Tales of Wonderlost

I'm a Korean-American adoptee living in Seoul, just finished my MA in Anthropology (yes, i took all of my classes in Korean TT). In my spare time, I volunteer at two great organizations: Korean Unwed Mothers' Families Association (KUMFA) and the Women's Global Solidarity Action Network (WGSAN) - a group that works on various issues, including with the survivors of military sexual slavery during WWII ("Comfort Women"). I also love cooking and baking and going to the noraebang ^^ To make a monthly donation to the Korean Unwed Mothers' Families Association, please click below!!
You can also make a one-time donation!
Recent Tweets @

made fresh apricot milkshakes with the apricots i got from bartering, yumyumyum

gpoy.

(found on friend’s FB, not sure of original source).

"Anyone involved in international adoption is aware of the role of money. Adoptions cost around $30,000-$40,000. Children who are adopted internationally have birth families that are poor, some more abjectly than others. Children who are adopted internationally have adoptive families who are way better off economically than their birth families. Yes, there are exceptions, but that’s a reality in most cases, whether you were born in Korea, China, Haiti, Russia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, or India. It’s a definite imbalance of power.

Adoptive parents often hold fundraisers to get the thousands of dollars they need to adopt internationally. Friends, family, and strangers contribute. Many of the parents then claim the adoption tax credit after the child is with them, and that way get reimbursed by the US government for the airfare, hotels, meals, and other adoption expenses.

I’m holding a fundraiser, but it’s not for adoption. It’s for family preservation in my home country of Ethiopia. I was placed for adoption not because I was an orphan, or because my parents had died, but because they were poor.

I have told myself I was done fighting with time, I cannot reclaim the past, and I am ready to move forward. Moving forward has meant not obsessing over every specific detail of what happened and what was lost. It’s a struggle.

I’m not giving up on the struggle, and I am happy that I now know my Ethiopian family. They are happy that I grew up safe and healthy, with a good education. Still, I’ve seen the heartache that adoption has caused each of us, in different ways. These days, I ask myself often what I can focus on. What can I do to fix a broken system, which had failed my first family and many other Ethiopian families like mine? A system that means mothers must lose their children perhaps forever, that sends children to an orphanage, simply because their parents are too poor to keep them. I decided to open my eyes to my pain and that of first mothers and fathers. I’m not weeping anymore; I’m working.”

KUMFA is looking for 10 volunteers to help babysit this Saturday from 6-9pm at the Catholic Youth Center (4th floor, near Hongdae Station exit 2). Dinner is available if you come between 5-6pm (location for dinner is different so please let me know if you plan to eat dinner, I will give you directions). Please let me know if you can help out! 

KUMFA is going to Daebu Island for a “Tidal Flats experience” trip on Thursday, July 31st and is looking for 10 volunteers to come along. The “tidal flats experience” program will be from 10am-4pm but the bus to go there will leave from Sindorim Station (exit 1) at 7am. You can also take the bus from Pyeongchon Station (exit 3) at 8am if that is more convenient. Since the program ends at 4, the bus will return to Pyeongchon around 5pm and Sindorim around 6pm. Please let me know if you are able to come! 

Asker hcconn Asks:
Part 1: I just read your posted ask about "do you wish your parents hadnt adopted you?" One of the reasons someone might want to know so desperately is if they were considering adoption or had adopted.
peaceshannon peaceshannon Said:

hcconn:

peaceshannon:

