It seems at every juncture I turn and run smack into adoption. I consciously try to avoid it, but it seems to seek me out.
For four decades I just lived my life and denied my otherly status. Let me tell you: that wasn’t a healthy strategy, though the world seemed very content with that. Then for a half dozen years I steeled myself and faced what it means to be adopted head-on. It was at that juncture that I suddenly found myself being labeled as having issues…
I bristle at the unfairness of that. The issues were not of my making yet I am supposed to absorb them effortlessly and without question?
Perhaps if the issues were isolated events. But they are not. They are continuing, chronic occurrences that confound and complicate daily.
I’m happy I got sent to America. I’m not happy I was sent from Korea.
Just the duality one must live with when one is subject to identity and nationality reassignment at great personal loss. Disturbingly, often a loss that could have been prevented.
Pick any topic — food, culture, language, race/gender/politics — we international adoptees must balance this duality in all things.
The edge is sharp.
How does one “move on” when one is forced to sit on that razor’s edge on a daily basis?
Hitting the issues hard has brought me closer to my full potential as an evolving human being. Such efforts to really move on by adoptees are not appreciated nor do they count, because the road to having moved on is supposed to happen over-night, with the flick of a switch, and not be a long messy process. We hear “quit your whining” or “get some perspective” and are chastised to “move on,” by the privileged who have no idea what it is like to have to straddle these dualities and balance so many seeming contradictions. They make “moving on” sound like a matter of will alone. As if the world really worked that way. As if being free of issues is not something we want too.
My efforts are paying off: I have quit shedding tears, I feel no bitterness (and only some justified anger at my adoption agency), I sympathize with everyone’s positions on all sides of the debate, try not to judge and allow everyone space to work out their process, and mostly put my energies into creating alternative ways of being. I feel I’m becoming more holistic and balanced and mostly at peace. Risking public condemnation for questioning adoption has allowed me to stop living a fake life and get closer to the truth of me.
AND YET, straddling the myriad dual truths, such as the example offered, means also that all the local/global social, class, and race issues of the world are suddenly more nuanced, complex, relevant, and even personal, because they are all inextricably intertwined with the root causes of the perpetuation of orphan creation and default solution of adoption. Feels like the more we attempt moving on and the more educated we become, the more out of reach resolution can possibly be, even when we are making great progress.
So I’d like to know: what does “moving on” look like to you? If not “moving on” then what alternative? From practical to philosophical, how do we get there? Is “moving on” even really what we need?