As orphans and as adoptees, we are particularly at the mercy of fate.
But, we are also survivors.
Being abandoned at about the age of one in the back of a truck parked next to Kwong Wah Hospital in Hong Kong, without any form of identification, both my place and date of birth can only be guessed.
I was later placed at Po Leung Kuk and lived there for almost five years before being adopted and flown to the other side of the globe.
In retrospect, it seemed almost as if us adoptees were just goods being shipped. Even at the age of six, I didn't know what the heck was actually going on.
I didn't really know the reality of the nonbiological relationship that I was going to have with this couple I was calling, 'Dad' and 'Mom'.
They were working class folks who immigrated to Vancouver, Canada during the 70s. They couldn't have children of their own, so they chose to adopt. They were honest and hard-working people although they were somewhat traditional and conservative. They did what they thought was best for me. But, they were also strict and always played the safety card.
This had an everlasting impact on me growing up because I was always struggling to obey my parents while just being myself.
My personality was one of openness to ideas and possibilities.
My approaches typically challenged what was presented to me, as I would often seek possible alternatives.
At the time, I also had nobody to talk to. As such, I felt very alone and I have often felt at fault.
As an adult though, a more mature mentality dictated that I should be thankful to have been adopted. Canada is big, the air is fresh, the water is clean, and I’ve obtained a university-level education.
All this would have been quite a contrast to the life at the orphanage. I was too young to have any lasting negative effects from the orphanage, and my memories of life there were generally of childhood innocence and joy.
Nonetheless, the battles inside my head have raged for most of my life, as I often run into situations that tell me how I could have done better if my parents had raised me in a way that was better for me as opposed to what they thought was better for me.
It is only in the past couple of years when two things happened that I was beginning to feel like I no longer need to be burdened by blame or guilt: 1) I had found my passion in life and discovered something truly worthy of my energy, and 2) my parents were ageing and I wanted to do what I can as a son.