Miles [a 00:00:30] I was adopted in Springfield
Fiona [a 00:00:36] Little Company of Mary in Chicago
Isaac [a 00:00:40] I don’t know exactly where I just know I was from this one small agency run by this one woman.
Ben [a 00:00:47] Texas
Lia S. [a 00:00:49] From Zhanjiang, China. I think I was placed in a foster center.
Lia K. [a 00:00:55] I was adopted from Hanoi, Vietnam. I was left in a clinic.
Eva [a 00:01:01] The part of Wuhan I came from, was very poor I know that. But I know that I was dropped off at an orphanage.
Amy [a 00:02:32] I was born in Wuhu, China but technically my mom got me in a hotel in Hefei. I supposable like after I was born I spent three days where I was with my family or whoever for three days. Then I was placed like on a road but the places where the parents that were going to give up their children knew know that the orphanages would look for babies at a certain point.
Linwan[a00:01:35] I’m from Xinyi, China. I was left under a bridge, and then I’m not sure how I got to the orphanage, either someone found me or someone like I don’t really know. But I know I was put underneath a bridge.
Meryl[a00:01:50] I was placed in a bamboo, not like a nest but like a, an area with bamboo around it, where people knew to look for children. That was right near the city entrance or whatever. So, people knew that babies were placed there.
Katie [a00:02:08] I was adopted from Hunan province. The only hint that anyone has is that I was found in a fairly large city.
Miles[a00:02:19] But I know they got a call about this African American boy who was just born about two or three days ago. Then my mom and dad said yes so quickly to the point that probably ten minutes they got off the phone they were already in the car on their way to Springfield.
Lia K.[a00:02:22] and My aunt and my mom came to come and get me, and on that day I think there were a bunch of other families there.
Lucy [a00:02:42] so they never when into the orphanage to get us. They went to this big conference room.
Katie [a00:02:51] and all the caretakers came out one by one carrying babies and then we were handed to our parents.
Amy [a 00:02:57] she was a nervous wreck. She, so I don’t remember what really was happening. But me and another girl got switched. So, for a good, oh I don’t know 15, I don’t know it was a while though that she had the wrong baby. On my video of the day I got adopted, there’s a good chunk of time where she was holding a baby that wasn’t me. And then eventually you see another baby, and that’s me. And I am wearing a different outfit. My mom is just carrying me around, and I was crying and playing with a necklace that she was wearing.
Eva [a 00:03:31] I was upset because I had been with this lady who was a worker at the orphanage. She basically took care of me for those 12 months.
Meryl[a00:03:40] I think I cried a lot. I was very clingy after I got used to her
Linwan[a00:03:45] I was very scared, and I don’t stay very far from my parents, kept very close.
Ben [a 00:03:51] So, basically my dad walked, he took a two-and-a-half-hour walk. He was just with me, and he told me I eventually stopped crying.
Fiona [a 00:04:03] My mom has pictures of her, my dad, and my birth mom all with me at that hospital.
Lia S. [a 00:04:10] There was a picture of me resting on my foster mother’s hip because that’s how she always carried me. So, then my mom said I’d always want to be held on her side rather than like in the middle.
Lia K.[a00:04:22] On the first day it was really getting me comfortable with new people that I had really never been around.
Lucy [a00:04:29] But I think it was a very emotional process that day, just because the whole adoption process is very extensive and long. So they had a lot of waiting to do. So I think they were finally happy to have their baby. I have a younger sister. Her name’s Gracie. She’s also adopted from China. And then I have a mom and a dad.
Amy [a 00:04:54] So my family is me, my mom, my dad, and Both of my parents were raised Jewish. I think that most important thing to distinguish them is that I go to my mom for the emotional stuff and I go to my dad for the more concrete logical things.
Eva [a 00:05:06] I have two moms, Sue and Sara, and I have an older sister, named Elizabeth, and she’s adopted. My adoptive family’s heritage is Polish and English.
Lia K.[a00:05:19] In my family it’s me and my mom. Her name is Maureen, and she works at The Cradle which is an adoption agency.
Ben [a00:05:24] So my mom is 62, so kind of it’s different having an older family. My dad is 65. My dad’s Christian and my mom’s Jewish.
Linwan [a00:05:33] so I have my mom and my dad, just the three of us.
Katie [a00:05:39] I am an only child. My mother’s family is from Ireland. On my father’s family is from Sweden. My mother’s side is traditionally Catholic, and my father is more protestant.
Isaac [a00:05:52] Two dads, brother Jared, also adopted.
Lia S.[a00:05:55] I have a mom and a dad and three step brothers. I’m really close with my mom and dad. My three step brothers are a lot older than I am. So, we don’t hang out like normal siblings would. my family is Christian. So, we’re not super religious, so we don’t go to church or anything like that.
