I have seen this question said many times in the adoption forums I am a part of and I stop myself most of the time from responding. The reason is simple. Words only hold so much value before someone must experience them to understand.
The Search, for an adoptee, is when we decide we want to find our answers. Those answers can be our origin, our birth family, our birth mother, our story, or why the fuck you left us on a street… All of that and more is The Search for us and each search is different. It should then go without saying that the results of those searches differ as well.
As I have discussed in previous posts, I normally refrain from giving advice on adoption to anyone. That goes for opinions on all sides of the spectrum and make no mistake there are many sides to the equation that is adoption. I would never tell an adoptee “you MUST go and search for your relatives. You deserve to know. What is the worst that can happen?” The reason I would never say this to someone is because I have seen the worst that can happen. You never know how much further you can fall till down you tumble as you fall.
What is the worst thing that can happen? Further feelings of rejection till you reach the brink and you jump off brink’s ledge. That is one possible route to this choose your own adventure. You could find out the truth and that truth could shatter the life you love. I believe that is a hard one to swallow as well. You could find out you weren’t ever meant to be adopted and that you must now decide where your heart lies. I couldn’t imagine this one.
People often talk about “deserve” when approaching this topic. They will say “you deserve to know” or “they deserve to give you answers!” I am not sure why people find these statements so encouraging. Sure, we deserve a lot in this world. What we quickly learn is that the “world” doesn’t give a shit about what we think we deserve in it. The world spins and our trials begin again. That is life. That is all we deserve.
“What is the worst that can happen?” I’ll answer this question here and now for nobody. The worst thing that could happen is that you could find out the truth and it could shatter you. The worst that could happen is that you learn how much you wish you hadn’t searched at all and you hate yourself for it each waking day. You sit up at night and daydream about the day you didn’t know what happened. If you think that isn’t the “worst” I will tell you that you are wrong. Living life with regret is life itself. Living life regretting decisions we made knowingly simply makes life that much harder, and for those of us that have struggled it is needless drama we shouldn’t have. I have seen my worst and for that reason I would never tell anyone not to expect the worst as well.
Jason Chandler Cushman
Ahn Soo Jin