okay, now I’m getting really pissed off.

Do you realize what kind of deliberate intent it takes to hang a BIRTHDATE on a toddler that is a YEAR OFF?

Say I was 16 months old in the little square orphan # photo… that would have made me 25 months old when I came to America.

But, according to the birthdate on file I would have been 33 months old.

The Leith family, happy until the tinsel is put away

What do you think, just over 2 years old?  or almost 3?

My daughter and son looked much older at 3 years of age.  And as for me remembering the word ipeuda in Korean, my daughter knew over 2,000 words at age 2.  If I even begin to imagine what kind of impression such experiences have on children, knowing how smart they truly are, I become even more against international adoption every second.

16 thoughts on “grrr….

  1. 2000 words at age 2?

    Well, I suppose that puts my “I’m at the level of 2-3 year old” claim in the trash. @_@

    I have probably around 250 words.

  2. well – that is atypical, i know. the only reason i have this figure is because someone told me she was gifted, so we went to the nearby university and they told us to write down every word she was saying.

    i think 300 might be more typical.

  3. That’s plausible. My five year old was blabbing at 14~15 months. My seven year old didn’t utter a word until about 25 months. It varies so much.

    Three not-adopted siblings? I am thankful mine have none, granted it is a minor point.

  4. One problem I had with the Hankyeoreh article was the misinterpretation that my siblings bullied me. I just told them that they resented me. Lost in translation again…my sibling’s response to me was to have none. Since there were so many years between us: 12, 10, and 6 (now 13, 11, and 7) we had little in common anyway.

    Mostly, I was the second family; more like an only child. My mother was 40 when she applied for me and was too tired to play with me. My first year in America was full of attention, at the expense of my siblings. My second year in America was lonely and isolated, with my mother probably regretting she had a little one to take care of, my siblings feeling abandoned, and my father taking his doting on me to a unnatural level that would violate everything natural if I were his biological child, which I wasn’t, so it was somehow okay.

    There was nobody there for this little girl, and nobody to relate to this transracial adoption experience. I’m coming to be against international transracial adoption, but at the very least, I believe they should have one other child with them for company that they can relate to.

    It’s funny because my mom’s greatest sadness was growing up an only child in a dysfunctional family. She swore she’d never do that to one of her own children, yet that’s effectively what she did by adopting me. I think my presence was actually to provide her some company for that continuing loneliness she felt. But you can’t tell your troubles to a little child who needs diapers at night and can’t speak your language. She was stuck there, a child woman, reluctantly caring for yours truly.

    I always ask myself why people want to adopt. I don’t know what a good answer is. I think they’re mostly selfish reasons. I suppose sometimes it can be mutually beneficial. But the transplant has no say in the matter, or the ability to weigh its options if it had any.

    I sense I’m digressing…

    I think the key ingredient is respect for the person inside that little being. I think that’s rarely really considered in the world of adoptive parents, where the prevailing sentiment is narcissistic and about filling the needs of the adult.

    To survive I’ve had to be cool and suppress the notion that I have an emotional life. Yet now I understand that without emotion we are nothing. As an abused adoptee, supressing your emotions becomes second nature. Recognition of emotions doesn’t come easy, as they are dangerous and against everything we’ve developed to protect ourselves.

    In the nature vs. nurture debate, I believe my natural predispositions will always manifest themselves. But the nurture (or lack thereof) seems to set me up as becoming my adoptive mother. My world is just as silent as hers was. My skills and desire to be social are just as weak. My retreat from the real world is just as encompassing. I try so hard to break out of this pattern, but I am just as trapped as she was.

    My writing is not unlike the romance novels she ran to. A fantasy world where we speak with eloquence and actually have social graces, where we fit in, romance is possible, and people like us.

    Sigh. I wish this imprint was not so large. So much damage has been done. There is nothing to reconcile or repair that. I can only try and work to spare other children of this fate.

    I reprimanded Holt to Steve Kalb on the phone.

    You affect people’s lives,” I told him.

    “I know. Believe me, I know.”

    Do you? Can you even begin to know…

  5. [I always ask myself why people want to adopt. I don’t know what a good answer is. I think they’re mostly selfish reasons. ]

    Being a parent on a basic level does require one to be selfish… naturally speaking.

  6. As a mom, this time I’ll differ with you, Mei-Ling.

    Being a parent is the one time you no longer matter and the child comes first. If you can’t get to that place, then you’re no parent.

  7. I agree that is the place you need to be.

    I believe why one would adopt matters, but I doubt that is ever the place one ends up.

    We adopted because we wanted a family and thought adopting a child was something useful we could do. I teetered at the edge of it, my wife pulled me along the rest of the way.

    But regardless of that, fortunately we both had a sense of responsibility. I am for some reason very strict on that point. When we experienced the one test of our resolve that came along (our younger son) I received the only sense of redemption I will ever get by doing the harder, but right thing.

    Adoption is a very imperfect attempt at filling a need. Imperfect in who it attracts to the job. And who watches over them.

    If I think about what happened to you, I can’t imagine a too harsh punishment for them. The only valid motivation for being an adoptive parent is an unusual desire to be a good parent regardless of what happens. I don’t see how we could possibly test for that.

