This blog is by no means (and never will be) a political forum and we always strive to maintain neutrality whenever possible.
But like so many of our readers, we have been thrust into deep mourning over the last 24 hours. We’ve had no words, only many, many tears during this time. Until, suddenly, the words just came and we had no choice but to write before the oppressive weight of our silence suffocated us.
Our words are never intended to alienate; only to describe some truth of the adoptee experience. And right now, this is where our community finds itself. Directly head-to-head with a new reality that both terrifies and grieves us.
We hope these words bring some clarity to those who do not, but desire to, understand.
My name is Whitney and I am a Christian. Conversely, I also voted for Hillary and have been barely able to function through my deep, soul-crushing grief since the results of the recent 2016 election.
After my adoption from S. Korea to the US as an infant, I was raised in a very conservative, very Red, Christian household. I remember being allowed to stay up late in middle school to watch (make sure) G.W. Bush won. Growing up, I adopted my parents’ views as my own because it was what I knew and, honestly, because I was too lazy to research.
Then I grew up and I was a Korean face in a white world and things as I knew them started to change. I began experiencing devastating racism in my home state of Tennessee. I learned to barely bat an eye when I was called “chink” and told to “go back where I came from.” Hmm. This wasn’t quite fitting with the way of thinking that I knew.
In a strange turn of events, I moved to Korea for a year. Where I could finally fit in and wouldn’t be the weird different one. Right?! So dead wrong. I wasn’t a “real” Korean and I couldn’t speak Korean and why didn’t I dress like one? So I quickly learned that my Korean face was a double curse. I was hated “at home” in both of my countries.
I was hated “at home” in both of my countries.
So I decided to try America again. Then this billionaire announced his presidential campaign and everyone thought it was a joke and laughed and laughed and said, “Oh Donald, you joker!” Then he won his party’s nomination and became a serious contender and everyone said, “Hmm.” Then during the course of his campaign, we found out much more about him – mostly through his platform of hate. We found out that he totally despised women and had no problem with sexual assault, despite being a husband and a father. We learned that he hated anybody who didn’t look like him and that he planned to build a wall to keep all immigrants – like me – out. The list of insanity went on and on but we laughed and said, “Oh that’s just Donald being Donald!” Then he smiled and said, “I’m going to make America great again!” and the crowds roared and threw him parties and gave him boatloads of money.
Then they made him the most powerful man in the world.
The impossible happened.
The hilarious joke became a terrifying reality.
The platform of hate and sexism and rape culture and racism literally won him election to the Presidency of the United States.
I did not vote for him.
When I found out that everyone else in America did, I collapsed in tears. I couldn’t believe it. After the first betrayal of my birth country, I made my home here. The pain of this second betrayal was too much to bear.
I am grieving big now. Fortunately, I have had a lot of experience and help with this so I know how to do it pretty well.
So did this Christian fall from grace?
I don’t think so.
Today, I am grieving and fearful for so many reasons.
As a woman, for the sexism and rape culture that my country willingly supported.
As an immigrant, because the only country I have ever been able to truly call “home” has spoken. And the message is crystal clear: me and my type are not welcome here.
As an adult, because my husband’s job in federal service is threatened, along with our livelihood. The millionaire who has never been wanting and knows no concept of the need for a social service agency has brought much uncertainty. We don’t yet know what the ramifications might mean for our family.
As an American citizen, because how could the next President be someone so many people (his own supporters) were ashamed to publicly support (in the land of free speech) because of the sheer absurdity of it all?
As a Midwesterner turned Southerner, because I don’t recognize “my party” of old and my opinion in these areas of the country is wildly unpopular.
As a Korean, because the many years of allyship between S. Korea and the US are now threatened. What will become of that relationship and how can I look my Korean birth family in the face and say, “I’m sorry. We Americans made a mistake that you will have to pay the price for.”?
As an adoptee, because I don’t know if I have a country to call “home” anymore.
As a Christian, because I could and would not elect someone for office who so vehemently spits in the face of all that I value and cherish and believe for and about humanity.
Maybe you’re an adoptee who agrees and “gets” everything I have described. Maybe you’re a white middle-class male who’s stunned because you have never seen that side of America before because your privilege has protected you from even having to give a moment of consideration to any of these atrocities.
Either way, I hope my explanation humanizes the strong reactions we are seeing to this election outcome. Once you know the full story, empty criticisms seem much harder to hurl.
You don’t have to agree with me but you do have to respect the place I come from. In exactly the same way I will choose to love you and respect yours. In the way that our very humanity demands of us.
Because that is what will make America great again.
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