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Somewhere Between Podcast
Somewhere Between Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

Interview: Spencer

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Join Aimee and Chinese adoptee, Spencer, as they discuss what it’s like growing up in an LGBTQ family and society, and the unique difficulties they faced growing up. They talk about their struggles with identity and connecting to Chinese culture as well as how they are reconnecting with it through their college experience. Spencer also talks about their difficult adoption backstory in which they learn more about the circumstances of their adoption and initial foster family. You can find Spencer on Instagram @spencer_mdm.

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Intro: Lights by Sappheiros (https://soundcloud.com/sappheirosmusic)
Outro: herbal tea by Artificial.Music (https://soundcloud.com/artificial-music) 

Welcome back to another episode ofsummhere between a podcast line by Asian adoptees, Forasian adoptees hi,guys welcome back to another interview, episode of somewhere between I'm amyand today were joined by a special guest Spencer. I spensor thinks forcoming on thanks for having me, of course, where Havin have you? Can youtell us a little bit about yourself yeah, so my name is Spencer. I was bornin one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, and I was so it's a little bitcomplicated, but the long story short is essentially. I was adopted fromHunon province when I was a little over a year old, but I was born andoriginally found in Guonggong province and, as I said, I was adopted a littlebit after one years old. I think my parents arrived like the week after mybirthday, and it was actually one of my fatherscame with my aunt who's, my godmother and that side. To pick me up from Chinaand the other one was staying to watch. My older brother who'd been adopted theyear prior and I currently live in Northhampton Massachusetts, but I go toschool in New York at Baster College and currently I'm a full timed student,but I will be graduating this spring, which is very terrifying, but then, after I do have to take moreclasses because I'm hoping to apply to med school, and I have to finish outsome of the prerequisites- mice, that's Oh my gosh, that's so exciting. I'mvery excited very topical time to go into MED school. I feel, like Oh yeah. I think definitely having timeand quarantine to reflect more on like what I'm interested in and talking withdefinitely people my family, who are health professionals and vassor alumni.It really helped me make that decision. That's awesome! Well, congratulationson your almost GETCU way, San! It exciting! Thank you of course. So whatwas going up like for you in general yeah I mean growing up- was interestingbecause my parents- they told me this later, but they actually specificallymoved to Northhampton because it was known for being a very queer friendlycity. The only interesting thing about that choice was that it was very queerfriendly. It is still very queer friendly, but most people have lesbianMOMS, so we weren't bullied for having two dads. It was just like still adifferent thing from a lot of people. I thought that was like a funny situationand that they were like oh we're trying to make it not weird for you to havegay parents, and it wasn't weird it was just like. Oh, you have two dads andeveryone else's two MOMS yeah, so that was interesting and I think growing upand being part of the LGBDQ plus community. It was definitely easier tofeel more comfortable in that, because you know I had two dads who were Gayesolike what were they going to say? No, you can't be gay. I, and also like my community, waspretty quir friendly, so that made it a lot easier. That's really good that Ithink that's one of the most important things that you can have if you'retrying to find your identity in that, especially in that kind of sense. Sofor the folks at home. How do you idontify, if you feel comfortablesharing that yeah I mean I identify as PansexualI've also like used bisexual? I sort of I know that there ares a difference,and I know some people are like care a lot about that specific differencepersonally like I think they both hit towards what I'm trying to get at andnot like. I really just like people, but I do understand there is adifference, so I sort of iew some interchangeably, depending on who I'mwith and what situation I'm with, but I think I originally identified more withpensexual. I also identify as Translon Binary and when I was Oh man when I was much younger, I sort of had a inkling that, like Iwasn't Siss, but I didn't have any vocabulaty for it and I didn't reallyknow what that meant for you know living my life. So I so it's interesting because a lotof my friends that I've talked to who have had to come out in the more Ithink, notnesay traditional, but the larger experience of a lot of peoplelike I didn't have that with sexuality. Because, again my parents work weer,but I definitely have that igender because I think, like one of my fathersgrew up in an immigrant household he's, a first generation college student andItalians have very standard ideas of what gender norms are. I feel you onthat one yeah they do yeah and also like my grandparents, like myparents, are definitey n, the older side. They grew up. I think they dotechnically qualifies boomers, so they grew up, especially when that was likevery much more of a thing tha that was prevalent in like how people conductedthemselves, and so I think, with my father. It was definitely a lot for himto wrop his head around and also he is not very medically versed, he's hefaints at the sight of blood. So that was, I think, the other partthat was hard for him in terms of any...

