Somewhere Between Podcast
Somewhere Between Podcast

Episode 17 · 1 year ago

Growing Up White: Filipino Edition ft. Allie and Arlynn


In this episode, we discuss growing up in white communities and the impact our childhood experiences had and continue to have on us. We are joined by Filipina adoptees, Allie Moreno and Arlynn Dunn, both of whom have been able to reconnect with their birth families. They share their experience as well as advice for those who are considering or in the process of searching for birthparents.

We've added music! Intro: Lights by Sappheiros ( Outro: herbal tea by Artificial.Music (

Oh welcome back to another episode ofSumewhere between upon Gesline by Esnaduptis for Asian adopties, I'm Alia,and today we're discussing growing up in a white community from the FilpinoDoptis presentive. We are joined by Filippinodaptis Ali and Aroland hi. Myname is Ali. I'm an Adopti I was adopted in San. Diego was actually leftin a box on a doorstep, Um back in the eighties and was kind of like a bigdeal at the time, and so it was on the newws. So I ended up growing up andhaving these, like video clips of my kind of adoption abandonment story thatwe would really watch on my birthday every year M, but I yes, I grew up inSan Diego currently live in Seattle, now Um, I'm working in Teh, Um andhopefully we'll get to move back to California next year. Oh Nice, that's that's crazy! I wouldlove to hear more about that and like what that experience is like Arland. Doyou wantto share? Yes, Um, I'm arlan and I'm a Pilippino adapte. I was bornin Manila in eighty three and adopted when I was six months and I was adopted to a family in Tennesseeand that's where I grew up and continue to live now. I work as an occupationaltherapy istent and I work with kids and hat just meede to be here. Yeah. I'm really GD excited to have youguys on and kind of hear what your perspective is like, because I onlyknow it from my side. So I'd like to see nd just like I just like hearingother people's stories, so I'm excited to talk with you as today to start off.I just want to ask you guise the question of you know: Were there m manypeople of color around you growing up, and you know more specifically whereTherre people of your birth culture around you um I'd, say for me kind of yes. So technically my dad myadopted dad is Mexican and my mom's White, and so I actually grew up kindof like identifying more closely with like Hispanic Latino culture. Justbecause that was half of my my Dad's side, the family, so we'd like havepesole on Christmas or make like themales or something, and so Idefinitely grew up feeling I draw there. So I didn't feel like I was totally secluded or like only around whitepeople. Um, but later on, like when I was in middle school, was when I reallystarted to realize, like being Asian, was being was different than beingMexican and that people started to realize thatand asked me a lot of questions and so yeah. So I think that helped like atleast sing brownness for me Um, but it definitely still left a lot ofgaps, because I was the only Filipino in my family MHM. How about in yourschool m? Yeah school was often so like the area in San Diego that I grew up inwas like predominantly Latino. U, and so that also kind of made it feel like.Okay, well, not suber, like I don't stand out a ton Um, but yeah. I had a weird moment. I guesslike to go back to those middle school experiences where, like most of myfriends, growing up were white, but then in middle school, somethingchanged and they started to like realize that I wasn't also way andwould start to say, like superracist things to me and ask me like Whi: DoAsians put stuffed animals in their cars or like want me to be thespokesperson for what Asian Miss was, and that made me feel realy unofortable.So I started to like seek out other Asians yeah like so then that kind ofexperience drew me to other, and that's where I found like two of my bestfriends- are growing up to Everan amusing, the other one asPhilipyouno, and so we kind of found each other, and then that became kindof my friend group moving forward yeah developing a community through sharedexperiences. MHM. What about you Arlan? Oh, I grew up mostly a completely rural area. I guess maybesemirural area, but it was predominantly white and so was theschools. So there weren't many like people of Color Um growing up and there were like. I was one of I thinkthree Asian kids and one of them actually is also a Filipino adote andhe came over when we were in fifth grade and Um. Unfortunately, like Itanall become very close. I think we were all just trying to survive because itwas very. It was very aware for us that we weren't, white and and of experiencebeing utthered Um...

