Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

So, there’s this white woman (or family but mostly it is the mother) on the ‘Gram who, in my humble opinion (which is wholly entitled to speak about such an issue), is simply the worst. She and her white (doctor) husband adopted two black, twin girls through an adoption where the birth mother and white woman met.

DISCLAIMER—I am (as the aforementioned white woman defines) a transracial adoptee. I am of Asian descent, and my parents are two white people. They adopted me decades ago, long before the internet, long before social media, and you know what, they do not perceive themselves as heroes or some fanciful influencers who can and will make adoption #trending. They’re just my parents. I’m their child. They did everything they could to make my life as a former orphan totally normal (my older brother was essential in making my life seem normal). This writing is not really about them, but they are the greatest parents in the world. I’m not biased at all—END DISCLAIMER.

And so, this is the place from where I have come, and this is the impetus for my disdain for said white woman. It’s one thing to do good; it’s an entirely other thing when you want to share, through self-promotion, all of the good you are doing. Of course, I do not know the circumstances of why this white couple chose to adopt not-white kids. I also do not know why it is that they chose to adopt at all. Perhaps they have shared their story, but it is hardly the story about which they want to talk, and oddly enough, it’s really the only story they are entitled to tell. I would take no issue with this white woman spewing her whiteness and lamenting, remembering and rejoicing in the sadness of her motherhood story about how these girls have changed everything, from her perspective. But this is not the messaging of this white woman; instead, she opts for seeking praise for how great of a white woman she is to two black girls. I have many friends who are interracial couples, who (inevitably) have interracial children, and who are in families where nobody looks like anybody else.

The issue is not that this white woman adopted two black girls. The issue is that two orphaned children (no matter their race) were abandoned by the woman who conceived them, and now, they are being raised by two strangers. Yes, race will play a part at some point in their lives, but the issue, at this stage in their lives, is not about race—it’s about adoption. They will forever feel abandoned. They will forever know they were unwanted. They will forever face the challenges that come with being an orphaned child. Whatever this white woman does will not control or change the fact that she is not their birth mother. Someone who was supposed to love them unconditionally, forever, gave them up. The issue with adoption is about adoption, not race.

I grew up not seeing any other people who looked like me, aside from my brother and one other kid my brother’s age who was also adopted from the same country, around the same time (all during the span of a few decades, hundreds of thousands of children were adopted out of this particular country, and essentially, created enough economic activity to jump-start the country from which they were adopted into the modern ages, and nobody talks about this, and yet, here we are, a massive population of Korean adoptees who were shipped to These United States but who are wholly American [leave out the Asian, please]).

Of course, my identity is important. It’s important to know the answers to questions that are obvious, like “Why don’t you look like your parents.” The reason why I do not look like my parents is because I was adopted, not because I am Asian; I just happen to be Asian. My parents went out of their way to make sure that they knew about the country of our birth, our homeland. They went out of their way to educate themselves about our homeland. We traveled to go to a camp that was tailored specifically for adoptees from this country. We traveled to the country to visit and see where we were from, but none of my issues about adoption revolves around my race. Of course, I cannot speak for the girls as they are black, and so, their lives will inevitably acknowledge their race in a way that I cannot relate to. Nevertheless, right now, as children, their adoption issues are about their adoption. People will see them as black kids with white parents, but they will not see themselves as such. They will just see themselves, and then they will look at their parents, and they will not think to themselves, “Oh, there’s my white mom.” Instead, this white woman, as she frets about things I cannot believe she frets about, will be perceived by her twins as their mother. Just mom. No race. And so, the race issues that this white woman frets about now are all about her, not about the actual people who will have to deal with the issues of race…her daughters. It’s almost like she sits and thinks about what the world thinks about her when they see that she has two black girls, like she sits and thinks about her girls’ blackness. And it’s like all of these thoughts make her feel sad, bad, worried about a future that is already making her feel uncomfortable.

