Archive for August, 2006

Abuse, Neglect…. and Adoption?

I blog too much about conversations on adoptee groups and listservs and I will attempt to grab my inspiration from other sources for now on. Starting…. after this post!

Hot, hot, hot is the topic of the welfare of children! So, when a few adoptees on an Adoptee/AP group said that children would be better off being raised in an orphanage (or dead!) than an adoptive home… all heck broke. I have to admit, I was hurt. Deep down in the pit of my stomach was a death. I took it personal…. when I should know better.

Then, in response, there was the following reply to one of those hurt (and hurtful, maybe?) adoptees….

I am not an adoptee, but always wish I was, still do. But since I am not, as the adoptees here say, I can never “get” what it is like to be one. However, just as adoptees can say this with absolute certainty, so I can say with absolute certainty that you can never “get” what it was like to grow up in poverty, in filthy hovels, parental (if you can call them parents) rejection, daily beatings with belts, branches, pipes, no food, no “new” school clothes and shoes, and even household furnishings obtained from what was referred to by the people in town as the “city dump”, shunned and ridiculed because of this by kids in school, being left alone in the dark as a toddler and young child, sexually abused, hungry, afraid, and, yes, abandoned, until they came back — I couldn’t know when, hours or sometimes days, while I remained frozen in place, behind the curtains, looking out the window for them, afraid to move, soiling my clothes, or the monsters in the room would get me. When I was 11 I was infected with a staph skin infection, then developed hepatitis A (we lived in quite unclean conditions and I don’t ever remember being bathed). I became very ill, and was hidden away in an upstairs room, left to die, not treated, not even given food or water. My aunt saved me, came to visit my mother one day, asked for me, searched, found me, horrified, called an ambulance. I spent a month in the hospital, parents never came to see me. I remember the look of disgust on my mother’s face when I came home. It was only then that I realized the enormity of what she had tried to do, angry that she was fooled.

I was unwanted, a burden, a drain, resented and hated, living in fear, neglected, starved, a wisp of a child, still with scars from the beatings. Do I wish I had been adopted — YES, it was my childhood fantasy, my beautiful alternate universe. Just as you say that poverty and homelessness would have been better than being adopted, I say, with just as much certainty, that adoption would have been better than the childhood I had. And it makes me realize that, from my point of view, sometimes it IS better for children to be given up for adoption, and if adopted by loving families, wherever in the world, their lives will be immeasurably improved. I would have LOVED to have left behind my country, where I was treated so shoddily, been taken away, as far as possible, and embrace a new place, even a new culture, where I was given even the basics of Maslow’s needs, let alone a family who loved me, wanted me, provided for me and cared about my future. But back then, in the US, there were no social programs to help kids, teachers looked away from the red welts on my arms and legs, my dirty clothes, just as perhaps there are lacking social programs to help kids in countries that are not in the “Great West” today. Poverty breeds discontent, and unfortunately, discontent sometimes breeds abuse and neglect of children.

I thought this post was incredibly brave. I read it twice… inspired equally as much the second time around at how this woman dare expose herself so willingly to such a “hostile” crowd. I am in awe and humbled. It got me thinking. For sure, there are some adoptees who share this experience. Adoptees who are abused and neglected in their birth homes and in their foster homes and in their adoptive homes. Abuse is a disease infecting children no matter their biological status in a home. It is appalling.

I wonder… and I just cannot wrap my head around the answer that feels correct. I wonder why, when the victim of the abuse is adopted, that the world, the society, the very victim his/herself chalks it all up to “because she/he/I am/is/was adopted.” Why is that the reason? And why… is the discussion then that adoption is not in the best interest of children? Should we also question if being raised by biological parents is in the best interest of children? I think, both or neither must be asked. Each question alone leads to no answers for the children/victim.

Abuse is abuse. Neglect is neglect. And a biological parent is no less likely to abuse than an adoptive parent… in my opinion. (Anyone know if there are actual studies on this?)

Let’s stop talking about an adoption ban and let’s start talking about protecting children from their parents… no matter how they become one.

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August 26, 2006 at 6:07 pm 9 comments

Sista, Sista

SIster 

Where do I begin? I have so much angst built up. My sister is coming. My sister, my sister… for ten days. How will I do it?

Growing up, people would always look at me and my sister, put on their fake smile (as if there was something cute about a tall white girl and a short and stout asian girl pretending to be related), and say, “Boy! They sure are opposite for sisters!” My mother would then list off all our similarities to the unexpected stranger. It would go something like this…

“Actually, they both love to dance, play the violin, and they both love the same toys. They are very similar actually!”

