Journey of an Adoptee – Part III

by Patrick Armstrong | Published December 29, 2020
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Young P, adoptee and oblivious.

I don’t mean to say you’re oblivious in a negative context. As a young child, you’re not readily processing the fact that you’ve been removed from your birth country, birth parents, and birth culture. You aren’t thinking about how people look at you differently or how those differences are already being packed away in the emotional baggage that you’ll carry around for the rest of your life, unpacking it bits and pieces at a time.

All you’re thinking about is “MOM CHECK OUT THE VELCRO STRAPS ON THESE KICKS THO!”

You will start thinking about that other stuff, but you won’t know why or what it means to think about it. You’ll know you’re adopted at an early age, but you’ll still pray to God that he gives you white skin. You’ll battle emotional and mental stress and be angry, a lot, before you ever understand why that is.

It’s gonna be tough. Despite growing up with lots and lots of privilege, you’re going to struggle with everything else. You’re going to call yourself a failure, over and over again, and then internalize that and give up on lots of stuff. You’ll be king of not following through, and that’s gonna get added to your emotional suitcase you’re lugging around at 30.

But—

You are gonna start to get over some of that. You’re going to meet the woman you’ve been searching your entire life for and she will change your world. You’re going to have the privilege and opportunity to start a nonprofit for people who aren’t as lucky as you’ve been. That’ll be tough, but also the greatest thing you’ve ever done.

You’ll also realize that you should NOT have been so dismissive of your Asian-ness. You’re gonna start reading more, writing more, and learning more. Like, a lot more. You’re gonna guest on an Asian-American podcast. You’re gonna help start and co-host a podcast about being a Korean Adoptee. You’re gonna meet new people who are just like you and it’s gonna blow. Your. Freaking. Mind.

Last but not least, you’re gonna start loving yourself. You’re gonna realize you aren’t alone in this. You’re gonna cry at that realization, but it’s gonna be nice. Long time coming.

Stay up, kid. You’ll be alright.

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