Adopting Yourself – By: Jason C. Cushman

img_2921-545x250

The ironic part about being an adoptee is that the first and final steps of our lives are the same. Just as we must accept being adopted in the first place, we must also accept ourselves for who we are in the end. That acceptance, that journey, can take a lifetime to occur and not all adoptees ever fully accept who they are. Those people caught between the want of “what ifs” and the “hard place of reality” never fully live life as they should because they are stuck living half their life with regret. I have known that place myself and can recount times in my childhood when I wished for anything but what was real. I wished to be someone else.

Adopting yourself is a lot easier when you know where you came from. You have a starting point and regardless whether that position in life is a good one or not you still have something to build off of. Life is hard enough without feeling like you must add additions to a question mark. That is what it feels like for many of us that are missing years of our past as we are forced daily to build upon that emptiness that we often feel. The old saying goes to not build your house upon the sand and mentally I can relate to this analogy. When you pile memories upon clouds of hope sometimes those clouds explode and your hope comes tumbling down. That shouldn’t stop you from hoping, but as humans we learn to become wary of things that can potentially cause pain. Hope is a good thing, but it can also become the bearer of the worst pain imaginable.

Many adoptees encounter struggles with depression as they struggle with images of themselves. When you walk for too long in the land of depression you become numb to feeling and your daily life flashes like a fading memory. Only strong and personal moments are fully captured and those glimpses into our lives are often garbled by the mental struggle that we are enduring. Sometimes the memories are pictures without sound and other times they are words or phrases that stand out in the night. I have held depression’s hand many times and my head is full of glimpses of our encounters.

I remember one day when I was fully under depression’s influence and I was taking klonopin daily to fight the shadows of doubt over whether or not I wished to live. I was standing in the kitchen of my parent’s home staring out the window while it rained. I watched as before my eyes the rain suddenly stopped falling and hung midair as if nature had rebelled against its natural course. My father walked up behind me and saw me looking out the window.

What are you looking at son?” he said with concern in his voice.

I hadn’t realized that I had begun to cry. I looked at him and said in a near whisper, “the rain has just stopped midair Pop. It won’t fall to the ground. It is the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.” A week later I tried to kill myself.

It is easy to consider things in retrospect and to wish you had done things differently. I have many regrets in my life, but some of the hardest actions to accept from my past have been in relationship to my adoption. Actions I did or did not take when the opportunity presented itself, those are the memories that are on constant replay in my mind. It is a hard thing to live life by tracing the lines of regret from our past, but often in our depression we do this. We do this because the saddest times often outshine the happiest from our lives. It is far easier to focus on what we don’t have than what we do. That is very human.

When I was two years old my mother left me on a street in front of a police station. In the Korean culture this was translated into the mother no longer wanting the child. I was not alone though, I later found out she left me a hand to hold onto. A five year old sister I have since searched for was also left on that street to hold my hand and wait for a mother that would never return for us. She must have had half a heart though because she did come back for my older sister later on… but left me behind. Sometimes in the night I imagine I can still feel her hand. I often wonder if she remembers me.

I was adopted and sent by plane to a black and white world. At 3 years old it did not take long for me to realize I was in a world I did not fully belong. Growing up as an Asian American in the deep south of the Unites States is a challenge for anyone. That challenge is increased astronomically when you are unsure of who you are and what you are supposed to be. The only thing I remember being sure of was that I was different. My eyes were small, I was small as well, and my family wasn’t created from the cookie cutter mold of southern society. We were multi-cultural and at the time that was still visually a strange thing to see in everyday life. I found it hard to accept myself in a society that obviously did not accept me.

I found for most of my life I was forced to continuously adopt the image that I was. Growing up in a black and white world with almost no Asian friends was tough. I had no point of reference for what an Asian should look like, act like, or even just “be.” I can recall many days where I would return home from grade school and I would slam my door shut on society as a whole. A society that chased me in my dreams, a society that made me ashamed of my skin color. I would look to the sky and pray to any god that would listen to please make me a different race. Black… white… it didn’t matter at that point. What mattered was being accepted and I simply knew that I would never be accepted clothed in the skin I wore at the time. I remember praying for this many times through tears of confusion because I still could not comprehend why I was so different. I simply knew I was and I hated it.

admin-ajax

Jason C. Cushman

-Opinionated Man

@smokendust

44.1

Giving Up…

11329757_10206084776032269_4587439855158086875_n

It is hard to accept we have given up on something. Sometimes the release is necessary to heal and move on. Giving up has never been an action I have viewed favorable, but it is a crutch I have used in the past. It is easy to give up when you don’t care anymore. It becomes much harder when you are trying to convince yourself you don’t really care.

Part of my motivation for finally writing “my story” is due to my decision to give up on parts of my past. The hidden dream in the back of my head that I might one day have a happy reunion with my birth mother and sister was killed a long time ago. I just kept it on life support because… why not? We all need dreams and why not have one that won’t ever come true?