...othe. You know predominant group. Ithink we were just trying to get by and so instead of bamming together, I thinkwe just all tried to fit in our like different friend groups. It's understandable, especially whenyou're young, because you do just want to be friends with people. You know youdon't want to just make friends because you're feeling left out and othered andit's a difficult thing to have to go through as a child, especially when yousay that, like you know, there is someone who, like is Suppos, is similarand like. If there's that draw like Oh, we should be, but at the same time theworld kind of, doesn't let you without it coming down on you and people saying.Oh, you guys are just friends, 'cause tyey're, all Asian are, like all agents,know each other and that kind of garbage did you ever connect with the otherFilipino adopti. We actually went to the eighth gradedance together. It was really cute, it was fun Um and actually his sister did my tattoo,which is a tattoo I did into it. 's My birth mother Um, but again, like Iremember at the dance someone said: Oh what's it like dancing with your cousinand I was like you know, Ju t really aware of like how other people kind ofsaw us. I just remember kind, O, distancing myself from him, and I feltreally bad about that, but also I remember at the Ti. I just didn't knowwhat it was like to be a Peno 'cause. I didn't have examples growing up, and soI just remembered really dusregretting that kind of lit my insecurities then,as a kid kind of sense, myself, nd yeah. I feel that I think we always like. Wedid something better or like didn't. Let things get to us, but it's like I'one handed supernatural like not supernatural but very natural, forAshis kids to be really like, insecure and, like you're saying like we justwant to fit in and kind of belong and so like. We definitely made decisionsthat may have like harmed us or not been the best choices for us like asfar as mental health. But, like I don't know, I try not to get like be too hardon myself about it, because I think about that. A lot too like if I justhad more confidence, I wouldn't have cared like o. If I just had brushed allthat stuff off like hiwould, be so much better off now, but it's not superhelpeful. I realize yeah the wodoves and shoutaves andCudai they're a monster off of its own and definitely like you guys, say it'sso hard because you're a kid you know you're just trying to survive and itkind of goes back to what the parents always tell us of like. Oh, like youshould do this because, like you know, you're going to regret it when you'readult and as a kid you're like an no but then a dulhim o like Tarn, I messedup yeah, I think Ei. I was just going to say I think askids. You know we don't really have the language to express like as we do as anadolled about Um, just deeper things and I think were maybe as Adoptis we'reaware of it, but we just can't name it at the time, because there's not reallythat language didn' it into those things yeah for sure. So I know that Yueys didn't have um have a whole lot of people around. YouTha t you, you know felt similar to or a lot of cultural stuff. What did yourparents kind of do for you? Did they take you to like? I don't know ththere's equivalent of like you know like we have Chinese school, so isthey're like Filipino school or do they kind of force you to do like thecultural events like? What was your experience, like my mom actually n? I guess this.Probably ages me, but she remember one time she gave me like tape cassets ofTagolig Um, but I was like seven and so I didn't know hat to doal with them andI don't think I'd ever use them, and I wish I had um and there weren't really any likeculture can or anything around do. Remember though there was like M, Iforget the name of the organization, but they were like Filipino adoptiesthat would meet up each summer like have picnics. I think we went to them till. I was like I wer six M, but wedidn't really go to them very often mm. Did you enjoy going to them um or wasit kind of Likei Asremember that umred yeah? I don't really remember themhonestly Um, but I think if, like maybe, we've gone moreconsistently, I probably wouldhave liked bote more relationships, but Idon't really remember them. It's KINDOF, like those short term likesummer camp relationships, yeah mhow about you, Arlen G, no Um. I think...

...any like I feel, like all of my exposure toculture like Filipino culture, was like self initiated 'cause. I think growingup my parents. I have two older brothers who are also adopted, butone's Mexican and the others white, so they both had a parent who they couldkind of identify with, and this is like a recent revelation. It seems reallyobvious, but like there's a recent revelation that like that was why Ibecame so invested in finding out about pilping cultures because, like I couldsee my brothers kind of like being acclimated or, like I don't knowlike normalized in terms of their adoption like they didn't, really seemto care very much growing up um, but for some like. I did because that'sbecause I didn't have anybody in my family that I could like identify with,but I remember having like one children's book. I think that myparents were teachers, and so my mom, I guess from a friend or something gotlike one book that was like English and Tagolig nd, that was nd. It was calledthe boy who ate the stars, and it was like the one book that I had that Iknew was like. okay, T that kids me L E, it's like me Um, but so beyond that yeah it wasn't untillike middle school and high school, but I really felt like I could get aminvolved, and it was because of like the friends that I had that wereFilipino um and like finally enough, like it wasn't like summercit, but Iremember some of their families had like it's a very common Philippino thing tohave like, like a social club where it's like a bunch of Philipinos in theCommunityes, belong to this kind of like organization, and they meet uplike monthly or have party, like kind of formal part like almost like a promor something right like the parents and the cades like all get dressed up andgo to these events teye ever going to those with friends and n finding itlike Super Weird 'cause. There was nothing like that like growing up forme, and but it really helped to foster liketightnit community, with those families like 'cause. It was all the same. Kidsgrew up together, all their parents know each other, and so I realized thatwas how they kind of like built, that kind of community of like close nfamilies who all lived