...medical things. I did my other father'sa doctor, so he was like I got this. You want to do this, you want to dothat and they you know they were both verysupportide in their own ways and but it still was't the moment of like comingout, and that was way more terrifying than I actually expected it to be, butit ended up being fine, so that was good. That's good, though that's I, Iactually recently came out to my parents within this last quarantine period, and I lokd thank you,but you know, even though I didn't anticipate you know, I had no reason toexpect any kind of negative action, so people kept saying why so nos like? Whydon't you just do it and I couldn't quite verbalize, even though you thinkthat nothing, even if you convinced that nothing will go wrong, it's stillreally terrifying in a really strange way. No matter what I think, no matter whatyour, however, your parents are or Havewirthe relationship is it. I think it's always going to be a little terrifying,no matter who you're coming out to othe context. Of that, I should say I think part of it is also you. It is amoment of vulnerability and that you're sharing a part of yourself with someonethat they may not have automatically assumed oranticipated. And so, even if you know in your heart that you won't getrejected, that, like people still love you regardless like there is still thatfear of. But what if and I think that that fear I mean fear in general- issuch a powerful emotion, but especially that what, if can really make it hardto say certain things? And I think that you know it'sespecially with mainstream lgbtq media, not that there's much of it, and evenjust with people shrywing personal counts, like so many accounts in theLGBDQ plus community, is that their parents or other people or friends,loved ones, don't accept them for who they are, and so that I think that,especially for algbtq kids is such an inherent thing as in part of ourexperiences, or at least what we see from media and from other people'sstories. And so, even if you know that, like your parents aren't going toRedact, you that's still always a possibility, and I think especiallyit's adopttis. It it hits much closer to home in a lot ofways, because you know a as adopties. I think I don't know if you experiencethits, but I definitely got comments of like. Oh, your. Your biological parentsdidn't want you, they didn't love you and stuff like that, and so thatlevinly makes that sort of insecurity a lot stronger right. I feel, even thoughyou know the abandonent issues may be like. I don't know if, like the primalwon kind of thing or tha, the built in trauma of adoption, even before it wasbought into like the education of that kind of thing, just the cognitive ideathat everyone says: Oh your parents didn't want you. So now you have theseparents that is like who says that to children, but yet that's something thatI I think ewer adopt. Ye could vessinate with that people would say tothem at it surprisingly, young age, when I think about it. I just rememberthat, like you know, kids are great and they can be very cute. Personally, I prefer children from afar, but at the same time, like kids can bereally mean like when you're young, when you're that young a lot of times,you don't really have a strong filter and you sort of just everything up inyour brain, just go straight out your mouth and fack a lot of times thatisn't a well fhought out thought, and so you will say things that is, youknow not necessarly the kind of thing to say, and so I think about things Iheard as a child and at the time illbousally is like. How could anyonesay this like what the heck, but then, when I think about it as an olderperson who, like has done some research on children as a psychology? Major I'mlike well tit kind of makes sense to be honest, like it's, not okay, but itdoes make sense yeah, it's so crazy, like the things that we filter in andout as kids and adult it's like, you said, Theyr, like mostly thething pe dont filter, ont, his kids yeah, exactly exactly every littlething right from the brain, like you saidright from the brain iat the mouth into somebody's face. Yeah, unfortunately, can you tell us a little bit more aboutwhat it was like going up for you yeah? So I grew up in Massachusetts. For those of you who don't know,Massachusetts is a very wit state, and so for me, I think growing up,something that was definitely difficult was being often being the only personof caller INA room or one of two, the other person beingmy brother, and so I went to my friemily, also wanted to have a more, I think, a little more of a neoncededucation. So they enrolled us out of school. That I mean my brother and Ijoke was in Hippi School and, like that's, only half a joke because itdefinitely was, but it was definitely more focused on...

...getting kids to like move and interactwith the world as opposed to just sitting at a desk and like trying tomemorize stuff, and so I think that was. I think Ienjoyed that form of education a lot more. But the difficulty is most of thekids who went. There were white and I was one of I think, maybe four Asian peopleby the time I left that school, because there was one adopte from South Koreaand I think he entered in second or third grade and immediately everyoneasked if we were related. Oh No yeah and I was like first of all,youall know who my brother is because he alo een here. As long as I have beenhere and second of all, I had never seen this man in my entire life, so that was an interesching experience,but it was funny because we actually ended up bonding over the fact that wewere. You know very one of very few pcs in the school and everything I thoughtwe were related, even though we're like you've literally never seen is together,but that definitely makes sense. I startlike rushing yeah. Definitely that is it's one of those things where you yourlike. No, we don't know each other, but you gravitate towards each other,naturally, so that everyone associate you anyways and it's yeah exactly alike. Well, I guess I unintentionally accidentally kind of proved your point,but here we are, and you know at least something good came out of Ital Right.I actually I have a new friend now so jokes on you yeah, so it worked out kind of, and I will say like it was interestingbecause I went from that school where you know by the time I I think I leftso. I left in fifth grade right before middle school and there was still very few tpocs. I don'tknow about now, because I've been out for a while, but I think like I endedup being close with H, the kids and the school for PSC and around my age,because there were so few of us, and that was something we definitely bondedover, because we would get weird comments and, like I mean I will saymost of the time, people didn't mean anything bad by it, but my peple andoetly say things that are her. Ful will stay with you even aftr. You grow up, but I think I was lucky and that theyopened a Chinese language emersion program when I was around the age wofstarting middle school and they were only accepting people at kindergartenand sixth grade and then later on. Once my class hit that grade ninth grade, and so I did middle school and highschool at this school, and it was very small every time I say that in collegepeople are like every time anyone starts with. Oh, my class was reallysmall and, like I guarantee it, was still larger than mine. I graduatedhigh school with eleven people. Oh, my gosh, that is yeah. That's call the closest I've gotten to be like when people say small, theclosest I've gotten