July 3, 2011

Adoption Thought

The world I grew up in is called Marin County.  It’s a place that I know best, a place that surrounds me with good resources, good education, and fortunate wealth.  It’s a place I call home, a home in which I was once placed a long time ago.  Most of the time, I find myself very lucky to be in such a great place, but with this place came struggles, pain and challenges.  I needed to figure out why I was here, and why I wasn’t with my “real” family over there.  Struggling to figure out who I was, and experiencing the difficulties of being different from other kids,  I had to accept the fact that this was me, and that I was here to have a better life. 

My history first starts in a world that is unknown—a place of abandonment and loneliness.  My beginning days in China are a dark mystery.  But then as a small child of almost three years, my life took a turn. I was adopted by a single woman and brought to America. When I tell people that, I’m shocked that many people say, “Aw that’s really sad.” It makes me angry, because then I have to tell them “No, you’re  wrong, it’s not sad.”   Every time someone says that though, feelings begin to stir within me. I recall so many times of sadness and abandonment.  Frightening nightmares show up every so often, pictures of me in an empty world. It’s probably not the comments that people say about adoption that bother me but my own thoughts in the process , the unknown, the confusing wonder and the painful struggles.
Growing up in Marin, I had to learn English and forget about my native heritage and language. I became aware that I was different from my classmates in so many ways.  I didn’t look like a lot of my friends; even my mom didn’t look like me.

School became challenging.  I started to realize I had difficulties with learning.  I remember specifically, this one event. “Sound out the word,” my third grade teacher told me. “I dunno” I replied looking down. I hated myself, for not knowing such an easy word that my friends and classmates knew.  I felt stupid  and wanted to hide.  ” Let me go back to China” is what I thought, “I won’t have these problems there.”  But I knew I couldn’t because it would be another struggle, knowing now that I can no longer speak Mandarin.  I felt trapped between two worlds that I did not belong.

As time went on, I learned that many of my hardships have shaped me into who I am.  With the learning disability that I have, I have had to work extremely hard to get good grades.  I have always wanted to do my very best. There have been times of disappointment and sadness but I have learned how to get through. 

My dreams and aspirations for the future are to be successful in whatever I do.  Within the world that I live and with the memories that I hold, I know that I am a very fortunate girl.  I have had the support of my mom, my teachers and my friends.  I hope in the future that I can go back to China to revisit the past.  I want to visit the people who first gave me love and affection and then the opportunity of a new life.  Being curious about the two worlds that have shaped me has made me curious about others.   I hope to study abroad to broaden my understanding and appreciation of other worlds and cultures.



  1. Wow, Kelly, your story is compelling. I wish I could sit with you over coffee and pick your brain some as an adoptive mother to a precious Chinese girl. You clearly have a lot of insight and are in a good place right now to process all you have been through.

  2. This isn't actually me! I'm glad you brought my attention to it! It was actually written by another girl. She has a good and honest opinion.

  3. I too was adopted when I was 3 years old and remember being frustrated with my teachers for saying to just sound out the words that I didn't know. I couldn't seem to rap my mind around how every letter that had a certain sound that went with it. I was falling behind in my language arts class because of this and was diagnosed with dyslexia. I then had to go to a separate class for English for three years, but it helped me in the ending because now I enjoy reading on my own and no longer feel frustrated.