Archive for February 20th, 2015

joy3When I hear the words “pregnant” and “joy” along with the word “adoption” like on the image above, I’m reminded of my adoptive mother speaking of my adoption. She’d say that she had felt the pain of childbirth when she saw me entering the waiting room for the adoptive parents at the airport, that  other parents started crying and laughing at the same time when they got their babies in their arms just like any parent would after giving birth, that she had heard of many women experiencing the childbirth pain when seeing their adopted children the first time, and that adopting a child is no different from giving birth.

When I hear the word “joy” along with the word “adoption” like in the image below, I’m reminded of my adoptive mother speaking of her joy of becoming a mother.


While my adoptive parents were living the joy of adoption, my natural family in Korea was living the sorrow of adoption. While my adoptive parents were praised for adopting/saving an orphan, my natural father in Korea was trying to drown his sorrow  in alcohol for losing his youngest child.  The people who praised my adoptive parents for their generosity  heard of the joy of adoption but they never heard of the sorrow of adoption. They ignored the sorrow of adoption because I never spoke of the sorrow of losing my language, my country and my entire family. They ignored the sorrow of losing a child or a sibling because my natural family spoke a different language and lived in the other side of the world.

There was no internet then…

Even in this era of internet, friends and acquaintances of adoptive families know (or only want to know) the joy of adoption,


but they ignore the sorrow of adoption…


When I hear of the word “happiness” along with the word “adoption” like in the images below, I’m reminded of my life in Korea with everything that life consists of, joy and sadness.

happiness2 happiness3When I hear the word “happiness”, “money” and “adoption” together like in the image below, I’m reminded  of the happiness I’ve known in the poverty with my natural family and all the misfortunes we went through together, and I think if  only a fraction of the money my adopters spent to adopt me/buy their happiness had been given to my father instead, I could have lived where I belonged to without knowing the sorrow of adoption.


A French proverb says that “the misfortune of ones makes the happiness of others” (in French, “le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres”).

Other equivalent versions are:

“one man’s loss is another man’s gain”;
“one man’s death is another man’s bread”;
“one man’s sorrow is another man’s joy”.

It means that an event that is unfortunate for one is beneficial to another; what’s disavantage to one is advantage to another.

Adoption illustrates well the proverb. And how!

Losing a child to child traffickers is an event that is unfortunate for its parents and benefial for its adoptive parents. Being abandoned is unfortunate for the abandoned child and beneficial for adoption agency processing its adoption and  the adoptive parents.

Here are some of events that are unfortunate for the child and/or for its natural family and beneficial  to its adopters, events that can lead to the ultimate event of adoption.

– poverty;
– war;
– natural or accident catastrophes;
– famine;
– death of a family member;
– disease of a family member;
-lost of a child (child trafficking, child kidnapping, orphanage kidnapping*, etc.)
-domestic violence;
– rape;

*what I call orphanage kidnapping is when a lost child is kept in an orphanage instead of returning the child to its family or when a child who was temporarily placed by its family member is kept in the orphanage.

For example, my father experienced the following woes before losing me, his youngest and favorite child: work accident that left his arm paralyzed followed by lost of job, the death of his mother immediately followed by the death of his wife, being swindled by two women and a relative, and poverty.

The unfortunate events of poverty, death, war, catastrophe, … alone don’t necessarily lead to the event of abandonment or adoption. For these events to end with adoption, it also takes the  money-driven market of children that incites the abandonment of children, trafficking of children, corruption, etc., the demand for children and the government policy such as one-child policy in China.

My father wouldn’t have experienced the final ultimate bad luck of losing his child if it weren’t of foreign money brought by orphanages, the presence of adoption agencies and the infrastructure of international adoption that was set up after the war, dictatorship collaborating with adoption agencies for the mass exportation of  children and the demand of my adopters and other adopters and their government allowing adoption of foreign children.

Adoption illustrates well the proverb both literally and metaphorically.

A missing child family’s loss is an adoption agency’s gain…

real parentscelebrate1cost1

A lost child’s family’s sorrow is an adoptive family’s joy:

notcelebrateOne man’s death [link] is an adoption agency’s bread

pierre tombale2

Total  amount of money earned by Holt  in 1975 only from selling girl K-6714:   $1,300 .

Total amount of money earned by Holt in 1975 only from selling girl K-6714: $1,300 .

More cynically the proverb means that one takes advantage of or benefit from unfortunate situation  of another.

Like vultures are attracted by prey in danger, adoption agencies and wannabe parents are quick to inquire about orphans when a disaster hits a country. For example, in the aftermath of  earthquake in China in 2008, China was swamped  with adoption offers [link]. So was Haiti [link] after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Even Japan  in 2011, yet Japan is not a sending country  [link].

Adoptive family’s happiness is a happiness built on the misfortunes of others. The sorrow of families who have lost their children is the joy of adoptive families who adopted their children/bought their happiness.

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