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Somewhere Between Podcast
Somewhere Between Podcast

Episode · 9 months ago

Interview: Pema pt. 1

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this interview episode, Aimee is joined by Chinese adoptee, Pema. Join us for part 1 of exploring Pema's search for her birth parents. This episode focuses on the start of Pema's journey prior to her visit to China where she details the research she did to emotionally and mentally prepare herself. Aimee and Pema discuss stories of other adoptees birth searches as well as their experiences with DNA testing and more. You can find Pema on Instagram @_pemabear_ 

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Welcome back to another episode ofsummer between a PODCAST MIDE by Asian adoptees for Asian adopteeves, I'm amyand today were joined by our special guest Pamma thanks for joining as Pamahi. Thanks for having me do you want to tell the audience a little bit aboutyourself, yeah sure, so I am a Junor at American University, which is locatedin Washington DC, I'm majoring in public health, with a minor andbusiness leadership and management, and currently I'm in Austin, Texas, niceand you're an adoctefrom China. Is that correct? Yes, I was adopted at sixmonths old from G on, which is in Junkshi province. Awesome Nice, toquote unquote me to thanks for joining us today. So one of the reasons that we reallywanted to have coma on was. She has a really amazing, an interesting story,in my opinion, we're going to focus a lot about her search for herbirthparents, actually, which is, I know, something that a lot of us haveeither thought about tried to do, or you know, is just one of those bigadopte questions. Oh, you going to look for your birthparents kind of hangsover all of us, so I'm really excited to get to hear what your journey hasbeen like so far in that whole process. So what kind of initiated your searchfor your birthparents for you growing up? I've always been kind of involvedin the Chinese American community, and I did a lot of culture camps. I've goneback to China several different times to do different cultural programs,volunteering with withan orphanages and I didn't feel like there was a missingpiece within my life, but I did kind of want to see what was out there, and somy mom and I actually talked a little bit about it. And so we have this thingat my school called a senior project and so for my senior project. I wantedto try to schedule and arrange a birthparent search, and so we weregiven the whole month of I believe, may within our senior year to kind of doany project that we wanted and we had a faculty metmentor to help us along theway. And so what I did is I took every single week. I took a different task,so maybe the first week was okay. How are other people doing for forparentsearches or another week would be what kind of searches are popular or what kind of foods are popular withingion and so just getting to know the atmosphere of my birth country? HowChina does searches? Are there any success stories? Are there any kind ofonline gloves or online community that I could reach out to? Who are thesesearcher people who help adopt Hese conduct searches? So it was a very longmonth and kind of a long process, both introspectively looking at okay? Who AmI? What do I want to find out and then what can I find ut so that was kind ofwhat that whole month was about and so towards the end of that month I wasable to give a presentation to a small group of students within the schoolabout what ie found and what I thought was relevant wow. That sounds like Hon,a ton of information just to file through and condense down into. What'sactually usable andvelevant and not, but also it sounds like a reallyemotional month, especially being a senior in high school. I don't know ifI was ready to to handle all of those feelings. Oh my gosh. Well we definitely an interestingexperience because at first I was thinking. Oh I'll, just plan thisbirthparent search to do somewhere in the near future, and then my parentswere like. Oh my gosh. You have the summer right before college. Why don'twe actually make this happen, so I was planning very intentionally because Iwas going to go to China that that summer, and so that was kind of aninteresting clanning period. But what I really liked about part of mysearch was, I got to know more about myself, so I kind of dived into twentythree and me: Are you fom familiar with that yeah? I actually that's the DNAservice that I used. Oh my gosh yeah, so I was able to look through my twentythree and me, and this is how I kind of originallystarted out my search process is I looked through some of my DNA relativesand I found this like sixth or seventh cousin, which was really really faraway, and but I was able to kind of like contacther and she said that she lived in geon for the longest time and she hadgrandparents who lived there for a...

