Adoption in the Media

For whatever reason, adoption has kind of been a taboo topic for decades upon decades upon decades. I don’t really understand it myself — adoption happens, it’s a thing, babies being placed in loving homes is basically the raddest ever. Let’s just talk about it, guys.

And let’s not pretend like babies are adopted for reasons only related to illegitimacy or youthful parenthood — children are adopted every day for every reason under the sun. And you can sit around thinking the birthparents are terrible people who made awful decisions, that they brought a child into the world without wanting it in the first place, but might I remind you that they did not get an abortion. So let’s not call names, shall we?

Teen pregnancy is even more taboo — like we don’t want to discuss the fact that teenagers have sex (and *gasps* KNOW about it, God help us all). And what a remarkably brave, mature decision to place a child for adoption in hopes for a better life for not only the child but themselves. It’s not selfish that they hope for better lives for themselves, either — I believe it’s commendable if they want to finish high school, go to college, find careers, fall in love, and have children when they are more ready for it. I’m not condoning teen pregnancy, but I think it’s time that we stopped looking down on them so much.

We’re humans. We make choices. Sometimes the choices are less good than others.

Aside from “Juno,” I haven’t noticed a ton of teen pregnancy and subsequent adoption in the media all that much (unless you turn to the Lifetime Network, and I know, I know, every few hours someone is placing a baby because she was 15 and pregnant, 16 and expecting, or pregnant at 17). So when “Mom,” one of my favorite sitcoms starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney (who, btw, are two of the most under-appreciated female comediennes out there today), decided to not only perpetuate the family theme of becoming pregnant at a fairly young age but then PLACE THE BABY FOR ADOPTION, I was pretty excited.

First off, I need to clear up a few things: a birthmother NEVER, under any circumstances, “gives” her baby up. So the verbage they continually use each episode is grating because it’s entirely wrong. A birthmother places her child with another loving family. They never give anything up.

But that aside, and I understand that’s mostly due to societal ignorance because it wasn’t till recently that people started addressing the whole placed v. gave up, they’re doing things pretty well. The daughter wants to place her child, the father was scared at first but SPOILER ALERT decided it was going to be the best option for everyone. And then we met the SPOILER ALERT IF YOU DIDN’T BELIEVE ME THE FIRST TIME future adoptive parents, who, you guys this is so huge, was comprised of a Caucasian male and an Asian female. Like, an interracial couple adopting a white baby.

THESE THINGS, THEY DON’T REALLY HAPPEN. And it made me really pleased. Like, oh my gosh, society is apparently ready for this. And no one’s freaking out that an Asian woman will have a Caucasian baby for the rest of her life because hey! It’s America! It’s 2014! We do stuff like that, and it’s awesome! (And don’t even get me started on the whole interracial couple thing — the first one I ever saw was between Eric Matthews and one of his girlfriends in “Boy Meets World,” and as a little Asian girl fully aware she’d marry a white man, that was rad.)

“Mom”: attacking all the potentially controversial topics in one fell swoop.

This only makes me crave more. Let’s recognize that society, it is changing, and for the most part it’s changing for the better. Because not that long ago, my birthmother would have been shunned in her society for having a child out of wedlock, and I wouldn’t have been able to legally marry my pasty-white husband, and not much longer ago than that, I wouldn’t have even been able to vote.

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10 Things that Don’t Need to Be Said

As an anxiety-ridden obsessive-compulsive Korean-American adoptee Mormon in an interracial couple with a penchant for depression and not planning on having children, I kind of get the whole gamut of things people probably don’t ever need to utter under any circumstances.

Also, I am really addicted to BuzzFeed right now, so here goes.

1. “I’m kind of OCD” and/or “That’s kind of OCD.”
To specify, you can’t really “kind of” be OCD. You either are or you aren’t. What you CAN be, however, is generally compulsive, which is a trait every single person on this earth has. You don’t have to have some mental disorder to feel compelled to alphabetize your Blu-Rays (which, by the way, if you’re not doing, just start, okay?) or organize your kitchen counters. You aren’t mentally ill if you don’t like fuzz on your clothing or notice a speck of food on your work desk. If you weren’t compulsive, you’d be kind of … in a vegetative state of apathy, when you really think about it.

