This is a time I don’t like but I don’t dread it either. Mother’s Day has been pretty hard on me ever since I was in grade school. For those who aren’t adopted you may wonder why this is such a diffcult day for those adopted. I can’t speak for them but I can speak for myself. I feel as my biological mom, who was once in my life at one point was taken away from me. Not forced but by choice. I am not sure what the reason was and may never know as I have mentioned before. It made Mother’s Day hard for me because I had so many unanswered questions about her that came to me. I felt so alone at times like no one truly understand how I felt. On this day I tend to think about what was she like, how is she doing now, does she think about me or regret giving me up, plus way more. I remember one Mother’s Day I think I was in Middle School at the time and I wrote a letter to my biological mom and I sat there in my bedroom in silence for about ten minutes and cried. I was hurt, mad and sad all at once. I eventually gathered myself together and carried on with the rest of the day. As I have gotten older it’s gotten less overwhelming for me but it still stirs up many emotions for me. I tend to shy away from people on this day and want some space to think and collect my thoughts/feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom who I currently have and I am forever grateful for all she has done for me but there’s always going to be that part of me who feels empty. My biological mom may not be here with me physically to this day since I’m not sure where she is but I always carry her in my heart. ❤️
Have your ever imagined what it’s like to celebrate your birthday when you didn’t know exactly when or where you were born. Many of us are impacted as the days lead up to the month as well. Some adoptees have no issues with this day. For most people birthdays are a happy time, built on the foundation of being welcomed into the world. A time for cake, parties and balloons. Now consider an adoptee’s birthday. What does it represent for them? it represents the day of their greatest loss, the day they lost their birth mother and all that was familiar. It was not only their birthday, but their loss- day. Personally for me this day is somewhat hard for me- it definitely’s got me thinking. I think about all the information on that note my birth parents left me (was a note pinned on my clothes when found with my Chinese name & birthday). I will never know. I like to think it’s all real but part of me doesn’t believe it, I don’t know why. This day is overwhelming in a way because I feel a loss. The hardest part about my birthday is, the inescapable truth that adulthood is in fact a reality, is wondering how my birth mom copes with the day. A number of questions come to my head such as: Does she even remember my birthday? Does she celebrate it somehow? Does she wonder how much I change with every passing year? For me birthdays since I have been adopted have been fairly good and filled with unconditional love but there have been times when I just felt pure sadness, like something is missing. I am a year older and wiser as I continue to deal with my issues of being adopted. This is a process and if every seventeenth of April I shed a couple of tears, then so be it. I am accustomed to the feelings of loss, and my sense of early rejection. I accept them as part of who I am and do not need the “I am sorry” This underlying feeling of sadness is something I work on every day. I love and appreciate my adoptive family, but celebrating my birthday will always be a struggle. Finally, I would like to thank those who wish me happiness on my birthday, but please alow me to take a moment and grieve another year for not knowing who my birth mom and birth family are. Furthermore, if you know an adoptee who’s birthday is soon, wish them a happy birthday, celebrate with them if they choose to do it. But keep in mind not all adoptees are are okay. Adoption will always be attached to us. Sometimes like a ball or a chain, and other times like a badge we wear proudly.
Birthdays aren’t all about blowing out candles, unwrapping gifts. My 23rd birthday is approaching and I’m sharing 23 life lessons I’ve learned in 23 years with you!
1.) You are your biggest fan.
No one is going to want the best for you more than yourself. Push yourself toward your goals.
2.) Forgive others.
Grudges are no good. Holding anger or hatered in your heart is more damaging than you think.
3.) Forgive yourself.
You will make mistakes throughout your life, it is part of being human but if you can’t forgive yourself you’ll never be able to improve and make a change.
4.) Choose your words wisely.
What you say is no longer yours to interpret; it’s everyone else’s.
5.) Seeking advice doesn’t always mean you have to take it.
You can choose who influences you decsions, but the only person making the decision at the end of the day should be you.
6.) Trust your intuition.
Don’t doubt your gut. That feeling is there for a reason, don’t ignore it.
7.) Don’t rush your life; timing is important.
Everything unfolds within time so be patient.
8.) Find what makes you happy & make time to do more of it.
9.) There will always be people with different values, beliefs, etc., but try not to judge right away and try to see deeper.
10.) Stop comparing yourself to others.
Be the best version of yourself, not of someone else.
11.) Mental health is important
Your mental health is far too important to be not taken seriously. Take care of yourself inside and out.
12.) It’s okay not to be okay.
Accept help when you need it.
13.) Appreciate the little things.
The little moments in life can sometimes be the greatest.
14.) You won’t find happiness in your phone, so put it down once in awhile.
We all get caught up on our phones at times. There’s so much more to life than the amount of followers you have or the number of likes you recieve in a picture. Don’t let that get to you because at the end of the day it’s just a number.
15.) Everyone is on their own timeline.
There is no “one right way” to live or path to follow.
16.) You are so much more loved than you even know.
Even on days you don’t feel it. You know some of the best people and even if you don’t see them everyday, they love you.
17.) Make good quality friends.
Keep the good ones and hold onto them.
18.) Don’t give a sh*t about what people say/think about you.
Life is too short to care about what people think of you.
19.) Be thankful.
Be thankful for every positive and negative experience in your life because it was either a blessing or a lesson. Regardless, it was able to help you grow! Express gratitude at every opportunity.
20.) Nothing is imposible, if you really want it.
Work hard for what you want, to get where you want to be. You can achieve anything you put your mind to.
21.) Communication is key.
