Tag: adoption

Mother’s Day shout outs.

I was just going to make a little Facebook post for Mother’s Day, but realised that I have soooooo much to say. Probably a bit too much for Facebook. Which wouldn’t be out of character 😂

Anyway, I’ll start with myself (what an ego – kidding – just getting it out of the way)!

I am so grateful to be a mum. When I say that, there’s a lot of weight to it. I have truly realised in the last 3 years of secondary infertility hell that being a mum is not a right. Becoming one is not a certainty for anyone. You can do all the right things (and then some) but at the end of the day it’s nothing but a crazy, lucky privilege (even if it seems to come easier for some). And for all my struggles to add to my family, I am so ridiculously grateful that I get to be called mum (probably 50,000 times a day – more on weekends and school holidays). I am so glad I get to whinge about about how hard it is and so glad I get to celebrate how amazing and heart burstingly fulfilling it is. Whatever happens from here on out, I will always be so glad that I have the Little Mister – he’s made me a mum and I am so glad he was meant to be in this world, hanging out with me and being my kid. I wouldn’t change that for ANYTHING.

Now onto my mum. My mum is amazing. She (and my dad) went through infertility struggles too. These led to the history making decision to adopt. And bam – there I was – in her arms (followed 3 years later by my bro). Well, not ‘bam’. It wasn’t easy. It was a long wait, with a lot of gruelling hoops to jump through. When you adopt, you have to actually prove you are going to be a good parent. It’s like having to earn a parenting license. Not many people have to do that. Maybe more should! But here we are. My mum is someone I have not always got along with (those teen years were a bit rocky!) but I have always been able to trust her. If she says she’s there, she’s there. If she says I need to figure something out for myself, it means she knows I’m strong enough. She’ll never tell me a white lie to make herself feel better. She’ll tell the the truth so I know I can believe her. She’s strong, assertive and confident. That inspires me. She’s also pretty effing amazing at putting outfits together and fantastic for the fashion advice! She’s been there for me emotionally, especially through the infertility stuff. She’s been there physically too. Babysitting and driving the Little Mister to school. I’m so lucky to have such a supportive network of people around me. She cries at the drop of a hat when talking about how she feels about being my mum and that makes me feel kind of special (can you IMAGINE when we went to see Lion together?!). My parents taught me that family isn’t just blood. Because of my parents, I am the compassionate people person that I am. I have no doubts about that. I love you, Mum!

My mother in law deserves a mention too. She loves the Little Mister to bits. She will never say no to being there for him or us and while I insist that we never take advantage of her, it is so nice to know she’s there in our corner. She always calls me on my birthday or checks in if Mr Unprepared is away. Thank you!

To my mums’ group. The OG MG. You have helped to shape my experience as a mum. We met on a fateful day in early 2012 (after a few weeks of trying to get the hang of leaving the house with an infant) and we’ve never failed to support each other or be there since. We have laughed, cried and stood up for each other. We’ve celebrated milestones and we’ve found out we are good drinking buddies when we can get babysitting too 😂 Thank you – each and every one of you. For being exactly who you are and bringing together our crazy melting pot of personalities in the most wonderful way.

Now, onto you lot.

I wish all of my fellow mums out there an amazing Mother’s Day. I hope you are pampered and loved. I hope you feel safe and happy. I hope the most important people in your life have let you know just how special you are to them.

To all of the women who dream of being a mum, but have struggled. I am so sorry. This shit is hard. I hope that one day your dream is realised. I am sorry that today might be hurting your heart. I’m thinking of you.

To the women like me, who feel their family is yet to be complete – we are so lucky to have what we have, but it’s OK to want more. Our hearts are big enough. I send all of my love to you. I hope this year is our year.

To those who no longer have their mums around. I’m sorry. I can’t imagine.

Happy Mother’s Day to those who have stepped up to parent and love children who are not biologically theirs, whether through fostering, adoption, blended family situations.

Happy Mother’s Day to the single mamas out there. That shit is tough!! I won’t even pretend to know the half of it! You’re amazing. You’re strong. You’re doing the best you can and that is bloody good enough. Probably more than.

