Final Post – My Adoption Story: Depression and the Devil

Man’s greatest triumphs can sometimes be found during his most difficult times of adversity.

This is my new saying when I reflect upon the “Dark Ages” of my life and my deepest days of depression. I am often not a praying man, which is odd considering my father is a priest and a doctor, and I don’t consider praying in times of need and praying to win the lottery as being a “praying man.”

I feel comfortable talking about my dark ages now, perhaps it is the mask of my pseudonym that gives me courage; but no, it is actually because I have moved on to greener pastures. My dark ages were a product of finding my birth mother at the age of 18. This came about in the most innocent of ways, in the form of a senior graduating gift from my adopted parents, my real parents in my eyes, a gift of adventure and excitement. It was a trip to Korea with a group of other adoptees from Holt International Adoption agency. I could never have dreamed prior to that trip, a trip I packed for with such excitement and enthusiasm, that it would be a trip that would usher in my darkest days. Granted, I had an acceptable childhood (no childhood is perfect), I had already struggled with demons of race and depression. I never considered that those demons would be small compared to the Devil I was about to encounter.

I really won’t get into the specifics of the trip unless someone asks or I am inspired to do so at a later date. Needless to say, since I have already provided the window to view it through, this trip was awful. I had been provided my adoption package by my adopted parents at an earlier time so I “thought” I was prepared for this trip. I “thought” there would be no surprises. I was wrong, depressingly wrong.

I found the information about my birth mother and my blood sister in Busan, South Korea, in a pathetic orphanage that I don’t even remember the name of. I have never liked hospitals or orphanages and I now knew why. No one, unless you are also adopted, can understand the pain that is brought when you are faced with the reality that you were not wanted. Add to this the pain that your mother decided one sibling was less trouble than you would be, and what you have is a maelstrom of emotions, regret, and anger. My storm could have killed me, it almost did.

When I returned I immediately went to college. A time that was supposed to be filled with excitement and growth, was instead filled with depression, anger, weed, and alcohol. I filled my time finding things to fill my “hole.” It did not help; it only delayed the sorrow and pain that I had to face eventually. When I dropped out of college after three and a half years the only welcoming I really wanted was a grave. Failure had become a part of me and it evidently had originated when I was left on that lonely street in Busan, South Korea in 1983.

I become a drunk. At 23 years old I was a first class alcoholic. I recently read Anthony Bourdain’s book “Medium Raw,” and part of my inspiration for writing this comes from him. The other part comes from my loving wife and my two wonderful children, all three of whom I continually feel that I do not deserve but I am forever thankful that I have. So thank you Anthony for the courage to speak or rather to write.

I remember, vaguely of course, stopping every day at Joe’s liquor store and buying a daily pint of the rawest whisky I could find, I believe it cost around $3 dollars a pint, and feeling like the drunks I had always despised I would begin to guzzle it on my short ride home. Before you judge, YES I know this was highly stupid of me and irresponsible, but who can ever say they were responsible while being depressed and drunk? If you know anyone that can make that claim I can in the same breath claim that bastard is a liar. Alcohol was my friend, my confidant, and his name didn’t matter whether it originated in Mexico, America, or hell even some African country. It didn’t matter as long as it felt good touching my lips.

It was late; I would say 3 am, when I saw him. He was not what I expected and I really can’t be sure if it was him or if he just gave me a glimpse of what I would see if I ever really met HIM. I was drunk; I think Braveheart was playing in the background. I was in the upstairs of my parent’s house, yes at age 23 I was living at home again another dagger to my heart, and I felt a presence at my door. In my childhood my father used to have the (then) annoying habit of standing behind us and watching our TV show with us. I never thought about it then, but looking back, he just wanted to be with us even if we did not particularly, at age 15, want him there. This presence was not a comforting one; I felt the hair on my arms stand. I saw a man, it was a man, but he was a shadow of a man at the same time. He looked at me and something awakened in me, it was fear. I had never been so afraid in my life. Keeping in mind that alcohol and weed are the nectar of the gods and that with those coursing through my veins I had thought myself fearless. I was mistaken. With one look the Devil showed me my humanity and all I could think was that I desperately wanted to live. I cried and shut my eyes and when I opened them he was gone. I still to this day do not know if I was dreaming, I really doubt it.

Fear can drive a man crazy, but it can also drive a man to life. I look back on that day and I realize that fear had kicked my ass back into gear. Today I am content. People ask me if I am “happy” all the time, I don’t think like that anymore. I look upon my life with my wife and my daughters and I realize… sometimes being content is enough.


If you want to read the rest of my adoption articles please visit

You gave me nothing

You gave me nothing but a name. A name I do not even acknowledge. Some people say that you gave me the gift of life. But how can I credit that to you when you also gave me the gift of death. Or at least longing for it. I bear your semblance upon my face and your cowardness upon my arms. They appear as etch marks to label the passing of a singular day. Mother’s day, the only day you truly own my thoughts.

And my anger.

-Opinionated Man

Jason C. Cushman


Tracing my past

I could trace my past all day. Drawing question marks in the sand. Rewriting history so many times over in an attempt to understand what happened. Does it ever really help?

I could trace the lines of your name. But would I ever know you any better? Rewriting words that will forever be a mystery to me. In a language that I will never know.

Could I retrace the lines of our connection? And in that act find forgiveness? Or would instead my pencil dig into the whiteness of the paper. Attempting to stab the heart of my pain.