    The one parenting class I went through that included other parents left me stunned. Virtually everything the other parents said in answer to some basic questions was shocking. I looked at one couple and said “mine! mine! mine!”

    To this day they have no idea what I was talking about.

  8. [As a mom, this time I’ll differ with you, Mei-Ling.

    Being a parent is the one time you no longer matter and the child comes first. If you can’t get to that place, then you’re no parent.]

    I’ll continue speaking on a respectful tone here, based on observation across adoption boards. As I am not a parent, I’d just like to say what I’ve seen.

    I keep seeing mentions of parenting in forums, on blogs. And I keep seeing this line being repeated:

    “Being a parent does require a certain base selfishness – to WANT to have kids, to WANT to be a mother. If you don’t have that basic want, then you cannot be a good parent.”

    I think we’re comparing slightly different aspects here.

    What I meant was that – from what I’ve read – if you want to raise a kid, there is a base level of natural selfishness that you’d need to possess in order to be able to raise a child.

    Of course, during your parenting, the child will still come first before your needs.

    But being a parent is inherently a selfish act – kids don’t ask to be born.

  9. “Adoption is a very imperfect attempt at filling a need. Imperfect in who it attracts to the job. And who watches over them.”

    Very succinct and eloquent at the same time.

    How do we test for worthiness? I think it can be done. Didn’t Solomon do that? Tell two desiring mothers that if they couldn’t decide, he would split the child in two and give each half. The worthy mother gave away her stake in motherhood to save the child. There are other similar though less extreme metrics to judge the disposition and respect for the rights of the child. Yearning, social standing, personal references, and financial robustness have nothing to do with parenting, in my opinion. I think tallying how many times the words “I” and “me” and “my” and “want” would be pretty revealing…

    I think they should all have a casual conversation about various and sundry topics with adult adoptees and psychologists, to be frank. We could smell a self-serving needy child purchaser from a mile away.

    Ha ha! I can’t believe you said, “mine! mine! mine!” to that couple! I like you a lot, Ed…

    The sad thing is, they probably passed screening just fine and their kid will be paying for therapy in a few years.

  10. I still disagree.

    I didn’t want to be a parent, but I was/am a good parent. Most children in the world are not planned and many are not wanted, but can still have good parents.

    I see many “parents” who thought they wanted children or who were desperate to have children, but who are terrible parents.

    I’m not against people who want to have children:

    But the argument that selfishness is necessary to have them and be a good parent I think was put forward by those who want to rationalize having it all.

  11. [I didn’t want to be a parent, but I was/am a good parent. ]

    Rhetorically speaking, why BE a parent if you don’t want to be one?

  12. Mei-Ling,
    You always wear me out…

    You do what you have to do because you are a responsible person. And it grows in you and on you and you realize that they mean more than you and the world is no longer yours anymore.

    I’m a very serious person and I didn’t want that responsibility. THAT was my selfishness. They taught me to be a parent and put that aside.

    Parenthood is not an entitlement. It has to be earned. Selfishness has nothing to do with it.

  13. Sorry. I don’t know if that was meant to be an exasperated comment or not, though. Heh.

    [You do what you have to do because you are a responsible person.]

    You do it because you have/need to? That works.

    [Parenthood is not an entitlement. It has to be earned.]

    Yes, but there are people who deliberately plan to try and get pregnant because they WANT to parent. That’s another side of the coin I was trying to express.

    I know that being pregnant has a lot to do with hormonal changes so even those who didn’t want to BE pregnant ended up thinking the exact opposite after the experience of giving birth.

    By the way – how’s the language issue coming along? Does it wear you out a lot?

  14. Actually, I wanted to be a parent even less after being pregnant. But being the responsible person I am, I fought the post partum depression and vowed to do right by this child.

    This is why I am so against in utero relinquishment, the way it is still legal in Korea to do. Right now they are proposing to change it to requiring 24 hours after birth for mothers to get acquainted prior to relinquishing. I can tell you, that’s not nearly enough time. It took at least a week before my daughter started to change me and for my hormones to begin to settle down.

    The language thing is wearing me out. I can’t retain anything, as I’m too preoccupied with this adoption thing. Looking forward to some peace soon. I’ve asked my tutor to slow down and be patient with me.

  15. [The language thing is wearing me out.]

    Me too. I use it quite frequently but it’s so draining. I had 3 conversations with my brother – one about cellphone usage in Canada vs Taiwan, one about what we do for fun in Canada, and one about Chinese classes.

    I did okay on the “food” one, and I managed fine on the topic of classes. But the one “for fun” was really draining… it lasted about a minute and half (on video) and the other 2-3 minutes that wasn’t recorded took me a while to process and then answer accordingly.

    My classes are 2 hours, and while I do well considering how I started off in Taiwan, it’s still very exhausting because my brain constantly has to be on Work Mode due to immersion.

  16. I don’t get any immersion here in Korea.

    All my co-workers insist on speaking Korean to me.
    The only friends I have are native English speakers.

    I think I have to move to the country to get immersion.

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