with Inicerin like radius of each other. Suppose Yeah.Oh that's awesome that you had that yeah. I could kindof just like tag along, Iguess and be like okay. This is what it's supposed to be like and it's definitely like a nicer way toconnect your culture, because we can read all we want and watchwhatev like the movies and documentaries, but it's just so muchdifferent from actually being a part of it and experiencing it, and sometimesthat can be so daunting. Yeah Yeah. Absolutely that's a great point.Actually I guess I didn't realize it like having that introductio it likefrom a friend like having a friend like kind of hold my hand and be like here's.What is like like made that really positive and a D, it could have gonereally bad. So if I yeah, I was plupped into like a class or something thatfelt really rigid or weird Um, then I definitely could have had a differentkind of reaction to it for sure so. T's super interesting mm, so Arlin what waskind of your method of connecting with your culture o. It didn't really happen for me until,like my thirties, and I actually met one of my really good Filippino friendsthrough my cousins, their like Christmas party Um. She wassitting down at the in O, the like Daning Room table and I waslike o Wanrir she spoping now and I was like yeah and then we talked about how we're bothin college and it turnes out that we're in the same college, and so he becamefriends really quickly, and I told her. I was interested in learning more about.Like my breath, culture I didn't like have any anyone to like comy Muchan, sohe like Um kind of adopted me into her friend group and in then I've gotten toknow more so penus that way and they've invited me to like different houseparties. I Karaoke was them and like it was just a greatbonding experience. Oh it's really beautiful that, like nomatter what age like you, you find someone and you build this communityand you just kind of carry it with through your life. Yeah H. So did you guys? I know like in yourareas. You didn't really Um have too much exposure. Did you like? How did you feel about mediagrowing up because in general you don't see many people, many Asians in general,fed alone? You know Southeast Asians, like island, Pacific Islanders. What was that kind of like for you?...

Yahi um definitely grew up like on Disney movies, and so I ended upyeah gravitating towards whoever looked the closest like me, even though itwasn't directly yeah like correlated. So I h Ilike Princess, Jazzman or pocahanes like I was obsessed M for a long timeand then eventually like Mulan but still yeah. I don't know that I ever knew of anyone,probably until like my lateteens or twenties that was likeFilipino in the media, like you had Donte Boscow from yeah, and then the Daybo came out whlike early. When was that like early two thousand MFOR? Maybe I don't knowfor, but that was like the one movie about Fhilipino Culture Um, and I justremember being super excited about that o. It definitely didn't ever feel likeI saw really like myself in anything MM. Definitely can relate to that Um. Ididn't. I think it wasn't really awsome Util,my like my thirties. When I realized I was a woman of color, and so myself isFilipino, and so I don't know that I really searched for it, but I'm sure apart of me did, but I definitely don't remember seeinga representation Asian Culture Filippino culture growing up. Iremember I watched like a dateline or something when I was younger and I wastalking about how Agians are like the silent minority. I remember that reallybothered me and it made me feel really sad and I didn't know why I just knewtat felt like that was how peop viewed us. It just didn't make me feel good.Um like I was really into like ice skating,and I remember seeing like Michelle clan and Christy, I'm Agisti and, like I loved watching them, and I was likeokay there, even though I don't I'm not like Likehem as far as I'mvilipinoslike it was great, to see m then being represented, you know, yeah, did you guys find that you kindof just subconsciously connected to them and you're, like I'm rooting foryou, just 'cause have this hundred mersign and, likerace connection, yeah, absolutely 'cause? I I definitely still find itwhere I don't know like when you have those even like a cooking show and I'mlike you. I relate to Youyes yeah, yeah Y, a so a lot of yourexperiences, kind of happened, um when you're, older and since then kind ofwhat have you been doing like. Have you felt um like more of a need to pursue yourculture or make more connections 'cause? I know you guys have like developedfriendships and you've. You know become part of these communities. MFOR me I mean I eventually. I guessthis kind of like crosses over from the last question of like I, I pursuedfinding out more about Filipino culture through like student organization. Soas soon as I got to like college, I found like Philippino Student orgs andjoined those, and that was really my like exposure. I think beyond, like my friends whobrought me into their houses and like taught me about the food and taking offyour shoes in the house. Um, the student orgs definitely got me moreconnected to like the culture and the history side, and so I got reallyactive Um kind of in the community there, like being part of anorganization that kind of served as a like Filipino mentorship program, wherewe'd like go into andventuor like high school students, I grealy just went 'cause. It was agathering of like Filipinos and like we would talk about like cultural, issesand m. So hey just, I basically went to all the meetings and didn't actually goinother classrooms n. The days we were supposed to go but um felt like I waslearning as much as like the high school students at that time, but Um yeah, I think now it's even moreimportant B'cause. I ended up my husband's Pilino and my son Fipio, andso that's something that over the earsh has definitely become really ingrainedin kind of my identity, and I want my son to like know where he comes fromand be really proud of, his culture, N and now that he has like my husband'sfamily. It's definitely something that's stronger for him, but like yeah,it's it's almost like now. I just feel like it's even moreimportant for me to to know those things and like help him as he's likegrowing up and figuring out who he is like to be proud of his history mm. For me, I I guess it concided with a time that Ijust wanted to know what it meant to be in adopte like might pursue my orange at my birthorigins, but also pursue what it meant to be Filipino and Um.