I know that I look Asian, but I am not Asian. I know that I definitely do not look white, but I am very white. I did not need to grow up to be everything. I can be Asian-looking because the woman who gave birth to me is Asian. But I can also be fully white on the inside because the two people who saved me are white. All of these people instilled within me an amalgamation of a new identity, me. This happens to everyone. Thus, all of this emphasis on adoption being so strange and different is meaningless and somewhat harmful. Not that adoption should be ignored and dismissed, but the emphasis could change. If this white woman continues to emphasize the race and adoption part, she will forever make her girls feel like adoption is not normal. People within biological families are adopted by biological relatives! This white woman was not chosen so much as as she was willing and available, and so, her emphasis on her being chosen over the idea that she saved two people’s lives makes me sick.

Sure, they can share the tips and tricks of the adoption process, help those who would rather or who have no other option but to adopt, but this particular couple rubs me so wrong because the white woman basically spews every single little thought she has about how (essentially) great, blessed, amazed, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, she is to be able to be these girls’ mother, how “incredibly blown away I am that their mother chose me.” The fact that she shares at all for capital earnings and superficial gains pisses me off. Exploitation much? The fact that the entirety of social media highlights those who already brag about themselves, those who are already predisposed to bragging about the nothingness of their accomplishments pisses me off, I suppose, if I’m being honest. There are so many people out in the world doing good and not shining a light on themselves.

In this vein, my parents adopted children to save lives, not to brag about whatever accomplishment they felt as though they achieved by being “chosen” to be parents for children who are orphaned. Sure, you can argue that perhaps my mother is not as clever or resourceful in turning her knowledge and experience into a half-assed business/IG post. Or you could argue that my mother not only had enough knowledge and experience to adopt children, internationally, before the internet did everything for you, but also, my mother spent all of her time raising me and my brother (also adopted from the same country, but no, we are not related by blood), used all of her energy and resources to give us the greatest life possible. My mother did not spend all of her time “sharing” and promoting the greatness of the works she endeavored to pursue. No. My mother spent all of that time doing it, and we’re both fully grown, self-sufficient adults. She succeeded (They both did, I am intentionally leaving out my father at this time, using my mother as a comparison to the white woman in question).

So, while it’s nice that the white woman in question (who exists as the impetus of this writing) wants or desires to “share her story,” she embodies everything that is essentially wrong with white women in America, these days. White women in America are capable of turning something like being a black adoptee in America into something that’s all about them. The good news is that all of this white-woman attention might actually be able to bring more issues about race to light, but don’t hold your breath. A white woman will not risk her position. Nevertheless, the issue remains. Whether or not this white woman succeeds will not be known until her girls are both able to tell her and prove to the rest of us that their mother raised decent, self-sufficient people.

Dad

Dad

“Surviving does not a hero make,” my father, the rueful spirit, states softly with nodding disapproval of my insistence. “But Dad, it doesn’t not matter or whatever. It matters. You know it. This is not the time to be humble. Saving lives, especially the lives of your friends who you were stuck in that shithole with you, that’s no trite matter,” I plead. Read more

Adults Raising Adults

Adults Raising Adults

I don’t know about others in my generation, but my parents are about ten years older than the parents of my friends/peers. This means, I’ve recently figured out, that my parents will need my help about ten years sooner than the parents of my friends/peers. And ten years sooner means, Right About Now. Read more

Feeble

Feeble

It was always my grandfather who made me feel feeble even though, in my mind, he was always the one who could not really take care of himself. Of course, there was always help. Grandma still lived, and my parents lived only a few houses down, but it was my grandfather who always made comments about my life and my stature and the choices I made. Read more

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY FIFTY-TWO

2016 December 12 [Monday]

 

Here we are now at the final installment of the Mundane Monday Memoir! I am truly going to practice the writing restraint that these posts are meant to fulfill and stick to the program as I sit at my computer with the movie Wreck It Ralph pumping in the background just like it does every single morning these days. If you’ve seen the movie, perhaps you understand my obsession.

Let’s see … this past week has been quite productive as far as physical exertion is concerned. I managed to workout seven days in a row last week through alternating days of circuits, runs and the yoga [of course, this includes last Sunday, which technically isn’t part of “last week,” but the point is merely that I managed to get my butt off the couch seven days in a row with yesterday being the only day off during the past eight days, etc., it doesn’t matter]. Anyhow, I plan to continue this regimen until I just quit, as usual. I don’t have any physical #goals, per se, regarding my size or abilities, except to feel really great physically. I can do the pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, leg-lifts, &c., so it’s more that I just want to be able to keep doing them, ya know? Okay, enough about that.

