Reflection on Studying Abroad in Beijing, Summer 2014

When the plane in Minneapolis took off, I was hit with a lot of emotion – happiness, excitement, nervousness, reprieve, and even sadness. I was happy because an adventure had just begun, but I also suddenly felt sad because the realization kicked in that I was finally returning to the country of my birth. I thought to myself, “I am going back and my birthparents don’t even know.” They don’t know I will be in Beijing, learning Mandarin and Chinese culture. They don’t know the work I’ve put into this moment. They don’t know any of my fears or aspirations. They know nothing about me, and I know nothing about them.  Continue reading

My Story and China’s Changes – 我的故事和中国的变化

For a class project, I created a Chinese blog on weibo http://www.weibo.com/p/1001603738125783453499

It’s a great feeling to be able to express some of my thoughts in Chinese, even if it’s at an elementary level. I am also happy to share my adoption story with my Chinese teachers and peers, since they often do not know about international adoptees.

Xiamen 1996

厦门市公证处 — My family and I in 1996 at the Xiamen City Notary Office

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Searching for How to Search for My Birthparents  

After seeing a play two years ago about the Korean adoptee finding her birth mom, I decided I want to search for my birthparents. The problem is that I don’t know where to begin, and I am scared of what may happen. I have researched adoptees’ experiences growing up after they’ve been adopted, and I have visited China as a study abroad student, but I am inexperienced when it comes to searching for international birthparents.

A moment ago, I briefly looked on the internet for how to start searching, and I was instantly overwhelmed from just the first couple links. Where to start? Who to contact? How much money? Is it safe? How long will the process take? What documents do I need? What if I come up with nothing?  Continue reading

Alone in the Crowd

On the bus ride to the Great Wall, I almost lost my composure because I started thinking about my adoption. I thought to myself, why am I doing this intensive language program? What benefit does this have for me? These thoughts triggered my hopes into thinking that I’ll definitely be glad to have learned Mandarin so I can talk to my birthparents. But, of course, I don’t know if that’s even a possibility. I don’t even know where and how to start searching for them. Also, my birthparents may not even know how to speak Mandarin, if I am able to meet them. Continue reading

Departure Day!

MSP Airport 6.10.14

Today, I woke up around 3:00 am in order to have enough time to get through baggage check and security. Although I had plenty of time before boarding my first flight, I am glad to have been safe than sorry. I’m in Detroit now, waiting to board the plane to Beijing!

When the plane in Minneapolis took off, I was hit with a lot of emotion – happiness, excitement, nervousness, reprieve, and even sadness. It was such a relief to be on the plane and know that all the hard work from last semester has brought me to this point. Of course, I was very happy and excited to make my first flight on this trip. Part of me also suddenly felt sad because I thought, I am going back to China, where I was born. I am going back and my birthparents don’t even know. They don’t know I will be in Beijing, learning Mandarin and Chinese culture. They don’t know the work I’ve put into this moment nor any of my pondering about whether I would actually return to China or not.

A lot of what has been happening feels surreal. I hope I don’t break down when I get on the flight to China, but it may bring even more emotion, especially when I first see the Peking airport, hopefully around 2:30 pm on June 11, 2014. Here’s to the start of an incredible, new, and challenging adventure!

 

Less Than One Day Until Departure

Why did I choose to study abroad?

Studying abroad in Beijing this summer was actually a very difficult decision for me. Since I’m planning to graduate a year early, my summers in between fall and spring semesters are limited. Last summer, I participated in a research program, and this summer is my last before completing my undergraduate career. A part of me felt that I should pursue an internship in the U.S. instead, so it would help me gain work experience before possibly searching for a job after graduation. Plus, studying abroad is expensive, and it takes a lot of work just applying and preparing for it!

Despite this, however, I decided this summer would be the best opportunity for me to go, especially since I’m not able to fit a year-long or semester-long study abroad into my regular academic-year schedule. Additionally, this opportunity helps me learn and better understand the culture of my birth. Even though I’m generally interested in Chinese culture, a big factor is because of my adoption from Xiamen, China. I believe committing myself to this abroad program will help me gain confidence in speaking Chinese, traveling internationally, and dealing with unfamiliar places and people. I also hope I can apply my credits toward a minor in Asian Languages and Literatures when I return. If nothing else, I’ll be able to see China with my own eyes and create my own memories that aren’t told secondhand from adoption photos and stories. Besides, when will I have another chance to study language in China for two months? Although I’m nervous about being so far away from friends and family, I am glad I made this decision.  Continue reading

[Pre-departure] Thoughts as an Adoptee Before Studying Abroad in China

Words cannot describe how excited I am for summer. But this summer won’t be like any summers that have come before it. I will be enrolled in CET’s Intensive Language Learning Program in Beijing, China (2014), and this will be the first time I return to my “homeland.” Continue reading