to answer these questions and when they are OK not to. My parents never gave me this, but I think there is a lot of personal power for the adoptive parent and the adoptees to know this. I also think one should be aware of the children while answering these questions. If the children are anywhere around, doesn’t matter where–if in the same household and they could run up to you, you should be careful of your answers. Also gage if your children at that very minute would be willing to deal with this. Talk to them after answering those questions if they seem upset. When you answer these questions, they are not just about you, they are about your child too.

I also encourage to give yourself time to consider the question and the best way to answer. Don’t answer from your gut. If you don’t think you can answer the question levelly because you’ve never gotten it before, give yourself time to think. Ignore the other person if they pester you. If you can’t answer the question, answer as such directly. This is better than answering the question and hurting yourself, the understanding of the other person and the children around you–adopted or not.

Side Note:
Often the questions are not about your parenting abilities for adoptive parents. And usually they aren’t really interested in you as a person for adoptees. You need to be able to take responsibility for your answers and make yourself more human to them.

I’ve found that the real question they have is if nature or nurture is the way to go. They are viewing you as an experiment of a long question of which came first, like the question of the Chicken or the egg. (BTW, for creationists, it’s clearly the Chicken. For the evolutionist it’s clearly the egg.) The true answer should be, it doesn’t matter. The children/you are you in the moment that you are living it now. So getting the person to realize this is your primary goal–you and your family are not part of a grand experiment.

I found this was the case, because after all of the questions were over, they would often slowly ask that question and try to compile the answer *for you*. This would amount to, “You should love X” more.

One minor thing to adoptive parents:
“Gotcha” day should be replaced with Family Anniversary Day. If you have more than one adoptee in your family, well, there are more days to celebrate the formation of your family. It’s the best language you can use. Because it doesn’t slight the adoptee to an object. If you have biological children, it allows them to be included into the mix. It allows you to celebrate both cultures of the child–not just their birth culture. It also doesn’t slight the birth family. In fact, you can use that day to honor them. I also think you could include them later on if you meet them face to face. This way you thank them. It gives power to you, to your family as a whole, all the parents and finally empowers you to deal with those outside of the triad. Use that day wisely.

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Posted in Adoption Politics, Adoptism, Parenting


Is this Normal?

19 Feb

I called my Mom to ask if it was normal that my boyfriend wanted me to trail behind him like he did. I was starting to feel swallowed whole. I complained about it. But it was like she didn’t really listen, though she heard what I had to say. Instead, she ignored my words and said, “What are you going to do if you come home then?”

She took this as a point to complain about my Dad and talk about fantasizing about divorcing him. That shocked me out of my own troubles.

Sadness and anger welled up in me as I hung up the phone. All I had to do was endure it. It had to be normal since she took no exception to it. I had no strength at this point to get out on my own without someone to say it was alright to leave. My own self and emotions were swallowed whole.

This is the point I realized in part, at least subconsciously, that I could not rely on her and all she really did was leave the sour taste of disappointment when I even tried to rely on her just a little.

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Posted in Love Life, Parenting, Parents


Prejudiced Lines From My Mom

19 Feb

“We adopted you from Korea because it was cheap and we knew other people who did it.”

She paused, “And because we liked the food.”
In Japan, she’s returned from a trip with my Dad and we are putting suitcases into the Kyoto Hotel van. She’s been acting paranoid. She said, “We took a trip yesterday to…” some tourist spot where they push you around to go in one direction. I really didn’t give a damn.

“And we got lost.”

She said this as if it were a big event.

“So we went into this hotel and a Japanese man was there.”

I stared at her. This is a revelation? I mean a Japanese man at a Japanese hotel in Japan?

“And he spoke Japanese.”

I stared at her as if she was serious.

“The Japanese man spoke Japanese,” she added in a hurt voice.

I blinked at her. She’d gone to MIT and this was a revelation. A Japanese man, at a Japanese hotel, in Japan, who spoke Japanese.

I turned to her and said, “Be something if he spoke French.”

My Dad snickered, but then covered the laugh.
“I can’t be Asian.”

She expected me to be Jewish.
“Mom, did you get to grow eggplants?” Because I gave her some eggplant seeds after she said she liked growing eggplants before I left the house.

“No, because we had that trip to Scotland.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah, Your dad hasn’t been good at watering the plants, you know how he is.”

Note that he later wrote me on AIM how he was proud he got a bunch of Fuchsias in Buffalo to winter over so they didn’t need to buy new ones in the spring.

“We like to travel.”

She really means herself.

“And you, know, we really like plants that take care of themselves.”

I swallowed my anger. That was a summary of my childhood.

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Posted in Adoption Politics, Parenting, Parents


The Silence

23 Feb

When I was little there were times that I was forbidden to speak about various topic with just a glare or just a few words.

