The Hardest Part About Being a Teenage Adoptee

Category: Adopted, History & Culture, Original Video


September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees. To help raise awareness on the topic of mental health and adoptees, KoreanAmericanStory.org will roll out a special series of the Legacy Project – the Love/Hate Project – which will feature interviews with Korean American adoptees.

In commemoration of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and, as a precursor to the Love/Hate Project, in collaboration with IAMadoptee, we present the second of two short videos which we hope will help the broader community to better understand the experience of being a Korean American adoptee. We also aspire to send the message to all adoptees, that you are not alone.

• If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
• If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

The hardest part about being a teenage adoptee…

Michael Pulliam
Has been the feeling of isolation, the fear of my own self, my own despair

Mike McDonald
That one day I’d grow up to be the confident person that I always wanted to be. The hardest part was not getting there yet. I think fear of the unknown and being alone was the hardest part.

Marissa Martin
Trying to find a balance about who I was, who people wanted me to be and who I wanted to be.

Mike Mullen
Was growing up in an environment where it was just white people, and there were no Asians around and there was no other ethnicities around and so that was to me, I think, very stifling.

Jae Ridner
I was in a constant state of denial and I am so thankful that I found a level of awareness as i got older but I lived in a box for a very long time, and its nice to come out of it.

Alex Myung Wagner
As adoptees we struggle a lot with thinking that any misstep that we might make will make those that love us completely disown us.

Lee-Ann Hanham
The hardest part was feeling I didn’t have a connection. I didn’t know where I belonged, I struggled with that.
its really important to to breathe. When you are in it and you are feeling these big feelings, its very difficult to exhale because its so big. Please breathe. Because if you breathe, then you are living.