Part 2: I would be devestated if the child we adopted did not love us or consider us their real parents. So, do you see why you may get questions like this? It is a very scary thing, to put so much love into a child and have them resent you for it.
ooooh, ok. thanks for pointing that out to me (yes, i’m sorry i am being just a little sarcastic because yea, i knoooow the reasons why potential adoptive parents and adoptive parents would ask me that, frankly its not that difficult to figure out). 
but let me ask you a question. is that not the case with any child? do parents not put so much love into their biological children too? is not possible with ANY child that they also not love you or consider you their parents anymore or resent you? the answer is yes because i have seen that with plenty of children raised by their biological parents too. but do people go around asking biological children if they wished their parents hadn’t birthed them? even when those children say nothing bad about their parents at all (make note, i don’t speak poorly of my adoptive parents). hmmmmm, i wonder why not? i wonder what the difference would be between adopted people and non-adopted people that i would get asked that question in different forms many, many times (hint: i don’t always post those asks bc frankly they’re getting redundant).
ok, maybe it’s because i’m active in trying to fight for the right of poor, unmarried, brown women to raise their children (well then, perhaps i should start asking pro-choice activists if they wish their moms hadn’t birthed them???) maybe that’s why people ask consistently about if i wish i wasn’t adopted and how my parents feel about my activism. whether you want to admit it or not, this is tied into the assumption that adoptees should be grateful to our parents and it is “devastating” for adoptive parents (who have only had good intentions and loved their children) if those adoptees grow up to be critical of the systems of oppressions that put us in those families (want to talk about devastating, imagine giving birth to a child and being forced to give it away because the rest of the world tells you it is selfish for you to raise it).
the world is a complicated place. i can love my adoptive parents and still hate the corrupt system that took me from my birth mom without her permission and made them my parents. 

I was 18 and unmarried when I gave birth to my oldest son, I know the pressure put on young mothers to give away their children, though not to the extent Korean women face.

I come from an abusive family, my parents were horrible people which is why I cut off all contact with them, why I resent them and don’t consider them my parents. I come from poverty, we often had no water or electricity, we were on food stamps and even those my parents sold to other people to buy alcohol and cigarettes and worse. I know the many, many valid reasons that a child would grow to hate her parents.

I have a good family now, I have a son and daughter and husband who love me with all of their heart and whom I love with all of mine. My husband and I feel that we would like a bigger family (he comes from a family of 10) and we are considering adoption. I love our future adoptive child as much as I loved the idea of my biological children when they were just a clump of cells, just an idea of a baby.

The idea that my child (and an adopted child is just as much yours as any biological child) would grow up to resent being adopted scares me, that I would pour the same amount of love and affection into him, only to have hurt him, hurts me in turn.


I guess it might come down to what you believe. I believe that you choose your family, that those who love and care for you are far more important than blood ties.

then shouldnt you have the same worries that your biological children will grow up and not return your love? (i’m pregnant now and i’m certainly afraid my biological child will grow up to blame and resent me). why are you only worried about it with your adoptive children? what’s the difference? (oh but i thought there was no difference between bio children and adopted children?) what is it about this difference that makes people get all up in my inbox asking me if i wish my parents hadn’t adopted me but doesn’t make people ask biological children if they wish their parents hadn’t birthed them? you think it’s no big deal if a few people ask me that, try having people ask you that ALL the time. yea, it tends to make a person cranky about it. 

i guess it does come down to what you believe. i believe that if you understand the way the world pressures women to give up their children, then you shouldn’t do that to another woman just so you can have a bigger family?

Asker hcconn Asks:
Part 1: I just read your posted ask about "do you wish your parents hadnt adopted you?" One of the reasons someone might want to know so desperately is if they were considering adoption or had adopted.
peaceshannon peaceshannon Said:
Part 2: I would be devestated if the child we adopted did not love us or consider us their real parents. So, do you see why you may get questions like this? It is a very scary thing, to put so much love into a child and have them resent you for it.
ooooh, ok. thanks for pointing that out to me (yes, i’m sorry i am being just a little sarcastic because yea, i knoooow the reasons why potential adoptive parents and adoptive parents would ask me that, frankly its not that difficult to figure out). 
but let me ask you a question. is that not the case with any child? do parents not put so much love into their biological children too? is not possible with ANY child that they also not love you or consider you their parents anymore or resent you? the answer is yes because i have seen that with plenty of children raised by their biological parents too. but do people go around asking biological children if they wished their parents hadn’t birthed them? even when those children say nothing bad about their parents at all (make note, i don’t speak poorly of my adoptive parents). hmmmmm, i wonder why not? i wonder what the difference would be between adopted people and non-adopted people that i would get asked that question in different forms many, many times (hint: i don’t always post those asks bc frankly they’re getting redundant).
ok, maybe it’s because i’m active in trying to fight for the right of poor, unmarried, brown women to raise their children (well then, perhaps i should start asking pro-choice activists if they wish their moms hadn’t birthed them???) maybe that’s why people ask consistently about if i wish i wasn’t adopted and how my parents feel about my activism. whether you want to admit it or not, this is tied into the assumption that adoptees should be grateful to our parents and it is “devastating” for adoptive parents (who have only had good intentions and loved their children) if those adoptees grow up to be critical of the systems of oppressions that put us in those families (want to talk about devastating, imagine giving birth to a child and being forced to give it away because the rest of the world tells you it is selfish for you to raise it).
the world is a complicated place. i can love my adoptive parents and still hate the corrupt system that took me from my birth mom without her permission and made them my parents. 

