Updated: Dec 29, 2020
1. How do you identify
I am a British Chinese transracial adoptee; meaning I was adopted from China as a child into a family in the UK who are not of Asian descent (my parents are white British).
2. What do you want people to know about adoption?
I want non-adoptees to know there are hardships to navigating life as an adoptee despite what the social commentary might say about us and the life we live; feelings of anger and sadness can be very much present in every aspect of our life even though we may appear happy. We can be happy too but it's also complex.
3. What has your experience navigating your identities been like?
Navigating identities is difficult, being adopted can feel like you never really fit in – looking different to the family you’ve been surrounded by but not being able to relate to people who look like you. Falling into this middle ground It can be hard to accept your own identity, it takes time and a lot of work on self-acceptance. A big part has been overcoming internalised racism towards myself - The lack of racial mirrors has meant discussing racism has also been quite hard.
4. Do you feel that there are enough representation and education of adoptees?
No, not enough, adoptee voices are often silenced, I’ve found there are not many places that hold space for adoptees to be honest with their experience – this is probably due to the media's representation of what adoption is; mainly based around happy children being ‘saved’ from hardship. Adoptees grow up into adults and often find it hard coming to terms with this narrative we’ve been fed.
5. In this present moment, what is something you wish you could tell your younger self, pertaining to your life experience as an adoptee?
I wish I could tell myself that whatever I am feeling is valid, that I don’t need to feel guilty for wanting answers to questions I may never know, and that I am not alone in feeling this way there is a whole community out there supporting you.
6. Moving forward, what are your hopes?
My hopes are that we can change the narrative around adoption and acknowledge that the way adoptees move through the world may be different, that more people can offer their support off the back of this raising awareness.
Don’t force your curiosity on adoptees, talking about adoption can bring up feelings of pain and abandonment, If an adoptee chooses to open up to you be patient, this may take a lot of trusts depending on their personal circumstances, don’t make assumptions as everyone’s experience and relationship to their adoption is different.
Educational sources for more information: Adoptees 4 Justice - @adoptees4justice (social justice organisation) Jae - @iamadopted (adoption and mental health) Lily Fei - @adopteelily (adoptee advocate) Nicole Chung - @nicolesjchung (Author of All you can ever know)