Thoughts from an Adult Adoptee: Two Sides of One Coin

July 23, 2016 adoptee perspective, adult adoptee, Perspectives, protecting their story, telling their life story 10 Comments

Hello Readers, I am new here at guest posting on No Hands But Ours. First, let me introduce myself. My name is Parrie Liu and I am a Chinese adoptee. Since the age of almost four, I have lived in Texas with a loving family.

Currently, I am attending university and pursing a degree in Biology. My goal is to help others like me. Chinese adoption and special needs adoption are both things that I can relate to.


As I became older, I started forming my thoughts about adoption. I think of adoption as a coin. A coin has two sides. Adoption has two sides. There is a positive and negative side of adoption. Like a coin, each side makes up adoption. I believe that one should not dwell on one side of the coin more than the other side. There are situations that will cause a person to think more about one side of the coin more than the other side.

There are many positives to adoption. Family is a very important positive to adoption. I became a part of a wonderful family and I am loved by my family. Growing up with a family has been great. I have gained parents, siblings, many family members, and the opportunity to do family activities since I was adopted.

Medical care is another great positive. Without a family, I know that it would have been hard to receive the medical care that I needed.

Another great positive is education. I have received a great education because of my parents. They wanted me to have the ability to learn. There are so many opportunities that I have received in my family. I am very grateful for my family and love them so much.

But adoption is not all rainbows. It can be hard for both the parent and child. Most of the time, I try not to think about the negative side of adoption. The past can be a negative part of adoption. For me, this involves not knowing my past.


There are many uncertainties involved with adoption. Birth family, medical history, knowing why I was given up are some of the unknowns for me. It bothers me that I do not know my past when family history questions are asked. I have to fill out N/A on the family section when I am at the doctor. It can be frustrating not knowing the answers.

When people talk about inheriting traits from their family, it makes me wonder. What traits did I inherit from my biological family?

My advice is to let the adoptee talk it out. Talking about these unknowns can be really helpful. Parents need to remember that their children had a past before coming into a family; they should not try to cover up their child’s past. Though my past is unknown, it is something that I don’t want to dwell on too much. This does not mean that I will not think about my past occasionally, but I try to focus on the present because that is what I can change.

I would advise parents with young adopted children to help them respond to intrusive adopted related questions or ignorant adopted related statements. There are many adopted related questions that I have been asked.

Recently, I was told that I should find my birth parents by an older adult. It was very hard for me to hear that comment because I do not prefer to talk about finding my birth parents. I was very kind when I responded and I tried to educate her about Chinese adoption.

Even though most people mean well, it can be a little hurtful to hear those questions and statements frequently. It is tempting to answer slightly rude, but it is better to answer nicely and honestly. Find a response to those questions that your child feels comfortable with. If you practice these responses, the situation can be less awkward.

Adoption is a beautiful but hard story. Adoption has given me the opportunity to have a story, to be a daughter, and to be able to relate to other adoptees, and this is why I consider my adoption as a gift.

– guest post by Parrie Liu

10 responses to “Thoughts from an Adult Adoptee: Two Sides of One Coin”

  1. Deb B. says:

    Lovely article, the coin analogy is an excellent one. Thank you for mentioning the times you have to fill out forms as N/A. As an adoptive parent, I too have felt discomfort whenever those questions come up (in that I lack information for my adopted children). I hadn’t yet anticipated their feelings and your mentioning it, helps me know it’s something I should bring up in discussion with them before they need to do it on their own.

  2. Rhonda says:

    We’ve taught our daughter that “I don’t care to discuss it” is a perfectly good answer when said with kindness.

    I always feel a bit of sadness when I have to write n/a through family history on forms, too. Sadness for answers I may never be able to give my daughter to questions I know she is going to ask.

  3. Kay Bratt says:

    Great job, Parrie!

  4. Jean says:

    Wonderful post Parrie! I will share this post with our older adopted children! Thank you for writing it!

  5. Thank you for sharing. As an adoptive mom, I hope that I will get a chance to read more of your thoughts in the future.

  6. Ashleigh says:

    Great job! Good perspective for parents to remember. Thank you!

  7. Marie Nichols says:

    excellent thoughts… I two love the coin analogy. Thank you for you insights.

  8. A. C. says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and the anology of a coin. It is good and healthy for adoptive families, adoptees, and the world at large to acknowledge both: loss and gain in adoption. Hope to see more of your perspective posted again soon.

  9. Thank you for sharing this Parrie! I am a Chinese adoptee too. Ironically, I just graduated with a degree in Biology. I’m currently living in China with my husband. I’d love to get in touch with you and share some of our experiences!

  10. Michelle says:

    Thank you, Parrie, for this article! Thank you for being open and vulnerable to the adoption community! Beautiful story, beautifully written.

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