...while and they would always visit theirincestrial graves, which is really cool, and so I kind of lost contact with withher as as the process went on. But I was able to talk with her a little bit.She seemed a little bit hesitant to disclose information, but it wasdefinitely cool to be able to locate someone that I was relatively relatedto and have a little bit of a conversation. Yeah. That's amazing, andI know that twenty tme isn't the most popular for people in China or theChinese. Like still, you know in other countries all right, so that's reallyamazing that you were able to connect even someone so distant. Oh, my gosh feel like one of the Tany thing I man,jokes for a Doctos is like. Oh, you have another fifth cousin t an you'relike gay yeah. It was. It was funny because I was ableto look at my relatives and a lot of them were obviously within China, but alot of them were on the West Coast in California, so Oh wow, yeah I' like tfive or six very distant cousins there. So that's kind of neat, that's reallycool! Also that is kind of a zoo to sixty kind of moment. For you, I feellike you. You started this idea of Leby. Let me search and get all this PREBinformation for Ma, seing your prodect and then your parents said Hey. Why?Why stop at the research? Let's just go like that's very that's a verydifferent mindset. I feel like from one end to the other yeah and first. I wasn't really awareof that, because I spent again the first two weeks of the senior project,just saying like what is Ha birthparent search. What had people found, and Ithought that that those were very transpormitional weeks because goinginto a birthparent search. You have to be kind of aware of all the differentoutcomes that that can possibly happen, and it's all it's not all sunshine androses that people kind of say it is, and so I really wanted to watchdifferent documentaries watch different movies. Read online blogs, go on toYoutube and see how other people did did their Bir current searches. I wasable to join a lot of different facebook groups, not only for kids whoare dopped from China, but also the parents who are able to kind of helpwith with different searches and so hearing their stories and being able tosee what they found helpful and what their kind of challenges were reallyhelped me within my search and a thing to really be aware of, is thatthis is this could potentially be very live, changing and it it can reallyaffect other people's lives. There's a story that I heard that this girl shewas able to kind of find her birthparents and the mother, like she connected with herbirth father and they were going to the father was going to bring her back toher birth mother. But the day before that happened, the birth mother wasvery destraught and very just like overwhelmed with the whole idea ofmeeting her birthdaughter, and so that night she actsally committedsuicide because she was like very ashamed about what about what she did. So just knowing that reconnecting can have that kind ofimpact. You have to be very, very conscious and really think about whatyou're doing, because you're not only changing your life, but you may bechanging other people's lives and so going into thes situation. I was veryvery aware about what my actions were. Am I ready for for this? Are My parentsready, and so that's kind of what I was thinking going into them? That's definitely that's one! That'sawfully tragic, oh my gosh to that. That is a really good thing to keep itthe forefront, because I feel like a lot of people when they ask adoctes ingeneral. They think, oh, like you're gonna, like open, O, close adoption ar they goin toyou know, there's a certain expectationor idea of what abirthparent like looking for your firth parences and they kind of theythemselves, don't think about it and then because it's almost like aanormalized and standard question that a Dapis get. I think it's really easyto lose. That site of this is not something that people enter in ligtly.This is very big decision and I think that'ssomething really important, like you said to the man aware of another story that I kind of want toshare that. That goes along with your point in terms of cultural awareness,in the sense that you know how a lot of Chinese familiesit's very important for them to have their kids take care of them when theyare older. You know, and so this girl came back and she rek connected and ofcourse they were going to keep in touch,...