People are not mind readers, if you are upset with someone let them know and work through it. Don’t just shut people out and expect them to know why your upset.
22.) Don’t settle for anyone else other than the right person.
Until they come along, live your life for yourself.
23.) Appreciate what you have.
There will always be someone who has more than you. I have learned to be appreciative of what I have and to remind those in my life that I appreciate them.
Here’s to make 23 the best year yet!
I am among the more than 100,000 children from China by Western families since the early 1990’s. I was born in 1996. China’s one-child’s policy was established by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979 to restrict communist China’s population growth and limited couples to having only one child. Most of us girls, byproducts of China’s one-child policy which compounded the cultural gender bias. Few us know about the families we left behind- or in many cases who left us. Fines, pressure to abort a pregnancy, and even forced sterilization of women accompanied second or subsequent pregnancies. When I learned about the preference for boys in China it made me question myself in a way. I looked down on myself quite a bit. Like was I part of the reason my parents gave me up because I was a girl? China has a lot of farmland, and many families’ survival depends on the success of their farms so boys are valued for their utility when it comes to phsyical labor. Boys also provide care and insurance that aging parents will be looked after since a wife is understood to marry into her husband’s family and obligating her to care for her in-laws ahead of her own parents, and boys are positioned are better positioned to carry on their own families honor, since only a man can pass his own surname onto the next generation. But it’s not simple as simple as liking boys better than girls. Over the years I kind of learn to accept it but it wasn’t always easy. Rather than feeling not wanted and all I am extremely fortunate when I glimpsed how much harder life is for my family in China – and would have have been for me if I would have stayed. I have been very blessed with so many wonderful opportunities that life has offered me so far and have met incredible people along the way. I still don’t know to this date what drove my parents to leave me and there are so many questions that I have unanswered, but what I hope is true is that the decision was made out of love.
I’m not just American. I’m Asian-American. It shouldn’t make a difference which phrase I use right? I’m still considered American. But no. There is a difference. Despite my Asian ethnicity, until more recently, I haven’t connected much with Asian heritage and culture. Attending predominantly white schools with lots of privledge as well as being surrounded by majority white people, I saw myself as one of them. I remember a day trip I took to Chinatown in Chicago (where I live) with my parents realizing all the people walking past by me and trying so hard not to stare at them because I was not used to seeing so many people that looked exactly like me. It was a weird feeling. I felt like in a way I did not belong because I do not speak the language (I only very little), I felt so out of place. I felt lost. At times I wanted to try to speak to them but I knew they would speak back to me and I would not know what to say and I would feel bad and sort of ashamed that I can’t speak my language of where I am from. I consider myself more American than Asian. My identity ought to be American-Asian instead Asian-American. Because I feel more American at heart, I grew up American. Yet, “where are you and your family from?” is always the first questions people ask when they meet me. I can’t avoid my Asian identity. I am currently in the proccess of learning Chinese it will take time but I hope by the end of the year I am able to write and speak it well. When I hang out with my non-Asian friends I don’t think much of it considering I am the only Asian in the group. Yet, when I am surrounded by my Asian friends, I become very aware of my race and the fact that we’re all asian. To this very day, I am still struggling to find my place in the world. Thus, the importance of the hyphen. I am not just one, I am both.
Being adopted is simply not something that can be erased- it’s always with us. This is not usually a bad thing, it’s just a fact. We were at one time or another “given up” even if it was for our own good. This in part, makes it more of a challenge- depending on the circumstances of our adoption process to allow ourselves to get too close, to trust, and to see ourselves as a new part of a family no matter how much that family may want us. Some people who try to get close to us take our distance as rude or rejecting. It’s not always easy opening up to people. Adoption is not always a pleasant experience for anyone involved, except maybe the adoptive parents. I’m sorry to ruin your fantasies, but it’s the truth. Being adopted has lead me to identity issues, and I know from talking to other adoptees that this is often true for them. Think about it, imagine you were raised in a family that you weren’t biologically related to, and that you might not know anything about your blood family, ever. You might have different personality traits, health conditions than the people you call family. See, it doesn’t sound all peachy when I explain it that way, does it? Don’t get me wrong I love my family and I appreciate them for all they have done for me and respect them. I have often felt misunderstood and longed to have moments where you realize how much you resemble someone. Please don’t idealize the experience for someone else when you don’t know how they feel to begin with. Remember: adoption might seem like a fairytale but can often be a nightmare in disguise. You just never know how it will turn out, it’s different for everyone.
Self-love has to be one of the most important things that I’ve taken away with me. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told by friends to make sure you put yourself first and that there’s no such thing as being too selfish when it comes to your needs. If you asked me before if I loved myself, I’d say yes but when I lied in bed in a severe depression continuously thinking to myself with thoughts like “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve it” or “I hate myself” I realized I was far from truly loving myself. So what is self love? It took me a few months to understand it. Self-love is one of those concepts that you just get. You don’t logically understand it, you feel it. I am still in the proccess of learning to love myself and accept myself for who I am. At a young age we envision ourselves to be a certain way or the way we want to look, but at the end of the day you got to be the best version of yourself that there is. Stop comparing yourself to others because it won’t get you anywhere. You are your own person and no one can change that. Love yourself for who you are because there is no one out there like you. Stop worrying if others like you or not because not everyone in life will like you some for a reason and others for no reason. You shouldn’t care what others think about you because at the end of the day the actions you take shouldn’t benefit them, just you. Self-love isn’t all bubble baths and massages. It’s loving yourself and accepting yourself as well as taking care of your physical and mental health. Remember self-love is a journey. It takes dedication, devotion, and practice.