My thoughts are with those who have suffered the loss of a child of any age – from pregnancy to adulthood. They were so lucky to have had you as a mum – even if it wasn’t for anywhere near long enough. My heart goes out to you.

Basically, if you are a mum in your heart, I wish you the best. Not just on Mother’s Day but all of your days. No matter what your situation is, I hope you have/find joy and laughter and love.

*raises glass*

To us.

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How it feels to revisit the place I was born.

This is one of my (sure to be) many posts about my family’s journey to Singapore (for stopovers both ways), South Korea and Japan. I have thought about how I want to document this trip and have decided that it won’t necessarily be a chronological type of thing, but more a bunch of posts about various themes, thoughts and events etc. Hope it will still put together a picture for you all xx

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So I’m typing this in real time, so to speak. As in, I’m posting it while I am still here (and will publish it on the same day I wrote it too – go me)! Where am I? I’m in the bustling seaside city of Busan, South Korea. I am slightly hungover (another blog post to be written I am sure) and looking out of the big windows of my suite (upgrade – hells yeah!) as the morning sun gently caresses my view of the famous Haeundae Beach. This seaside location is amazing. So many great places to eat, drink (trust me) and shop. We’ve experienced the city in disjointed instalments. It’s so huge that we’ve caught subway trains, gone through tunnels or caught taxis to who knows where with drivers who care not for the road rules. I’ve spent so much time underground or fiercely protecting my Little Mister against bad driving that it is hard to piece together a mental map of the city.

Still, it is a place I could really like. It’s known for its beaches, its shopping (it houses the world’s biggest shopping mall) and its seafood. Hello, have you met me?

Interestingly, it is also the place I was born. That’s the real clincher.

I was adopted at the age of five months from Korea and found my way to my loving family in Australia. I had never been back. Until now. Whether I’d like to admit it or not, being adopted has shaped a lot of who I am today. The good (amazing) things and some of those deep scars you just have to work through over time.

Coming here was a slightly confusing issue. On the one hand it has been considered a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to experience the places my brother and I were born in for the first time, but on the other hand it has been a great tourism adventure. A holiday. We collectively decided not to place pressure on ourselves to do anything overly emotionally tough (a lot of people might track down biological families or visit old orphanages etc while in their birth place for the first time since they left). It would be a holiday, with a twist. If feelings came up we would deal with them.

Well, feelings did come up. It all started bubbling away under the surface as we got closer and closer to the trip away. My anxiety (while initially driven by something else less related) was at its worst and I did my best to manage it (although admittedly I felt like a ridiculous basket case). It still wasn’t real. We were having a great travel adventure until we left my brother’s place of birth. I watched him as he appeared to take it all in his stride. I was proud of him as he navigated the streets with confidence and met new people on his night time excursions. He seemed to genuinely enjoy the place and I thought, “Wow. I think I’ll really like this experience. I hope mine is the same.”

Despite my optimism, I started to get anxious, emotional, and downright grumpy the closer we got. It’s not like I was overthinking anything. I wasn’t going over my adoption and what it meant in my mind all day. I wasn’t even trying to make myself feel something. It just was there. Something. Emotions I couldn’t even place in a specific way. Like, “Oh I’m feeling this way because I was thinking about x, y or z.”

They were just creeping up on me. Sneaky little bastards.

I started to feel extremely sad while we were in Gyeongju (the place we were in before we got to Busan). At one point I bawled my eyes out like crazy. There was an incident where there was a miscommunication with my family and when we got to the place we thought they would be, they had left and I felt like a sad, abandoned little kid again. I knew in my head that they hadn’t rejected me, but my damn emotions just took me back to some place I didn’t expect to revisit so strongly.

When we arrived in Busan, it felt surreal. We had experienced a taxi ride out of the train station (to the hotel) that had made me feel gross inside. The driver was one of those guys who likes to test the brakes and accelerator whenever possible and the Little Mister did not even have a suitable seatbelt (car safety seats/harnesses for little ones seem to be very optional here). I felt edgy and overwhelmed. Daunted. Not a great initiation to Busan. However, realising we had an amazing hotel room (after being in dark, cramped hotels which were otherwise very acceptable for a couple of weeks) did help. It feels spacious here and ocean views will never get old.