to was thirteen people, so that was pretty impressive.Okay, okay, yeah most people ere, like you know, I had like a hundred a couplehundred people in my class and I'm like. I had very very much less than that, soI don't know what to tell you. I think that definitely helped a lotbecause it was like it was a chance for me to learn Menderin in a structuredformat. So it was, you know, there's more motivation, because a you'regetting grated and be everyone else around. You is also learning it. Soit's not as it's not as much as having to do self driven learning and also youknow you can practice with people around you at least in class. It was alittle awkward to like do it outside a class, because we were missing a lot ofvocog or like we can't really correct each other right, but it also gave me achance to connect with the culture, and I think that was really quol experience.For me, because growing up my parents, definitely I will give them a lot ofcredit. They tried very hard to get my brother and I to learn Mendrin and tobe involved in cultural aspects and cultural holidays. So we did celebratesome of those because Smith College is nearby. So there's a lot ofinternational students, especially Chinese students, es met, and so when Iwas little like you know, we hire babysitter and usually theyere SmithCollege student, and so they would try and help tutor us or just like do likefun. Cultural events with us and yeah so, like my parents, tried really hardand I get them on a credit. I think the problem was when you're a kid growingup in a very white community where you already stand out, because you don'tlook like everyone, you definitely are less inclined to continue to do otherthings that make you even more. Unlike other people around you bit, it's you'Reven you're, standing out even more different for yourself even more, eventhough you know you want to celebrate that it doesn't feel like you'recelebrating it feels like you're. Just like hello here, I'm different exactly,and I think that for me, I'd always wanted to ect more with my culturalheritage, but I didnt get made it very hard when, like I would learn somethingand then go to school, and then you know get mocked for something relatedto being Asian, and then I like well now. I don't really want to do this. Iso definitely switching to dhiscided for middle n high school was reallyreally helpful for me in just coming to terms with my own identity and figuringout sort of where I, where I identified...

...and where I connected with my culturalhirotage and also especially with transitioning, because one of myfriends, her parents, one of them, is a professor of Asian rekand studies andthe other ones. A professor and Gender Ing Women Studies, that's awesome, sothat was really cool and really helpful for just getting more of the. I guess:Officials not necessary term. I guess getting more of the academic side ofthings, and it just gave me language for certain experiences or certain feelings that I had that were, you know,had official terms or had theories behind them, and that was jus reallyhelpful to conceptualize my own identity, and you know what was commonin the communities versus like what was something that was more specific to myvery intersectional identity, okay, yeah. That makes a lot of sense, andthat sounds like a really really unique time to have different dvantage pointscoming in and your education to which a lot of people don't get. At least Iknow I didn't get into public school yeah, and I think also the nice thingwas that starting in middle school to learn. Mandran meant that I mean yourbrain. If studies are shown like your brain is definitely better set up theyounger you are when you start learning a language, so I think for tme.Learning mandrid starting in middle school meant that I didn't have as muchof the struggle that friends hat my college, even who started menderindmuch later, have had in just like absorbing any parts of the languageyeah, and so I think that made it much more accessible for me now is you knowI guess I'm an adult technically, but as an adult for like relating to all ofthat and understanding cultural, you know norms or values and also justbeing able tospeak mender, and I will say my mandarn has gotten a lot worsebecause I don't use it regularly yeah, I, theoretically a comes back if youstart studying more that's what they say, so they sa that's my hope. Soafter you know growing up- and you know you made a really big effort and yourdads to to kind of keep you involved in your culture. Did you do that continueon past high school into college as well yeah? I think Atvasser was really interestingbecause growing up there weren't that manyAsians in my area and so in middle and high school, especially because I wentto such a small school. I don't think our specific ethnicities were theyweren't super relevant in the sense of we just sort of accepted, like you know,we're all Asian Americans and that's really cool and like we have certaindifferent cultural backgrounds, and it's really cool that we can likecelebrate different cultures in that way. But you know I wasn't always like I'mChinese, I'm Chinese and like that was you know I am Chinese, but I think forme I related more to the idea of being Asian American as a whole, becausethere weren't that many Asians in my area period and I think in college. Itwas a very interesting shift because think people had a lot more pride abouttheir specific ethnicity and I think that's really cool. It was just like avery disorienting thing to suddenly have it be, like you know, state yourethnicity when I'm in a room of all Asians, because I was like, I neverreally thought of doing that. I think in general. Ui Wasst, like you know,I'm an Asian American, but I got involved with the Asian students linsmy first year, and it was definitely interesting to see how people who hadgrown up in more diverse areas or had had more experiences with AsianAmerican Studies or Asian Studies, AF vaster, how they viewed being Asian andalso. I think it was a chance to branch beyond just faster college, because we did do somelike we went to Ecasu, which don't know exactly what it Sayds for, but issomething on the lines of the East Coast Asian American Students Union. Ithink- and that's just basically big conference on the East Coast, and theyhave all these panels talking about being age from a Natian American and itwas really cool because there was an adopte panel or an Ad Optdepenoli Forum.So I went to the forum and I met a bunch of people who were also adopted,which was really cool. Do you think that my experience, at least with a lotof adoptes I've met on the east coast is but different, because I went tocultural and language emmersion program from Iddleon High School? So I have, Ithink my authinity towards iheritage culture and like Asian Asian culturesin general, is a little bit closer than a lot of other people' experience justbecause they haven't had that chance to be as immersed in learning, and so Ithink, especially when you're older learning it it there's definitely moreof a disconnect. So that was a little bit antried. That was very interestingto navigate in a room full of other adoties and that's something. I've alsobeen oviating at bassor college because senior, who graduated last year, shestarted a casual just like adoptin meetup, with two other people, and Ihave sort of I helped planet now this year and I Sart Hof helped out a littlebit last year. It's just been really cool to have a community, that'sspecifically adoptes and Yo. I mean I...

