Originally published on the KAAN Community blog: here George Floyd. Ahmed Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Philando Castile. Tamir Rice. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Trayvon Martin. And most recently Jacob Blake. These […]
A few weeks ago, I decided to restart my birth parent search that came to an almost immediate halt in China in 2015 (read about it here). I realize that time is going by – time that I will never get back – and feel confident that I am in an emotionally strong enough place to begin again. I decided to join a number of search groups on Facebook and on WeChat for information about searching, templates for language used on search posters, and camaraderie from others who are also going through this complicated process. Below, I’ve shared a list of potentially relevant searching groups for Chinese adoptees.
Just before I left for my semester abroad in China, I posted a watercolor painting I made of a tree stump titled “Ripped From My Roots: An Adoptee Family Tree […]
During the 7 years I was in my orphanage in Shanghai, I remember this one boy who was my mentor/big brother. We hung out a lot, and I remember just admiring him a lot. He was also one of the only male figures in my life during my orphanage years. His name was Chen Yijie. Please help me find my friend.
Though we both have white partners now, in this conversation, Rosita and I ponder what our youth and early romantic experiences would have been like if Asian men had been a predominant demographic in our areas and if Asian men had been celebrated as masculine and desirable and if our own identities as Asian women had been validated by society.
I recently participated in a FCCNY book club discussion of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. The book revolves around a Chinese adoption story. The author, Lisa See, is not an adoptee, and her limited knowledge of adoption and adoptee identity development was very apparent throughout the book. At the end of the meeting, the adoptive mothers in the group began discussing book possibilities for future meetings. This prompted me to put together a list of adoption reading for anyone considering an adoption themed book club or wanting more information about adoption.
On Wednesday evening, Jeff Yang, Phil Yu aka Angry Asian Man, Dan Matthews (DANakaDAN), and I had a conversation about Asian adoptions to the U.S., Dan and my personal experiences growing up as Asian adoptees, stepping into our Asian identities, and our perspectives on some recent, troubling news stories about Asian/Pacific Island adoptions, including the Myka Stauffer rehoming case, the Paul Petersen case, the murder of Johanne by her adoptive brother, and the arrests of 3 Iranian men for selling babies for adoption on Instagram.
When I question how I could have both been helped and hurt by white privilege, it is the same type of reflection that I must conduct when I think about the ways in which I have both gained and lost so much through my adoption. The ability to not think in simple polarities has shaped and defined my maturation and has been a liberating discovery.
Read this book if you want to think of birth mothers reimagined, a fantastical rags to riches “Cinderella” story, or a beautiful portrayal of scenery and a lesser known culture, not if you are an adoptee looking to identify with Haley, the Chinese adoptee character in the story. While Lisa See tried to do her research, her identity as a non-adopted person shows clearly in the adoptee parts of this book. The use of common adoption tropes and clunky, developmentally-off dialogue made the adoptee passages difficult for me to read or even get excited about until the last chapter.
As many of you know, I serve on the Advisory Council for the Korean American Adoptee and Adoptive Family Network (KAAN). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to […]