The ironic part about adoption is that for an adoptee the first and final steps of their lives are the same. Ultimately we must all adopt ourselves and accept who we are and where we came from. Or where we did not come from. The life of an adoptee is complex and unique because we are all uniquely complex in being singular as human beings. Never allow someone to tell you that your life is a statistic or that you fall within a group. Break that stereotype by showing people that you are not a group, you are a fucking person.
There is a war being waged in the adoption world. This war is not between two sides, it is not between “evil” and “good,” and it cannot be quantified by numbers as so many try to. The war on adoption is a personal battle fought by people within the struggle. The opinions of those on the outside are rarely worth much. The reason for this is due to how sensitive the topics are. You have adoptees that hate the world, adoptees that hate their birth parents, adoptees that hate foster parents, adoptees that hate nations, adoptees that hate their past, and adoptees that just want to forget that they are adopted. On another side, not the “other side,” you have birth mothers that were coerced into giving up their children, you have birth mothers that were forced into giving up their babies, you have birth mothers that hate adoption, you have birth mothers that advocate for adoption, and you have birth mothers that think abortion is a better alternative to adoption in every case. The extreme nature of these sides is due directly to their own lives and the opinions those lives have formed.
When I was two years old my mother left my sister and I on a street in Pusan. She returned days later to get my sister only after a change of heart. I spent ten years trying to reconnect with them only to have her shut me down and out continuously. My personal story, my personal experience, formed my hate for my birth mother and many people call me a “true adoptee.” I don’t accept that label. There is no “true adoptees” or “fake adoptees” in this world, there are simply children that weren’t wanted or loved by their parents and those that were. Do some young women get tricked, forced, or coerced into giving up their kids? Absolutely this happens, I was raised in the bible belt here in America and know what that culture can be like. It is also not hard for me to imagine such pride and shame being used in Asian countries where shame plays such a large daily role. Although I allow my past to color my feelings towards my birth mother, I do not allow it to shape my opinion of adoption as a whole. That is the difference I think between me and many birth mothers who appear to be overly reactive towards adoption due to their personal past and pain.
Adoption is a GOOD thing. No one can change that opinion in me. Sure, I’ve seen the statistics that adoption causes suicidal tendencies and that it isn’t really helping. It amazes me how often people use stats that include “X out of 5” because using 5 really makes the scale tip right? I hate when people throw statistics at me without basis. I don’t care if “Sally Adoption Advocate” is the top adoption writer in the world. If Sally didn’t interview EVERY FUCKING ADOPTEE IN THE WORLD then Sally cannot make the statement “70% of adoptees in this world do ____.” What adoptees did you interview? Far too often these anti-adoption sites will state such facts and it annoys the shit out of me. Samples are just that… samples, you cannot write a factual report on adoption without taking a HUGE international sample and still that won’t be accurate. Otherwise your facts are shit and I don’t buy them. Adoption isn’t a movement or a focus group… it can be the gift of love given by a humble heart.
Recently I entered into a discussion on a board that was full of birth mothers that were against adoption. They advocate for empowering the “mother” into keeping her child. The funny part is I agree that is a great thing! But in the same voice I will NEVER bash adoption or put it down. Many of these women do because they had bad experiences. Well, as I discussed, so did I, but I wouldn’t allow my personal experience in this matter to change my heart as a whole. That is not fair to adoptees stuck in hellish orphanages receiving two bowls of rice a day. I wonder if people that are against adoption have actually visited these places. Sure, someone will advocate for adopting foster kids or ADOPT AMERICAN like people are a product. That shit makes me angry as well and honestly it all comes back to my main point. In the end you must adopt yourself because acceptance of one’s self is the first and last step in life. There is nothing wrong with walking a road less traveled. The only thing ever wrong in life is to stop trying at life altogether.
Jason Chandler Cushman
Ahn Soo Jin – Adopted 1983 from Busan, South Korea