Neverland is never forever. One day we grow up and realize the boy we have cradled inside our mind must finally grow up. Harsh reality must be adopted for us to adopt the obvious sometimes, even when the facts are shards of pain that will never disappear. I accepted the pain a long time ago. Why can’t I accept the failure that goes with it.

I don’t remember when I gave up. I just know I have. There is an inner peace that you can find when you finally accept your reality. It takes time though to forget faces, places, and hope. Hope takes forever to die and reappears with the slightest breath of life. I will hope that my hope is truly dead and that I can bury it forever.

I am giving up. I am moving on.

Jason Chandler Cushman

-Opinionated Man

Ahn Soo Jin

44.1

img_1164

Adoption Post

I think some people are sick in the head. I read comments sometimes and I really wonder if the people are being serious. The replies on adoption articles on Facebook are always a joy to read. Isn’t it awesome to witness how different people’s opinions are?

Opinions like this one – “Adoption is like abortion. Women can and get to change their minds! If they decide they don’t want the baby they can abort it. If they don’t want the adopted child anymore they should also get to return it.” Lovely.

Well I am glad we got that cleared up! Adoptees are nothing but purchases apparently and if one keeps the receipt… they should be able to return that child according to some people. And we get to be compared to abortion again and again! Who wouldn’t want the life of an adoptee?

Want to know the saddest part about this? Comments such as this are made by birth moms! But they still want you to feel sorry for them…

Don’t you?

~**~

You will never know the other side. Must be nice.

-OM

44.1

@smokendust

img_3671

The War on Adoption

There is a war going on that many people have no clue about. You would only know if you were part of certain social groups or on certain media platforms. Even though this war is not on the headlines of CNN or Fox News, it is a war nonetheless and it matters a great deal to certain people. The war on adoption has many sides and no sides at all. It is a deeply personal subject that makes people personally see only their truth. That is what makes the war on adoption the never-ending war.

It is hard to solidify what the cause of this war is. Adoption is a good thing, a selfless act of giving that is cause for joy and celebration. The problem is there are groups and people that will be offended by that statement alone. To these people adoption is not a good thing and is anything but “selfless.” They view adoption as the buying of children, the selfish act of “wannabe parents” preordering their child, and that adoption takes the limelight away from the children who are truly in need… those in foster care.

What these people miss is that all children of abandonment are important. Although some humans take a good thing and use it for evil purposes, that does not mean we instantly consider that thing (adoption) as evil. If this were the case there would be nothing relatively “good” in this world anymore because humans are remarkable at tainting the best of things. We can’t afford to view things that may possibly be used in the wrong way as wrong simply because of that possibility. How is that fair or even a fair way of viewing the world?

I take long breaks from Facebook because I have many bloggers added on that platform. Because I am an adoptee and I discuss adoption, I also have contacts from both sides of this argument on my reader. I like to know what the other side thinks. One of the hardest things for an adoptee to feel is sympathy for a birth parent that gives their child away. Even with facts that sometimes these women are pressured into giving their children away, we still can’t accept that possibility as a “pass” on what was done to us. It is even worse for those adoptees that know for sure they were willingly given up by the one that should have cared the most. It creates a great deal of pressure on us to think a certain way because what causes more encouragement than the pressure of pain…

I understand the side of the birth mom. I understand the side of an adoptee. I understand that foster children deserve a chance. I also understand that foster kids, like adoptees, are all children of abandonment. We all deserve a chance if life were fair. The unfairness of the world doesn’t make me view adoption in a dimmer light. If anything it makes me support adoption even more. No amount of stories, “adoption experts,” or percentages will alter my view that adoption is still a good thing. I find it strange that some people are so set on making the world think so.

My life as an adoptee does not make my truth on adoption. My brain, my thoughts, my opinions, and my experience with all adoptees creates my perception on what adoption truly is. It is not the worst story you can find or even the best one that defines adoption. Adoption is defined by the life an adoptee lives and the story that comes from the family they are now a part of. That is the truth of adoption and one truth doesn’t make the book. I have grown wary of listening to adoption experts or people that claim to know it all. I have lived the life of an adoptee and lived through the rejection of a birth mother. I still don’t know it all. I still don’t know myself.

Jason Chandler Cushman

Ahn Soo Jin

-Opinionated Man

44.1

@smokendust

untitled

Heartless

I was just told I was heartless on Facebook because of my post to birth moms. Someone said “when did pain become a competition?”

Honestly if you have to ask that I don’t have a damn thing for you. The pain is always, always greater for the child. It is never greater for the adult and the fact some adults would argue that lets me know what type of people they are. They are probably the same birth moms that gave us up or abandoned us and now want everyone to feel sorry for them.

Not gonna happen. Not from me.

-OM

44.1