“Growing up, it was very obvious to other people that I was adopted, and that had a huge impact on how I viewed myself. Until they got to know our family, other people who saw us all together would think I was just my sister’s friend. We moved around quite a bit during my childhood, so I went through that experience a lot. It used to hurt me; I didn’t want to stick out and be different from my family. I know Asian-Americans are sometimes called the ‘model minority’ but that’s a stereotype, and I didn’t want any part of it. I just wanted to be my parents’ child. That’s who I identified with, but people always reminded me that I was different. I got a lot of: ‘No. Who are your REAL parents?’ I’d say, ‘They ARE my real parents.’ It’s hard to know where to draw the line. You’re trying to help other people understand your point of view, but people can be pretty intrusive and ask questions that aren’t really appropriate.
“For the longest time I didn’t want to explore my Chinese heritage and I didn’t want to find my biological parents. I had a lot of bitterness in my heart and a lot of hatred that my biological parents could give up their daughter, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I’d like to find them because I’d like to see just one person who looks like me. Also, I want them to know that I love them and forgive them, and I want to tell them about God. That’s all. I don’t want to have a relationship with them. I was born to them, but they aren’t my parents. I have parents. I would never want my parents to feel that I’m trying to replace them. It’s extremely hard, though, to locate your biological parents in China. Because of the one-child policy, my birth was probably not documented, and the government has made it so that no records remain. And if parents bring anything with them when they leave a child at an orphanage, even those possessions are burned, so I have nothing that belonged to them. I may never know why my biological parents didn’t or couldn’t keep me---there may have been reasons beyond their control---but my DNA is in a database in China now just in case anyone is looking. I’d like to meet them, but I also know how much my adoptive parents love me. Family is much more than just a biological connection.
“It hurts to know that so many Chinese girls have been abandoned or killed in China, and that that society values girls so much less than boys. The government’s one-child policy changed in 2015, but it’s not just, ‘Oh, now everyone can have two children.’ There are still a lot of stipulations and regulations. The effects of the one-child policy are going to be around for many years to come. Almost an entire population has been eliminated.”