Letter to a Child
Dearest Soo Jung -
I am so sorry for your loss. I don't know why they left you, and perhaps we will never
know. I don't believe it's in "God's Plan," as many people will tell you throughout your life -
I don't believe God would do that to children. Man has free will, and frequently uses that
will against God's wishes. The best we can do is use the gifts God has given us to adapt.
You will someday find that the combination of tools passed on from your birth and
adoptive mothers will make you uniquely and exceptionally prepared to help others. You
will carry that power throughout this journey, and I know you will someday find the
confidence to use it without reservation. It will be a long time before you find that place,
but it is there and waiting. Someday, your life will indeed be quite serendipitous.
I hope you can accept some of the advice I am about to offer. I have many years of
experience on this topic; I have been in the silent scared place you are now. It gets
You have no reason to feel guilt towards your adoptive family. They love you completely
and utterly. They would die for you. Unfortuately, they only have a limited understanding
of you. They will never know the feeling of 18 months with a family that walked away from
you. They cannot comprehend 3 years of life in a country and culture that are YOURS,
only to have it all wiped away by a 13 hours plane ride. They truly believe it is best to
ignore the differences and focus only on similarities. Your family does not realize that
disregarding the differences is disrespecting many of the qualities that are uniquely
yours. They will try to integrate you into their clan, but we both know that total integration
is impossible. There will always be that other mother. That other family. That other life,
and all you have left behind. And despite your adoptive family's best intentions, there is
simply NOTHING to make those things go away.
As a three-time birthmother, I can reassure that your birthmother did love you. She does
miss you. She thinks about you everyday and dreams of you every night. You will haunt
her forever. This mutual loss is your link, it is written on your DNA.
You alone have the power to reconcile the fragments. Poverty, abuse, abandonment,
institutionalization, malnourishment, and adoption will make you hard. You will be
emotionally controlled, restrained, retreating. But you will not become emotionally
bankrupt. While you will gain an unnatural toughness on the outside, you can also
choose to nurture the compassion this life has awakened in you. Your emotional well
cannot be a mile wide and inch deep. You will entrench, dig deeper and deeper until
those emotions are an inch wide but a mile deep. This is how humans adapt. This is the
gift you are given - to suffer silently, to show only strength on the outside. To feel every
ache of human suffering within. It is a blessing and a curse.
You will see your birth mother in every woman. You will see your own face in every
orphan. You will carry the burden of loss forever. You will be a better human, you will
reach to all humanity, just to help that woman and that child.
So, sweet child, be strong. Move forward, but do not move away from this moment of
loss. Keep it close, for it is at the core of your own identity. Be a tool, to help others build
families for children like you. In your own way, you can make it right.
The Adoptive Mother You Will Someday Become
ps. It wasn't your fault. You didn't do anything wrong.