Adoption can be a very scary thing. It can bring different feelings depending on which person you are in the mix. If you’re the adoptive parent, usually the only feelings you feel are love and joy. If you’re the adoptee, like me, you can have those same feelings, but you also can have feelings of confusion, uncertainty, and a lot of questions you’re afraid to ask. That’s why I put a question out to the public. What are your questions about adoption? Below are those questions — and my answers.
Is it necessary for the child to stay connected to their heritage if raised in a different culture?
My parents tried to keep my sister and I connected with our cultures. But they also had to weigh the cost-benefit ratio. In other words, they didn’t want us to feel too “different” from our new home. They took us to Korean culture camps when we were little, but ultimately decided to stop taking us after a couple of years. However, they always let us know that if we ever wanted to explore our past, they would support us 100%.
If you have a loving adoptive family, a good family, what motivates your desire or need to seek out or know your biological family?,
I can only respond to this as an international adoptee, but I’ve always wanted to know who I looked like. As an adoptee, we all want to know who we look like. Whose eyes do we have? Who’s nose to we have? These are all questions that non adoptee’s don’t even have to think about. And for a lot of them they don’t think about it.
How did your parents explain your adoption when you were younger?
I remember having a lot of books about it, but I also remember just always knowing. So, I can’t really pinpoint a sit down conversation of when my parents told me. I remember one book that I loved, was about a little boy who was with his foster parents in an Asian country. He just longed for finality in his story. He knew what his story was, he knew how his story took place, but it always had a sort of cliff hanger ending. And more than anything he wanted a mom and dad of his own. And one day he got on a plane and traveled to his forever family. This story helped me understand my own story, too.
Given your answer above, why do you think it was so easy for you to adapt, and it’s so hard for other children to adapt?
I can only speak for myself, but I think your age when you’re adopted has A LOT to do with it. That’s why the adoption proceedings are different depending on your age. I was adopted at 1 year old. I was small enough to not really remember the difference after a few months. That’s not to say that those few months weren’t hard though. A lot of the times, it’s hard for adopted kids to bond with their new family initially, because they have just been ripped from the only normal they have known. Security is a big problem for a lot of adopted children. They need to know that they are safe, and that you, their family, aren’t going anywhere. And so in those first few months, consistency is best, having the parents being able to take time off work can be helpful.
How does a parent sooth their child’s fears that they are unwanted?
I think any adopted child goes through feelings of “why didn’t my birth parents want me?” Some would say honesty is the best policy, but I think it depends on your child’s “story.” If you know whether it’s from the social background, or whether you know their birth parents, tell them the truth but tell it to them in a way that’s not going to hurt them.
Adoption can be daunting if you’re looking at it from an outsiders point of view. But the rewards you reap are forever. Adoption is so special. And I couldn’t feel more blessed. I’ve always known I was adopted, but it has never mattered to me. All that mattered to me was that I was loved and wanted, and my family made me feel that way tenfold. When I was adopted my parents gained another daughter, but what I gained was so much more, I gained a forever family to love me completely and totally for the rest of my life and I will never be able to thank them enough.