The first time I was forbidden was when I wanted to ask my Aunt about her son–the one she gave up for adoption. I wanted to ask her about adoption and what it was like to give birth. Because I couldn’t remember anything before I was adopted at the time. My mom pulled me aside and said that I shouldn’t ask those questions. When I asked why she fell silent and didn’t explain. I think in retrospect, my mom minded more than my aunt did, since my Aunt answered my innocent question.

The second matter that was not to be discussed was race. Anything to do with teasing, being singled out was not to be talked about. It was fine when we were talking about equal rights for *other* people, but if I brought up the fact that I could only see Asian people on television and count them with one hand, my mom would frown at me. Then she would tell me that Asians simply didn’t want to be on TV because that was the culture and if I decided to be an actress, not only would I get prejudice from whites, but also Asians too. I don’t know how conscious she was about those words and their impact on me. In those words she said she would not support artistic endeavors I would have. The only reason she liked me going to acting classes was because she got free tickets to that theater, which is why I think she made it as hard as possible on me not to get into another acting class that was more advanced. Eventually I quit and went into the more selfish hobby of writing.

The third matter was the true nature of adoption–which was the loss for me and my Korean parents.

All through this, my mom would say I had a right to meet my Korean parents. I really thought that she really wanted that for me. I really thought she could handle it, so when I was old enough, she sent a letter to find out about Eomma, though I was far more interested in Appa, since he was a man I had held onto all those years. My Dad stayed out of all the adoption issues and the culture. But as I and my brother got deeper into Korea, my Mom showed signs of being able to handle it less and less. I learned Korean, which compelled my brother to also learn Korean and then try to one up me. We both learned Japanese–though for different reasons. And then my mom would call me up compulsively, it seemed like to remind me that it was Hannukah today.

So when I met Appa through Skype, she started to flip out. She called me every five minutes. When I didn’t answer, she got my Dad to call me every five minutes–not realizing how unhealthy this was. Then the phone calls would stop for a month as if she were punishing me for not answering her phone calls, then they would resume every five minutes for weeks until it drove me literally nuts. My therapist worked hard with me to try to deal with this behavior. I sent my mom e-mails which me and the therapist would work on for the entire time we were together, trying to tweak the language to get my mom to understand.

I couldn’t understand how when I asked permission to find Appa and Eomma and my extended Korean family that my mom said yes, happily. But now it was falling apart before my eyes. I really couldn’t handle it, so I sought therapy, because I was beginning to hallucinate from the stress of trying to deal with my Mom’s issues, Appa’s issues and my brother’s issues. It was falling apart.

I worked super hard for a year before the trip to try to iron out some of my codependence and some of my inability to let go of the control I was trying to exhibit towards my family because it was falling apart. And because I thought I should really, really give a chance to my mom to show her there was a way out. That calling me obsessively was not helping the situation. I needed tools to cope and probably because I knew in some ways that the relationship was falling apart–not because of the adoption so much, but because my mom took exception to the adoption and never faced any of the issues that our adoption exacerbated.

And because we never talked about adoption, I tried to get the ball rolling with it because my therapist said that it was a good idea. I really tried, to the point of breaking. I tried and tried, but by the time I left the GOA’L building, I knew she would never really face the fact that my brother and I were adopted in her hearts of hearts and what that really meant–because inside of herself the issues she never dealt with–her infertility, the prejudice, the teasing, being left alone with a depressed mother were too great and our adoption just reminded her just that little bit more about those hurts. Beneath all those hurts, she had still not defined herself without them.

And next, we could not talk about her infertility and how that influenced our adoption–if my mom didn’t forbid it, my Dad did because he was there to always rescue her and take her side against us.

Thus, when we went to building 63, it was a compound of her fear of Korea, adoption, me, my brother, and loss of control. I got that, but I couldn’t stop hurting as she pushed the very identity I worked hard to regain away. And maybe this is the point where the relationship between us went beyond repair.

The forbidden words killed our communication and eventually our relationship. Because the silence permeated all in its wake leaving hurt behind instead of healing.

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Posted in Adoption Politics, Parenting, Parents


A Doll

24 Feb

My face like a doll. A doll bought and sold to the first vendor they could find. A doll, a delight for a while. A doll thrown in the corner.

“That doll is stupid.”

Convenience fairs on how many times she will brush my hair. If I am not perfect I am stupid. I am worthless. My clothes have to be ironed to perfection. My demeanor so that I am prim and proper.

Grade me to perfection. Love me, please, or my paint will run in my tears. But I’ve been forgotten.

Rage hits like tomorrow won’t come. Screams. “How could you do that to me” for things not my fault. Large rage for small things. Hole in knees. That’s not proper. Dirt on clothes. Shoes on floor. Lost sock. The doll, perhaps, does not know its place.

“Appologize to me

A doll, I cannot speak. There is no use in speaking. Her yells drown out mine.