When I was after college. I realized Ikindo wanted to go back to college and I thought about Um like studying AsianStudies, but I'm just not at the point of life when I can do that. Andeveryone always told me if you want to know more about being Filipino andAmerica go to California, I'm in Tennessee. So that's also not somethingI can do, but I'm kind of a Nerd, and I likeresearch and so and out reading, and so I just found books and Um anything that I could get my hands onwhere I could read more about my culture. I also Hafe curated, my socialmedia, so that I was following a bunch of Lopino riders, Velpino, poet and Um,and just try to like immerse in in the culturethat way and then, when I was able to like o connections through people esocial media than O, they will like make connections like Um, just open thedoor to conversations with people that I wouldn't have been able to otherwisethrough social media and just learn from other people that it means to beFilippino MSO. Are there any specific Um likebooks or people that you listen to or read about that really stood out to youand kind of helped? You connect more or you felt like you related to in someway. Definitely- and I think Ali knows oneof them- Barbara, Jane, Rase, Um. I've found her work through. I think somesome other Um Asian American ot that I was following and when I found out shewas Filipino like I was like. Oh, why I definitely like wantto read more of herwork Um and I just ieveloed her own social media, and shealso seems like an amazing cook and Hedid't knowit's, like the T. food is so important to theFilipineo culture, and so that's another that I've gotten linked in tooUm yeah. I just I really find it often that she is to connect with antraditional Filipinos and that she'strying to grow like a curriculum, Bor, Pena literature and just an early nowbut yeah, Oh wow, that's amazing, yeah totally. I love it. No, this issomething Arlin I connected on like early, and I was super excited 'cause.I I ended up becoming a writer. I think, because of my like search for thisidentity and like writing and journaling was where I tried to likeHash it all out by myself, which is weird, but I or it's not weird. I guessI shouldn't say that, but 'cause a lot of people journal, I think it just forme like it became my outlet for, like figuring out how I felt about a lot ofthese things. When I didn't feel like, I had anyone to talk to you Um, but soI ended up like majoring in creative writing and got my MFA in poetry, Um,largely because of writers like Barbara Janeraz. I also have to shout out JeniSAPIGA, because she's a Poe also Filpino um and is actually currently like theSanta Clara County, poet, laureate, H and so yeah. So right now, so you cango whigger up, she's awesome and I I met her through, like all of mycommunity kind of connect and Wewe hung out litte for and she's awesome, but Um yeah I'll just say, like I'm supercurious like arline like what was it about. I'm mainly carious B'cause, likeI'm, a writer and, like so poetry, als, obviously something that, like I've,always kind of loved. But I wonder I was curious for you like if you writeand enjoy poetry because of that or found poetry another way and just enjoyreading it like super carious, 'vealways enjoyed poetry. Ever since Iwas a kid Um, I had a really hard time in school asfar as like like socially- and I just looks were mylike refuge and poetry became that I did dobble in writing and I havewritten some, but reading it for me has just always been don'tno. I tell peoplelike poetry, my other love language, and I just get really passionate when Isee therare people, um wo use, poetry as an outlet to express themselves fell. ofpoetry lovers at makes me sohappy right. I love it boy say like whenever I like poetry or like Um. U...

