Archive | March 2014

Stories of Abandonment

When I hear the word abandonment, I always think of the One Child Policy and attribute it to my own misfortunes. However, this policy may not have been the reasoning for my abandonment. In a recent article that I read published on March 28, 2014 entitled Chinese Parents Abandon Children at Guangzhou Baby Hatch hosted, I learned several reasoning’s for children being forfeited by parents in China. Most of these children had some type of disabilities or illness that could not be treated. Some families did not have the funds to support a special needs child. In one particular case, a mother took her son who seemed to be around the age of four, to the designated drop off point. The article states that she had some type of crippling illness of her own and could not properly raise the child. The only hope for these children are in the hands of complete strangers.

Most of these families had a look of anguish on their faces which makes me think of what my parent(s) might have gone through. Did my parent(s) not have the resources to care for me, or maybe they had some type of crippling illness that prevented them from raising an infant? I do not believe my parent(s) abandoned me because of any visible handicaps or illnesses. My friend Catherine has an idea of why a parent(s) may abandon their child. A member of the adoption agency informed her family of the possibility of fleeing families. These families that attempted to flee Royaltyeither abandoned their child in fear that that child would be too much of a reliability or the families had their child taken from them when the escape attempted failed. Another possibility for my abandonment is more despairing than the other theories. This theory involves my mother being either a prostitute or a victim of the sex slave industry. Hopefully neither of these ideas hold true.

A small positive outcome from my uncertain past is the fact that I can fabricate my own origins. Here is a story I imagined when I was younger. It starts with me being a descendant of royalty or from a wealthy family. I was captured by a fiend that was going to use me for ransom, but the plan fell short when he lost me. I was mistaken for another abandoned baby and taken to the orphanage. My parents were not able to find me, and as a result believed I was dead. Unbeknownst to them, I was taken to a distant land. As I got older, my stories became more elaborate with one story including being a test tube clone baby. Until the true reasoning for my abandonment is revealed, I will continue to create stories for myself. I might as well have some fun with my past.

Reasoning

River sideToday, I was perusing my adoption papers again. I found my mother’s evaluation form from LifeLink, the organization she went through to adopt me. Before she passed away, she explained to me that she adopted me because she did not possess the capabilities of having a child of her own. The evaluation form gave a more explicit reason for her choice in adopting a Chinese girl.

In the form, it stated that my mother had always wanted to be a mother. When my Aunt, her sister, had her first child, my mother always wanted to take care of my Aunt’s baby girl. Whenever chaperones were needed for my cousin’s field trips, my mother would always volunteer. All of the interactions with my cousin just reminded my mother of how much she really wanted a child of her own. She started to look into adoption as a viable alternative.

An international adoption would offer her the best choice in children. Her original goal was to adopt a baby, but with her slight physical handicap she was limited on the age of the child. Every nation has its own policies for adoption my mother found out. The African nation, for example, did not allow for white families to adopt their children at that time.  Their reasoning included the fact that the child would face cultural implications later in life. This conflict could potentially be harmful to that child. It turns out that China had the best option for my mother. She had a good chance to get a toddler, and their policies for adoption accommodated her needs.

Moon Light BridgeThus started her process of adoption in China. She had to prove that she had the financial capabilities as well as prove her own capabilities of raising a child. Since my mother was not married, my grandmother had to vow that she would partake in my upbringing. If a time ever arose where my mother was incapacitated for any reason, then it was up to my grandmother to take up the role in caring for me. Nearly a year and a half passed before my adoption day. It was the proudest moment of my mother’s life and an adventure of a life time for my grandmother.

Author note: All orphaned children need homes, it doesn’t matter if they are from your backyard or from another country. However, I understand why some families opt for international adoption(s). Adopted children from the states have a better chance of being taken back to their biological families. I have an adoptive cousin whose family had this issue. International adoptions are more solidified and permanent. This documentation, International Adoption Documentation, speaks of some reasoning for parents choosing their adoptees. It also helped me understand why my mother chose an international adoption, and why other parents are so hesitant to do a local adoption.

Parents of adoptees

20130329_171555This post is going to be directed to parents of adoptees. These ideas are not limited to just Chinese adoptions but can be implemented in any type of adoptions. You may have heard these suggestions before or you may not have. In my opinion, these are a few of the most important ideas to know and hopefully will be beneficial for you and your adoptee(s). Remember that each adoptee(s) is different and will develop in their own way. I am basing my ideas off of how I was raised and what I wished could have happened. As an older adoptee, I understand now that keeping the Chinese identity alive in a child is important. I think if my family would have taken a more productive role in my education on culture, I would not face some of the challenges as I do now. Do not get me wrong, I love my family more than anything, but as far as keeping my Chinese identity alive, they have fallen short. With this in mind, I do not advise you to force your child to participate in every Chinese event.

When we are children, we do not give too much thought to our future as we do when we get older. We do not look at who we are and ask ourselves how we identify ourselves in the world. As a result, we miss out on opportunities to learn about ourselves. That is why, even if a child shows no interest in their heritage, you should still educate them about it. Make it a fun learning experience for them and have the whole family get involved. Later on when or if they become interested, they will have that background knowledge to build upon. I was very sheltered at a young age and had to build my knowledge of the Chinese culture by myself when I finally wanted to know. There is so much to learn; it is almost over whelming. Most other adoptees I know do not understand the implications of adoption until they leave home. Some small random advice to consider is stay connected. Ask other parents of adoptees on what they think and how they dealt with certain challenges. Ask other adoptee(s) what their views are. Go to seminars and join groups that focus on adoption. It is easier to stay connected with others with today’s technology. Also read up on it. There are too many resources out there for parents to be ignorant of adoption. Be aware that adoption is a life long learning process, and if you do not actively seek to understand the world of adoption for your child, then you are neglecting your duties as a parent.

If a family has adopted an older child then it would be wise to document the child’s memories. Once they understand your language, have them write down what they remember from their past or have them tell you and you can document it. It is something nice to have for future references. As we get older, we forget, and old memories become more clouded. When I was adopted at the age of four, I had some recollections of my stay in China. However, I now cannot recall very clearly what my past experiences were and cannot distinguish false memories from real ones. IMG_20140317_000140

Language, I believe, is the most important thing to keep in a Chinese adoptees’ life if anything. Language connects everyone to their culture. Without it, limitations arise and true understanding cannot be obtained. I am faced with the limitations of not knowing my language. I wished my mother would have pushed me to learn my language as a young child. Seeking more information about oneself becomes harder without the appropriate language. It is best to start young, because when you get older, it is difficult to pick up the language as I have personally experienced. The gap between the child and the culture is diminished with language. If anything, it is beneficial over all. They may not use it for identification purposes, but it can be useful in other situations.

Adoption is a life changing process that lasts a life time for you and the adoptee(s). The complications and difficulties are greatly magnified compared to raising a biological child. As parents of adoptees, it is your responsibility to give your child all the opportunities to understand themselves and their past. Never hold back information from your child, and do your homework. Keep good records. Bprepared to face many emotional challenges when they get older as well as the regular challenges. From there, they must discover who they are and how they fit into society. All you can do is be there for them and help them to the best of your abilities.