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August 29, 2010



Paula, I follow your blog faithfully.

I have learned from you. I cry with you.I am an adoptive mother, of two children from another country, another ethnicity. I am also adopted myself. I will not respond to the cultural nor ethnic issues here, as they are not what this last post seems to be about...this one seems to be about loss, regardless of culture.

Paula...from an older adopted child...older than with questions and hurt, snd hoping to make her kids feel good, something you should really know and embrace...sometimes you just never know. Were you loved, or thrown away...were you an inconvenience, or a loved child that was placed...we will never know this...all the ideations, all the thoughts , WELL, WE WILL NEVER KNOW.

We can spend our time hurting, and being bitter or sad, or we can move forward...I don't kow why my mother left me...but she did. She had her reasons. I can suspect, but i am not going to drive myself crazy trying to find out. She did. It hurts. But it is what it is. When I was a teenager, and filled my own head with ideas, it was important. Now...yes, the importance is ther, because I have to answer the same questions for my adopted children...and I can't.

I love your blog, and I look to it in understanding the cultural issues that our adopted children face...but sometimes, I want to just hold tell you that all the pain and angst that you feel, it isn't always cultural, it isn't always being Korean in a white household...sometimes it is just being adopted.

Hugs and holding to you. Sometimes no answers are hard. Thinking of you.


Paula O.


Yes, yes and yes.

These feelings of overwhelming loss and rejection are absolutely shared by other adoptees (not just transracial, transnational or transcultural) and dare I say anyone else who has lost a parent. I know many friends whose parents have divorced and they can identify with several of the universal feelings that many of us adoptees experience.

For me, there is room for the hurt. I have learned over the years to allow to make space for all of my feelings as they arise and to feel them for what they are rather than suppress them and let them manifest itself in other ways that for me, are not as productive or healthy. I like to think that I have actualized the right strategies to manage these feelings (i.e. - I absolutely think it's possible to get 'stuck' or become self-destructive by allowing one's feelings to take over and I don't think that serves anyone all that well), but this looks differently for everyone.

Thank you for thinking of me, but please know that I am okay. Writing things down - giving voice to the range of feelings that sometimes surprise me and come up out of nowhere, that is one of the ways that I hold onto myself and continue to grow and be able to move forward.

And for the record, I think we adoptees need to hold onto one another more often, so thank you for the hug. :)

Mei Ling

Thank you thank you thank you.


Paula, this post is especially timely at my household right now. M has been asking lots of questions recently about CH (her Korean mom) and whether or not CH cried when M left, if she misses M like M misses her, if CH loves her as much as we do, if we will get to visit CH someday, and so on. As a parent, it kills me to not be able to answer with a definitive "yes!," but I don't know that for sure. We know some very unique info about her mom and M's placement that helps us piece together parts of the puzzle for her, but we certainly don't know enough. I feel like answering her questions honestly (i.e., with a lot of "I don't know"s) is the best policy, but I worry about how it is shaping the identity of a young girl who cares very much about how others feel about her...


The unknown for anything is hard in life. Especially such an important facet in one's life. I guess I don't give the certainty that they loved my kids, to my kids, but more of a "they must have". Of course, when we talk about this there's a lot more conversation going on. I can definitely imagine where your thoughts went. I can imagine anyone going there with that sort of uncertainty. Your feelings were so well conveyed in your post. I could feel it through you.


As an AP- one of my greatest challenges is to listen to my children’s pain. Just listen. Resist the urge to smother and suffocate the pain in sweet word icing. I can tell them what I believe...but I don’t know it to be true. The truth is lost right now.

My worst fear that plays out in recurring nightmares-

My children are lost. They become missing children. I have no idea where they are and what fate they came to.

The fear is overwhelming and makes it hard to breathe.

I imagine my children live with the same real loss in reverse.

I just read the latest post here- posted on 8/29

Sounds like this young woman could use an understanding voice like yours in her life.


Such a great post and the comments that go along with it. Thank you all for sharing.

Paula O.

Jen: I can identify with those same feelings and concerns in regards to our son. It is really difficult at times. Personally, in the absence of answers or concrete evidence, my mind tends to wander and not always to happy places. I think about the impact of unanswered questions on my son and how that shapes his identity as well.

Diane: You make such an important point about the value of just listening to our kids. I think we as parents are naturally conditioned to want to make things better and to be able to fix what's wrong in order to alleviate any pain our kids might be experiencing. I know it's the culture that I was brought up in and it's something that I must be more mindful of myself. I believe sometimes the very BEST medicine is to intentionally carve out space for our children simply to be heard. Thank you for the reminder.


Thank you, Paula.
I am another adoptee, and a mother of an adopted child. Can I get in on some of that adoptee group hug? It is some important to hear each others voices. Thank you again and again.


"When you cannot say with even a modicum of certainty that the person who brought you into this world did indeed love you, it can mess with your mind in unimaginable ways and greatly impede your ability to feel worthy enough to love yourself."

My birth mother died before I could ever met her without ever telling anybody about me so your words resonate with me.

Paula O.

willneverknow: I am so,so sorry for your loss.


Thank you Paula

I have heard my bmother was a lovely woman so I can only imagine that she must have had love for me. However, it is not quite the same as actually knowing. Having said that, I am fortunate enough though to at least know a little bit about her so I feel for you that you may never know your own mother. I felt I had to post a comment originally because your writing is so hearfelt.

In the end, I realise there is only one person responsible for my own happiness and that is myself.

Paula O.

@Catherine: Yes of course you can be part of the group hug! :)

Standing in solidarity with one another is so important. Others keep trying to pit us against one another, but carving out space and respect for each voice is so important. Hugs to you!!!


You put into words all the terrible insecurity that comes with being adopted. The terrible mantra that you have to repeat to yourself as a child, the "she loved me she loved me she loved me."
Even though, in your gut, there's another voice that says, "No."

A pretty good example, is when I first learned the game "She loves me, she loves me not" with daisies, it was always my birth mother whom I played for.

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