Oroni bout quote that I just reallylove from a piece of writing who was like, ah so old, an it's just, a beautiful style ofwriting and it really connects to the soul. Okay, totally yeah N. I think like for me, I yeah, I always love, poetry and andwriting together. Tandar like I was always riating, and it was alwaysreading stuff and so n ever able to like separate those. But I think thatfor me, like, I had such an eyeoning experience when I went to Grad schoolthat Um and just supor thankful like I had a mentor, I was actually a whitewoman, but like showed me all of these books by writers who are Asian,American or Philippino and like introduced me to Allou of that so like'm. That's why I'm really impressed by like arlind makes my heart happybecause, like I don't know, if I ever would have found that if I wasn't likeon this track already to like study it, you know like so. Oh it's just reallycool to me that you found it so organically. Just out of your love ofreading like stumbled upon these writers too, like not a lot of peopleknow of but yeah. For me I was T super lucky to like run into it like from theacademic side, but Um still happy that I I have those writersin my on my shot. I discovered it also through Um l e poetry, readings in thelocal area. I noticed a lot of the potrtings I went to like I startedgoing to slam poetry, which I loved, and then I started going to more likeacademic, Um, literary readings Um and I actuallyvolunteer for like a riding residency Um. This I love Abot. I found a couldconnect with more people of color through that, because there ere morepeople of color who were doing poetry. I think that was a big connection forme too. So for you guys, I know it helped withculture how about when it came to addressing adoption and like the roleit played in your life yeah. I I think for me. I, like that'skind of all I could write about for many many years Um, but and partly because I wasn't findingit or seeing that kind of story or narrative anywhere else Um and I think everythig, like the first,my my first book ar like my m as my thesisfor my Mfa Program Um, it was like a hundred percent about like identity andbelonging, and so whether or not I was like directly talking about adoption,it was always still about like whether or not I felt like I belonged in aplace or like how other people made me like. I didn't belong or just thatexploration Um, so trying to think. If I like, read anyother books or thing like, I know they're out there, and it probablywasn't until way later that someone actually like showed me like a book byan adopty but Um yeah. How about you arlan sorry. Could you like elaborate on thequestion? Um kind of just curious of, like writing can be very Cathortic, and youknow, as you guys have mentioned, it's a really great way of expressingyourself and like connecting to others and helped you connect to your culture,Um and as Alli was speaking about. You know it kind of helped her address likeidentity, and you know what it meant to belong to her. So did you hand to findwriting helpful in that similar way? Yeah Um, I agree. It's definitely aCCAUTHARTIC process to be able to write about it. I've not really written a great dealabout my adoption experience. I want to 'cause. I feel like that's like a storythat I need to share. I just think it's still kind of lolked in myhead. As far as how do I channel that, and how do I id about some things thatare like really painful, but also like bauance it with like or of the joy of of being an adopte, and so I think, I'm in like this lower part ofthe process, where I'm just trying to outline it for myself, for I, like cansdiffrvition on the page, but it's definitely something I would love to do. Yeah II would love to read what you guyshave written Yeahit'Sha. I like I resonate a lotwith what you said or learn about like an just a sense of like being ryou're,like figuring out exactly what you want... say, Yore like taking that time tolike. I don't know if I'll ever feel that way. 'cause I've like started andstopped like trying to write about my story. Ton of time, like I don't knowif it'll actually be like a memoir or maybe I'll fix an Ey fixialize it alittle bit like to create, come some kind of space between my actualexperience and what I really want to say about it. I think part of thereason why that's been so hard is because I've now since met my birthparents and that they're, like nowkind of in my life or like around me, it's been so hard to figure out likehow do I be honest with how do I feel and like Il will be aware that thesepeople are in my life and like wanting to make space for other peopleand their feelings? And it's weird it's a lot to like mentally wrap yourhead around and to Lord, through all those thoughtsand emotions and try to kind of tell that to someone else. Sometimes wordsjust don't feel right, MHM. I I fel like I can change so often toori ht and I don't not like both of you. I don't know you feel like you, Kinda,like are on a rollercoaster, sometimes like you have really good days weeksmonths, and then you have like a weird parriador. Just like I hate everythingand everyone or I don't know like. I think the pained definitely like increase that, because I was goingthrough like a grief process in January, when I found out about my bork family and then the pandemic hatin his pik. I feel like I'm on, like so many different roller coasters withthat Hm. So if you guys are comfortable talkingabout it, um I'm really interested to knowing kind of how you guys were ableto find your birth family. Did you have m documentation that kind of led you toclues or did they reach out? was there some organization you worked with an apologieze. Some of this might bekind of heavy Um. I actually it was. A combination ofsocial media and also M Philippines have like a iner country,adoption board that I reached out to, but I wasn't able to get a lot ofinformation from them Um and then I found out that my myadoptive mom actually had my case study information, but I wasn't meant to seeit, but I found it his his long story, but I did