Around this time, I was about 3 or 4 years old and my sister  about 7 or 8 years old. At 3 years old, do you think I had any idea why I was attending dance classes and violin? And I would play with a paper plate and enjoy it just as much as my sister’s Barbie collection! Who was she kidding?

As we got older, I became more of a pest for my sister. Always in her stuff, always wanting to play with her friends when they had “big kid” things to talk about, and sometimes stealing the attention she craved from my parents. Kids at school began to ask her why she had a “Chinese” sister. I became a burden she really didn’t understand. She attempted to be as different from me as possible… if I liked something, she hated it. From ice cream flavor to favorite color. She was spent on being my polar opposite. While she was busy trying to be different, I was busy trying to be the same as her. When people would ask me if we had a lot in common, I would respond, “she’s the same as me, only white.” I wanted to belong to my family and I thought to do so, I needed to be the same as Sara.

By the time she went off to university, I was wrapped up in my own independent teenage life. She attempted to make up for our lost years by sending me random “what’s up?” cards in the mail and asking me if I wanted to crash at her apartment and party with her roomies for the weekend. I was pretty sure that she was finding having an asian sister to be a popular item. It seemed her roomies wanted to hang with the chinky sis more than she did. I resented her and I was too busy with my own life to deal with my new found “fame” in Sara’s world.

It’s kind of been that way ever since. She continues to try to become close and I push her away. But these days, I need her. I need my sister. So I asked her to come and she is. She’s coming! Oh where do I begin?

Sister1

 

August 20, 2006 at 10:39 am 3 comments

Korea Ban, Angry KADs, For this I blog…

I’m on a couple of KAD only listservs and a lot of discussion has been happening on a few of them regarding the potential Korea ban on adoptions. Mainly, it seems the discussion is “Us against Them” — meaning KADs against the adoption agencies and a ralley for more “Angry KAD supporters.” I feel like the only KAD who is not interested in fighting this fight. Not simply because I don’t care — but because I really dont want to see a ban. I have more interest in fighting on the side of what I have been told is “the enemy.” Call it self-centered, but I really don’t think that transracial international adoption is THAT evil that it must just be stopped. Matter of fact, I think that just breeds a new problem for the children who are surrendered in Korea. For me my adoption did not result in doom and gloom. Certainly I grieve the loss of the connection to my “homeland” and birthfamily — but my gains as a KAD were pretty damn good too! Again – being self-centered here … but I almost feel like the KADs who had a bad experience are being self-centered as well. It has become personal with me — and I wish it hadn’t — but I feel like they are telling me, I should never have been adopted. That I was just a part of an experiemental mistake that happened and was called “international adoption.” Hell no! I like my life, thank you very much. I don’t like my life blindly, though. I am not saying all is good and well. It seems what I don’t like about my life these days, has nothing to do with my adoption.

I tend to blog about the negative experiences that I have had in relation to being a KAD. It’s just the nature of the blog I think. It being a public journal, all that makes me heated makes it here — and from what I have read, to other Adoptee blogs too. I’ve had a couple of emails from potiential APs considering an international transracial adoption who read my blog and wonder if they should “do this to a child.” I usually respond back with my typical questions and they are shocked to see I am not AGAINST, AGAINST on all grounds. I feel badly about giving that impression.

This will make some adoptees just plain pissed off, but I think I may write a letter to the Korean government supporting international adoption. And yes, I was asked to do so by the very agency that did my adoption. Not because I think international adoption is a perfect process — certainly, it needs work — but because I don’t believe a ban in the answer. It’s not that black & white. The people who think that children are better off being raised in foster homes or with birth parents who were pressured into parenting their child they really felt they could not, make me mad as hell. Take one look at the USA foster care system and you shall see an adoption disaster!

Last night, I was reading through Sume’s blog, Ethnically Incorrect Daughter, and she was able to express what I have long tried to express here…

“I float between feeling saved and feeling kidnapped, between gratitude and resentment but in the end, there is always love. This space serves as a repository for those thoughts and my experiences as I sort through them.”

That’s why I blog, too. Not because I am just plain angry. It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog.