I was tired and feeling fragile. I was craving time alone and became obsessed with getting a manicure. Maybe I just figured it would be therapeutic. Time out from our crazy holiday and space to process things. Not to mention, pretty girly things always do wonders.

By the end of the first night I felt happy. I made a joke about street drinking being legal here on Facebook and went to sleep. Easy, right?

The second full day in Busan (yesterday) shit got real. I was getting really stressed out about the Little Mister. He’s having a ball but he’s regressed in some ways (some practical and some emotional – another post for another day) and I was feeling like a bad parent for a lovely variety of reasons. He was anxious, had been playing up all morning and I had perhaps made a call that wasn’t helping him too much and it was brought to my attention by caring family members. It struck a nerve and I got really really really angry. I marched for city block after city block, my husband trailing behind me to make sure I was safe. Eventually he caught up and I bawled my eyes out on the streets, behind my sunglasses. I was sick of being stared at. I felt like we were a walking freak show (Eurasian children get so much attention here – it’s like they’re celebrities and it is very overwhelming). The Little Mister had finally dropped off to sleep (bless his soul) and we sat on the walled edge of a garden bed. People kept trying to sneak a peek at our bi-racial child and then would see me wiping away my tears. I had had enough. In that moment I wanted to go home. Home where there was a life I knew. Home where I felt like I belonged somewhere. Familiarity for the Little Mister. A place where I could be a better parent. I felt like I had made the biggest mistake and I was heartbroken and disappointed that I had all these stupid feelings which were inconveniencing my lovely holiday.

I was in a place where the trauma of adoption had begun (not that I would have my life any other way but it is what it is). My child was anxious and insecure in the place I had been born and then given away (I’d been having dreams about him being kidnapped and me knowing I’d never see him again – it doesn’t take Freud to figure that shit out). Everything had just bubbled over. I was no longer in control.

Eventually the rest of my family caught up with me. I managed to articulate my feelings and their reassurances were so comforting. My husband’s support was invaluable. My sleeping little cherub filled me with love (insert joke here about them being so much more precious when they’re slumbering). I felt broken and exhausted, but we all soldiered on as best we could.

My parents took the Little Mister home in a taxi and Mr Unprepared and I fulfilled the round trip subway tickets we had left outstanding. We stood on a peak hour train completely anonymous (celebrity toddler free). It was tiring and I was feeling the hangover that emotions and lack of appetite from stress tend to give you, but it was healing. It’s hard to heal in public, with the eyes of a whole city on you everywhere you go with your child (do not get me wrong – 99% of the people here are so friendly if a little overbearing with their enthusiasm).

Dinner was the best meal I have EVER eaten (no joke – I was in heaven after the day we’d had) and later we took my parents up on their generous babysitting offer and headed out on the town with my brother. We met new people, drank ridiculously affordable cocktails (think at least 50% off the price of a good Aussie cocktail) and it was much needed time out. I was back in love with my birth place. I was just an Aussie with a twist who was having a good time. I was me.

I think that’s what I’ve taken from this journey so far. I am still me. For all my points of difference. My identity is still strong and thriving. I needed to come here to realise that nothing and no-one can change who I am at my core. I own my identity and it is withstanding all of the confusions that get thrown at me. Race, cultural norms, ignorant people and all.

I have a loving family, full of oddballs who love each other fiercely. I may have been rejected once in the worst way a very long time ago, but since then my life has been so full of people who truly care and will never leave me. I am blessed. I appreciate my Aussie home so much more (even though I already did times a million). I will never feel as ‘different’ there as I have felt here. It’s HOME. There are Eurasian actors and actresses all over our televisions and in that really Aussie way, we don’t really give a f*ck (although obviously it means a lot to me personally). In the best way. All the things I get annoyed by at home will exist wherever I go (minus the disgusting sleazy older Aussie white guys with the yellow fever) and that is just life. I love my crazy life.

I also love Korea. As a tourist. A people watcher. A person hungry for new food experiences and adventures. As a person who really really needed this, but didn’t want to truly admit it.