...but these birthparents had theexpectation that she was going to drop her whole life with in America and kindof take care of them and give them money and visit them two or three timesa year and basically move in and take care ofthem, and so having that conversation, when you barely even know these thesepeople, you know s is overwhelming, and so you kind of have to say. Okay, likewhat am I comfortable with. Where are my boundaries? What do I? What am Iwilling to do, and what am I not willing to do, and so that was also really striking within mybirthparents Erch, because I was able to mentally like think about what whatI'd be willing to do like? I would not be willing to drop my whole life andtake care of people who I don't really really know, but I would be comfortablewith sending letters every every now and then sending pictures or somethinglike that, so having very clear expectations about what you want.That's also that's something I actually I never even thought of it. Makedcomplete absolute sense now that you're saying that, but until you said that I had never eventhought like what I mean beyond the just the abstract oflike what does it mean to find my puts inslip, but in the in the tangible?What does it mean to define your birthparents and try to establish arelationship with them? That's another question that I feel like: Is itthought about or talked about enough for adoptes who are just begetting theresearch of like what does that mean to you right? Exactly and honestly, with the birthcurent search? It's notonly finding your birth purents, but it's also finding potential siblings,and so for me that was what was more interesting. I didn't really like. Okay,I was like okay, maybe I'll, find my birthparents, but what I really wantedto find was siblings because they would be around my age now and they it's a little bit of a less ofemotional burden, because it wasn't their decision to give give you up. Soit's more of a neutal kind of Oh, we kind of look the same were around thesame age. We may have more things to connect upon, and so that was what wasinteresting to me when going through this search also yeah definitely feellike we've all anybody who submitted DNA to an adop to a database like thatwhos an adopter as always thought like. Oh, what, if like I know, isunrealistic Bu. What if I entere my DNA- and I was like you- have a brotherwe've all had that thought I think, and how either we want that to happen,and we don't or whatever it's very common one. I think yeah exactly. It'sactually super crazy because I actually know of two girls who endedup being sisters and so one of them I went to China with through adopting and she had a sister and she didn't really know,but they were both on twenty threeme and then once I went off to college.This is like four years later, so this girl came up to me and- and I had seenher round because we chatted a little bit here and there and I knew she wasadopted and she said Hey. I was looking at someone's instagram and I saw thatyou were neutral friends with with this person. How do you know them all thisstuff? And so I said, Oh, I met her through Adoptin, we went totrentogether and then she was like wow. This makes soum so crazy, but I justfound out that she's, my biological sister, and so they both live in theUnited States and it's very interesting to see both of them because I know bothof their tagram handles and stuff, so I've loved at different pictures andthey look alike, and I have met them at separate times within my life, which Ithought was very interes, yeah, that's acazy what a smal tas you knoall world, that's absolutely insane! I wanted to kind of circle back also,if that's okay to the search process itself, so we've kind of on the podcasttalked about the generalities of it. But so did you find somebody to helpaig you like a searcher when you were, you know really goinginto your like birthparent search? Yes, so that was a tack that took acouple of weeks because when you look up oh birth, carent, searcher, China,Jung Shi province like not a lot comes up or it's in a different language andI've taken a little bit of my andoring, but I'm definitely not fluid. So Ireally relied on Google translate and other people's translations, and solooking through the different facebook...

...feeds, I was able to find a fewsearchers names and the person we ended up going with her name is Jane and she didn't have like a direct email ordirect phone number, and so part of the search was was like. Is this personeven real? Can I can I get a hold of them? Are they available? Is this a dream? com come true kind ofthing, and so I was able to contact Jane through anAPP called Weed chat and so that's kind of what we did, and so oncewe contacted her and kind of worked outdates and pricing ind differentthings. She said that we could search with her for a week and she said morethan a week would not be helpful. She said a week was about perfect, and so before I kind of went to China, she andI worked on my wee chat post, and so this is like a wee chas flyer that canbe sent virtually or have people scand a Qr code and my like little flyer.What would pop up- and so my mom, Jane and io through my senior project,worked on the different information we wanted to use within that flier. So weput my like two or three photos of me at differentages. That was really helpful, like profile view, so it wasn't me andfriends. It was just me. We included a little bit about where my finding placewas. I was supposedly found by a police station within China and kind of how old theythought. I was and then, of course, a little bit about mylife within America because you want to get people excited in one wanting tohelp you. So I mentioned a little bit about my hobbies and where I went toschool and that I was a good student and all these other different things tomake it e a little bit more personal. So once we created that Flyer, we typeit up with an English and then Jane. She translated it all into Mandrin,which is super cool to see. So we had that, and so that was again partof my senior projects. Okay, wow. What what is the general cost of a searcherfor people who are thinking about Hihin when I thinkg about looking for one yo,say yeah, so I actually, my parents didn'treally tell me the cost they just kind of Calk, with Jean separately it's by day. So so you med a searcherby day, and I believe it's like two hundred two hundred fifty possibly per day, and so she does all the translating. She doesall the connection making she's really the Lieson between you and and everyoneelse, and she works with you before you. You go to China and then, when you'rein China, so we actually used her twice that summer, because my brother alsodid his birthcurrent search a week before I did isorry yeah. So that wasreally cool. So we got to work with her two weeks in a row and actually got toform a connection with her. So that was cool. That's really cool and I feellike that. I than they don't do all of that. Obviously, for it you know theyrtheir people, but to have that connection. It kind of as that personaltouch, to the experience yeah exactly and first of all, like one of thequestions I had was: What do you look for within a searcherand through the blogs and different articles? That I read is that you wantsomeone super superknowledgeable of the place, so we asked Jane Okay. So wherehave you done, birth, current searches and what provincees? How many successstories have you had and something that was also unique about Jeane was thatshe also did adoption kind of journeys. I that makes sense, so she helps parents go and adoptchildren and she, like translated. So she saw that side of the adoptionprocess and she was able to then work with families who had adopted to seethey could fined their biological family. So it was kind of a full circleand she was the fhull package and she was friendly kind. She was very, veryknowledgeable and she really just like took our hand and kind of said. Okay.This is what we are going to do, which was very, very helpful for ever family, that's fantastic and that's having someone who has those differentviewpoints for the process itself, I feel like is really an invaluable assetto you know the whole experience to yes, Super Super Helpful and anotherthing that I kind of learned throughout...

