TRA’s with their adoptive “twin” siblings

This was definitely one of those "huh?" moments for me.

I was adopted a few months before my sister was born to my adoptive parents, and our birthdays are the same month. So, although we are not the same age (I had almost a 3-year head start on her), my sister and I both came to my parents about the same time. We are definitely not "virtual" twins, as this article below describes, but given that I was very small for my age and my language and developmental delays, we were often treated as if we were the same age.

———————————————————————————-
Adoption’s ‘virtual’ twins changing look of some American families
Different backgrounds didn’t prevent bonding for Sam, 7, and Jenna, 8.

By Nara Schoenberg
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Monday, June 26, 2006

Jenna and Sam Goering are in the same grade in school, play with the same younger brother and sisters, and live in the same spacious farmhouse-style home in Bourbonnais, Ill.

Seven years ago, they entered their parents’ lives on the same day.

And yet, Jenna and Sam aren’t twins.

He was born in the United States, the biological son of computer consultants Jody and Addison Goering. She was abandoned six months earlier in rural China, and first introduced to the Goerings through a string of urgent phone calls that started coming from their adoption agency just an hour after Sam’s birth.

Together, Jenna, who is Asian, and Sam, who is white, are part of a phenomenon that would have been almost inconceivable a generation ago: the emergence of interracial adoptive "twins."

To read the rest of the article, click here

MTV-K piece on Asian American Adoptees

Courtesy of The Hyphenator, I found this piece on Asian American Adoptees Speak Out on MTV-K. Seems like they’re just jumpin’ on the Toby Dawson hype.

As The Hyphenator correctly pointed out, they got some facts wrong,
saying that the first wave of adoptions out of Korea began in the 80s.
Uh, hello, they started in the 1950s. That should have been an easy
fact to find. For the intern working on this story, hint for next time:
try Google.

Of course, this piece was chock full of "adoption-friendly"
language. Nice choice, too, to have non-adopted Korean host Su Chin
Park, waxing poetic about how "international adoption is a healthy way to build a family."

*Edit: So, I just have to wonder why they had to include the
"healthy way to build a family" part. My question is: Who are they
trying to convince/placate? Or does this attempt to bring "awareness"
make some higher-ups nervous about looking like they don’t support
international adoption?

Here’s a radical thought

My philosophy about having children and being a parent echoes what Kahlil Gibran wrote:

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughter of life’s longing for itself.

They come through you, not from you.
And though they are with you, they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but strive not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that the arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves the bow that is stable.

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

Trying to keep childcare in the family

This article interested me because I believe children most often do best when kept in their birth family system – whether it be with relatives or with friends/people connected to their family. I also am concerned about how the government "penalizes" families for keeping children within their family system, as this article explains.

From the New York Times
Trying to Keep Child Care in the Family
By IAN URBINA, Published: July 23, 2006

Some of the highlights:

Kali Ward is just glad she can finally go to slumber parties.
Now that she is out of foster care, the sociable 17-year-old no longer has to get a criminal background check on her friends’ parents if she wants to sleep over.

“People make plans same day,” said Kali, a cordless phone in one hand, an afternoon waffle in the other. “Background checks take weeks.”

Under the legal guardianship of their grandmother, Kali and two of her siblings left such worries behind last year with help from a city program that focuses on moving children from foster care into permanent homes with grandparents or other relatives.

Continue reading

“A Euro-American on a Korean Tour at a Thai Restaurant in China”

Hmmmmm. I have to say, I am not too crazy about the title of this book.

From the Korean Times

US Mom Unravels Interethnic Adoption
By Seo Dong-shin, Staff Reporter

Adoptees, experts say, will likely undergo an identity crisis on a more serious level than others. It is not difficult to assume the challenge will increase if the adoptees do not share the race _ or more bluntly, skin color _ with their adoptive parents. And when those adoptees turn to their own ethnic community, realizing their different upbringings cannot make them fit into that community either _ another frustration.

Such are the layers of challenge involving interethnic adoption. Hence comes the complexity of Chris Winston’s book title "A Euro-American on a Korean Tour at a Thai Restaurant in China.” The book was published last month. Winston is an American with two adopted Korean children.

"It is a big deal to lose your original parents. Most don’t,” Winston, 50, president of the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network (KAAN), told The Korea Times during her visit to Seoul for the 8th annual KAAN conference held June 30 through July 2. "And inter-country adoptees lose their heritage at that. When they later struggle to reclaim it, it’s also a challenge,” she said.

