March 18th, 2012
Embracing the Past: some words of advice for Chinese adoptees
For us adoptees, there is no easy answer to the question, “Where are you from?”
I will never be just American, or just Chinese. I will always be somewhere in the middle. I think finding that middle ground and being comfortable with where you stand, is a journey that all us adoptees must embark on. I can warn you, it won’t be easy. There were certainly times where being in the middle just felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. Sometimes I think my life would be a lot easier if I was blonde-haired, blue-eyed like my adoptive mother and could call myself completely American, or if I had grown up in China and could call myself completely Chinese. But thinking over my life experiences, I could not be happier with where I have ended up. Sure, it might be easier to know exactly where you fit in based on race or ethnicity, but without my Chinese heritage or my American upbringing I would not be the unique individual I am today.
It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this mixed Chinese-American identity. Even now, I’m still learning to embrace it. What helps me in these times of confusion is knowing that there are people all over the globe who love me and care for me, no matter the color of my skin, the shape of my eyes, or my native language. My adoptive family loves me as much as if I were blood-related. On the other hand, I’m sure my birth mother doesn’t go one day without wondering about what happened to that precious baby girl she dropped off nineteen years ago in the bustling streets of Wuhan. And now I even have a host family in Beijing that refers to me as their “American daughter.”
As an adoptee, I may never know where that middle ground lies between being American and being Chinese. But I do know that in the end, finding that answer isn’t really important. What’s important is being proud of your unique fusion of cultures of the East and West, China and America. Learn to embrace your Chinese roots, but also embrace your upbringing in an American family. Learn to love your unique past, for without it, you wouldn’t be who you are today.