Sunday, April 17, 2011

{Guest Blogger} An Adoptive Mom & Her Daughters

Seoul Searching Mama has become more than I ever anticipated it would ever be. Initially, I intended to use it as a journal and voice for adoptees as I embrace my family history and Korean culture. Although this blog is still used for that very purpose, I am finding that it is so much more than that.
Seoul Searching Mama has become an open door for other members of the adoption constellation. I have received e-mails and comments from adoptees, adoptive parents, aunts, friends and supporters of adoption, all filled with love and support. I have received questions, requests for assistance in beginning birth family searches, advice and the most heart-felt support for my journey.
It was my intention to help others get a glimpse into the mind of an adoptee and most importantly, share all of the love that comes with adoption. Little did I know, Seoul Searching Mama would help me even more. It is truly inspiring how so many have come forward and reached out with open arms to make me feel loved through this process. None of these individuals had to read my ramblings or had to send their words... but they did. The blogosphere can be used for so much good, and I am honored to have this outlet and aspire to help others with their adoption stories.

With that said, let's take a break from my blabbing and turn the spotlight onto a woman I have never met in person, but feel that she is already a kindred spirit in my life.

{Diane is a writer, essayist and blogger. She blogs about her life, her loves and her perspective as an adoptive parent at}

One day, Diane left a comment on my {hope} in all things post. I was touched by her sweet words, which led me to her An-ya blog. I was intrigued and contacted her right away! Reading about her joy and struggles as an adoptive parent is beyond beautiful. She is an amazing woman and I am honored to feature her strength as an adoptive mama.

OUR COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS- An Adoptive Mom & Her Daughters

By Diane Christian

I am a mom to two beautiful daughters adopted from China. In the fall of 2005, I traveled to adopt my first daughter who was 2 ½ at the time. During my adoption trip I was insistent that I meet the Chinese foster family that was caring for her through the Social Welfare Institute. My persistence paid off and I met my daughter’s foster father & mother and her foster sister. The foster parents were an elderly couple. I remember vividly the foster mother saying goodbye to my daughter...we were pulling away in a taxi and I turned to look at her...China Mama’s body contorted in pain and her mouth opened to cry a cry that came out silent to my ear- but loud in my heart.

Those moments changed me and would later alter the course of my life.

My first and youngest daughter landed in the United States on Thanksgiving Day 2005.

My first daughter screamed and sobbed her way through her grief over losing her foster family. Night time was always the worst and many nights, for many months, she cried herself to sleep gripped onto my chest.

As the sun rose and welcomed the New Year of 2006, I found myself in a cloud of exhaustion after day in and day out of soothing my daughter’s loss. She was 2 ½, capable of walking and running, but would only remain calm if she was strapped into a baby carrier against my body. She needed to be physically against me or else, she seemed to believe, I too would vanish into thin air.

As the sun rose and welcomed the New Year of 2006, I also received an email from my daughter’s foster family in China. They wanted to know if I would come back to China. They asked me to please come back to China to adopt my daughter’s foster sister. Her foster sister was 7 years old and had been raised by the foster parents since she was an infant. The foster parents were concerned that they were getting too old to care for the foster sister and wanted the girls to be together the same family forever.

(Pause of the heart.)

This is a very long story made short. It was a precarious proposal to undertake. Honestly, I waffled and wrestled with even beginning to undertake such an undertaking. I was a new mom to a toddler and my brain strained to wrap itself around the process I would need to navigate to make this happen. Not to mention the emotional stamina an almost 8 year would need from me once she was placed into our family.

Long story short- We said yes. We made it happen (with an underground army behind us.)

My second, but oldest daughter came home in the spring of 2007. She became an American citizen just days shy of her 8th birthday. She smiled her way through her adoption process. She smiled and waved when she said goodbye to the only family that she had ever known for almost 8 years. She strutted along, swinging her raven ponytail, and demanded that everything that my youngest daughter had was also owed to her immediately. Other than material possessions- she thought she could take care of her emotional self just fine. Why in the world should she trust me, a virtual stranger, to help her cope?

As different as my daughters’ reactions to their adoption might seem...

They reacted very similar internally. Both of them were intensely grieving and traumatized but it manifested, on the outside, quite differently.

My oldest daughter’s reaction to the trauma was to mask the pain. Mask the loss. While my youngest daughter was stripped bare, my oldest daughter layered herself in the costume of happy go lucky. As hard as I thought the exposed grieving was, I was even more challenged by the thick protective emotional layers that my oldest daughter wore.

Fast forward to now...

My children trust me. My children love me. I can think of no greater gifts in the world. My children are amazing, happy, giving and kind. But, does that mean that they do not have complex feeling around their adoption journeys? No. Certainly not. Do they sometimes feel mad, sad, angry, confused and conflicted about being adoptees? Yes. Absolutely they do. Is it hard that I can’t take the pain of their losses away? Yes. But, it is not about is about them. Sometimes, all I can do is hold them and listen.

The other night I was eating dinner with my family and I talked to them about writing this piece. I shared with my kids the different topic ideas that were suggested to me. One of the suggested topics was ‘Advice for Adoptive Parents’. My youngest daughter said- Oh! I have advice! And then my oldest daughter said- Me too. I have advice too.

So, I asked them if they would like to share their advice as a part of this piece and they readily agreed. Here are a few things that they would like adoptive parents to know-

My youngest said (age 7)...

Like one time or more I said mean words to my mom because I felt sad on the inside and I missed my foster mama. If your child says mean things they might just not feel good inside.

When I was born I felt all happy when I was with my biological mom but I don’t know why I am not with her now. Your child may think about this too.

If I never talked about adoption I will feel very sad because I would not get my sadness out.

If your child is having problems calm down, give the child something like an ice pop and tell them everything will be all right and listen to them. The parent needs to listen.

My oldest said (age 12)

Your child might hate you for adopting them but show on the outside that they are glad.

The child might not want to talk to you because they want to be alone. They don’t want you to comfort them.

If they have a sister or brother (adopted or biological) they might show their anger to them when you are not around.

Give them something to do to give them a break from the stress. Tell them everything will be ok. Tell them that you are here for them. Ask them how they feel even if it is hard to listen.

If you don’t talk to your child about adoption or how they were adopted or about their life before being adopted they might feel confused. They might feel like they don’t know what is going on. If they were a baby and you acted like they weren’t adopted all of their life it would be a disaster. It would be too much for them. So try to talk about what happened. Take it slowly too.


Children are wonderful teachers and mine teach me something new every day. I think their above advice serves as a great reminder to me to be a good and present listener. It can be challenging to not smother difficult emotions with platitudes. I struggle with finding the words to make things ‘right’ but there are times when my words are woefully inadequate.

Once an adoption journey begins, it travels for a lifetime. Someday I hope my children will find the answers to why their adoption journeys began at all. And I hope I will be there for them...

to listen.



  1. I love reading other adoptive moms stories! Thank you for posting this,Kacie!

  2. An ice Pop is a wonderful, soothing balm for all things painful. I too seek it for medicine when I am troubled.

  3. Diane, your writing, with your daughters comments woven in, touches me deeply and allows me to see through their eyes and feel your journey.

    Thank you Soul Searching Mama, your pages here are lovely, kind and wise, and I look forward to following along and reading you.

  4. Thank you Terra for your support and reading SSM! I love connecting with new readers!

    I am SO grateful to Diane for sharing her perspective and insight. Isn't she just fabulous?!

    Thanks Again Terra!


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