As far as the non-exercise-related events of last week, there’s not much to tell about what went on during the week. The weekend, nevertheless, is an entirely different story. On Saturday, the lifemate and I pounded out a quick circuit through the early afternoon and then traveled downtown to an area called Anguk to eat a croissant/waffle [a waffle made out of croissant dough] and a burger at our favorite burger joint. The croissant/waffle place was closed, and we’re not sure if it’s closed forever or was just closed for the day. Through grave disappointment, the lifemate impulsively dropped into, luckily for me, a delicious phở place. It was the type of place we’ve been scouring the city for for years … cheap but delicious phở. The phở itself was absolutely no frills, and he also ordered the stir-fried phở, which was absolutely amazing. Both dishes combined cost about 7,000 KRW. Awesome.

Holy ephing ay, I think I’m definitely getting a fucking cold. Dammit!

After the croissant/waffle tragedy and phở excitement, we desired to continue our grazing and headed toward the burger joint. On the way there, I found the cutest boutique ever where I picked up a few new pins [to be pictured at a later date because I’m searching for the perfect new little backpack, and once I find it, I’ll pin the pins to it and post a pic then] and picked out a notebook that the lifemate bought me for my imminent birthday. Then we continued on toward burgers. To our dismay, the burger joint was closed … the forever kind. There was already another restaurant up and running in its place. Boo! Thus, we marched on toward Insadong where we thoroughly enjoy a beverage stall that sells liquor pouches. No liquor pouches. We were 0-3 at this point but were still having a great night. With one last thing on our to-do list for this area of town we hoped with all our might that the lady from whom we buy our incense cones and sticks was still open. She was. So then, we trekked on over to 광장시장 [Gwangjang Market] and grabbed our favorite little snack, 빈대떡 [mung bean pancake].

I wanted the good times to keep on rolling, so we walked toward Dongdaemun. Then, I still wanted the good times to roll so we walked onward toward Hyehwa, and it was totally worth it. There, we found a different liquor pouch man! How fortuitous! We each got one, walked a few Christmasy streets and then finally hopped on the oh-so-crowded subway back home. Phew. Twas a long, cold, oddly satisfying Saturday night.

Sunday was equally satisfying as I had my English student, SJ, over for a day of funtivities. Her parents dropped her off here at our [my and my lifemate’s] apartment at exactly noon. We played cards, Rummikub, and a plethora of video games. SJ and the lifemate took turns playing piano while I cooked poached eggs and hollandaise. SJ also ate her first avocado ever [she sort of liked it but was surprised when it wasn’t sweet … haha]. Later, I taught her how to make an apple pie for her dad [I made her family a few apple pies last year after SJ’s mom gifted me a huge bag of apples from SJ’s mom’s mother’s apple trees, and apparently, SJ’s father loved the pies so much he talked about it all the time, so I thought it would be fun to teach SJ so that she could make them anytime for her dad].

sjfamilydinnerupload12-16
*caption below

Around 1800 we all caught the bus together toward SJ’s house where we met up with the rest of her family [dad, mom and grandma] so that we could all go to dinner together. SJ’s dad picked an incredible duck restaurant that basically blew my mind. After dinner, SJ’s father drove us all the way back home, which was so fortunate because both the lifemate and I were so full we weren’t sure how a bus ride would go. We were home around 2200, and I passed out around 0130. What a weekend.

