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.
Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m 15 years old. I am adopted from China.
Before I was adopted, I lived in an orphanage in Nanjing, China. I came home on December 5th, 2008, so I have been home for 7 years. My Mom and I have talked about adoption and abandonment and she is writing this from the conversations we have had. She has my permission to do this. I hope this helps other adopted kids and parents.
Q: Can you tell us about your life before you were adopted?
A: I don’t remember anything about my birth family. I was told that as a little baby I was left outside of a home, under someone’s window. When the person found me he brought me to the police station and they brought me to the hospital and then to the orphanage. I have a lot of questions. Like why?
My Mom explains to me that my birth parents loved me and they left me in a safe place so someone would find me. She shares with me about China’s one child policy. But I’ve heard that some families have more than one child. She shares with me that if a family has more than one child they are fined a lot of money. She tells me that many families in China are very poor and cannot afford to pay the money for another child.
She tells me that my birth parents were brave because they chose life for me instead of having an abortion. My mom thinks they cried a lot. She thinks they hid and watched to be sure someone found me quickly.
I hear all of these reasons but I don’t really understand them. I hope I will understand them in the future and that it will make me feel better.
Q: What is adoption and how did your parents find you?
A: Adoption is when you get parents and a family that will take care of you and love you forever. My Mom saw my picture on an adoption website. My Mom asked my Dad if we could adopt the little girl in the picture. My Dad took one look at me and said yes! I was 7 years old at that time and I came home when I was 8.5 yrs old. Parents adopt children because they think they need a family.
Talking about adoption is easy. Talking about being left (abandoned) is not. It makes me feel very confused and very sad.
Q: How do you feel about being adopted? How did it feel when you saw other kids being adopted?
A: I like being adopted. Actually, I love being adopted. I watched so many families come to the orphanage and take their new child home. It felt bad to be without parents. It hurt and I was sometimes jealous of the children who were getting families. I mean, I was happy for them but I wanted a family too. I wondered when someone was going to come and get me. When I finally heard that I was getting a family I was very happy but very, very nervous and scared.
Now that I am home, I want all children to have families and I like it when we adopt a new sister or brother.
Q: Do you like to talk about your adoption?
A: I like to talk about adoption with my parents especially when I have questions. In my house it is normal to be adopted. I don’t like to talk about adoption with other people who have not been adopted. Sometimes they ask too many questions and it feels like they are just trying to get information that is not their business. It makes me feel bad and uncomfortable. (Sarah gets very teary).
Being adopted makes me happy but being left (abandoned) makes me sad.
Q: Do you have questions about your adoption?
A: My parents answer my questions about adoption. My real questions are about why they left me…
I would like to know my real birthday and how much I really weighed when I was born. I would like to know if I look like them (my birth parents). I try not to think about this because it makes me cry. I like to enjoy each day and be happy.
I would like to know why they left me. I want to know if I have any birth siblings. I want to know why they kept them.
The tears flow and our dear daughter’s heart hurts. We try to give her answers that we think might be true and helpful to her. We hug and pray together. I ask Sarah if she has more questions she would like to ask of her birth parents and she answers, “Yes, but I don’t want to talk about it, now.”
That conversation will happen another time when she is ready. We leave an open door to our all of children to talk and to share when they are ready.
Adoption is so beautiful and amazing but it comes from immense loss and sadness. We are so thankful that the birth parents of our children chose life. We are so thankful to be their parents. Talking about the children’s adoption is easy and joyful but talking about their abandonment is hard. Comforting words are so inadequate and we often end up in tears hugging each other.