My Failure Today is Tomorrow's Victory or Some Other Inspirational Shit That Doesn't Feel Appropriate

May 23, 2019

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Have you ever worked diligently on something, gotten over halfway through the process, and then realized you hated every single thing about what you just did? Welcome to my afternoon of trying to write this week's blog post. 

 

It's been an eventful week in the adoption community for two interesting reasons. One is that there are two proposed bills in Congress: S1553 Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019 in the Senate sponsored by Senators Hirono (D-HI, this lady is a badass for so many reasons), Blunt (R-MO - I know! A Republican! Holy crap!), Collins, (R-ME What?!?!?! Another one? Clearly this will not go well if Trump finds about this), and Klobuchar (D-MN - ok, that makes much more sense). This partners with H.R. 2731 introduced by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA-9) to provide for automatic acquisition of United States citizenship for certain internationally adopted individuals, and for other purposes. Hopefully one of those other purposes is to grant citizenship to anyone who serves in our armed forces. Anyway, I was all set to write about how important this was, when I realized that explaining to people why their previous indifference to this made them gigantic pieces of shit probably wouldn't helping the cause in any way, so I decided to scrap that topic.

 

The second event is the death of Molly Holt. Many of you may not know who she was, but her parents basically started the whole adopt-a-kid-from-Korea concept. Whether you agree with this premise or not, there is no questioning that Molly Holt spent most of her life in Korea, looking after orphans and advocating for the benefits of international adoption. Many adoptees, particularly the older generations, gratefully acknowledge Ms. Holt's life's work and contributions both in Korea and in the US. Many other adoptees, particularly the younger generations, look at Holt's legacy as an enabler of a system that encouraged wholesale exportation of about 200,000 Korean children in one of the more peculiar diasporas in human history. One particularly vile individual with whom I have had previous confrontations, very classily commented on the news of her death, "Rest in pieces." So that blog post draft devolved into a particularly snarky editorial on why Yoonmi needs a swift kick in the dick and the fervent hope that an asteroid will hit her home as soon as possible.

Strikes 1 and 2 put me in a pretty bad mood, and I started to think about how I could cheer myself up. I remembered the old Chicken Soup for the Soul book would do the trick many years ago. So I then started a blog post about how ludicrous the whole Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise has become, because there are now over 250 different books out there, ranging from Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul to Chicken Soup for the Network Marketer's Soul. I really wish I was kidding about this, but I'm not. Of course there is a Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul, and that trite pile of trash and Ms. LeAnn Thieman, its third "author", were the subject of my fury and criticism. Don't ask. Just as I was about to finish that post, it dawned on me that I was shitting pretty hard on a person that I only knew from thirty minutes of internet research, and since I'm not a contributor to Fox, I felt maybe I was rushing to judgement a little. Strike three. The mighty Casey has struck out, and there is no joy in Mudville.

 

Which brings us to where we are now, the fourth attempt at a blog post today, and it's about my struggles with the previous three. It definitely feels a little Seinfeld-esque, to be honest. But it just occurred to me that today's failures do have some value. Of course it's great when the topic is all nice and laid out, the words flow faster than I can type, and there is some sense of message and amusing commentary to support it. It definitely is not fun to be staring at a computer screen with the knowledge that there is a lot of other work that needs to be done, and too many hours have been wasted on this already. But isn't that how life sometimes works out? Things don't go our way. It gets frustrating. Nothing seems to fit just right and our attitude becomes more negative as each additional failure accumulates.

 

So what's the moral of the story? The Adoptee Citizenship bill is being sponsored for the sixth year in a row. Five previous attempts failed to even get out of committee. Molly Holt spent almost her entire life combatting Korean indifference to orphans. She was 83. Most Koreans still don't care about orphans one bit. LeAnn Thieman has written 12 different Chicken Soup books, mostly relating to prayer, miracles, prayer, Christian women, prayer, Living Catholic Faith, prayer, and of course, adoption. She stubbornly continues to advocate for prayer, even though she has to admit that almost 99.99999999% of them go unanswered. So that is the common thread of this week's experience. All three attempts at a blog post were centered around failure. And that is why I struggled. Failure is hard to accept. It is a validation that we are not correct. And yet, if you live a life worth living, failure will abound. We will have moments not to celebrate or feel competent. We will have instances where nothing goes our way. Our choice, when faced with these situations, is to either give up or to carry on. I can't think of two better examples of perseverance than the bills going to both houses of Congress soon or the life of Molly Holt. Unee, while you represented a cause that has many valid reasons for criticism, no one could question your commitment to your life's work. Many Koreans' lives are better because of your efforts and passion in the face of consistent failure. And that deserves a sincere moment of thanks and gratitude.

 

RIP, Molly Holt 1936-2019
 

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