It’s all about your attitude.

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As some of you might know, I was struggling with feelings surrounding my adoption that reappeared as we started planning our first holiday to my birth country for later this year (it’s coming up fast – hold me). However, I blogged about it and I reached out to my family and loved ones. I felt encouraged and supported and despite being drained and confused, I felt like I could just release those feelings – throw them up in the air and surrender to letting them fall where they may.

It turns out I got quite a quick (but unexpected) cure for this recent unrest the other night. There was some interaction between some adoptees in a Facebook group that really made me realise the importance in having a good attitude. You can’t control the sh*tty things that happen to you (or happened to you in the past) but you can control your attitude towards those things. You can choose to be happy (or work diligently towards finding happiness) or you can focus on what’s wrong and how you’ll never be whole or belong anywhere. Misery may love company, but what are you going to do about that misery? Wallow together indefinitely or find ways to lift each other up? I realised that those in the group (the ones who spoke the loudest, that is) were in a different place on a different journey to me. I don’t want to be surrounded by the rhetoric I was witnessing daily. It wouldn’t be beneficial for me, personally. While I do think it’s very important to face your feelings, to honour and acknowledge them and to know you’re not alone when things feel like crap, it is also important to find a way to move forward that may give you peace in your life and improve you as a person. 

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I see my adoption as a part of my history, a part of my life story. A story worth telling, but a story that doesn’t soley define me as a person. A part of my life that has contributed to the person I am today. A part of my life that has felt challenging at worst, but character building and soul enriching at best. I have a good life. I refuse to be the ‘victim’. I am a thriving survivor. My life is better because of it.

Maybe I’m just too idealistic or optimistic, but I believe that we are given tough lessons in life and it’s up to us what we do with them. I refuse to spend any more of my time consumed with bitterness or anger or despair than I need to. Life throws enough of that at a person in their every day lives and I feel like I don’t want to spend time searching for more and delving deeper and deeper into the hole.

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I left that group. I didn’t want to read yet another article (and its subsequent member comments) about why being adopted sucks. I know some of the reasons it can suck, but there is so much more to life than just that. So many blessings to be noticed and appreciated. So many other experiences with adoption that can be laughed at and enjoyed. Some adoption stories are even heartwarming.

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Not seeing the negative challenges of adoption in a very concentrated and biased form each day can only benefit me. Honestly, I do wish for the remaining members (there are many) to find happiness. I do wish them well. Some of them are in a place that I cannot relate to, but I do hope their healing begins or continues. I want them to feel as blessed in life as I do.

I’m not trying to simplify what can often be very complex and difficult situations, but I do believe where possible we should always try to use our energy wisely and positively.

I feel that spending hours on end googling for evidence of everything that allows me to justify feeling sorry for myself would not be a constructive use of my time. I feel that introducing that negative content to my fellow adoptees is not going to benefit them either. Where are the articles on how to navigate ourselves through hardships and come out better? Where is the advice on making the best out of a situation? I have seen none in that group. I’d be hard pressed to ever believe that someone might post an article on the funny side of being adopted or a list of reasons being adopted can be positive. The comments to follow would just be too sad anyhow.That’s OK. That’s their journey (I don’t have the right to tell them how to go about it despite my own opinions), but I have the ability to say that I don’t want it to be mine. I don’t want to spend my whole life chasing something I can’t attain. I have to find peace from the inside out. Life’s too short.

So this is my offering. Just like anything else in life, there is pain and there is joy. There are two sides to each story and we can look for the positives or focus on the negatives.

Also…

I LIKE BEING ADOPTED. I shouldn’t have to feel weird about that. I don’t tell other people they have to like it, so don’t tell me that I’ve been deeply wronged and should be upset about it and we’ll all be cool.

I have issues just like anyone else. Seriously. Who doesn’t have a single issue? No-one, that’s who. Some of mine might have started with my adoption, but the way in which I need to work through them is no different to the way anyone else needs to deal with theirs to better themselves and find happiness.

I remember now who I am and who I want to be. So I guess I have that group to thank. It just came in a surprising way.

I am grateful. For my sake. Not anyone else’s. I choose it.

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