like getmy case study and I found out that I had like multiple siblings andunfortunately, they passed away, and so God and I've had documentation like Ihad my original birth certificate and I had the correspondents from my socialworkers to my adopt adopted parents. I have kind of vews that in the past Talitry to see if I could connect with people Um, I tried emailing people. I triedreaching out to people and face book just felt Weit. I was like hey now, I'madopted and I'm just trying to find this information about myself Um, andit felt very much like that book or You, my mother, or the Children's book, where you're liketrying to find this party yourself and you're going to all these differentalits trying to find something- and I eventually, through social media, wasand was able to locate my to birth, siblings in January Um, so that was very ocional Um and a lotto untack Um I was, I was very atful to be able to like find them. I can only imagine like what thet wholeprocess must have beenwen like when you're hunting them down and you're youKN, grasping and trying to find out whatever information you can and thenit happens and like what kind of felt like a dreambecomes reality. It definitely is a surreal reality. Um I mean even now it's it's kind ofhaunting, because I'm not sure what to make of it like it's, not somethingthat's concrete and makes a lot of sense to me. I'm just trying to workthrough you know, day by day NA ya. Do You keep in touch with them? Mi did like the first few months isJanuary. Um, then, with the Pan Amak. They were also affected by like peck ofpower and stuff and like the communication was angry, but we stilltry to stay connected like monthly, that's good mm,... are they still in the Philippines orwere that oeeearm? So my sister was adopted, another family member and thenour oldest brother. He he was the only one that stayed with both my mother andfather and then my parents had separated. He had stayed. He was raisedby my father. They didn't know anything about meuntil it. It was revealed that they they found me that weren't aware of men, unaware of you. What way that that youwould connected to the family, or I don't think that they know that aboutme or that I was adopted- mm. Oh okay, yeah, how about you, Ali Wa? How wasyour experience? Yeah um mean was like a little bit similar in in terms oflike a lot of people didn't know about me either, and so I had to kind ofreconcile that, but fortunately like because I was a domestic Adopti, itturned out that my birth parents were both living. Like pretty close to mewhen I was in San, Diego Um, so yeah, they initially found methrough social media, and that was because Ihad put my like adopty information on one of those websites. You know when Iwas eighteen or something and hoping one day. Somebody would come lookingfor me for me or mynfo and Um. It turns out a relative of my birth father foundme through that and messaged me onfacebook like this,as probably twenty fourteen thosand and thirteen POB twenty fourteen Um, and so I metboth my birth father and my birth mother. They were basically kind of had arelationship had a thing she got pregnant, didn't tell him um or so Idon't know it's a little bit cloudy like. I think she told him that she hadan abortion Um and he like actually gave her money or something to go to,and then they just never talked again Um. So he didn't know that she actuallyhad me and th n and then Kape me up and so that whole thing was that yeah. She waslike seventeen had me in the back of a car, with thehelp of her friends. Put me in a box and left me on a doorstep of a friendthat they, like a family friend, they knew was a nurse Um, and so it's it's been such a weird ride. That part,like, I think, as an adopte like you, can't help, butthink of your birthparents kind of your life and wonder Um, but when I finallymet them yeah there was t a lot of kind ofsor. It felt really weird that, likethis is real and you're. Actually here and you're Um and like it's nice thing in thebeginning, everybody like was really excited and had good intention so d.You think tha furter. We tried to like develop a relationship and likeintegrate each other in our lives. It prove to be a lot harder than wethought, at least for me. I I started to feel really overwhelmed with havinglike I had just gotten married to my husbands. I had inlaws, I had th twoother separate families and then surprise I had four half sisters, Um Two unto like holidays or a nightmare'cause I had to like schedule, everybody in and like Tryin, to figureout how to make everybody happy and Um, and so that seems like a weird thing tocomplain about. I guess, but it's like it just felt like. I was spreading liketrying to make everyone happy Um and not really like putting myself for myown feelings. First, like there was definitely a period where mybirthfather came on very strong and like wanted to have dinner every weekand talk on the phone and Um. You know like Call Him Dad and I was like. Ihave a ad who raised me and I'm actually really close with him, and soit was hard for me to like can't just jump in like that and like expecte toimmediately like be that person but yeah. And then with my birth mom. Itwas a little bit harder Um, because my birthmother was harder. 'cause ethink she was still very much ashamed or like carrying a lot of giltsaround it, and so like arlind like no one knew about me,and so she had to tell them at the point that we reconnected Um, and Ithink there was just a lot of like there's a Philippino thing about likechasemiss or gossip, and so they do a lot of things right to like protect theimage of the family. And so I feel like there was just a lot of that goingaround where she didn't really want to like outright a knowledge who I was,and so like. I Den' up at family parties and like a cousin or somethingcame up to me, and I was like whose daughter are you and like later? Iliteralll had to explain by myself and like watch my bird mother kind of likewalk away and kind of dismiss it Um, and so that became really difficult,and so we ended up like...

