(Illustration Credit: Mother Bridge of Love)
Recently I received another of many similar letters from an adoptee, asking me if I had any advice on how to search for her birthparents in China. While this is the words from one wise girl, there are others out there like her:
I recently read your book, “Chasing China“. I absolutely loved it! I was very touched by the story. I was adopted from China. The whole aspect of “the finders” was quite intriguing. I would like to seek out my biological family, and don’t know where to start. Do you have any suggestions? I don’t think I’ll be able to travel to China anytime soon. I also have complete support from my adoptive parents in this search. I would really appreciate any advice you could offer on going about this. I understand the concept is like searching for a needle in the haystack, but I still would like to at least try.
At first because I thought she might be underage, I was hesitant to answer. And while I was considering just how to answer, I asked the advice of the pros….the adoptive parents in my circle. I received some amazing advice and in addition to advising adoptees that they should read my memoir, Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage, to get an idea of the culture of a social welfare institute (orphanage in China), I am working on putting together a document that will consists of tips, groups, websites, and advice pertaining to finding birth parents in China. You are welcome to ask for it via contacting me on my website, or I’ll also be discussing it on my newsletter. You can subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/q9_2X
In the meantime, I received another message from another adoptee. Her words brought tears to my eyes and made me realize (or re-emphasize) that I need to treat these inquiries with the utmost respect and compassion. Her name is Mallory Anderson and she’s a young woman who I think you will agree, has a way with words. She has given me permission to share her note:
Hi Kay Bratt, Not sure if you know me, but my name is Mallory Anderson, and I noticed your recent post about a young women who is wanting to find her birth parents. I am adoptee from China, and I remember as a young adopted kid from China, the thought of my birth parents sometimes came up and I would have mix feelings about it. When I saw your post last night, it really touched me, and reminded me of how I used to feel as a young child. Torn between the amazing parents I was meant to have, and yet not knowing of how I came to be here. For the past few months, I’ve been feeling that I in any way I can, I should help others as they deal with these feelings. But now that I’m older, I know that my past doesn’t define who I am, or who I will become. What I’ve been through has shaped me into the kind of women I am today. I just wanted to give my personal opinion since I was adopted and have no clue who my birth parents are. So a little about me, I was adopted when I was 3 and a half, coming to American in December of 93. Growing up for me, there was never a doubt that my adopted parents were the parents that God gave me, or the parents I was always meant to be with. I love my parents so much, and I am exactly like my mom. But sometimes it comes to my mind, and you can never fault adopted kids for thinking this way, of who were my birth parents? As an adopted kid, it’s always a running thought of who were they. Now that I’m older and know more about China, how the whole adopted situation goes on, as well as the politic in China, I’ve been a little more interested in myself. I definitely do not think of her asking is bad, and whether she is younger or older, it’s important to listen, to hear what she is searching for. This is about her and how she feels, and it is always important to respect all feelings when it comes to a situation like this, but it will effect her more than the adopted parents. So personally if there is any way of making her feel better about her birth parents, I would try. I hope this helps, because I noticed all the post were very helpful parents or caring friends, so I thought it would be nice to hear from an adoptee from China.
Best wishes, Mallory Anderson
Well, yes, Mallory, it is helpful to hear from an adoptee and I appreciate you taking the time to pour out your thoughts as well as grant permission for them to be public. While every adoptive parent I’ve ever come in contact with is very supportive in their child’s requests to know more about their pasts, if there are any out there who are questioning the pros and cons then maybe your words and that of the first adoptee’s above (thanks goes out to her, too!) will help them gain a new perspective. Many thanks to all who have contributed to the document of Birth Family Search Tips that I am compiling and will freely give out to all who ask (as long as they are 18 or older).