...feel like now as the senior I feel soopsaying it, but like all the younge kids are just they're, so cool andthey're really wonderful, wonderful human beings, and I think, likeespecially with the Asian Students Alliance, my sophomore year, I servedon the exact board. I was the administrative Lyazon, so I was incharge of organizing our biks of little sit program and that experience wasfantastic because I got to meet all of them a little bit earlier, because Iread all their forms. So I was like I had a general sense of this person but,like obviously that's not a complete picture and then I was like all right.I got to make these parrings. I know not a whole ton about everyone andpersonally, like because I was the person making the parrings I like gotto ses, who I wanted right. Yeah t a was really nice, because I my littlesids are great. I really love them. I think that being on the exact board wasreally helpful, because I definitely had a couple of first years come up tome at certain points and just say like: Oh, you know I'm way more comfortablecoming to the space, because there is an adopte on the exact board and I feel,like my voice, is also represented, as opposed to. I definitely feltunderrepresented, my first year because there was no adopte on exact board andI think sort of a statement that often happens in a spacewith a lot of Asians is. Oh, we all understand what this is like yeah,that's not true, because there are people who are second end. ThirdJunfortune Asian Americans, their adoptes. There are people who have notexperienced what the majority of people, often in a groom of Asian Americans,have experience, and so I really like personally, I try to stay away fromthat statement because I think, even within one identity like even with inthe oft the experience, that's such a radically different experiencedepending on the family youwre adopted into depending on the area you grew upin depending on who was around you like. that. Just definitely is different, soI think those statements can be somewhat harmful to trying to build acommunity because its sort of the paradox of bying to unify and not like if we tryto unify, often we're going to exclude people that would still fall under theidentity that we're trying to enify around, but also, if you're so diverse.Sometimes it can be hard to find a common thread, and so I think that,like that's sort of the thing I've navigated with the Asian community outpast here, but also I've gotten some really great friends, thout ofe tryingto be in those spaces. So I'm very thankful. That's awesome and I wish Iwant to fast the way you talk about it. I'm like that sounds like a great timelike I don't know. I just think it's. It sounds like a really greatexperience for you even further developing your identity journey. Youknow that never really ceases to stop right. That's definitely continuousaspect of life and I will say, like you know, tosars, obviously not perfect. Itis still a Pi aprotominanlth way institution, but but I definitely thinkthat I've had a great experience in terms of being Asian, just because IVfound really wonderful friends who I can share like I can share stuff withthat feels like we generally understand each other and, like my house this year,like all of us living in the house, are Asian American and that's been a reallywonderful experience, because there's just some things that you don't have tosay like we ere trying to make houseroles and we were sitting therewe're like. Do we really like what do we need to specify? Because for me thebig thing is like: please don't wear your shoes in the house? Yes, thank you.IIT's ous Yeah Yeah. No, I lived with a bunchof people that a sidetrack, but you know I love with a bunch of people. Ithink my second year out of college Ilive with fourther goals. So five ofus one households and my whole life I' always taking my shoes off because justit's dirty outside. Why would you bring that into your hole? God it so Goos tome, but people would constantly with their shoes and like even when I movedto apart with just one other white person like I had to say thatexplicitly and everyone like when her parents gave they didn't do it. It wasjust it was constanty like. Oh, my God, teclean the floors. Now it was just like this constant thing that got bout bevenbeing bought up, but every time I join his zoom call wish other adoptees orAsan people in general, like they're, like they lift their shoes in the Houser. You GIT, like it's so inaharit so yeah. Now what you just said about youknow you having infut like rules, is bilted very strongly. rassinated withme live with a bunch of white people. I love them if you're listening, I loveall of Thoue very much yeah AK yous off, please anyways. Sorry, it just makes sense,but that was the thing was like living with other Asian Americans, especiallybecause, like I've been friends with all of them since my first year, so youknow, we've had a lot of time to get to know each other, and I think that therewas just things that made sense to us, and it's also really nice, like thecomparison of being on campus with being home. Is that you know I love myhouse. I love my family. I love the fact that, like I grew up veryimmergien in Italian culture and, like you know, the Irish nive is loaingaround their summer. A yeah. That's really wonderful to grow up with tohave these two European cultures in the...

