Ready, Set, Write!

Hi. I’m back. It’s good to write after a long hiatus, but it’s also really hard! I jumped on again because in the last week, I have had two people ask for my adoption blog’s address. So, thank you to those two people, and thank you to whoever is reading right now, whether you’ve been following my blog all this time or if you’re a new reader.

Knowing that my experiences can help others gain a bit of insight on Chinese adoption really encourages me to continue sharing. It gives me strength to write a memoir that I know I must do. At times, it’s really tough for me to write, because my mind often freezes from thinking overload. I wish there was a refresh or restart button for my brain, just like one on computers. But, I have to be patient and let myself process things, even if my eyes are about to cross and my mind goes blank. And this is why I have not written in so long! Moments when I can’t think have come up all too often, and this is because . . .

I HAVE FOUND MY BIRTH PARENTS.

Yes. I have found them, and I have met them.

How?! When?! Where? Why? And now what? And now what . . .

Good questions. It’s funny to say, but I am asking myself these questions right now at this very moment. My mind is turning, pausing, flickering, rewinding, and fast forwarding. I need to process this information, and that’s okay. This is normal.

As I digest what this all means to me, I will write a first, rough, cringe-y draft of my adoption story, and I will post blog updates as I tumble along. For the next few weeks, months, years (???), I hope, word-by-word, that the memories I write will take shape and form a memoir worth reading.

 

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

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!

 

[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

Video

Thoughts on “My Adoption Story” – aka DAN Adoption Documentary Part 1

I just finished watching DANakaDAN’s adoption series on ISAtv. I enjoyed the perspective, but there were many questions left unanswered, which is fine, but if he is comfortable to continue sharing his story, it will be nice to hear more about how this experience affected him in the long run and what he plans to do moving forward. Although he said he didn’t want to make the experience into a “carnival”, I think as long as the focus is on adoption, documentaries are a powerful way to help people understand the emotional and confusing journey of adoption, not only for the adoptee but also for anyone who has ever entered the adoptee’s life. All in all, the series contributes a unique perspective because it shows cultural and language challenges as well as the importance of keeping an open mind and understanding that even if an adoptee meets their birth family, the journey doesn’t end there. What adoption means to an adoptee will change throughout their lives as new experiences and understandings are gained.

Adoption Shapes Who I Am, But It Doesn’t Define Who I Am

“Who was it who said, ‘We cannot look at the sun all the time, we cannot face death all the time’? These patients can consider the possibility of their own death for a while but then have to put this consideration away in order to pursue life” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1969) in On Death and Dying (p. 34).

Although Elisabeth Kubler-Ross based her five stages of grief on terminally ill patients, her model can be used for all forms of grief, including the grief adoptees feel over their birthparents and sometimes their birth culture. After switching a few words around in the quotation above, I felt more at peace about my adoption situation:

We cannot look at the sun all the time, we cannot face adoption all the time. Adoptees can consider the possibilities of their own adoption for a while but then have to put these considerations away in order to pursue life.

Recently, I am glad to be able to think more about how adoption affects me, but sometimes it’s too intense. Sometimes I need to let it all go. Eventually it will come back to me, and I’ll have to deal with it again, but hopefully the next time, I’ll be stronger.

 My adoption is important to think about, but there’s more—so much more—to life. Adoption shapes who I am, but it doesn’t define who I am. 

“Mommy!”

As I was walking to my car, I noticed a cute, small girl with dark black hair and a yellow top sitting on the curb. An older woman with light brown hair and fair skin stood within reach of the girl. I wondered if this woman was her mother even though they were different races. I wondered if the child was adopted, like me.

“Mommy!” The girl called out suddenly, and not a second later, the woman turned and tended to the child.

This caught my breath, and as I walked closer to where they were sitting, I may have stared a bit too long. I pondered the idea of stopping and talking to them. I wanted to ask if she was adopted and where she was from. My heart longed to express my own experiences, and I felt a connection to this little girl – I wanted a connection. Continue reading