Now that it’s Monday again, it’s back to the daily grind of workouts, writing, and wonderments. No-Writing November comes to an end tomorrow, which means I’m back in writing mode starting on Wednesday. The lifemate bought me a new congrats-for-completing-my-first-book-but-now-it’s-time-to-get-your-ass-back-to-work-and-finish-book-two computer, which ought to arrive on or before Wednesday, so there’s that, at least, to look forward to. I will also be officially back to my M/F blog posting routine as well. Thus, you will hear from me again here on Friday! Until then …


*photo by: 정소정의 엄마

Treasure Troll

Treasure Troll

|how.odious| Year Two: Day 024

2016 November 13 [Monday]

Welcome to the second entry of the six-part Mundane Monday Memoir. Oh boy, do I have a lot to say! Unfortunately, I am not allowed to write about any of the things I’d like to write about here, today, on my computer. Thus, I shall keep it mundane, as it were, and merely write about the fucking day-to-day of the past week. Disregarding the whole Election-Day outcome in the United States of America, I basically spent the entirety of last week arguing with various members of my family. One member said something like this, “I won’t be bullied by ‘open-mindedness’.” Another member consistently took the stance that I’m a real-life troll all while constantly considering his passive-aggressive nit-picking, substance-less aggression as, “Look. I’m just trying to have a conversation.” The latter is something about which I will write in further depth, but alas, I am not currently allowed to really share these sorts of meaningful insights at this time. Ugh.

Needless to say, although I am going to say it now, it’s been a tough, emotional week trying to “deal with” these particular people in my life. And then this thought sort of hit me when I pondered why these interactions are so difficult right now. Have you ever read the book Spark by John J. Ratey, M.D.? Well, in that book, the author’s general theory is that exercise and physical movement is what stimulates the brain into essentially being “smarter.” Of course, I’m giving a very generalized overview of the general impression I gained from the book as a mere reader of it. Anyway, shit. Okay, fuck it. I’m going to continue despite repeatedly breaking my rule(s). Okay, so anyway, what I took away from that book is a sort of less-physical idea of movement. If you’re not growing, per se, interpersonally, mentally, emotionally, &c., then you’re sort of also not stimulating brain growth. I sort of see Ratey’s idea of “movement” as change and growth, not necessarily in a physical sense. Thus, when I look at the two people with whom I have had recent conflict, I’m not really surprised that we would butt heads so ferociously. The gap between where their heads are at and where my head is at grows exponentially, especially when considering that we don’t even get to see each other that often.

As I change, my family is not seeing this change in real time or even at consistent intervals. As I expect that my family will change and be different people every time I see them, I am shocked by the lack of change. Sure, I see how ridiculously conceited and egotistical this all sounds, cause I’m basically stating that I think I’m growing and getting smarter while revealing that I think that some people in my life are not only dumb but also, getting dumber. But yea, that is what I’m saying. Even though I feel this way, it doesn’t mean I act this way. I’m sure the two with whom the conflicts arose think that I’m a fucking bitch, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Sure, I could be “nicer,” but where does nice get you? Ha! Nowhere, that’s where. Being smart also rarely gets you anywhere. My point is simply that when dealing with family, love is obviously off the table. Obviously I will continue to love you no matter what. What remains then are two options. Your options become enabling through lies or telling the truth.

With the first conflict, I opted for telling the truth, and with the second, I became a “Yes Man.” Thinking back on it now, I probably should have reversed my approach because the person to whom I lied is dealing with a much larger truth. Ugh. I say it all the time, and it’s relevance definitely stings, but you can’t know anything until you know it.

Back to the mundanity, the rest of the week was spent with a family member who came to visit. I did my damnedest to put on a good time, but this person spent 80% of our time together either on his phone or thinking about what he should do with his phone. So, the apathy was palpable. On Saturday, I threw a party to prove to this person that I’m not some anti-social hipster who thinks she’s better off with no friends, and my guest seemed put out, hardly participated, and seemed as though he’d rather be off in some dark corner on his phone rather than having to be so present amongst people who like me. Sunday my guest departed back to his current place of temporary residence. The rest of Sunday was spent recovering from the emotional strain and the physical discomfort of hosting a guest and hosting a long party full of libations and socializing. *sigh. For the record, I had a great time at my party. It was supposed to go from around 1800 to 2400, but no one even started leaving until 0130, and I wasn’t in bed until about 0330. Our [the lifemate and my] apartment was a huge fucking mess, but the lifemate assured me that that’s how he knows everyone had a great time. I hope everyone had a great time!

As a final word, I’ll say, yes some people are really predictable, but when someone surprises you for the better, make that person your friend.