...household. But obviously the fridgelike I feel like food is a huge example of culture and also a really grat way.Tho WER NA ave culture and like a bridge in my house here versus thefridge at my house of Vassar, are very different fridges. I no one is a lot oflike varry European fizal. Often there is apotato there's a lot of potatoes in the bridge in the Pentry. Like way, I thinkwe just never run out of Pasta. We have me so much post in the pantry all thetime, any time we're low immediately. Someone goes to the store and buys alot more pasta, Yep Yep TAT's, a lot of stuff like that and,like you know there are my parents like to try Asian cooking. You know I thinkthey're just like having fun with it. They want to learn they gant to learnabout the culture. It's probably not afthend. It's definitely not likesuperauthentic food, but they're trying their best, and I appreciate it yeah.So you know you'll find into Asian seasonings in our pantry too, which iskind of Nice, but then, like Bastars, like you know, we always have Asianfood in the fridge like most of our pantry has like any sort of Asianingredient. If I want to make anything, that's Asian like usually where ourpantry has it, or it's very easy for us to buy, because we found like a littleAsian Markin your by and the woman who en it, I kind. So it's like been reallycool in that way, and I think that contrast is so interesting being athome because o goon the fridge looking for something and be like. Oh yeah,like that's, not something that my parents would have just bought withoutthinking yeah. I definitely I feel like whenever I tryto make a dish that isn't even slightly even like a themed after my culture, I,like okay, well, not have to go to like find an Asian Goser and get twentyingredients that I don't have. It often seems like much more laborious thaen. Sometimes itfeels worse when, especially when you're hungry, so that is- and I thinkreally Isespecialy. If you don't Cook Asian Food A lot of times, because thenit's like I've bought alldens an I'm just going to sort of sit in my friedgeor my pantry for a while and then maybe I'll use them again. And then it's likewhy anm ly buying all these things, as opposed Lo, if you're, constantlycooking Asian food- and it's like okay, like that totally makes sense, becauseI'm just going to use it all the time exactly. I feel, like you know, likeTjius, I'm also rased by an Italian family, at least on my Dad's side, rItalian. He goes to an Italian mart. Every single week, kind of Italian,like he'll, drive like twenty thirty minutes, just to go to like the one indeup, Philly and little Italy, and we have, I think, about ten bucks e Pastain the Pantry and any time I can't even imagine, asking hom to cook anything.You know Romoly Asian, because it's more of like a themed night like whenpeople do like Taco to his day. That's what it feels like when my parentswourdto try cooking anything kind of Asian, not inherently built inn, justlike a one off kind of deal, so that is, I guess I never would have thought likethe contrast between the two, but it's so obvious, but for you to experienceboth in your everyday life in a different sense. That's dycodily, two different things and that's show my hund. I think that'svery much my life experience with college versus being at home becauseyou know at home like there's, definitely fewer Asians in my area andlike there ere, definitely lef far amounto Asian people at my high schooland Middle School. So you know a lot of my friends at home that I hang out withthere still Asian, but at college like I was thinking about this recently butlike most of my friends are Asian or Asian American and you know obviouslyinm friont of the other people as well. But I think it's just interesting howthat sort of conversion in college, but definitely as a kid like I neverthought that would happen, and I think that was always something that wasdefinitely hat. I think it was interesting inconversations with other people who hade grown up with that background,because for them there were so many things that were just so natural or soeasy to talk about, and for me, like, there are a lot of things that I had tolearn how to talk about and get comfortable mentioning, because youknow bringing them up in the past didn't always yield the nicest results. Yeah. Definitely that IIT's interestinghow we see our friend groups develop over time, especially like you saidwhen you go up in a predominantoyeah and then it just it always. I think highlights just how not Osay that all like you said not tosay that all exfenses, you know the same by any means, but it is highlightsjust how such like the like your identity, Wunso deep. At the same time, too, even if you have all these experiences, it'sstill its such a unifying thing, not in the sense that everyone's Sa same, likeyou said, but just it gives you that inherent baseline to talk about andkind of build that relationship even deeper Soi tufor sure- and I think alsojust like hearing about this podcast and like just knowing that there weremore adoptes out there. Like talking about our experiences, I think that,for me was just very powerful in the sense of I hadn't, don't think I'd had any sort of mediarepresentation where I felt like very accurately repredid, because a hugeproblem I have with the way that...

