When people look at me I obviously look Asian but that’s all they see. Once people get to know me they realize that I am "not Asian on the inside", or so I’m told. I am an adopted Asian with white parents. All throughout middle school and part of high school, I was victim to many stereotypes and as a young naive person, I also made those assumptions about myself. I thought, “well I must like rice because I’m from China'' and cruel kids would assume that I was good at math and that I had really strict parents. Now, they were only half right but it still stung that people just assumed those things about me.
It was really hard when I was growing up because I didn’t see people like myself in the media or in my family. I honestly didn’t even think of myself as being a minority until high school because I was ‘white washed’. Because of this fact, I wasn’t accepted or felt like I could relate to my white friends and I wasn’t accepted by my limited Asian friends. From both sides, I always got the, “well this doesn’t apply to you” This was hard to hear because I felt like I didn’t have any community and I didn’t know who I was.
Growing up my parents did try to connect me to my roots but it didn’t really work. I didn’t think race mattered or culture mattered at 5 years old. But, they tried, they never hid the fact that I was adopted or had a different story than the other kids but they never said I was different, I just had a different background. So it never mattered that I was the only Asian kid in my grade sometimes or that I got made fun of because my eyes were small, I was never told that I was any different than the other kids. I appreciate my parents for doing this but at the same time, I am different.
It’s different when you’re adopted and your parents are another race than you. For example, when I start drinking I know that I will have an Asian glow because Asian people have reactions to alcohol that white people don’t and my parents won’t know how to help me. Over the years I have learned that it’s ok to be different and it’s ok that I’m not accepted by either side of my friends because I’m not one or the other. Of course, I have more in common with my white friends because of my family but I have more to relate to with my Asian friends because no matter what type of ethnicity we are, the Asian community gets bunched together and has many of the same stereotypes thrown at them. Because I don’t feel like I have to be a part of either community I found my own niche community, girls that were adopted from China.
I am a part of a group called “The Sisters of China” it’s a social media group that connects adoptees from China and because most people adopted from China are girls they named it The Sisters of China. It’s a really cool group because all of us have similar experiences. Some have had more hostile experiences but we can all relate to each other because of this one thing. I thought that it would never be possible for me to ever find anybody like myself but I got the opportunity one time and I took it. Overall, I’m proud of the fact that I am adopted and I wouldn’t want my life to be any other way.