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.

 

Advertisements
Link

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams – The Lost Children

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams – The Lost Children

International adoptees who have been “re-homed” are featured in this national news story from Kate Snow. 

This story is so sad, but I am glad that adoption stories like these are being featured nationally. It is important to bring awareness to some of the darker aspects of adoption. Not every story will have a happy ending once an adoptee is placed in a home. 

I cannot imagine facing the same situation as Nora Gateley, the interviewee who was adopted from China. Parents who wish to adopt need to understand and accept the responsibilities they will have once they bring a child into their home. If they are not ready to deal with the consequences of parenting and adopting, they should not become parents. 

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

Adopted Documentary

Adoption is so complicated—there are so many different ways to look at it. Until recently, the subject was only in the back of my mind because it would make me sad to think about my birthparents. I also felt that my adoptive parents were enough for me; where I am now is where I am supposed to be, and the fact that I am adopted is not important as long as our family loves each other. As I am beginning to understand myself more as an adult, I am realizing just how prevalent adoption is in my life. I am an Adopted Asian American. Adoptees can only relate to other adoptees when it comes to certain experiences and thoughts. This is what makes us different from Asian Americans, and sometimes this can make us feel isolated. We have our issues like other Asian Americans, but we have extra baggage. With love, care, support, and education from friends and family, adoptees may have an easier time accepting their complicated adoption and understanding their complex identity.

The 2009 documentary, Adopted, by Barb Lee, features two perspectives: one view is from an adult Korean adoptee who is coping with her adoption and the other view is from a white couple, John and Jacqui Trainer, who is adopting from China. Jennifer Fero, the Korean adoptee, expresses her struggle with identity and the things she wishes her adoptive parents would have done. Viewers see Fero’s confusion and pain, which makes them wonder if the adopted girl from China will feel the same and if her parents will guide her better through the issues that may come up as she grows older. Fero is a powerful voice for adoptees because she addresses the other side of the coin that adoptive parents may not realize. For example, being colorblind is not as good as people think; adoption is more than just a happy ending; and whether the adoption is closed or open, birthparents have a strong impact on adoptees. In addition, grief and finding identity are difficult to deal with as an adoptee, but having supportive, understanding parents helps ease the confusion and pain. Continue reading

Found in China

Found in China, by Carolyn Stanek, provides an outlook on the adoptive families and their children who go back to China on a heritage tour in 2006. The documentary features voices from Chinese adoptees, adoptive parents, Korean adoptees, and experts on transnational adoption such as Sara Dorow. Since the adopted girls were so young, it seemed that they did not fully grasp the significance of their journey back to China. However, because adoptees have changing views of adoption throughout their lifetime, it is interesting to see how the girls felt about going back to China when they were between the ages of nine and thirteen. There are two main points that were discussed in the documentary: going back to visit a birth country is usually a positive experience for adoptees and searching for birthparents is a harder step to take than just visiting. Continue reading

Somewhere Between

Four teenagers adopted from China share their perspectives in Somewhere Between, a 2012 documentary by Linda Knowlton. Before adopting a baby girl from China, Knowlton followed Fang, Jenna, Ann, and Haley, so she could see how she could help her soon-to-be adopted daughter understand her identity in the future. The documentary was nicely organized so the four girls’ stories stood out from each other. Although the girls had their own lives, I felt instantly connected to all of them because I am also adopted from China, and their questions on adoption were like mine. Somewhere Between emphasizes the special differences of each girl while also showing how they have similar questions of adoption and similar issues that arise from being transracially adopted. Each of the four adoptees wondered about their birthparents, dealt with appearance issues, and wanted to connect with China. Continue reading