...adoption is talked about in media and NSocial Media. An the Internet is that adoption is always the butt ofsomeone's joke. It's always about some kid who's broken because they wereadopted or you know they were a whole unhealthy kid and they found that theywere anopted and suddenly they like start doing drugs or they get. You knowthey suddenly develop mental illnesses out of Milwher, which is not exactlyhow that works either yeah. But I think that, like that kind of representationwas just so frustrating because it was basically saying that you can't be, youcan't be a well addusted loved child if you're adopted, which is absolutelyuntrue. I mean obviously there's going to be things that are more inherent to theexperience like abendonment issues are probably going to be a bigger fear fora lot of people who are adopted, but you know that you can still be a welladjusted person, and you know your family still very much loves you. I mean at least I hope so, but I thinkye like, at least in my experience like. I definitely know that my family lovesme and I think that that's a very powerful thing in terms of arelationship with anyone, but I don't know, I think, with media like that'sthat's why it's so frustrating it's just like it. This my experience is sopoorly represented and often not represented, and so hearing that therewere adoptes trying to tell adoptee stories for adoptis was really reallycool. For me to hear. I'm so glad. Thank you. That wasdefinitely thoug and that's. I think my favorite part about doing the podcastis, like you said every well. We have this unifying. You know there arethreads that keep us together in the sense, there's also the like this unthought about. For some reason. Iexperience that we all have different experiences. We all have differentlives. We all have different relationships with our adoptevefamilies or adoption as a sense. In general I mean, I think, that a lot ofnonadoctors would be surprised to find that there are a lot of adoptes thatare also against adoption. You know it', it's very multifaceted, complex thingand heaing everybody's unique story, I think, is probably my favorite partabout being on the podcast and I'm glad that it resonates with you. As someonewho you know listens to us and then has joined this on the podcast yeah, it'sreally exciting. It's also a little terrifying to think that, like peopleare going to be able to hear me talking yeah, but it's also really cool Lik Yah,I'm very happy. It's just like. It definitely is weird to think. Like. Ohpeople will be hearing what I sound like and like they'll know about me, and I won't evenknow who they are listening, that's yeah. I Know S O little funnystory for everyone. Listening it tor you with particular the first timewe've acorded our introduction. Just you know about a minute long. It tookus about to. I want to say at least an hour because we vote out in e entirestrik. I think it took multiple days because we were so nervous thinkingthat Oh, my gosh, we're going to speak and everyone's Goinna is to mortalizeforever and I think, every day I worry that I'm going to Shov my foot in mymouth on the PODCAST, but I've kind of accepted that the lititer is going tobe sitting there. Thinkng well Amy's really weird, but I hope hope it's nottoo bad. So don't worry, you're totally. Fine! Everything you said, I think, isreally really powerful and I'm really excited for people to get to hear whatwe're talking about today. Yeah. I think you think youbout it. Ithink a lot about this stuff for sure, because you know it's my identity andlike I have a lot of thoughts about it, butalso, I think I have a lot of unflesh out thoughts, and so I think alsothat's, what's so important about having these spaces for adoptees is itgives you a chance to? You know think, through your experience, try and figureout how you feel about it, which you know obviously can change over time, and it gives you that space to do so ina space where you know that other people, at least on some level, havethese similar understanding or are willing to work through it with you andnot Lek. You know, you'r not going to get judge for saying something, becauseI think a lot of people are surprised. Ome Hear that there are doctes againstadoption and it's you know. How are you supposed to explore that feeling orthat experience, if you are afraid ofgetting judged, are having this extreme pushback from someone who isn't comingfrom that identity, because also as like everyone, hopefully, as everyonehas learned, because I mean I've personally seen this a lot on theInternet, but it is always apharently, more exhausting for someone whoseidentity it is to talk about a hard experience than it is for someonecoming from a different identity, because it's not their experience, it'snot necessarily their emotional labor, that's being done, and so you know, howare you supposed to explore a very vulnerable topic in a space where youare afraid of sharing right? Exactly and like you said, we have theseunflash ideas. I think a lot of things you know again, depending on where youare in your adoption, your identity journey, especially with adoptionthey're, just fagments of thoughts of...

