gallery Dear Adoption, This Letter Will be as Confusing as You Are

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Dear Adoption, This Letter Will be as Confusing as You Are

You have silenced me yet made my voice too loud for others to bear.

You made feeling isolated a normalcy.

Why couldn’t have I been a “normal child” with a “normal family” and a “normal-looking face,” Adoption?

Part of you feels like a demon from a horror movie that gets closer and closer with each Polaroid snap. But at the same time you are still a part of me. ‘Tis a mere fact, to some. You are faceless and shapeless but somehow always there, a silent and loud force.

My 13 year-old heart would skip several beats when we first encountered Asian guys. It’s the first time I’ve ever been around males of the opposite sex and of the same ethnic background as me. All during my really awkward teenage years. Perfect. Thanks, Adoption!

If I had a dime for every time I felt embarrassed about admitting I knew how to speak Hebrew instead of Korean or any other East Asian language, I’d probably have $7.20. You’ve sewn together seemingly random identities, Asian and Jewish, into one 20 year old cynic.

You’ve grabbed my wrist with ice-cold hands and dragged me to the darkest and most frightening corners of my mind. But you’ve also shown your good side, so welcoming and fulfilling I get stuck in the sickeningly sweet molasses of my own thoughts.

But, you’ve shown me that I could love as deeply as anyone else, maybe more, when presenting me with a boy who cares for me, finds me attractive, and puts up with my insanity, or is it your insanity, Adoption?

You have made me stare at my own face every day without knowing its creators, making me miss people I never knew, craving their appearance. Sometimes I try to break down my own face to have a mere guess at what they looked like.

At 23 you made me wonder about my “biological parents,” how they would have sounded, how they smelled (as creepy as that sounds) and who they were as people. As other human beings! What a concept! Adoption, the idea of my life beginning at my birth, not my arrival, had not occurred to me until a few years ago. What does that say about you?

Oh, but Adoption, how you are full of surprises. You can make the most mundane things seem spectacular. When we went to our homeland, a couple around our age asked if we could take a picture of them. I never thought native Koreans, in Korea, at an ancient palace/historic site, speaking with a couple dressed in exquisite hanboks, would have approached us. Never could I have dreamed of such an encounter. You make life interesting and sometimes worth it.

Adoption, I know both you and I, we, are not perfect and no one is (though at times you’ve told me otherwise). And although I cannot change my past, you will not change my future. Maybe you’ll become my friend, once I get to know you better.  

Let’s talk again sometime,

Kim, Mi-Ryung
Shannon Rebecca Donaghy
Sheynah Rachael Donaghy

Shannon Donaghy is a transracial, Jewish, Korean adoptee and a proud 90s kid. She is an artist, and has centered her college thesis on being an adoptee. She graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts, and still continues to create art works. Shannon loves her friends, boyfriend, and family. Somedays she sees herself as white girl trapped in an Asian girl’s body, other days as Asian, and other days as part of no particular ethnic group at all. Her recent trip to Korea was the first time going back since she was born there and was life changing. She hopes for a better world for future adoptees.


  1. This post confirms what is true for all adoptees: We all want to be a part of our genetic family and to know -or in some cases-to remember the sensory aspects of the parents and siblings from whom we have been separated.
    DNA_R_Us and should be a tool every adoptee uses to their advantage to coax from ourselves what is indeed Us and those who contributed to who we are and what we can and will become, if only because we are a product of our genes-not of a court who has taken our identity from us. No matter who we think we are, the reality is that we all are 99.01-0.5% similar and only 0.01-0.5 % different. Once we begin to embrace these facts, we can begin to embrace one another as the human family we are.
    Thank you fro sharing your story Kim, Mi-Ryung, Shannon Rebecca Donaghy, Sheynah Rachael Donaghy


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