...this search process was just how have you heard of like thebirthparent tryad thing? I don't think so. Actually so it's your birth family, your adopted familyand you and it creates a triangle and there's a lot of there- has to be pain and sorrow in thetriangle like there's: Okay, I'm gonna, Resay, Thatokay, sorry, so there's thebirth current Tryat, which has your birth family, your adopted family andyou, and in this triangle there is sadness andpain on both sides, because obviously your birth family had to give you upand for your adopted family at least in my case. My parents had a lot offertility issues and they were really really sad about that. And then me Iwas obviously sad about possibly losing my birth family and I was scared aboutjoining my my new family, but within all that pain and sorrow, there's a lotof joy and happiness that can come out of it because, even though the Birfamily may not know this, but I ended up in a very safe, loving home and myparents were really happy because they now have a child and I'm happy becauseI have a lot of opportunity. So there's this idea of this birthparent triadthat I kind of learned about through my senior project, which was very helpfulyeah. I think that is beautifully, put and accuate. You know just analysis of the whole idea of like adoption in general andlike what that means and how, how deep that, like all of those emotions, candivine just that's really yeah. I really like that. Yeah and I don't know- have have you kind of thought Abo. The adoption process likeme means a little bit because that's kind of what I was thinking about goingthrough my search I've. Definitely I think quarantine hasespecially how long quarantine has been, is really allowed me to delve intothose emotions and kind of Dube into the community itself, which issomething that I never really felt the need. I mean I had slight desires.You know to ams going through facebook, you know other any doctor groups outthere, but I never really delved into what all that is, but I think overquaanty and I've really kind of been able to sit with myself on those thingseven as uncomfortable as it may feel. Just how how it's at one point, one fascin ofour lives, but also how deep that FASC it runs if that makes sense. Yes, I totally understand and feel thattoo I mean through my search. I was able to kind of understand the darker side of adoptionand what that kind of meant within my story, and I think that's reallyimportant for people who want to go through thes rprocess to understand very fully in depth about like the one child policyand how the international adoption process wasa very big kind of moneymaker for China, and sometimes that led them to dothings that what that weren't, so ethical, such as like incentivizing parents, to give uptheir their kids or kidnapping children, and so learning about that during myduring that one month, senior project was very ig eye opening, because I waslike oh my gosh like is this? How I came to America by like Wa I kidnappedlike, was I taken away when a family wanted me and so processing thoseemotions and kind of understanding? What that possibly could mean was veryhelpful before I went to China because a lot, a lot of it in China was oh.This is this is your story. This is this is where you were left but as like,as I was reading articles here in the states hat realized that a lot of theinformation that they give you within China or on yourdocuments are falsified in some way or another, and they don't actually wantyou to like find your birthparents, and so sometimes they just pick a map andsay: Oh, you were left at this market.