...after that, just I ended up kind oflike severing that relationship 'cause. I was like you know what I can't deal with it like this and be part ofyour life. If it's going to be this hard to just be open and honest andlike yeah, so we don't speak but yeah, I think it just for me. It wasjust a lot of things. A lot of desires likewanting to be fulfilled, but then also like feeling the disappointment. It'snot exactly how you like hope that it's going to pan out yeah, definitely especially with like M,as you mentioned with your mother, it feels like she's still pushing you away hm, that's so hard because there y, asyou mentioned, like you're, trying to balance this building aur relationshipwith them, will also you know trying to manage your ownfeelings. I knew first topping away from that kind of relationship because it's hurtful yeah yeah, like as I I wrote about it, I'mlike have little snippids, but it's like she abandoned me twice like I wasthere in front of her and like she straight up like ignored me and like wouldn't,acknowledge who I was and that felt just as bad like there was just thetrauma all over again and I don't think she realizes like that's what it wasfor me Um, but yeah absolutely like. I don't knowit's hard, God, I'm so sorry you had to go through that two times nd as an adult I ets, I don't think it hits any less. I thinkit hits more honestly yeah, yeah and like it was it's one of those thingswhere it's like Yoka, I'm in my thirties or whatever- and I have my ownkid at this point but like you're still, the mom, like I'm looking to you tolike guide us and like be the person to like ask me how I'm fet like this is not onme to make her comfortable. I always felt like I had to be making room forher feelings and like she felt bad and I needed to be nicer about, likewhatever you know like or just not talk about it 'cause. It makes heruncomfortable and, like the more I thought about it, like I, a told himlike screw that, like that, is not my responsibility at all: Yeah 'cause she's, the older one she'ssupposed to be the parent you're supposed to play the role of a kid MHMe. Did you kind to find um similardifficulties Arland when you're, I guess talking with your birth familyor I'm not sure if you talked with your birthparents, so i Hecki said early on like I talked tothem, but I guess with time spy I realize it's hard for me to likerelate to them. I don't speak to Gog and the only thatthey understand me is because- and he is a school teacher and so she's ableto translate Um. But I guess I just have a hard timerelating to them and Um nothey're, very nice, and he seem likethey're very open. I guess right now. I'm in that place,where I'm kind of guarding my heart because can't stand for there to be anymore pain right now, um because siding out my birth and we history kind of at forced me to like sever arelationship with my adopted, Bom and so 've not just been able to in thatspace, where I can be vulnerable with others right now, Um, so that's kind of where I'm at now yeah. I sounds like a lot to do withall at one time, and you said this all happened right before coved. So thenyou're just in this kind of pendemic stress as well yeah Um, I did find out from them that mybreadparents passed away when Um. I guess it was like in the nineties, butso my mom had died in a car wreck and then my birth father nod diabetes,which is ironic because my adoptive father also passed away when I was ababy from complication aabetes. So it's I like man, I can't win with the thedads you know. So it's like a cruel twisted Disney story. It's hard go, I'm! So sorry, man, families, are just such an interesting thing because, like regardless, if they're your birth,family or you're adoptive there's someone you want to be close with andthe name of being family, you think you'R job Mathle, it's like. Oh we'regoing to be close and, like I have you... lean on, but it just can be so different and I think,as an adopty, you kind of have that hope. Maybe like you're not expectingit, but you kind of have that hope that maybe you will be close. I thinkthere's always that desire to. I don't know, maybe that innerchilddesire to please and Ein to Havlia relationship, but also one of my lik best friends,told me an as where you find them, and I think that's been like the bestadvice that I've picked up, especially in my thirties, and just being able togive myself the freedom to build community where I can like through Asian adoptis through other adoptedcommunities, and that's been really beautiful. For me, I think that's great like similarly,like my husband tells me that all the time like what else do you like? Youhave me you have you have er son like there's nothing th, I think like, ifanything, if there's any like advice for anybody, Ol that WHO, like reallydesperately wants to meet their birth parents or like wants to look for them,like, I always felt growing up like it, wasgoing to fill some gap or a whole in my heart or whatever that it felt like itwas missing, but I think, as an adult I look back and like you should neverfeel like. You have like put that on somebody else that they're going to bea missing peace, whether that's a partner or a parent or otherwise t