Jishou, Hunan to Tampa, Florida
Age at Adoption: 6 years
Interests: Working out/fitness, listening to music, traveling, and cooking
When did you realize your story is different?
Growing up, I always knew I was different. By the time my “forever family” adopted me, I was already shaped into who I am. My parents used to live in Michigan at the time and I noticed I was the only Asian in my school. I have met a few adoptees from China, but no one I could relate to since I was adopted at an older age.
How was your experience growing up?
I would say I had the typical American family that you would see from the movies. I can’t say enough good things about my childhood. I’m not one to regret things, but if I had to do one thing differently, it would be to engage with my culture when I was young. My parents tried to convince me to attend Chinese school, but I refused. At the age of 6, most kids want to fit in, therefore I wanted nothing to do with my culture and I felt ashamed to be Asian. As an Asian living in a dominate white community, I rejected my culture and instead, adopted the American culture. Growing up, many kids made fun of my eyes and it affected my self-esteem. I told myself I would get double eyelid surgery so I can be more “American” and it bothered me when my eye makeup didn’t turn out the same way as a YouTuber’s. It wasn’t until a few years ago, I began to accept who I was and found ways to enhance what I was given.
How do you want your story to impact others?
I hope my story impacts other Chinese adoptees of older age. I always wondered why I wasn’t adopted when I was a baby or infant. I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and that by being adopted at an older age, I was able to meet the right family. As crazy as it sounds, I felt like my life hadn’t started until I met my family, as if I was born into it. Remember: you weren’t abandoned, but rather left to be found!