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  • KAAN

Lonely No More

By Rebecca Cheek

Over the past few years, the ripple effects of Trump’s presidency along with COVID-19, revealed the cracks in our infrastructure as a country. From health care to the economy and education to the tough choices women and primary caregivers had to make with either pausing their careers or completely stopping them in order to care for their children, employee burnout, or the ongoing failures of our whole society to embrace social justice and change for people of color and marginalized groups, these cracks will take years to fix. For a country that prides itself on individualism, collectively, it has been a rough time. I felt the loneliness and isolation of my adoptee experience come to the forefront during the pandemic. My words are an acknowledgment of growth and understanding as one of the many adoptee experiences:

Adoption grief is a lonely island.


no beginning,

no end.


from our ancestral history,

grieving the many losses.

Little acknowledgment of our grief,

Due to protecting

our adoptive parents,

our birth parents.

But who was there to protect us?

Voiceless pawns moved from one home to the next.

There are aspects of our stories missing,

never to be found.

Promises, promises

of a better life,

of being saved.

Perfection on paper,

on the outside.

But inside,

in reality,

we are cracked and broken,

searching for something.


to fill the voids


by relinquishment,

by abandonment,

by rejection.

Adoption grief is a lonely island.

Is there anyone

who can join me,

so I won’t feel so alone?

There was a time in my life when loneliness and isolation were the most powerful feelings I experienced. Thanks in part to COVID-19, after years of searching for the people I could call my own, I have finally found them. Or maybe we found each other? Regardless, I choose to keep them, and I am not giving them back.

I am an adoptee without a birth family or an adoptive family. My birth family decided not to keep me or know me, and I rejected my adoptive family last November, spectacularly, with a baseball bat and a 15-minute conversation. I am repairing myself the best I can.

I have arrived at a place where I feel accepted and cared for without playing mental gymnastics, being a burden, or trying but failing to meet high expectations. My people are cobbled together through adoptee organizations like KAAN and Adoptee Voices. They give me courage to continue on when life kicks me in the teeth. They provide support in a time when our society would rather drag each other through shit. They uplift me when my spirit is weary and low. Finally, as an adoptee, something to be grateful for: my people, my chosen family.

I know now I was never alone, it just took a global pandemic for me to find them, for us to find each other.


Rebecca Cheek (she/her/hers) is a transracial international Korean American adoptee currently living in

South Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a background in the manufacturing of drug delivery systems and quality assurance management in chemical manufacturing. She is currently taking a pause in her professional career to raise her children and trying to figure out what she wants to do when she (really) grows up. In the meantime, she’s actively volunteering in her community through multiple organizations. She’s a peace seeker, who strives to live her life yogically.

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