You're left at this police stationYoure left at the steps of the orphanage when that really wasn't e thecase, and so there's a lot of mystery behind it and just kind of grapplingwith all those emotions about what that possibly mean and so learning that wassuper helpful, also watching the one child nation. I know that came out alittle bit after my search, but that's a really good movie to watch. I know it's one of the things that Irecommend constantly say this in my life on the podcast and off. If you aretied to a Chinese adopter, if you love a Chinese Dappy, I personally thinkthat that's something that you should and almost have to watch to fully ifthey're going through their adoption, O need to fully understand what thatmeans. Just to get a idea of the kind of tumultuous feelings that someone isgoing through. I think that's the one of the hardest things about being aChinese adoptty. Specifically, I can't speak to the other doptic experiences,but having to sit with the idea that, though the little bit of informationyou may have is potentially and even most likelyalready a lie and kind of building breaking that down and then building those those concepts back up aboutyourself. And what do you choose to accept, as this is my truth, and whatcan you live with? Is Understanding that it's? It could not be. Your truth,I think, is one of the hardest things to sit with yeah. Definitely, andthat's one of the ththings that that Jane told us I mean she said that youknow some of this information may not necessarily entirely true infinofpeople really like to people, please and kind of tell you the informationthat that you want to hear, and she said that there's even been cases whereyou do have kind of a story of Oh, like this person found you at the farmersmarket and then lovingly took you to an orphanage and then they actually like paid people to kindof be actors or actresses in that story. So when the Birst or sorry when thechild comes forward, these people are saying. Oh, yes, I was the one whofound you at the farmers market and they like crying. They have picturesand they tell you this the story, but it's not true, and that is what's likekind of messed up, that they would't do that yea. That's like I there's a part of methat they understands why that happens. I think, but at the same time it's hardsitting on the other side of it. To imagine how someone can lie about sucha personal experience for you and right yeah think they want you to find somekind of like peace and some kind of reassurance, and they don't realizethat by telling you a fike story and fultifying. That makes it even morehard for you on your De, like I', rather hear the truth that you don'tknow. Anything then have something be like made upyeah. I would a hundred percent agree with that. Andi've noticed pretty much, not notall, but you know ninety nine percent of the adoption sos I hear from China.It's always you know I was sound on. I noticed so many of us were supposedlyfound on like the steps of police stations. It's just if that was all tothe policeations would be littered with children. All lovingly left in basketswith like a Momento of whatever that doesn't exist anymore, like that's, is OAS wor to that's what would behappening exactly? What would you say were the mostvaluable things and actions that you took in your birthparent search whenyou were still in America that aided you down the line? I honestly the biggest things thathelped me was looking at those online videos anddocumentaries and movies, but also reaching out to people within thosechats and kind of trying to piece together. What should I do? What isimportant, honestly, finding my searcher andreally like working with her? That was super impactful, because we did a lotof work beforehand before going to China and Nhot work really like set usup correctly, to be able to do a search that was very effective. Another thing that I thought was reallyhelpful was just being able to do a little bit of background research on myprovince and kind of know what the trends were, concerning: birthcarent,searches and and like were they popular was a scenario where kids were normally kidnapped anddifferent things. And Luckily for me I did some research and we worked withthis Guy Brian stor like around two...

...thousand and twelve, and he came backwith a report specifically on my province and, and he said no, yourprovence wasn't really known for for kids being kidnapped and differentthings, and so that gave me a little little bit of peace of mind. O knowthat I wasn't kidnapped and so knowing kind of what your province trends arebefore you go. There was very impact, so we talked aboutbuying story in the past on this podcast. In brief- and you know, heoffers a variety of services on his website, so the birth parent analysis Hor you feltgave you was that the one the birth parentanalysis or the with the province analysis yeah. I believe it was. It wasa province analysis, but he had my name on it, but it was specifically gearedtowards kids who are adopted from Jongshi province, okay Gotcha, so youfelt that that value okay, I have always been interested in caus. I'velooked up, you know who hasn't fallen down the the search rabbit hole at liketwo am before I', always seein those services, the offers and wondered. Youknow what what would be the most applicablefor me and my search, and I think that that's that's really cool that, likeyou found that it gave you really good value, and I think that that now itkind of has me wanting to you know, look into that one in particular yeah. It's definitely cool to have allallthose documents, and I think it is. We sent Jane all the documents that wedid have from the worknage that that they provided, so she could kind ofread them over. I mean they said this kind of the same, similar things thatare already knew about like where theyfound me. How much I weighed like my health reports different things but atleast having your supposed finding place was helpful, as that was one ofthe first places we went to see if they did remember anything D and of coursethey didn't because was one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine. All thesepolice people had probably moved out or gon somewhere else, and they didn'thave cameras back then, and I didn't really ow, you can't take reallydetailed notem. Oh this baby didn't have a lot of hair and they came in onthis day, like it's really really hard, if there's so many kids coming through,so I yeah, but but they tried yeah now that's andit gives you a ice tigting point, even if it's not accurate, if it doesn'tgive much, it's gives you a place to begin your journey, which I thinksometimes starting is the hardest. Not Always, you know, obviously there's alot of other hirde stuff, but sometimes starting and that jump point can be thehardest step to take in all of it. Just knowing. Where do I begin? Were there any other services, either Ond by stories websiteor through other people that you had considered and think could be valuable to peoplein their birthparent Ach? I honestly think Frian story is kind ofthe way to go like in terms of knowing more background information. I wouldalso recommend, obviously different DA bank, so, likemy tap rout, twenty three and me all those different kind of databases thatChinese adoptese can connect through and then obviously just there are somany amazing, great facebook groups that that you can Ajoin, especially ifyou're, if you are very close with your adoption agency, I wous just joiningtheir pages, because there's definitely going to be people who have the sameinterest of finding their firtparents d and You can connect with them throughthat group and, of course, you haven't shaned common like root of having thesame adoption agency. That's a really good idea actually, and then you can kind of see like istheir success out of your specific orphanage, even or from people in yourarea from your adoption year, because I think that that's one of the thingsthat people forget when they're talking to you know Chinese Adoctsis or justadoptes that aren't you know the most clean, wibbon and Bo kind of situations.You know, sometimes you, the Reccor, the longer you go ifyour records are already sarting out, is not accurate. The longer you go orthe farther back your adoption, the harder it is to even get any kind ofsuccess story, especially from the earlier years of Chinese adoption whenit was not as clean as you know, the process is known for being now, yes, Imean so so true. I heard about this story about this mother, who adoptedher daughter in two two thousand and five, and she decided to go and do abirth, current search for her daughter when she was really really young liketwo or three years old, just so that...

