Jayme Hansen’s Adoption Story: A Boy From Yesterday

I have never told the world that I was a coward. I never mustered up the courage to do something that I thought I needed to do. At the time, I felt I didn’t have the power to do anything. Before I tell you what I didn’t do, I want to share with you a story about a boy that I knew during my childhood. A boy that I will never forget as long as I live.

 I met a child who was no older than ten years old. With a glimpse of the boy one could immediately recognize the signs of neglect. Starting from the top, his hair was long and shaggy and unkempt. Cowlicks pushed against the sides of his head and with bits of dandruff and dirt were clearly visible in his scalp. When you looked at his hands they looked like they belonged to an old man. Thick callous pads covered his palms and deep bleeding fissures that cracked in the corners of his fingers. This was the telltale signs that his hands were exposed to the elements. His clothes were fitted too tight to include the boots that had holes in the toes of his leather boots. His jacket was heavily soiled and a piece of fibrous baling twine bunched up the fabric around his thin, waifish torso and barely kept his pants up. He smelled as bad as he looked, the whiffs of body order and cow feces were hard to ignore. One thing that seemed displaced was his bright smile and happy demeanor as he skipped about.

I had the chance to observe his guardians on numerous occasion. They seemed to be yelling at the child. They often throw insults at him, asking him why he was stupid or why he was a wimp. I saw his “mother” slap him in the face. The boy was extremely embarrassed and humiliated. I saw an adult once confront his parents asking why they did such things and they responded with “you have no idea how hard it is to raise such an unruly child.” They explained that the child was extremely lazy, he day dreamed a lot and had behavioral problems. They explained that they suspected the boy was on drugs, had criminal instincts and suffered some type of mental issues. They even sent the boy to a psychologist and learned that the boy actually had a high IQ, this was proof positive that the child was actually lazy since his grades were barely above a C.

The parent claimed that they didn’t want to administer corporal punishment but they felt they had no other options. He would get his mouth taped shut when he would lip-off to others. They had to force him to skip a meal when they caught him stealing cookies out of the pantry. The boy lied to them often and they had to devise cleaver traps to catch him in his lies. They could tell if the TV was warm when they returned home after they were away to see if he was watching TV. The label of the ice cream container faced a certain way to know if he had eaten any of it. He was an evil and sneaky boy. However, the parents were patient and showed great restraint because they would only spank him with a leather belt or strike him when he committed only the gravest of offenses. It wasn’t abuse, the punishments were used to try to change the child’s behavior and they were matched by the severity of the infractions made by the child. Besides, they were simply following what was prescribed by their faith: Proverbs 24 stated “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him,” Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul” and Proverbs 22:15 further supported their actions by saying “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” They firmly believed it was their moral obligation to carry out the punishment on this unruly, ungrateful and evil child.

This boy that I’m talking about was me. If you speak to the people that called themselves my parents, they would tell you that I am a liar. That I exaggerate things and am emotionally unstable. I can assure you that the “punishments” were not always reasonable. Their torments were sometimes done for their enjoyment. They would sick the dog on me and howl with laughter as it bit into my flesh and tore my clothes. The pain they dished out was done in public as well as in private. The public disciplining was not as abusive. They would grasp the muscle on my shoulder and squeeze tightly to cause pain. The neglect was forced on us. We were allowed to shower only 1X a week and if we washed before going to school-we were yelled at for wasting soap and water. I remember getting ring-worm from the cattle when I was a young boy. When I showed them the patches of red infected rings on my buttocks and legs- they commented that I should put car grease on it to make it go away. The “discipline” was not dispense solely to me. They issued their punishment equally to my sister as well. She was forced to eat moldy month old food they found hidden in her bedroom. After all, it was theft and they wanted to instill good virtues in their children.

Earlier I stated I was a coward and never mustered up the courage to do something that I thought I needed to do. That thing I didn’t do was to commit suicide. I contemplated suicide a lot and I was filled with the usual demons that are expressed during abuse: low self-worth, depression, anxiety, fear and guilt. It was extremely difficult growing up as an isolated farm and with nobody to turn to for help. Other family members never came to my aid. I had an uncle who told me he went through situations than I did as he suffered the abuse of a drunk father. This was a means to look the other way since the suffering wasn’t as bad as his. School was equally bad for me as I was bullied there as well.