Could I retrace my life and rewrite my tragedy so it never occurred? Placing instead moments of obnoxious happiness into my story. Not in an effort to hide the past, but instead to erase it completely. Forever.

-Opinionated Man

Jason C. Cushman




Adoption – Don’t tell me how “Selfless” Birth Mothers Are

I read a ton of adoption articles and posts. I continuously see the words “the birth mother was so selfless in the adoption process.” I can’t swallow that. Granted some women are in a hard place and their action is what is best for them at the time, but don’t feed me the line “she was selfless.” If anything we might as well change that to “selfish” since the decision is about her. To claim the decision is about the child when that child is not yet even born yet is idiotic to me. I can’t accept that.

As an adoptee I understand the feeling of rejection that often comes with the realization that you were given up. We have TV to thank for providing a myriad of “reasons” why this takes place, but ONLY one reason is ever the “true” reason per individual. That is what many people just don’t get when they speak of adoption and adoptees. They don’t understand that hypotheticals and “what ifs” don’t mean shit to us. They just don’t and they provide zero comfort at night.

When I reflect upon my life I often wonder “what would have been” had I never gone to Korea in 2000 and found out about the existence of my birth mother and birth sister. Would the plans and dreams I had already meticulously laid out have come to fruition or would some curveball have come that would have ensured my feet landed in the exact spot I am today. Who can say? I do know that I feel very little value in the knowledge gained and in turn I carry a huge burden because of that day. That period in my life helped solidify my hatred for my birth mother. It may be a cold hate, dormant even, but it is still hatred. It flares up every time I read the words “the birth mother was selfless.” In my case she wasn’t, she was a selfish termagant.

-Opinionated Man


My Adoption Story: Part 5

It is my second year in college. Depending on how you look at things or who you talk to, my life was going just fine. Depending on what you looked at and what you examined, I was the same person. Those that knew me knew that something was a bit off, those that were meeting me at college for the first time simply thought I was a cool guy that got moody sometimes. People talk about “bipolar” issues but that word would not apply to me since I had so many different levels of moods it was amazing anyone could be around me. I was the smoothest talker and the life of the party or I was the reclusive guy that really just wanted everyone to get out of his apartment. And if you are curious, yes I had plenty of girlfriends (some might even say a lot), but I cannot remember most of their names and the ones I do remember are just memories. Nothing and no one was a focal point during this period.

It’s 2 A.M. and I am busy typing another email to the orphanage employee in Korea. Surprisingly I am getting great responses from people in Korea, everyone except for my contact at the actual orphanage. I have had no trouble convincing people in the news industry that I am serious about finding my birth mother, but the employee at the orphanage seems to be handling me with the common Korean courtesy reserved for subjects that they wish to ignore. Namely, they keep putting off or ignoring something in hopes that it goes away. I am a persistent human being, especially at 2 A.M., so I wasn’t going anywhere. The time difference in Korea was particularly frustrating at this point because I had to sit and wait for responses. It was encouraging though to have various people in Korea I had never met before offer their support and assistance.

If you have never met many Koreans you may not know this, but most of the stereotypical jokes about our names are true. Like the American name Johnson or Williams, there are staple last names in Korea. My last name was Ahn and that is very common, in fact if you threw a stone in a Korean market you would probably hit a few Ahn’s (and they would be very mad so don’t really do this). The key element in my case file, I just decided to name it a case file because that sounds much more fun, was the home address my mother had left when she returned for my sister. This address was step one and because God decided I deserved a break, step one is where she was at. It turned out she was still living there, but the orphanage employee, who oddly enough was the one that found this out for me, called her before telling me. He then informed me of the following.

“I am sorry, but I told her that you were looking for her and your sister and I asked her if she would like to speak with you. She said “no,” and for you to stop trying to contact her or your sister. When I tried calling her a second time, the line had been disconnected. I am truly sorry.”

And that is how it happens, one hand to pat you on the shoulder, the other hand to slap you in the face.


I see my father every day

Each year I post on Mother’s Day a message to my birth mother. It is a simple post.

Dear Birth Mom,

I still hate you one more year.

Ahn Soo Jin

These posts have been some of the most hated writing on this blog and I understand why. I don’t think people understand the “why” behind the posts though or why I rarely address my birth father.

I see my father every day. I see his face in the mirror looking back at me and I know what the bastard looks like. You see I am him, I have to be. For sons we are always connected to our fathers even when we don’t know who that father is. It creates a mind fuck actually because we that are adopted must ask ourselves if we hate our own image. How truly depressing is that thought.

Do I hate my father? Honestly, not as much as I hate my mother. There is no connecting story, no sneak thief in the night leaving me on the street. Perhaps he left long before I was abandoned, I will never know and it really makes no difference. He will always be a stranger to me. As dead as dead can be.

The same cannot be said for my birth mom. She is very much alive. She has kept me from meeting my sister. She has refused to see me. To me she is the very definition of a bitch and I will always hate her. Will it forever be an active hate? No, probably not. In fact I feel as if my hate towards her is a dormant fire now, very much alive and yet not active.

Hate is a strong emotion that can serve a person that knows how to dominate it. I do not allow my hate to control me, even though some might claim that harboring hate IS allowing it to control you. I assume those people probably have good lives free of lingering pain. Good for them. I am not so lucky and have chosen instead to keep my hate as a companion. It keeps me warm at night as others cheerfully offer “happy mother’s day” to their loved ones. I see two eyes on those nights and they will always belong to a stranger.

-Opinionated Man