August 19, 2006 at 11:09 am 12 comments

엽기토끼

유주열 recently introduced me to 엽기토끼 (Yupgi Tokki) — which means “crazy rabbit” (roughly). I have concluded that 엽기토끼 is actually a KAD (Korean Adoptee). See, 엽기토끼 is actually not “crazy” in the typical sense of the word — rather he is a short and stout rabbit with somewhat of an identity crisis. Often times, you will find 엽기토끼 dressed in silly costumes – like trying to be a bee or a bug or something other than a rabbit. Typical KAD behavior, if you ask me!

Here is 엽기토끼 in some interesting (non-rabbit-like) situations:

 mashimaro2.jpg   mashi_soccer.jpgmashi_fish.gif

More 엽기토끼 here: http://www.mashimaro.com/

I was very similar to 엽기토끼 before I met 유주열. So, I understand his struggle. But, somehow, 유주열 makes me feel special being who I am.

August 14, 2006 at 4:10 pm 5 comments

ישראל

Daniel Bernard, the French ambassador to Britain, called Israel a “shitty little country” and then asked, “Why should the world be in danger of World War III because of those people?”

Shitty Little Country, huh?

Israel the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world’s population, can lay claim to the following
:

The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel .Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.

The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in
Israel at Intel.

Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.

The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in
Israel.Voice mail technology was developed in Israel
.

Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the
US in Israel.The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel’s air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16’s. This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U.S.


Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.

Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

According to industry officials,
Israel designed the airline industry’s most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin – 109 per 10,000 people –as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

In proportion to its population, I
srael has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S. (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups,
Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world — apart from the
Silicon Valley, U.S.


Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S.


Outside the
United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East
.

The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the
UK.

On a per capita basis,
Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.

Twenty-four per cent of
Israel‘s workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East
.

In 1984 and 1991,
Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon) at Risk in
Ethiopia, to safety in Israel
.

When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world’s second elected female leader in modern times.

When the U. S. Embassy in
Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day — and saved three victims from the rubble.

Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship — and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 – in the world.

Relative to its population,
Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union.)

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as “conflict free.”

Israel has the world’s second highest per capita of new books.

Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.

The
Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year. Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.


Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.

Medicine… Israeli  scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in
U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.

Israel‘s Given Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, cancer and digestive disorders
. Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the camera helps doctors diagnose heart¹s mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.

Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions.
Israel
places first in this category as well.

A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct — all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern

California‘s Mojave desert
.

All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on earth.

August 14, 2006 at 10:47 am 5 comments

Leuk: You are my father?

One of the most frustrating things about having leukemia is the overdose of “medical background” questions that I cannot answer. Every new doctor, every new nurse, every shift-change… I need to explain to them that I am adopted. “Does ______ run in your family?” “Do you know of anyone in your family with _______ ?” I am tired of understanding that when they say “family” they don’t mean my mom, dad, sister, cousins, aunts, and uncles…. they mean those mysterious people back in Korea who exsist only in my fairy tales. I am tired of not having the answers…

Recently, I met with a man from the bone marrow bank. He asked me a bunch of questions, looked through my chart, and then said, “don’t worry, most of the time we find your match right in your own family!” How unreassurring is that?! I didn’t tell him I am adopted. I just kind of gave up. What’s the chances I’d find a match?

When I was first diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) I had these fantasies about calling up my adoption agency and telling them I needed to find my birthmother because of this medical problem. And then, a few minutes later, she would walk in the door and say, “Hi Julia! Here I am! Just in time!” She apologized for missing the first 23 years of my life and for the suffering I was experiencing. Her apology felt good. And my birthmother was a perfect match … and I was ALL-free in no-time.

Now I’m just mad. Mad that she won’t ever walk through the door to save me. Mad that no one cared enough to think that I would need her someday. Mad that who I’ve come to know as family can’t measure up when I need them to the most.

There is not enough Asian people willing to donate bone marrow – and Asian patients need Asian matches. They are grossly under-represented — yet Asian adoption is so popular.

I can’t use a bone marrow transplant now – “too sick” – but a lot of other Asian men and woman can. If you’re Asian – consider being a donor….

http://www.aadp.org

August 6, 2006 at 9:45 am 10 comments

백지영 – 사랑 안해

A very popular new music video in Korea….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAJ-pCZLVSc

I love the song. The video is sad. But it certainly has Korea (and beyond) talking!

A few weeks ago my cousin was watching a CNN special on North Korea and asked me if I am from North or South. I laughed and told him South. He asked, “what’s the difference really?” John said, “well, people get killed for leaving North and seeing as you don’t have any bullet holes in you…” I guess I’ll just have to show him this video.

August 4, 2006 at 12:10 pm 2 comments

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Julia’s Jam

It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

Glimpse of Julia

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