alike. They can't that's, not an expectation that, likethey can really fulfill realisigly and like that's where the most pain comesfrom. Is this expectation that they're going to swoop in and like be everything that you needed and likefill in all the gaps and Um? You know? Do you mystify all this,these things that you wonder about yourself and, like sure you get thelike, when I got out of it ultimately was like health history and like? Oh, Ilook a lot like my birthfather. I sound like my birth mother and laugh like herUm and like SOM. You know other, likebiological, like mannerisms and traits and things but other than that, likeemotionally, like yeah, like you have to find that inyour friends and the people that you choose to be your family, because it's a lot to put on another personthat you don't know Um and that's really hard to deal with. Ifyou, if you apprerjuy it that way. I think that I love that advice and I think for me, like Tha, just likelistening to you say that just really hit home, because I'm definitely one ofthose adoptes who kind of in some small way like felt not that it would fill awhole but kind of a desire for an answer to like this puzzlepiece spot.That's missing, like closure or whatever yeah yeah like just having ananswer, will make you feel better but you're right it. It doesn't. The onlything it makes. You feel better is fining your answer within yourself and,as you said, finding your own family and choosing who you know you want tokeep in your life. People who care about you genuinely so before we wrap up. I just want to mgive you guys a chance to you know, share any final thoughts or Um, maybeany advice, or you know. I think, like the last thing that Iwould say I feel like I I go to theeeyso. I talkto my service about this ante time and, like feel like Um, that I should be at a certain placebecause I'm you know thirty R, something and married and have a kidthat, like I've, I've have this like life experience that should make mefeel Oky somehow or like not be as traumatized or affected by my adoption,but the thing that Iam always reminded- or she always reminds me as that, likeit's a constant journey like there will never be like I'm not going to reachfifty and suddenly be like. This is great. I'm Oky with everything in mylife like there isn't a milestone, and it's not like. I don't like I. I have that Weird,like perfectionist tendency to think like okay, like once I've reached this.This is what success looks like, but it's a cycle and it's always going tobe a cycle, and there isn't any point where I'm going to reach like adopty perfection, whatever that islike it's just always there like. No matter how old you are. I don't know ifyou feel t same way. Arland. I agree M. I thought Naavely in my thirties, I'llbe like Oh achieve at all or I'll understand it all and no thit's, notthe case. It's more of realizing, there's so much to unlearn and so muchto like deconstruct Um, t'd, just be able to like and a way to give my self grace to dothat, and also like. I me parsionally justnavigating that Um...

...and it's okay to seek help. RIKE ANLhelp um and I was talking to a friend, whos Asian, and she was talking abouthow Usot of stigma in Asian Community of why we don't seekmental health, and I think that's t a narrative that a lot of us, I think,are trying to push back and so just want n't encourage others if o're onthe journey and even if they're, not on the journey to finding their birthfamilies. Um. Now that it's completely okay andnormal to seek both and you need to go see a therapist, that's Oky, too yeah. I definitely agree with Ho eyes. I think we all need a therapist, nomatter how you know mentally healthy and happy and sane. We feel, I think weall just need someone to talk to and get these things off our chest and just neally hig into Um, like whatArlen mentioned, those things that you need to unlearn the habits that you'vetaught yourself and and the things that you say to yourself mm, and it's really, I'm so glad that we'rein a time right now where it is becoming more Oky to get mental healthhelp and it's more accessible mm andthere's, nothing wrong withgetting help, because in your life, there's no point in your life, whereyou can ever just do something alone: You're always going to have help fromsomeone there's always going to be someone who's influencing you or um like like it's going to be effect. I NSOM WHO's having an effect on your life and you don't get through it on yourown. You get through with people mm, so yeah yeah. It was really greattalking with you guys and thank you so much for joining me to like to justchat, and you know, tell me about your experiences and your stories Yo for having it. I really a Tis grap. Thank you, I'm glad you guys like feltcomfortable and it was fun um someone's going to wrap up now, thanks forjoining yesteday tune in next week for another episode, if you're interestedin participating in one of these episodes, please email us at somewheredot between dot, podcast at GML, dtcom and don't forget to join our instrigranfamily a somewhere between Daf am to stay connected with updates, castingcalls and Mor. So you guys tatch me.

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