Friday, December 1, 2017

A Story of Hope for National Adoption Month

I'm excited that I have a few guest blog posts coming your way. Today I am sharing my cousin Hope's adoption story. November is National Adoption Month and I will be highlighting a couple different stories of adoption (just a bit late). I think it's incredibly important to truly hear other people's stories and perspectives. It helps us learn to be empathetic and loving when we get outside of our own bubbles and recognize we have much to learn from the experiences of others. Hope was adopted from China at 17-months and has been such a gift to my family. She just fits. Out of all the billions of people in the world, God so clearly chose her for us and us for her. :) Hope's mother is my mother's sister. I appreciate Hope's transparency. She is currently a nursing student at James Madison University and has a heart for others. She is kind, she is funny and exuberant and though I might be biased, I think she is one special gal.


Hope and I over Thanksgiving... I am trying to find photos of us when we were little

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I think many people have misconceptions about adoption. Maybe they believe that it's out of their reach, maybe they question their parenting abilities, or maybe they're afraid or unsure of what actually happens during the process, but to me, adoption is one of the most sacrificial actions a couple can take to become a parent. To actually love and take in someone that doesn't look like you, someone that might not even speak your language, is the ultimate act of breaking down cultural barriers and discrimination. Often times our society celebrates the grandiosity of childbirth, all the while forgetting that there are children born every day who are left as orphans. You can't accidentally adopt a child, but you can have an unplanned pregnancy. Adoption is deliberate and intentional. Now I'm not one to slam having a biological birth. In fact, I would like to have my own birth children someday (but not anytime soon because I'm literally so single right now). But what I'm trying to say is that no one should feel ashamed for being adopted, they are not forgotten, but chosen.

My adoption story starts on a February day, when I was much shorter, fatter, and younger. The social worker handed me off to my bright-eyed mom, cheeks glistening with tears as my dad's shaky home video camera captured the whole moment. During the first two days, my parents kept calling me by my wrong Chinese name, but I didn't care. I was Hope. When they brought me home, I was met with warm salutations.



Growing up, my parents never hid the fact that I was adopted. I mean, at some point, they'd have to explain why I looked different from them. They never tried to stifle my culture or make me feel ashamed of it. In fact, when I was younger, we used to celebrate Chinese New Year and we still stay in contact with the families who adopted children through the same agency we went through. I'm not going to lie to you and say that my childhood was perfect, and yes, there have been times where I have thought about my birth parents and what my life could've been. But I am here now, my life is good, and for awhile, I didn't think much about my race or how much adoption has shaped my life.

My parents treated me so much like their own that at times I forgot that I was even Asian. I went to a small, private middle school and even high-school, so I was somewhat sheltered from criticisms that come with my race. It wasn't until I went to a large state college that I truly became aware of myself. People change so much in their early 20's so I guess it really was a proper time to grow my autonomy and become secure in my identity.

During my freshman year, I became best friends with a girl from my church. She is Latina (Mexican to be exact) and she would always invite me to her family gatherings, where I would be the only "non-Latina." Most of her family only spoke Spanish so I had a great opportunity to utilize my very limited Spanish that I learned in high-school and actually use it in conversation. I learned many Spanish slang words and I can say I am conversational now, working on fluency. Her madre (mother) taught me how to cook posole (a Mexican tomato soup with chicken, chickpeas, and lettuce) and I became a fanatic for REAL tacos, not that Taco Bell stuff. My friends taught me Spanish dances such as bachata, salsa, merengue, cumbia, and corridos and we always have a fiesta when we are together. Most times, I feel more comfortable with my Latino friends than my peers on campus. My friend's family culturally "adopted" me, I was their mija (affectionate name to call a daughter). Now there was a period during my sophomore and junior year where this really bothered me, seeing her being so comfortable with HER culture and knowing that regardless of if I was with my adoptive parents or her family, I still was the fish out of water. I often felt left out, questioning my cultural identity. Disclaimer: my parents never made me feel unaccepted, my displaced cultural situation was an automatic consequence of my adoption. I am bound to feel "out of place."

But see the thing is, throughout all this I've come to realize that my life situation makes me unique. How many people have met an Asian who was adopted by white American parents yet is culturally Hispanic? Whereas in the past, I felt out of place, but now I know that I'm right where I need to be. We as humans love to make boxes and keep people in those boxes. Adoption breaks all boundaries and upsets the neatly organized picture in our heads and forces one to create a new scene, create a new picture, one that has never been drawn before. With so much hate in this world towards people of different skin tones, I disagree that "not seeing color" is the correct response. You are allowed to see color. You are allowed to see race. You're just not allowed to judge someone BASED on their race. I want you to be able to see me as fully Asian and fully Latina and fully American because guess what, that's who I am. Denying a part of me is denying my entirety.

Bumma!!!

Adoption is beautiful because I know God put me exactly in the places and situations He's called me to. God brought together a perfect cultural family for me, He has given me a culture I am comfortable with. He has given me parents I am beyond grateful for. He really had something up His sleeve when He paired me with my mom and dad! I am never mad at my biological parents, I have never held anything against them. They gave up their daughter, completely took a risk and trusted that I'd end up with a family that cared for me. I am never mad at my adoptive parents (okay, except for when I was a disgruntled teenager), I have never held anything against them. They adopted a daughter, completely took a risk and trusted that our family would be all they hoped it to be. But let me tell you mom and dad, our family is beyond what you could have ever Hoped for.



Thank you God for making me who I am. Gracias a Dios para hacerme quien soy. 感谢上帝让我成为我

Blessings y Saludos,

Hope
This post left me:

1 comment:

  1. Love!!! My husband and I are both adopted :)

    ReplyDelete

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