Miles [a00:06:15] There is four of us. It’s me, my mom and dad, and my little sister. And me and my little sister are adopted.
Meryl [a00:06:22] My sister is Mollie Davis. She’s also adopted from China. My mom’s white. She’s from North Carolina, very conservative family. My grandma used to be upset that she never got married and that she adopted kids. Because again being adopted seems to have this stigma of being a poor orphan and such. Being an orphan is part of it but you are also creating a new family.
Fiona [a00:06:51] My family I live with my mom, my dad, and my little sister who is also adopted and biracial. The only person I don’t click well with is my grandmother. Me and her don’t like hate each other. We just have very opposite personalities. Like we do not get along. When I was little I would actually think it was because I wasn’t her actual like blood related like grandchild.
Miles [a00:07:15] people would make jokes and when I was younger I didn’t know how to handle it. I would think to myself “man, why do I look like this?” I’d go home crying “mom why am I like this?”
Meryl [a00:07:25] some of my non-adopted friends make jokes about siblings saying, telling them when they were younger “oo you were adopted,” or something like that. That kind of stings a little bit and I know they don’t mean it hurtfully. But the fact that being adopted is second best or something to be ashamed of or not wanted, that’s annoying.
Amy [a00:07:50] As I’ve gotten older I’ve thought, especially this year, I’ve thought is “how is being adopted effect who I am today and why I do certain things?” Like why is it that I feel like sometimes out of place. Was it because I felt like I was out of place because I was put into an orphanage and then adopted by different people?
Lia K.[a00:08:11] Sometimes it’s really overwhelming in how much you over think. what is unknown I guess. There are only so many possibilities that you can make up for your story that’s unknown. It’s always really hard to not know a part of your life that everyone else gets to have.
Amy [a00:08:32] Being adopted, I realize is that you can have fine parents, you can have a fine life, and you do not need to have a biological relation. Like my DNA doesn’t need to be related to my parents for them to be my parents.
Ben [a00:08:44] they love me for who I am, just because I am their son. And I was thinking about it yesterday, my dad just loves me for me, that I am his son. It just feels great that that’s how they feel.
Fiona [a00:08:58] Everybody that I know that is adopted, says that they feel loved and really taken care of. That’s exactly how I feel.
Linwan [a00:09:06] I think it affected the way I act sometimes. Like how I said I’m sensitive to relationships and stuff. I think that definitely has played into who I am and why I’m sensitive to relationships and like bonding and stuff.
Isaac [a00:09:24] I’m able to look at life in certain situations through that lens and can be a little more open about it.
Fiona [a00:09:32] Knowing that I know my birth mom is a positive thing for me because she has been an important source of inspiration in my life. Adoption is who I am, it’s not, some people think, a lot of people who think it’s wrong but it’s not. I can’t help it if I’m adopted. This is just how my life is.
Meryl [a00:09:55] It’s part of me. It was an event in my life that I’m very thankful for. I guess I owe everything to that one day, my family day.
Lucy [a00:10:03] It’s again, the child is given opportunities that they would have with their birth parents.
Ben [a00:10:10] Because I didn’t have a black role model I feel like I lost a lot of culture.
Katie [a00:10:15] But I do think it’s really unfortunate that there are circumstances that put kids, including myself, in a path that leads them to being away from their birth families and in a lot of cases their countries of birth.
Amy [a00:10:39] I think it’s harder for me especially because I never really liked to think about adoption or my adoption. I think lately my biggest issues is how much of being Chinese do I want to be part of my identity. Like again there is that physical aspect, you look at me, and you obviously know that I’m Chinese. But just because I look that way, is that all I want to be is being known as Chinese. It’s like “oh, yeah she’s physically Chinese.” “She’s biologically Chinese.” or do I want more of the cultural like real aspect. I don’t want to like live in China or per say learn Chinese. But I don't want to forget where my roots come from.
Ben [a00:11:41] I think identity is kind of who you are
Lia S.[a00:11:42] the characteristic that make up yourself.
Lucy [a00:11:46] and also how that person see themselves.
Linwan [a00:11:50] So it’s your personality with the group of people that you associate yourself with.
Katie [a00:11:54] what sets me apart from other people also what makes me connect with other people and try to understand them.
Isaac [a00:12:03] what makes you do what you do and act how you do.
Fiona [a00:08:58] not necessarily your race like white or black or Asian or Hispanic, but your ethnicity or like culture or like your religion.
Amy [a00:12:17] I’d say like on a surface level, your hobbies, your family, where you come from. But then I feel on a deeper level I feel it’s your morals and your reasoning. The way you are brought up and how you see things differently than other people.
Lucy [a00:12:32] I think identity is something that you need to be comfortable with and just because it’s you.
Miles [a00:12:43] It’s almost the amount of confidence you have in yourself as a person.