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Image courtesy of youtube.com


2. “Just think happy thoughts.”
Just stop. Just stop now. People suffering from depression, seasonal or otherwise, do not need to hear your sage advice as to how to overcome it. There is an inherent difference between depression and feeling blue. Feeling blue is one of those things that would absolutely be fixed by thinking happy thoughts and eating cheesecake. Depression isn’t really. If it were that easy to overcome, we’d all be thinking the damn happiest thoughts on earth all of the time.

Image courtesy of juxtapost.com

Image courtesy of juxtapost.com

3. “Don’t worry about it” or “Don’t stress too much.”
I will if I want to. I will if I don’t want to. There is literally no way that you can convince someone with anxiety that things aren’t worth worrying or stressing over. Just let us deal in the ways we need to deal. Like with medicine and therapists. This especially goes for individuals who have OCD. “Oh, so you want me, an obsessive, to cease worrying? Done and done.” <—– will literally never happen
Your plan to make us stop worrying is futile, so you may as well just throw in the towel and either worry with us or love us for our other outstanding qualities.

Image courtesy of glennster.deviantart.com/

Image courtesy of glennster.deviantart.com/

4. “Never say never!”
This is specifically in reference to the not planning on kids issue. I get it, you and your spouse and your children are the happiest family on earth, and I admire that. There’s nothing bad about having a family; I literally can think of nothing unless, of course, you’re Amanda Bynes, and then maybe hold off, mmkay?
When people hit a certain age, like 29 or 30, and Spouse has been through an -ectomy, and both are college graduates with their heads on straight, chances are they are old enough to have made a solid decision together that doesn’t involve anyone else. Also, colloquialisms. Let’s just rid ourselves of them right now while we can.
Furthermore, should we change our minds, that’s not a good time for you to say “I told you so.”

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

5. “Where are you from?”
Oregon.
No, but where are you from?
Oregon.
Before that.
Well, I was born in South Korea, but I was adopted when I was three months old.
<insert awkward Korean phrase here>
Oh, I don’t actually speak the language. Because I was three months old.
When are you going back?
… I don’t really have plans to.
Don’t you want to meet your real family?
They’re in Oregon. I see them pretty regularly.
etc.
et cetera

Just watch this.


6. Anything about the “real” family.
Let’s just establish something: calling either the birthfamily or the adoptive family real is offensive to the other and generally incorrect. The best way to get around this? One’s a birthfamily. The other is family. Adoptees don’t generally consider themselves to have any sort of fake family in the mix.

Images courtesy of mamiverse.com

Images courtesy of mamiverse.com

7. “What’s your real name?”
Not all adoptees, especially those adopted domestically, have different names than the ones they’ll have the rest of their lives. And it kind of goes back to the real v. fake family thing. I was given a Korean name by the adoption agency (Kim Jong Mee, which I find disturbingly similar to the former and current presidents of North Korea), but my real name, which appears on my birth certificate, is Mary. Always has been, always will be.

Image courtesy of thegazette.com

Image courtesy of thegazette.com

8. “You speak really good English” (can be followed by “… for being from Hong Kong” and yes, that really happened in my real life)
I’d hope so. I was an English major, after all.

Image courtesy of forlackofabettercomic.com

Image courtesy of forlackofabettercomic.com

9. “You’re Mormon? How many wives do you have? hahahahahahaha”
Polygamy (called plural marriage by Mormons in the 19th century …) was taught by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for more than half of the 19th century, and practiced publicly from 1852 to 1890 by a minority of families (between 20% and 30%). (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_polygamy)
For the record, we haven’t practiced polygamy for 123 years now. That’s a long time. That’s longer than the oldest person in the world has been alive. So probably we can stop with the jokes about it.

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

10. Are you going to raise your kids bilingual?
If you’re talking to an adoptee, then don’t even bother. If you’re not talking to an adoptee, then maybe. Maybe they will raise their kids to be multilingual. Maybe their kids are going to get all the jobs because they speak literally every dialect on earth.
Probably it is not your business. Also, seriously disinteresting when it really boils down to it.

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

The Problem with the Nocturnal

— or – “I’m Never Sleeping Again”
— or – “A Streetcar Named Kitty”

I’m a cat person and that sort of has a dual meaning. Oh sure, I prefer them over dogs with their independent natures and odd love for boxes and purrs and loves. Also the fact that they don’t smell like, you know, dogs.