I am often asked what gave me the strength to hold on? Four things helped me to keep holding on. 1) The first thing was the love I felt from my Caucasian grandmother. I realized that it wasn’t white people that hated me. I was able to separate that out immediately. The pain I felt were dished out by mean, ignorant people- many of them happened to be white. 2) The farm was filled with feral cats and I befriended a small black kitten. The love and warmth expressed by a pet can give you love when none can be found by humans. I had a small kitten that would climb on my shoulder when I did my chores. The kitten’s purr gave me deep satisfaction and I learned about reciprocation when it nudged me with its soft tiny face as I pet it. 3) The ability to go to the library on a monthly basis expanded my imagination and curiosity about the world. I learned that a different life could be made for myself from reading books. Exotic lands to visit, friendships to be forged and experiences to be explored. 4) Encouragement expressed by a few people that I admired gave me the will to do something good for myself. One such individual that did that was my Science teacher in High School. He would tell me that I was smart and he encouraged me to continue my studies. I am forever grateful for him reaching out to me and decades later I went back to the school to thank him for showing me kindness. I as an adult can now forgive that small scared boy for not carrying out the only thing he had to do to escape the pain in this world. If any other person out there is contemplating the same thoughts as I toyed with as a child, please give yourself a chance. You never know how wonderful it can be once you escape your demons.

Jung Kyung Sook’s Adoption Story

My name is Jung Kyung Sook. I will soon be 50 years old and I want to tell my adoption story. My life began on the countryside of Korea on a little farming village. I was meant to be a farmer’s daughter but fate led me to have a life full of suffering through adoption. Something that I couldn’t understand at first but would come to understand through the seasons of my life, year after year crying for my homeland and crying for my people. Through tears and screams I have lived a life so far away from my birth country and the little village where I was born. As far away as it is possible to be sent, I was shipped to Europe from Korea illegally, yet it was falsified as legal on paper. Holt was my adoption agency.

I was sent out of Korea to Norway to a cruel and harsh family. I suffered abuse, severe neglect and various kinds of punishments from my adoptive parents. I was made to be their servant in their house, treated like a slave where I was beaten and punished. I was suppose to have my childhood but instead my innocence was stolen from me. I was told I was a burden to them and they never let me forget for even one minute I was their lifelong debt, since I was paid for with their house mortgage. From my first diaper I cost them too much, that in their anger they used their fists on my little body. I’ve wondered many times why I am still alive today because sometimes I was beaten so badly. Strange enough, no one did anything to help me. Some people knew what was going on, but being a whistleblower take some guts, and that was apparently non-existent, back then. No one bothered to even pick up the phone and call the police. My adoptive parents could have ended up in jail for years, if only someone had bothered to pick up a phone. I was beaten, yelled at, and called hateful names. Eventually, I was kicked out of my so called forever family as a teen late one summer night….I still remember it like it happened yesterday. I was called a whore, retarded, an idiot. Yes I was the black sheep of the family. The one everybody could blame, beat and get rid of all of their frustrations upon day after day. Because of the trauma and abuse, I was given complex PTSD by my adoptive family.

The years went by and I returned home to my birth country for the first time. There I learned the devastating news that I was sent out of Korea without the knowledge of my birth family. They did not even know if I was alive or dead back then In 1987. My father and oldest sister searched for years for me in Korea not knowing I had been sent for adoption to Norway. Last Year in 2017 I returned once again to honour the grave of both of my Korean parents for the first time and the last time In my life. I was at last home but it was too late for me to meet my appa and my omma who died way too early, only months after I was born. For me to finally come full circle with one of my birth sisters was so painfully hard, I cried like I never cried before. Adoption to me is the most cruel act that happened to me. Compared to all of my beatings through the years, I will say this- we are all given one life, where we are suppose to bloom and thrive before death takes us all naturally. I was not given my chance to live my life, Instead I was given a cruel life filled with unimaginable suffering.

As a self healing way to recovery, I’ve written my life story called “Cries of the Soul”. It has helped me to write my story and face my ghosts that have haunted me for years. Now as an adult, I have become an activist and want to say one thing very clearly: I don’t want anyone else to experience what I had to endure for a second. Both of my Norwegian parents are now long gone, but I still have one member of my Norwegian family who threatens me he will take me to court, because of my book and blog exposing the truth of what happened- in his eyes our parents were saints. Every child deserves the best life possible to become the person that we were meant to be. In my opinion adoption must be abolished, how many more will have to die? I know I have had the thought of killing myself more than once. I’ve had to catch my breath just to live another day, and to manage my life with C-PTSD. I may have had an extreme upbringing, but I have heard stories not that far from my own, and it saddens me that Korea still today export it’s children abroad. Now it’s soon the Winter Games 2018 In Korea, still they have not ended this very sad business of selling babies, which has taken so many lives through the years. Either Korean adoptees have killed themselves or in Hyunsus case, he was killed at the hands of his adoptive father. Back In the Summer Games in Korea In 1988 they were so ashamed to be called the “Worlds Largest Export Nation of Babies”, but it seems it was just a temporary feeling. I wonder if the adoption world will have to see more deaths before it comes to it’s senses. I hope not. One life taken is one too many. What happened to little Hyunsu is tragic beyond any words could describe. I hope many will help, support and donate to Hyunsus Legacy of Hope in the years to come.