...iewanted to have this information inthe future. She would be able to provide her daughter with answers andher story was actually pretty hard. I don't know exactly what happened, but Ithink there was some like kidnapping or something along those lines. That wasnot so much of a pretty story, but she would the mother, the mother wastotally committed to telling her daughter the truth and invite sizepieces of what was age appropriate and then to have the full story when shewas older. If she wanted to know a little bit more, and so I thought thatthat that was pretty cool because, as you know, that information kind ofdwindles away the older you get because people move on they move away from thatspecific area. People pass away, so it's very, very important important toget it as soon as possible. Absolutely that's wild, because it's kind ofraises an interesting point is as the ADOPTIV mother. What do you do findingout that your child was kidnapped but from a compete like literally the otherside of the world? Do I America, if you find out, I mean I don't think it would necessarilyhappen where, like babies, are kidnapped, not notasfecantly, kidnappedAmerica and then giveen to another family, normally theyr, if they'regoing nok, be kidnapped and raised normally inspie the kidnappers. Butwhat would happen in America? Would the child go back to the birth family?Imagine so. But what do you do when it's literally in China and it's awhole different situation? Do you? You know? That's just Heis a really interesting ethical point.I think yeah and the ethical point continues whenyou think about. Oh, my Gosh, since International Boction does cost a lot.Our parents kind of gave money to the orphanage, has donations and differentthings, and sadly the orphanage really depends on those donations and sinceininternational adoption grew really really big parents were wanting to go to China andand get different kids and different things, but that Bundeling of moneykind of supported. Oh my gosh, we are running out of kids within thisorphanage. We need to go, find more kids to feel this internationaladoption e, so that can be kind of hard or for people to kind of see and understand that their parentsunknowingly sometimes funded this cycle of needing to find more kids to fillthe international adoption system. So exactly a lot of ethical points forsure for sure I think China's again, I don't know much about other countries,adoption systems they could be just as complicated, but speaking to knowledgeof China. I think it's extremely much more multifaceted. Then you know the averageperson ever would even begin to think of the adoption passes. There's just somany ethical points, and so many you knowwhat ifs and there's so many. You know deeper stories that if you just digeven just a little bit you're going to uncover this rabbit hole of you know just the most insane absolute kind of tragedy that you can imagine it', just it's deep it UN. So deep yeahyeah.Definitely so you mentioned something before aboutthe Datis, and we talked a little bit about how you did twenty three and me.Can you talk a little bit more about you know what turning your twenty thind me test into.Other database results yeah. So I also downloaded my DNA intomy tap route, and so what I did is you, who there's a place on twentythree and me to download your Rod, Dna Code and so what it looks like as abunch of weird letters and numbers and looks like like random code, basically,and so what you do. Is You want us to just upload that as a PDS or word fileand what it does is in my tap route and their systems, they do code matching, so they see like okay.If, if this is your DNA code, is there any other people within our database?That has similar t DNA code, and so these kinds of things are very longterm perspectives that I like to take,because the birthcurrent search doesn't stop just at doing your at one week ofsearching right. I it continues on and-...