...you know for one second, you know what,if I wasn't adopted well, that doesn't mean to say that I don't love my life,but just what, if I wasn't adopted, but you know all of those things you justyou have them for a flash of a moment. You want to express those things andtalk about it without fear that you're going to get you know a thousanddifferent voices screaming. How do you even think that for a second exactly isthere anything else in particular that you wanted to talk about about? Youknow adoption your identity, Yo know your journey through Tou everything sofar. Yeah I mean I would say it's a very like it is a journey and Ithink for me it's a journey with no end, because I always find new informationor hor new experiences that I think definitely will change how. I feel thatadoption, because you know growing up, everyone says lake. You should begrateful for being adopted, you would have like died or like starved orsomething in China, and I'm like well Ey. We don't actually know that and belike. I am grateful that I have parents who love me very much and very try andtri very hard to keep me connected to my culture. At the same time, like youhave no business telling me what I should or shouldn't be grateful exactly, and so you know that's that's the wholething, but I think that you know my feelings. It being adopted have shifteda lot because for me I went back to China to to try and find my birthfamily and I actually found a foster family and then I did get my berthcertificate, but it was sort of at the period of before going to college, andI was I think at that point I was like you know. I have this lost your family,I'm also about to go to college. I want to spend my time with people that youknow I'm friends with before our life changes foreveri. So I didn't really golooking for my birth parents after that, but I think connecting with my fosterfamily was a very powerful thing, but also very much shifted how I felt aboutbeing adopted, because you know it changes the narrative from Oh. I don'tknow why I was given up, but you know you can kind of assume it was probablybecause of poverty or in the cases of other adoptings because of war, and sothere's usually more of a like ambiguity about it. But then, once youknow that you were given up very deliberately, because essentiallywhat happened was my aster parents were trying to have a baby and my fastionmother at the time wasn't able to conceive and then they so they whenthey were migrant workers, ind wolg done province. They were asking around, like you know. Ifanyone hears about a child being left, let us know because we really want tohave a child, and then they heard about me in like the morning and they didn'tknow. If I'd still be where they'd heard, I was left by theend of the day when they were off work, but they did end up finding me and Ithink, an interesting sort of sidebar with that is when they found me, theywere saying like they were like you were very sickly. You were covered andflies. It was very hot. That day we thought you were going to die and I wastalking with my adopted Dad woas a doctor, and I was you know we weretalking about that that whole story and he was like honestly, probably part ofwhy you had such a strong immune system as a kid was because you were exposedto so much like that day, one and almost dying. I was like interesting, so that was an interesting thought, butyeah anyway, so they ended up adopting me and then they, the official in thearea at the time, had said, like. Oh here's, a piece of paper basically mesigning off that like this, is your kid he've adopted them, but in Tringaouneeded like a specific red slip of paper. That was an official adoption,tor him to get which they didn't get because the official basically saidlike. Oh, it's, fine I'll. She kip you my signature. So then, when they migrated back toHnonprovince, which is where their family lives, they, you know thegovernment. Essentially what happens was they migrated back and they had?They took me with them and then kind of out of nowhere. My foster mothersuddenly became pregnant, and so the government gave her the ultimatum ofeither you. You know you can keep this baby you've adopted, but you abort theother child or you keep both kids, but you have to give up the baby that youadopted for adoption again, so Itas definitely a big moment. I was a bigturning point. I think in my very at that point very short: Life Yeah, so that- and that was like my foster,dad basically said for him. It was a matter of saving both lives, becauseyou know China is consernedive when it comes to your portions yeah among anyother things H, and so I think for them that was definitely the actof. Thatwould be like the act of killing a child, so he was like you know. Bygiving you up to the orphanage, I was hoping that you would still have a goodlife and also you know we wouldn't be killing this fedis and it's a veryinteresting thing to work through to here. Like you know, it's one thing tobe given up: Ror odoption, because you know your birth familyis, very poor,and you can't afford to raise you it's another thing to hear that, like thegovernment gave your faser parents an ultimatum and they made a choice togive you up, and so I think that was you know. That was a hole, new layer ofmy adoption that I was working through at that point,...

...but I think it was important to me tofind out and it does make for a very interestingstory in like background I'll say that my mind is kind of blown honestly wow.I can't even imagine- and you found this out a couple o years ago- you said-and so I think it was in nine or tenth grade, and it was it was like. I meanthat's a you know: Youre Fourteen fifteen, your brain is still developing you're, still developing asa person and like to find this out in a very I think, critical point in mydeveloper was, it was very, it was very impactful and I think it was also definitely a tough pill to swallow atthe time. I think now it's like you know it ended up working out and it wasthe kind of thing where my foster parents gave me up and then my fosterdad did visit me in the orphanise a couple times, and then he came like athird or fourth time he showed up and he was like they just told they werelike you'r. This kid got adopted by American parents and they're, not hereanymore, and he was like what's going on. Oh my Godil thing to find out and it was. It was the kind of thing,though, that when we, when we went back to the village- and you know Iconnected with them and then I went to Tron Crarl, which is where they livenow it was it was you like. You could tell that he had key. You know youcould tell you could definitely tell that. My foster father really did loveme and like that was a very hard choice for him and I think with my Fostanmother, like she, doet was less expressive, but you could tell thatthey definitely cared and they were happy to see that Ih'd grown up in likea healthy environment yeah, and it's very interesting because you know Ithink they really want to have more of a connection to me than necessarily I think I do, which isnot to say. I don't want a connection, but I think, for me, part of it isstill figuring out what I want that connection to be versos for them. It'slike you know they knew about this, this child that they had to give up andso they've nurtured this memory, for I guess I'm on twenty one, not likethey've, nurtured, thes memory for like twenty years and yeah versus like I metthem when I was fourteen or fifteen, and I didn't know what to do it. Thatinformation- and