The personal is political and the political is personal

Several years ago when I became a SAHM, I joined a "mom’s group" in
my city. I thought it would be a good place for me to connect with
other SAHMs and give my kids an opportunity to make friends too. Let’s
just say it was a miserable experience. I had hoped that I would find
some SAHM’s that shared my world view, but unfortunately this group
just wasn’t a good fit. For a few years, I avoided other SAHMs because
I believed they were "all the same" and I thought I’d be unwelcomed.

As it turned out, I just had to look some more, because eventually I did find some SAHMs that I connected with.

I had the same experience with finding my TRA community.

I originally joined a group of korean american adoptees back in 2000
because of my friend K. I ended up going to Korea with some of them
later that year. But after some bad experiences, I almost stopped
hanging out with other adoptees all together. What I didn’t realize was
that I had expected this first group of kads to fulfill all my
expectations and share all the same experiences and opinons. But we
didn’t – we were a very diverse group in age, geographical location,
marital status, professions and adoptive experiences. Oh, and we had
completely diverse personalities as well.

What I have since learned is that when we are deep in the middle of
some kind of search for a community of others who share our views, we
are likely to be the most judgemental and defensive. Then we say
hurtful things or become argumentative, instead of listening and
understanding. Naturally, we are looking for others to validate our
experiences. I remember thinking I’d found some kads that shared my
experiences and felt betrayed when it turned out they didn’t. I know it
was silly for me to have felt betrayed when these kads were just
expressing their experiences, but I was just longing so much for someone who thought like me.

Recently, a post
on another kad blog spurred on a comment from a fellow kad who
disagreed with the contents of said post and proceeded to make some
pretty nasty comments.

My first reaction was to raise the hackles and want to post a
comment skewering said adoptee for the very unsavory comment. Then, I
felt an immense sense of pity, because in my own judgemental mind I
immediately *assumed* that this poor kad must be in complete and utter
denial.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I know there exists this
very deep and divisive canyon of extremist thinking regarding
international and transracial adoption. On the one side are those who
are against the practice of IA and TRA, and on the other side are the
proponents.

Or at least, that’s what everyone wants you to think. The reality is, most of the adoptees I know are somewhere in the middle. And a lot of other non-adoptees are too.

Continue reading

Knee-deep in my past

I recently came across this e-mail I’d sent to someone about my upcoming trip to Korea in 2000, my first.

It shows that even back then, at a time I considered myself to have
been in great denial and very apolitical about adoption issues, I still
felt it was important that I search for what was missing in my life,
and that it was important to do so with like-minded people.

Here is an excerpt of this email:

Last night . . . my family had dinner with a woman from Taegu and her
family. Her husband is caucasian . . . her kids are about the same age
as mine. I happened to find out in October that she lives only 1 1/2
blocks from me. For the past three years we’ve lived 1 1/2 blocks
apart, and she is from the same city I am from.

C-H looked over all my papers and showed me maps of Korea and Taegu.
She explained a lot of things to me about the time and place when I was
adopted. She herself is the 7th daughter of 8 kids. Her mom almost left
her to die since she was so disappointed she wasn’t born a son. Her
father [forced] her mom take care of her and thankfully, her mother
snapped out of it.

So it was interesting to talk with her about all these things. She
seems to think my birth mother will for sure recognize me if she sees
me on [tv] or in the newspaper because of the circumstances surrounding
my abandonment.

I was left at a very specific, well-known building late at night
during a time when there was a city-wide curfew, so C-H believes my
birth mother lived less than an hour away from downtown Taegu. At the
time there were limited busses and the rails, but hardly any cars. As
she is telling me this, I am feeling overwhelmed.

Six months ago, I had no idea I would be at this point searching for
my birth family. I never thought I would. I basically gave this
information to the universe and all these things are falling into my
lap . . . whatever happens, whatever I find, it will be a part of me
forever. I am allowing myself to be vulnerable because it is the only
way I can grow.

This trip is ostensibly about a search for family, but it is way
more than that. It is a search to come full circle as a person . . . I
have always felt a part of me was missing, that part of stepping on my
birth ground, of breathing the air of my people, of walking in the
footsteps of my kind.

Yet if I come home without any knowledge or information on my birth
family, I will have . . . walked side by side with others taking the
same journey. It is not the results of the answers to all my questions
that is important to me, it is the courage to take the journey itself.

As I revisit that first trip to Korea with the Searching Seoul
show and now this letter that I wrote, it’s making me step back and
think more about how different I am now than I was back then.

And yet, some things never really change. That sense of wanting to take the journey with others who are like me has not changed. It is why I write and share my thoughts and feelings on this blog.