Ben [a00:12:47] I think it defines who you are and I think a lot of outside influences can kind of blur or skew who you think of yourself as and how you think of yourself. I just think it’s really important to keep who you are at heart and don’t let the struggles and the stresses of life affect your identity even though it happen. Just try to get back to the roots.
Meryl [a00:13:08] If you don’t have an identity you are lost. You have, you have a harder time of figuring out what you want to do. What you want to be. I thinking being in touch with yourself is key to life.
Isaac [a00:13:21] I identify myself as an African American male
Ben [a00:13:24] Okay, so I identify as black but I do feel like there isn’t acting white or black but I can act white sometimes, or I can ask black sometimes. Like people say you're a social chameleon
Fiona [a00:13:36] For me I would define myself as kind of like a white, Irish Catholic Like my dad’s side of the family is Irish. My family Catholic along with birth mother. I’m glad that was kind of share the same religion as my adoptive family. It was kind of like a connection that we have with her.
Miles [a00:13:56] I just say I am a Black Jew, that’s it. I think overall, I am proud of who I am, skin color when it comes to me being black and then other races that I’m mixed with you know. I think I consider myself more Jewish because I have been brought up more Jewish. It’s been more enforced on me a little bit harder.
Lia K.[a00:14:20] I would define myself as Asian American
Eva [a 00:14:24] I identify as Asian. I don’t really identify as Asian American, or whatever it’s called. Just because I was born there
Lia S.[a00:14:33] I identify as being an Asian American because I do things like take Chinese and celebrate Chinese New Year with my family. But I raised mostly as an American
Lucy [a00:14:46] Chinese America, to be more specific, because that’s where I was born. So it’s still part of who I am.
Amy [a00:14:53] I think my biggest identifier is that I’m Chinese and Jewish. But obviously physically you can tell that I’m Chinese, I don’t have a need to say that. But I always first identify as Jewish. probably because that’s just how I was raised. Like my parents didn’t make a big deal out of me being adopted. I still actually think sometimes before I look in the mirror “I’m like white.” It’s not a big deal to me. When people ask what characterizes me, it’s probably being Jewish that’s been probably the biggest thing in my life since day one.
Katie [a00:015:29] I identify as homeschooled. I identify as kind of a nerdy person who likes math and computer science. I identify as Chinese American even though some of my friends say that I am more American than Chinese. I identify as an artist and a musician. So, I guess I identify as a bunch of different things
Linwan [a00:15:53] I identify as a female, Asian, high school girl,
Katie [a00:016:00] I feel like they are all different parts of myself and when they come all together, they become me.
Meryl [a00:16:08] I know my identity. I know that I’m Chinese, I’m adopted, and that I like to play sports, and I love reading, and I play piano. I know what I do, and I know who I am, but I don't know how to put that into words.
Miles [a00:16:38] So I’d tell people who are adopted to love yourself take life by the horns and just go there is not a thing bad about you at all. Just because you are adopted doesn’t mean your parents did not want you. It either they could afford to take care of you, or they weren’t fit to be parents at the time.
Meryl [a00:16:57] Don’t look at yourself like you are beneath those who have been with their birth parents, who live with their birth parents because you are the same you are human.
Katie [a00:017:11] I think everyone thinks of it a different way and however way they think of it is how they think of it.
Lia S.[a00:17:19] I think just be yourself and if you struggle with being adopted there is definitely a lot of people that you can talk to and try to work through your feelings.
Ben [a00:17:29] Talk to everyone, to be honest talk to everyone.
Lucy [a00:17:33] ask questions if you are unclear about anything or just uncertain, specifically pertaining to your background as an adoptee. I think it’s really important to bring that up with your parents.
Linwan [a00:17:52] find who you are first and then stay solid in who you are. Like, don’t change your beliefs because you think it’s cool or just cause jump on the bandwagon.
Amy [a00:18:06] to be proud of where you come from, be proud of where you are now.
Lia K.[a00:18:09] To embrace it. Embrace that you’re adopted and let it be a part of your life.
Amy [a00:18:13] Like for like a Chinese girl like to say “I’m proud of my Chinese heritage, I used to want to hide it. It’s not a huge factor for me now. I’m not scared to say or talk about the fact that I’m Chinese.” So be open from where you are and able to where you are now.
Meryl [a00:18:26] DNA is not everything. It might make up part of who you become and what you look like. But in the end, it’s up to you and your family and your environment shape you.
Fiona [a00:18:39] Don’t let people tell you that you were abandoned because being adopted is something special and it’s a part of who you are.
Isaac[a00:18:46] Be grateful for the life that you have now. Know that more often than not your parent made a decision so that you could had a better life.
Katie [a00:017:11] And being adopted is one way that makes you a person. So, it’s only part of your identity.