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.

 

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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

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!

 

Six Days Until Departure

Traveling is a lot of work. Over the last four months, I’ve learned how much effort and planning goes into just preparing for study abroad: application material, health records, transportation needs, scholarship essays, financial planning, and documentation on top of regular course work was much more work than I anticipated. I am happy to have come this far in the process, but I feel the semester has gone by too fast. After completing finals and returning home, I’ve tried to complete last-minute preparations for study abroad while allocating enough time to spend with friends and family.

With less than one week away from departure, I’m still organizing everything I need for the summer in China, and I haven’t thought much more about what to expect emotionally while I’m there as an adoptee and Asian American.

The stress of balancing study abroad deadlines with regular classes has passed, but now I am becoming more nervous about my time away. This is not only my first time traveling alone but it’s also my first time returning to China since my adoption. However, I’ve also been feeling a bit indifferent about being an adoptee from China; perhaps it’s because I have had to focus on other things, or perhaps it’s because I’m putting the adoption thoughts away again, so they don’t interfere with my plans.

Overall, I am very excited for study abroad, but I am also exhausted from all the preparation needed for it. No matter what, though, I am determined to get more out of this opportunity than the price tag and time needed for it. I need to do this for myself and for the people supporting me on this journey. 加油!

[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

The Old Man and the Bus

It’s noon on a Friday morning. My bus was supposed to arrive an hour ago. A freshman from university is pacing in front of the terminal door. In between his steps, I try to make some small talk to pass the time and feel reassured about where our bus will be heading. He tells me his bus was cancelled this morning; he’s trying to make it to a party tonight. We talk a bit more before he starts pacing again. Another woman I talk with says she has class in an hour. The weather is screwing everyone over, from Friday-night ragers to academic pursuits. As for me, I’m just trying to visit home for the weekend.

All the people—going different places, having different things to do—are so fascinating. Unfortunately, because people have places to be, many of the delayed busses made the atmosphere tense. I tried to remain calm, hoping for the best. As I waited in line, an older gentleman approached me, speaking Chinese.

“请问,你说中文吗?” (Qǐngwèn, nǐ shuō zhōngwén ma? Excuse me, do you speak Chinese?)

I was caught a bit off guard, but not as much as the first time this has happened. I replied, “有一点。” (Yǒu yīdiǎn. A little.) Continue reading