gallery Dear Adoption, You Have Never Been Easy. You Never Will Be


Dear Adoption, You Have Never Been Easy. You Never Will Be

I have known you almost my entire life. You are not my friend, nor my enemy. You are just you and we are in this together.

Our first encounter was back in August of 1976. Though I do not remember the beginning, you were cruel, swift, and unyielding. You were my first introduction to loss and grief at 18 months of age and you were ruthless. I lost a father (died), a mother, a brother, an unborn baby sister, a culture, and my identity.

You taught me that people closest to me will leave. Forever. When a loved one goes for a trip, a flight, a long drive, I feel the anxiety creep in. Will they come back? Will the plane crash? Will another car hit them? Will I be left alone … again?

You were the ominous dark shadow in the yellow fields coming to take me away. A terrifying nightmare that would repeat for years on end through adulthood.

You were not talked about much for the first 30 years. You told us to assimilate, to blend in, that I was no longer Korean nor Lee Eun Yung. I was/am American, with new parents, a new name, a new identity. I was to just “get over it”.

In 2012, you stormed demanding full attention. Tired of being kept quiet and left alone. I found you to be raw, callous, and heinous. You were a rollercoaster with no end. Like death, grief, self loathing; a pain like no other. No amount of pills would be enough and no one really understood. You introduced me to depression, anxiety, a myriad of medications, and finally, a suicide attempt. Fortunately, I failed. It took months and months to undo the damage. Some things will never be the same. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out to them.

You were this “invention” much like modern medicine created to solve a problem and like them, the results bring hardships to many. The experts say you are the solution but downplay the side effects. Few want to hear what the adoptees experience yet they continue to “know what’s best”.

Adoption, you were despicable in the uncovering of hidden truths and secondary files surrounding my “abandonment” aka relinquishment. You knew my birth parents names and info for all those years yet you kept them concealed. We went on for 35+ years with being marked “orphan” and “abandoned”. You are so incredibly selfish.

You were kind, bringing me thousands upon thousands of other Korean Adoptees. You have been caring in giving me friends who have been an incredible support. I finally found out that what I felt wasn’t so obscure. You are still heartbreaking and sometimes it’s a struggle to have you around. You never leave. Ever.

Finally, you’ve taught me to compartmentalize. I can only stand bits of you at a time. It is easier this way, at least for now. You still come charging head on, out of the blue but I have learned to give you time, listen, and all the space you need because someone has to and that person has to be me.

Adoption, I do not love you, nor do I hate you. You are just you and we are in this together.

If you are struggling with or entertaining suicidal thoughts, please seek help ASAP! EVERY life has value; YOUR life has value. National Suicide Prevention / 1-800-273-8255

Tammy is a mother of 5. She and her husband currently live in Hawaii where they are raising their family. She is self employed and has been selling handmade clothing since 2009. Over the last year she has incorporated Korean Hanbok inspired dresses and items upon request (visit her shop here!). Prior to this, she spent several years in the mortgage and real estate industries. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and helping others.

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