Ep#24: Adoptee Suicide Awareness Series Pt 1: Interview with Pamela Kim Adams
[CW: this episode contains discussions of suicide, eating disorders, and self harm. Note: At around the 40min mark, our guest speaks in more detail about her suicide attempts. She treats this topic very carefully and we have edited this section - but listeners may wish to skip ahead at this point.]
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this is the first episode in a series on adoptee suicide awareness, dedicated to a special member of the community who died by suicide last year. We know this can be a tough subject to talk about it. But it’s important that we do talk about it openly.
In this episode we meet Korean adoptee Pamela Kim Adams over Zoom. What follows is a searingly honest conversation that touches on trauma, mental health treatment, motherhood, community, self-care and more. We were absolutely blown away by Pamela’s openness and insight, and we think you will be too.
*Together with this episode, we have put together a list of support services for Australia, South Korea, and the U.S. on our website (click the 'support services' tab above or click here: http://tinyurl.com/afsupport)*
Pamela Kim Adams was born in Gwangju (Jeonnam province) in 1981. Adopted at the age of seven months, Pamela was placed with a white family in Rochester, NY. She grew up with two Korean-adopted sisters in a suburban town with good schools and went on many family vacations. In many ways life was idyllic, and yet she always struggled internally. Pamela's journey with mental health, identity and race - and exploring the ways in which those things intersect - has been long, complicated and at times excruciating. At the age of 30, Pamela attempted suicide twice, which was the catalyst for rebuilding her life and, most importantly, re-envisioning herself.
These days, Pamela has found a sense of purpose and connection through her work with adult refugees and many other sub-communities in Rochester, NY. Building connection and community with other adoptees is one of her passions. She is a longtime member of Korean Adoptees of Western NY (KAWNY), co-facilitates regular virtual meetings with Unitarian Universalist Transracial-Transnational Adoptees and recently co-hosted a series of virtual long table discussions with Korean Adoptees living across the US.
Pamela is a single mother to an 18-year-old daughter. Pamela could not be more proud of her daughter who continues to teach Pamela so much about life, love and simultaneously holding on and letting go.