“Dolly–I will punish you.”

Forgotten. Thrown in the corner. I can’t see anything but the floral wallpaper of her room. The shadow of my body casts against the wall.


“See! I have one too. Mine is better than yours.”

She loves me. She is talking about me to others. She loves me.

Thrown in the corner.

“I hate you. My friend has one with brown hair! Why can’t you have brown hair?”

If I cry, my face will crack. I am worthless chipped. Forgotten again.

She’s brushing my hair and repainting my face. She loves me. I need her. She’s washing my clothes. I’m sure she loves me. New shoes.

“I’m letting Sally borrow you. You better behave. Tell her how wonderful I am. Don’t look bad or get dirty because that’ll make me look bad.”

She gives me to Sally. Sally brushes my hair every day. Sally invites me for tea with her other dolls. Sally hugs me. She pats me on the head. I want to cry. I can’t cry. I want to cry. Sally lets me cry.

“I won’t tell.”

She repaints my face as tears slip down my porcelain cheek.


“You were terrible. You forgot to mention how wonderful I am. You were supposed to praise me.”

Corner. I can now make out that the leaves on the wallpaper were once green. Faded now. My make up is fading too. I am glad. I miss Sally.

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Posted in Parenting, Parents, Poetry


Why did you adopt me?

25 Feb

I often wondered at that time after Building 63 if my mom’s reasons for adopting me were as she told me, “Because it was cheap and we knew other people who had done it.” Even if I corrected that and told her the hateful things she said during my childhood about my adoption, I couldn’t really understand why she would do it.

The infertility we were forbidden to talk about, I knew that a lot of the loss and reasons she did the adoption was because she didn’t have a choice. I think in her heart of hearts she still wanted the child I could never become and I ultimately replaced. But to me, that was not a good enough reason to adopt.

She said a few times the reason she adopted was because my Aunt already had children–and it must have been painful for my mom to know that my Aunt could get pregnant and so quickly while she never could. My grandmothers didn’t help either, and often pressured her for children. She also told me that my Dad wanted children. But everything in her behavior told me that she really didn’t want children. She’s stiff around children and sometimes I can feel a resentment from her. Maybe a lost childhood to a mother that criticized her when she was out of bed and then depressed for the rest of the time.

My mom would irrationally compete with me as well, which I never understood. It was like a score board for her–I never understood the competition she tried to put forth in absolutely everything. My skin was darker, one point for me. My eyes were Asian, one point against me. I got along with her mother and put a lot of effort into understanding her mother, one point for me. I didn’t allow my mom to tell me not to wear jeans to her mother’s place. One point against me. A constant score board of extremes.

So when I pointed out the evils of adoption–because nothing is inherently good or bad, she wouldn’t accept it. One point against me.

By the end of Building 63, I wondered really heavily why they really adopted me. Was it really the obligation that my mom felt towards fulfilling other people’s wishes? After the trip I wrote her a letter pointing this out and cried when she never said the words I wanted to hear so much, “I wanted you. I wanted you in my life.” I ruthlessly deleted the e-mail and blocked her because I couldn’t deal with it.

An obligation. An annoyance. A duty. I felt all those things from her. I felt that me and my brother were there for show. Like little dolls for her to parade and then when we were inconvenient we were filed away for later use. I struggled against her walls to try to understand why she was like this. But when I got to her core, I found a mountain of fear and walls surrounding the fear. She didn’t know who she was and finding it out was not an option for her.

Despite understanding all this pain, and in doing that forgiving her for her shortcomings, I could not stop hurting. I struggled against my thoughts of Eomma and made sure to separate them out. I struggled hard to understand my Mom and why she would not accept her larger self–the mother and her father before her. And the events as they told them. And accept in a way that did not make her a victim, but made her wiser.

I also tried to understand my Dad and why he had become that codependent on her. I realized that he resented me a lot–maybe subconsciously, because while I was deflecting for my brother I was also deflecting for him (by accident) and now that I was not around, she was using all that nervous energy of not knowing who she was in a country that would not allow her marijuana to calm her down, she was using him in the way she used me. I quit being the punching bag.

I wondered why he wanted children with her if he knew she couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t get rid of the doubts I had about the reasons they adopted and I started to question if their love was true love. Especially when they would not allow me to refer to them to what they were to me, my Mom and Dad. They called each other to me by their names instead. I found that hateful and I couldn’t get past it.

Why did you adopt me if you wanted me for just a tool or an object to one up a person that is not going to raise me? I thought it was for love. I thought you wanted a family more than anything. Why can’t you answer that way? Why can’t you say that no matter what you wanted me and really mean it without me prompting it out of you? I started thinking those doubts where I had none before and I could not stop asking those questions to myself even if I couldn’t ask them. The silence ruined everything.

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