...and it continues on through thesedifferent DNA databases as more people are willing to have their DNA betakenor they're more familiar with the idea, because maybe what ten or fifteen yearsfrom now, maybe one of my siblings will be on there. You know andit'll, send melike an email fifteen years from from nowsaids hey, you have a connectionright, and so it's this proactive thinking, and so I'm not like hopingthat they'll be anything super soon. It's really my tap root. I've, like briefly looked through itand I don't have any clear matches, but it's helpful to kind of upload yourDNA just in case there is a machine in the future. That's awesome: Does it cost money toupload that Vadata to other, or at least my taboo, that youknow of I'm trying to remember, because I didthis all during that month of my senior project. I don't think it mosts moneyto upload your DNA, but if you want to be part of the community and get likeupdates and be able to see your other matches, I think you do have to pay afee. It's it's a yearly fee. So it's like, I feel like it was like Ifty d fifty toSixtyola, and I think we did. You could do a onetime fee for a lifetime subscription and I think that was like ahundreddollars or something that sounds way more worth it. Unless you get likea media result which I don't think anybody ever does yeah exactly, and soI think my family did the lifetime subscription one and, of course, there's all differentkinds of teenage databanks that are hout there. Some people I know whenthey are all in their boker ensearch. They try to bring DNA kits to China tosee people can kind of take them, but that kind of brings up different issues.EPAUSE you're transporting people's like saliva, so bodily fluends across country lines, and so that can get halittle carry and you don't know where to store them and just different things,clike that and so another thing that they're doing is they're paying forpeople to just have kids delivered to their house or have kind of a localized testing center,or have a data bank within China that that collects all this. But thenthere's the question like: Oh: Are they messing with that data? Sometimespeople I like to have outside data sources outside of China to be doingall this matching and different things, so it really depends on what your beingon DNA data collecting US yeah. That's that inn of itself, I think, isbecoming you know more what at one point its becoming more mainstream, atleast in America, but at the same time the the behind the scenes is becomingmore mainshim as well as like what? What are we giving away by doing thesetesting? What are we giving up, and what does that mean for other countriesto do those things? Do we trust America with our GNA? Do we trust the Chinadatabases, I think, as the technology both becomes morefamiliar to us, it becomes more foreign if that makes sense, yeah. Definitelyand of course, with all this artificial intelligence and DNA and finger printsand cameras like it's, it's even more complicated with who do you want yourgine going to and what will it be be used for and can it be used against youin the future and and all these various questions, and will it be MI misusedand will there be a data breach, sothosere all very important questionsto consider and what I want to remind people of it's like definitely do notlike upload your data without parent and Sen or if you're above eighteen,that is great but but make sure you have someone that you trust to talk toabout and don't just randomly upload your Abligerdna to random websites.That's yeah! That's Monte way to go yeah the sounds dangerous, yeah consult, consult, other people. Letthem know what you're doing exactly have a parent involved, yeah,absolutely and then so. We've talked a lot about.You know the stuffs you took stateside to prepare for your journey to China. What were there any other steps thatyou did in proparation? For you know this potentially life altering journey. Well, one of the biggest things. I knowthis sounds really kind of like dumb, but we had to coordinate all sorts offlights because I was actually going to do three weeks before my birthcarrentsearch. I actually volunteered in...

