Parenting an adopted child who has suffered neglect, loss, and trauma is nothing like parenting a child with a normal developmental history.
Adoptive parents need training in trauma, attachment/bonding, grief, and loss.
My story begins in Bossier City, Louisiana, a small community with very little diversity.
My father was a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force, and my mother was a registered nurse.
As a child, I was extremely introverted and shy.
I suffered from separation anxiety and nightmares.
My adoptive parents did not understand why I struggled so much.
I had a hard time fitting in with my white peers and always felt a sense of differentness due to my outward appearance.
I learned later on in my life from my biological sisters that our father, who did not tell our birth mom or my siblings, relinquished me. I was placed in an orphanage in Taipei called, “The Family Planning Association of China.”
The orphanage no longer exists. I'm not sure at what age I was relinquished, but I was only months old.
At four months old, I was adopted.
Since being adopted, there were a lot of challenges I had to overcome.
The most challenging of all was growing up as an adoptee in a very non-diverse community, full of racial teasing and discrimination.
I despised my appearance and tried desperately to minimize my Asian features. I wanted to look like the white teen models in Seventeen Magazine.
The teasing caused low self-esteem, and I truly thought I was inferior to those around me.
It has taken me a long time to find my voice over the years and develop confidence in myself
Reuniting with my birth family helped greatly, as I finally appreciated and embraced my cultural heritage. Writing about my experiences and connecting with other adoptees have also brought a sense of empowerment.
Since being adopted, I am proud to have a different side to international adoption than most people know, understand, or expect.
Some people tend to minimize or are unaware of the loss, trauma, grief, guilt, shame, and identity issues experienced by adoptees.
By writing about international adoption and speaking out, I'm able to advocate for adoptees, as well as bring greater awareness to our struggles.