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By Emma N.
Intro: I’m in a new process of discovery with my identity. I realize how different I would be if my parents hadn’t raised me. I share my dad’s love for soup and rock music. I have my mom’s brown, almond shaped eyes and her freckles. My parents sacrifice a lot for me just as other parents do for their children. I have a unique story but I wonder how parents have shaped other people.
Narr: I think I relate…..I am Chinese and living with a Caucasian father and a Chinese mother. While I have adopted the habits my dad has and want to learn Cantonese because of my mom, I find it hard to identify myself to them. I am adopted. I have always wondered what my life would be like had I not been adopted. Recently, my mom brought up the possibility of finding my birth parents. However, before starting that process, I wanted to talk with my parents and explore where I came from. My parents told me why they made the decision to adopt and why they chose to adopt from China.
Narr: I asked them about the process they had to go through in adopting me. My dad told me that they began by choosing an organization to use. It was an important decision, and they went with the organization Heartsent.
Narr: Overall, the process of adopting me was a challenge in terms of filling out all the paperwork and dealing with the backlog of adoption cases. But it worked out.
Since an early age, I have known that I am adopted and feel grateful that they told me early. I wondered why it was important for them to tell me at an early age.
Narr: I appreciated this conversation. I wondered whether other adoptive parents are encouraged to talk about adoption with their child as early as possible. Beth Hall is the co-founder and executive director of PACT, a non-profit organization that provides adoption services and support to adopted children.
Narr: Beth explained that what is important is how we deal with the discovery of one’s identity. It is important that parents talk to their children at an early age because every child will react differently. Adoption is an ongoing conversation.
While I never really questioned where I come from when I was younger, I am starting to now and have many questions. I realize that I am not alone; Beth told me some questions that adopted children have may be
I have never considered the fact that I am adopted to be a challenge, but I asked Beth what she felt were challenges that adopted children face.
Narr: Listening to her response made me realize why adoption has never been especially hard for me to deal with. Being raised by a parent of the same race has allowed me to have grown up eating traditional foods and celebrating Chinese holidays. When I was younger, I knew children who also were adopted from China through FCC, or Families with Children from China. FCC is an international network of families who have adopted a child from China. I sat down with Peggy Scott, the co-founder and past president of FCC’s Northern California chapter Talking with Peggy, I got a second opinion on why adoption should be talked about the moment the child comes home.
Narr: Like Beth, Peggy is an adoptive mother. She shared her thoughts on looking for one’s birth parents. She does not encourage, but supports whatever decision her daughter makes.
Narr: It was comforting to hear that because my parents feel the same way. With this encouragement I am more ready to start my own search. I asked her if she knew of any services that look for birth parents. She reminded me that the situation for children adopted from China is much more difficult.
Narr: It was hard to hear these words. I never thought about the possibility of not being able to find my birth parents. But I have to be realistic; I was found in a small town that I may not be from with a small piece of paper with only a date written on it. I am afraid of finding my birth parents and meeting them, yet I am equally afraid of the disappointment when I fail to find them. However, I will still try, just not right now. For now, I feel more open about talking to my parents.
Outro: My life is so much better having been adopted and now living in America. I have opportunities that I wouldn’t have as a young woman growing up in in China. I am lucky to have grown up using chopsticks and eating rice. Regardless, I hope to study abroad to further my knowledge of the Chinese culture. I hope to revisit my birth town and someday meet my birth parents.