...essecial needs orchanage and bazing bymyself, and so I had to coordinate my flights for for that and then mybrother was was going to come to China towards the end of my three weeks andjoined me for a little bit before he did his Bbirthparent search and then my family, my mom and dad were going to fly andmeet us there, and then we were. We were going to take a train, and sothere was so many like configurations and an all thatlogistic stuff and- and on that note we also had to deal with a lot of visas,which was a little bit stressful, and I can definitely tell you more about thatyeah. Can you explain the visa process? I think a lot of Americans had thisidea that you know with our American passport. We can just kind of goliterally whereeverwone. We can just kind of stay as long as we want, but I doubt that that's the reality thathappens when we try to travel to other countries, especially China, forexcended periods of time yeah. So I've been to Trina multiple times and whatwe've always gotten is the tourist visa, and so it's a normally like a five yearvisa. So you can go anywhere. You want within, like the five yearperiod, come back and forth, but you can't stay more more than like threemonths or so, and so this time, when I applied in two thousand and eighteen,we had the option of doing a Tenur visa, which was great because then I couldnot have to go through this process for another ten years and I could come andgo as as I please, which is awesome, and sowe went to our local passport place. It's calledpassport health and they help you with all different kinds of visas, ffordifferent countries and reapplied. They recommended that you apply about twoweeks before your trip and so to be on the safe side. I started the processabout a month before, because I wanted to make sure everything was settincedone and good for my parents it was really easy because they had they wereborn in America. They have American passports, they got their visa withinthree to four days because the consulate for China is in, I believe,Dallas, and so it all the people ere get get shipped to Dallas, and thenthey send it back to Austin, which is Great Kso ar you yeah exactly and so. For me, though, atfirst I just gave them M my us passport and we gave them my adoption papersaying: okay, yeah, I was born China, but I'm I've been adopted into anAmerican family and I'm a US citizen right and we just sit ship them copies and thenthe consulate was like. No, we want the original copies of all these differentdocuments. So My us, oh my gosh, it was like my China Burt Certificate and thenI have a Texas birth certificate because that's just how it had to ork work outand then so we had to send all these different kinds of pap work again andit was really stressful because I was thinking I think I was supposed toleave Jane Sorry July, first or so, and we had to ship all of our stuff toCalifornia, and so it was expedited the night before my trip. So I didn't knowthat I was going to be able to get on the plane and be able to leave, becauseI didn't have my visa until like five in the morning. The day of my trip andso thatas are very, very spessful. So, oh my gosh I'd be like Soetti bulletslike Oh, my goodness yeah, so it arrived in the nick of time. So I woulddefinitely advise you to do your visa early and make surethat you have your all your documents within hand, and they may ask you formore than what they originally said, especially since China and US relationsare very much changing over these past few few years, they're a lot harsherand I don't think they're offering the ten year visa anymore due to differentpolitical matters. But yes, just D. definitely just do allyour research and applyately. So when you so you said,you had the five year tos fesit and you can stay into Trina. I think you it upto three months at a time. Yes, I believe so it's like you can't staythere, obviously years and years, but you can enter and exit as many times asyou want. I believe in those five years without having to apply for anothervisa, which is wit, but you can't stay there indefinitely, because you're, nota citizen and you don't have a work visa aand. Then you need to reapply, ofcourse, after the five years, if you want to that makes sense, yea hat's really interesting. I guessbecause I've never I mean we know about you, know vesus in America, but I don't think many people haveconsidered and delved into like what it...

...looks like to travel for Centey periodsof time in other countries or to go back and forth yeah, and- and it'shonestly like, if you do it early, I've gotten my visa before for the touristvisa, and it has been no problem. It's a really pretty piece of paper. I thinkit has the Great Wall of China stamped behind it, and so, if you have apassport and you travel a lot, it's kind of cool because you can havedifferent Momomamentos of where you've traveled, based on this Damce, that youhave that's, that sounds Nice, I don't know, isitjust. Sounds Nice like yeah. Is there anything else that you want totalk about about your stateside portion of your birthparent search yeah? I guess I would say that I don't know, I would say like do a lotof research beforehand and honestly journal and Vlog. While you do yourtrip, because I wasn't able to do that, but I would definitely recommend doingthat as then you'll have a really good kind of sense of what your journey isgoing forward. That's a really good, really good advice, because I imagine there's you know.Like you said you know, you grew a lot. You learned to lie and just to see that tangible change inyour personal journey as you go through literally a life altering experience,io'd be really really unique to have yeah. Definitely so we're going to actually havecomaback for a second part of this interview, we're going to in the next pit we'regoing to dove into her actual time in China and what youknow what her birthparents are evolved into in China itself. So please I hope you enjoy this firstpart of HOMIS interview and I hope that you come back for the second part. I'mreally excited to be talking about that with her, and I hope you guys areexcited to hear about it. Thanks for joining us today, though, tune in forthe next part and many other episodes from somewhere between. If you'reinterested in participating in one of our episodes, you can email us atsomewhere dop between that podcast at gmacom, Dorno, instagram family at someword between DFAM and stay connected with updates, casting calls and a wholelot more. Thank you again. FEMMER FOR COMING ON AND LL TALK TO YOU AGAIN SOON.

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