I’m also kind of part cat. I know how that sounds – like I am crazy. But we knew I was crazy already, so stay with me. I have an independent nature although I insist upon love and attention on my terms, plus I despise getting wet. Plus I have a princess complex. Y’all should just love me, is all I’m saying.

Image courtesy of society6.com

Image courtesy of society6.com

So on Friday afternoon when our landlord told us all we needed to do to get a cat was to re-up our lease this August, I said done deal and headed to the Utah Pet Adoption Clinic the following morning with a somewhat disgruntled and disbelieving, dog loving Husband.

We’ll have him converted by the end of this story, don’t worry.

And then we met Stella. As it turns out, and I know, I know, all parents say this about their kids, but I’m right in this particular instance, Stella is perfect. She’s neither skittish nor too much a diva, she loves being scratched on the belly and licks instead of nips, and she purrs 24/7 like she entered herself into a competition against cars without engine mufflers without telling us. She loves strangers and being held like a baby and apparently eats whatever brand of cat food you place in front of her, although there have been some dire consequences and assaults against our olfactory senses because of that.

We’re learning.

Husband chose this food dish. True story.

Husband chose this food dish. True story.

But Stella is also all cat when it comes to her nocturnal nature.

At 2:30 am:

Husband: “Did you hear her trying to wake you up?”

Me: “Um, yeah she was climbing all over me.”

Husband, groggily: “It was cute.”

Me: “. . .”

If she weren't so cute, I'd bug her like she bugs me.

If she weren’t so cute, I’d bug her like she bugs me.

There are things that Stella does that are, in fact, very cute, like the way she holds her catnip mouse with her front paws and then bats at it with her back paws like it’s a soft, handheld treadmill. Or her purr-meow in response to nearly anything. Or the way she will flop over on her side whenever the mood to be scratched hits her. Or her reaction to a laser pointer. She’s going to kill that thing any day now, I’m sure.

She'll sit in her perch so long as you put her in it.

She’ll sit in her perch so long as you put her in it.

Walking on my chest and sticking her potential WMD butt in my face while I’m trying to sleep on a work night does not really fall into that category. It’s more akin to “I have massive heartburn because I ate a bean and cheese quesadilla at 9:15 pm on a Sunday while playing Black Ops.”

We still love her, of course. I wasn’t born with the mommy gene but I was born with the kitty mommy gene, and I suppose there’s vindication for all my child-bearing friends who have lost sleep for the past several years because of their human progeny. And at some point I might even learn how to sleep through her nighttime scavenger hunts through our pillows.

I might.

Engrish

Engrish cracks me up. There’s probably a joke in there somewhere — for those of you just joining the party, this is what I look like:

I mean, this is what I look like after airbrushing my head.

I mean, this is what I look like after airbrushing my head.

Yep. I’m Asian. I’m Asian and I laugh at Engrish.

In my defense, I’m adopted and only look the part — I don’t speak the language, I don’t care for the food, and I know the most basic parts of the culture, like, the country is full of Koreans and a lot of them are Buddhist.

[No, I am not from North Korea. That wouldn’t actually happen in real life.]

So the other day, whilst in Las Vegas, Husband and I went on a shopping spree. And by Husband and I, mostly what I’m getting at is that I bought a ton of clothes and dragged him around the Forum Shops till about 11:30 pm, despite his upset stomach, headache, and exhaustion. I know, I know, wife of the year. I’m expecting my award in the mail any day now.

At my favorite store — we’ll call it I&N so I don’t get sued or something (yeah, like corporations read my blog) — I found a cozy hooded sweatshirt. As it turns out, I am a real sucker for cozy hooded sweatshirts. So I bought it, not actually reading the text embroidered on the front. I figured it had something to do with athletics or college or school or any of the other arbitrary things manufacturers put on the front of hooded sweatshirts, and I didn’t mind.

In fact, it says, boldly, in all caps, “SINCE 48 ATHLETICS ESTABLISHED.”

I’m sorry, come again? Is that like a partial headline?

Hooded Sweatshirt
Mom says I should return it, but there’s something kind of fun and campy about a grammar snob Asian wearing a sweatshirt with Engrish on the front of it. For all the world to see.