Embracing Her Story: Ellie

November 12, 2015 adoptee perspective, adoptee Q and A, birth family, November 2015 Feature - Embracing Their Story, telling their life story 1 Comments

We know that God is the only one who can heal hearts and redeem stories. But what of our role as shepherds of their hearts? One powerful, guiding gift we can dig into is the experience of others, young and old, who are willing to share their stories.

As part of our Embracing Their Story theme for November, we offer you some insightful, funny, sweet and vulnerable interviews with children and teens that joined their families through adoption. We hope you’ll find hope from their words and insight from the glimpses into their stories.


An interview with Ellie McDowell, age 15, adopted in 2001…

Q: Where were you born?

A: China – I don’t remember where exactly. Wait.. Jiangxi Province.

Q: How old were you when you were adopted?

A: 10 months old.

Q: Where did you live before your parents came to adopt you?

A: My foster mom’s home.

Q: What is adoption?

A: It’s when a family permanently takes you under their care.

Q: How did your parents find you?

A: An adoption agency.

Q: Why do you think your parents adopted you?

A: They couldn’t have a baby on their own so they decided to adopt me.


Q: How do you feel about being adopted? Why?

A: I feel good about it because I don’t like Chinese food. Just kidding…

I feel a little sad that my birthparents couldn’t find a way to raise me, but I am happy that God has chosen a forever family for me that loves me.

Q: Do your friends ask you about being adopted?

A: Yes. They ask how old I was when I was adopted. They ask about my Gotcha Day. They ask if I am biologically related to my sister. They ask if she is my “real” sister, which makes me laugh because of course legally we are “real” sisters. They ask me if I can speak Chinese.

Q: Do you like to talk about your adoption? Why or why not?

A: No because I can’t remember anything. Haha… And it makes me sad because there are more questions than answers.

Q: How do you feel when you see little kids being adopted? Why?

A: It makes me happy to see them adopted because I know it’s really sweet to see a family very excited to see them. It’s like a gift. It makes me feel sad on their end because they also have a lot of questions that don’t get answered before they get passed on to their new life.

Q: Do you have questions about your adoption?

A: Yes. My first one I think about a lot as I am getting older and my body is maturing is, ”What do my parents look like?” “Do I look more like my mom or my dad?” “Why did they have to let me go in the first place?”

I kind of wonder what their health was because mine isn’t always great. What were their heights? Maybe there’s hope for me to be taller.

I also wonder if I have any brothers or sisters. I have a scar on my hip and I wonder if it was an accident or a way to leave an identifying mark. I also wonder exactly how and where I was found. I have two reports, so we aren’t sure.

Q: What would you want to tell your birth parents if you could?

A: I would tell them that I am sure they are really sad that they had to give me up, but there is forgiveness on my end and the Lord forgives them too.

Q: What would you want to tell adopting parents if you could?

A: If they are adopting from a different country, I’d say there are special things such as an Asian eyelash curler if they are a girl or even special medicines that they should be sure and get. Sometimes the foods that they eat my come as a shock to their bodies so try things that are more gentle on the system. Oh! And buy a lot of Chinese dresses because they are kinda cool when you get older. Like one for each year.


Q: What would you want to tell adopted kids if you could?

A: Probably most importantly that they are loved, and they are really gorgeous even though in middle school they may not think so. And haters are gonna hate so….

Start young learning your language of your home country because it’ll come in handy one day. Hard now easy later. It may be hard now, but you will have a story to tell later.

Oh! And find a group to celebrate Gotcha Day with – like Gotcha Day sisters. It helps you feel not so alone. It’s a really cool relationship you will have that you won’t have with anyone else.

One response to “Embracing Her Story: Ellie”

  1. Jeanette Dini says:

    Dear, Sweet Ellie,
    Thank you for sharing your story! You are so brave and beautiful and adored! My nephew was adopted from China, and I look forward to sharing this with him. What a gift you are to so many. I miss seeing you at school, but I hope to see you soon!
    Mrs. Dini

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