Today’s blog is courtesy of a Huffpost Personal story by the woman who’s picture is above. LINK>People Ask If I Feel ‘Lucky’.
When I was old enough to comprehend the gravity of my truth, my parents sat me down and told me that I had been adopted from China. It was fairly easy, even as a child, to recognize that I did not look like those around me, especially my parents. In fact, I found it quite awesome to be different ― to have come from a country so rich with history and culture.
However, the reality of living in a town with a predominantly white population is that many of its residents ostracize anyone who is different. I tried desperately to fit in with the other kids, but it became clear early on that despite my parents’ whiteness, my Chineseness would always make me an outsider.
Growing up, she didn’t realize the seemingly small acts of aggression she experienced were actually racist or that they would grow into hatred in the future. She writes – The first time I returned to China with my parents, I was 9 years old and longing for a place filled with people who looked like me. I was completely in awe of the country that created me, and this is when I first realized that I needed to embrace being Chinese. This proved nearly impossible. It was obvious that I did not belong to those who lived in China. From the way I dressed to the language that I spoke ― or couldn’t speak ― to them, I was American through and through. I felt like a foreigner in a country that I desperately believed should have felt like home.
She continues – As I grew older, it became more common for adults to ask me how lucky I felt to be adopted from China, and I became resentful at how their questions commodified me. I was adopted from China after being left at a train station and should be grateful for my parents’ generosity ― for the roof they put over my head and the food they put on my plate. My epiphany occurred when I realized that I am allowed to simultaneously love my parents and grieve what I lost. While transracial adoptees may be placed into amazing, loving families, it does not change the fact that their culture was stolen from them.
The second time I returned to China, I was 15 and felt more in touch with my emotions. I wanted to build connections with other adoptees and hear their stories. This trip, which catered to adoptees from the same agency, allowed me to spend time with others who had been taken into white families. Together, we found and created a safe environment for each other where we could talk about our experiences and vent our emotions without fear of judgment.
I held no anger toward my birth mom for giving me up, especially when I understood the state of China and the one-child policy. But the curiosity of knowing about where and who I came from was there, and probably always will be. By the end of the trip, I cannot say that this goal was completely achieved. But while it might sound cliche, we adoptees did find each other, and in some way that was worth more to us than our original goals.
All transracial adoptees deserve to have a place where they can release their emotions and feel a sense of community. While I know not all transracial adoptees will want or be able to return to their country of birth and connect with others who have shared experiences, I hope they can find another way to build a community, perhaps through local groups or online. Being able to share my thoughts, emotions and challenges ― which I worried only I was thinking, feeling and facing ― with people like me has changed my life for the better.
The author, Iris Anderson, is studying biology and psychology at Columbia University and is part of the class of 2026.
Blogger’s Note – being in an all things adoption online community has made all the difference for me as the child of two adoptee parents. I have learned so much and very often, what I learn is translated into these blogs I write almost every day. My only hope is that I help others who have much less experience with adoption understand better what adoptees feel and experience in the lives they lead.