presents that we got today from some of jinwoo’s co-workers… so cute, right? starting to sink in, little by little :)

"돈도 없고, 어린 미혼모가 키우면 아이가 불행해진다. 대신 아이를 입양 보내면 거기서 잘 먹고, 잘 입고, 공부도 다 시켜주고, 공주처럼 행복하게 할 수 있다"는 것이었다. 김씨는 "처음엔 아이를 보낼 생각이 없었지만 자꾸 그런 말을 들으니 그 말이 진짜라고 생각하게 됐다"고 말했다.

김씨는 1979년 친권을 포기한다는 각서를 쓰면서 아이가 원할 경우 언제든지 친엄마를 찾을 수 있도록 본인의 이름과 본적 등 자세한 인적 사항을 적었다. 하지만 수정씨의 입양 서류에는 친엄마에 대한 정보가 전혀 남아 있지 않았다고 했다. 수정씨는 ‘노량진경찰서 앞에서 버려졌음’이라고 기록된 단 한 줄의 정보와 함께 1980년 미국으로 입양됐다.

김씨는 아이를 입양 보낸 뒤 자신의 결정이 잘못됐다는 것을 깨닫고, 밀려오는 죄책감에 시달렸다. 지금의 남편과 결혼을 해 아들 딸 낳고 남부럽지 않게 살았지만 시시때때로 떠오르는 큰 딸 수정씨에 대한 기억 때문에 고통의 응어리가 남았다.

밤마다 아이를 찾는 꿈을 꾸다 울면서 깨는 바람에 김씨는 “그만 잊으라”는 남편과도 많이 싸웠다. 김씨는 “딸과 연락이 닿은 뒤 내 사진을 보내달라 길래 사진을 찾아봤는데 평생 웃고 찍은 사진이 없더라”며 “시간을 되돌릴 수 있다면 아이를 데리고 길에서 굶어 죽더라도 내가 직접 키웠을 것”이라고 말했다.

translation:

"They told me, ‘You don’t have any money, if you raise her as a young unwed mom, your child will become unhappy. Instead, send her for adoption and she will eat well and wear nice clothes and be able to study and live happily like a princess.’ At first I had no intention to send her for adoption but after hearing that over and over I started to believe it” Kim said. 

Kim signed the relinquishment papers in 1979 and she filled out all of her personal information in detail, in order that her daughter would be able to find her if she ever wanted to. But, there was no information about her left on her daughter Sujeong’s adoption records. Sujeong was sent for international adoption in 1980 with only one line of information in her records, “Abandoned in front of the Noryangjin police station.” 

Kim says that she realized that she had made the wrong decision after she sent her daughter for adoption and she struggled with the guilt that flooded her afterwards. After getting married, she had a son and daughter, and has lived a comfortable life but a bitter pain always remained whenever she remembered her daughter Sujeong. 

Every night, she would wake up crying after dreaming of her daughter coming back to find her, which would cause her to fight often with her husband when he told her to “Forget about it.” After contact was reestablished with her daughter, Kim says, “My daughter asked me for a picture. So I looked all over for a picture to send her. I realized there are no pictures of me smiling after I sent my daughter for adoption. If I could turn back time, I would go back and get my daughter and raise her, even if it meant we would’ve starved on the street together.”