I still kind of don't and like I think it's really nice tohave that connection to people, but at the same time, like it's hard, becauseI met them once or twice in China, and that's really about it and like now,it's just texting each other for we cat which, like I don't even check thatoften rigt yeah. It's it's a lot to take in for anybody. Even you know, asa fully developed adult like a wheel. Adolt is what I call them. I'mdefinitely not what Lut alone, you know someone just going to high school, youknow and Navigating High Hihi school and college are some of the WeirdestTimes to navigate as you you know, develop you get all these ideas andjust having something like that thrown into the mix, just not not something totake lightly for sure yeah, and I will say I do think I wasvery fortunate for being able to speak some level of Mendarin because I cancommunicate with them versus, like. I think, I think, of fear. I'vedefinitely heard among adopt Jesus like you know. If, even if I meet my birthfamily like how do I talk to them like I can'tspeak, my Lifi can't speak that language, like I, and I don'tnecessarily like I don't necessarily feel- is connected to like the culture.So how do I connect with them? Even if they are my birth family and it's youknow, I think my whole thing without its. I think that part of it is beingis think it's the difficulty of like ifyou want to learn any new language or any culture, it's going to be hard yeah.In this case, I think it's much harder because you're doing like there's amuch larger emotional element to it and also like, I think people need to bekinder to themselves when it comes to that process, because we are so oftenlike. Oh, I want to immediately be perfect at this. I want to immediatelyunderstand everything and I think that's what makes learning a newlanguage, especially one. That's like your cultural heritage. I think that'swhat makes it so difficult because, like the Asian languagers are reallyhard, they are very difficult and I think people like need to be like youshould you got to be kinder with yourself and you got to be patient withyourself, because those trying to learn those is going to be very much ajourney, not a sprint, and I think that you know, especially if you' learningolder, like the fact that you're even willing to try and learn, is verycommendable because that's very hard. I've had friends in college whoustarted learning mendered in college and I'm own away because, like I startedlearning in middle school and it was hard, but at least my brain was like in a place where it was more able toabsorb all the information, but to learn college like I can't imaginestarting another language, just sort of out of the blue, an college, especiallyif you only spoke one language, because theoretically, it's easier to learnanother one. If you already speak more than one yeah, I don't know, I'm stillstruggling yeah. I think everyone just needs to bepatient with themselves. When it comes to those things, because it's it's notas simple as just memorizing a bunch of words and then- and you know basicallypicking up the language, it's learning...

...a bunch of words and having anemotional experience of like what does this mean we like? How am I feelingabout doing this yeah? What is it? How is this impacting me? What does thismean potentially in the future? How does this change my relationships with?You know people I meet in the future, who can speak Mander and does thatchange my experience within the Asian Community and there's a lot ofquestions I get brought up and I think that you know being kind to yourselfand being patient is what's going to get. You thing is going to continue, motivatingyou to learn the language, because you know you're never going to startperfect, that's just unless you're some kind of Promegy, which Ri e you're never going to start perfect,you're always going to make mistakes. I make mistakes all the time when I speakMenderan and, like you know, some people are kind of of when they correctme, and some people are not very kind about correcting yeah. I think a huge part of learning alanguage is just getting over the fear of like making a mistake. Yeah you willmake a mistake. Ou will definitely make mistake. That's part of learninglanguage also. You learn from your mistakes. Hopei Gol at least yeah. You want to learnfrom your mistakes. That's that's how you learn. So I think that I think that that wholeexperience is. I think that, often when you're learning in like a formalsetting or you're learning with people who don't have that same experience ofbeing adopted, it can be very difficult because you know they aren'tnecessarily expecting everything. That's going to come with learning thatas an adoptte when it's your cultural heritage, yeah o that definitely makessense. I I guess I never again you say it and it sounds soobvious, but I never thought about you know all of thequestions that you mentioned when you know learning a new language. I'vedefinitely thought about. You know what how do I feel connecting with somethingpart of my culture, but I think that was the biggest thing but you're, evenif you're not consciously aware of it. Those questions that you brought upabout. You know everything else that comes with learning, especially inAsian language, especially as an adopte. It's there, even if we don'tconsciously make the choice to think about those things ehexactly, and I think like that's, whyI love connecting with adoptees so much just because I have been very fortunatein that, like I have had the chance to connect with my cultural heritage werin Manderin, like I've. Had that chance, a lot of my friends at school are Asian.I've been I've, definitely learned a lot more about other Asian cultures,and you know, like a lot of last year, a lot of my friends that I spent timewith Wer Korean. So I had a lot of crean food, which was wonderful shoutup to that house because they sed me a lot last year and it was great and Imis her cooking immensely but, like you know, a lot of my friendsat college being Asian and Asian American means that, for me, there's a lot of questions thathave come up just from being around people who don't have the experience ofbeing adopted. Thut are also Asian or Asian American, and so I've had a lotof time to think through these kind of questions or these kind of feelingsthat come up. So that's why I love connecting with Adoptis, because noteveryone else has had that experience or even been in an area where there'smore than like five Asian people, Yeah Andso, like it's just cool, to connectwith them, because it's like you know I have Ini, have like not information,but I have experiences that you know could benefit you if you want to engagemore with your culture or Asian Culture in general, or you want to learnlanguage like I've. Had that experience, and so I'm very happy to share thatwith people who are interested in hearing more or interested and alsotrying to learn about themselves or just Asian cultures in general and likeI took Intredo Asian American Studies, this term and I didn't realize howpowerful it would be to sit in a classroom where the majority of peoplein the class looked like me, or at least shared some form of culturalbackground, and I remember the first day sitting there and like, admittedly,it was on zoom, but even so, like being taught by an Asian American professorand then also looking at the screen, where almost all of my classmates werealso Asian or Asian American was so powerful. Just to finally be in a roomwhere I wasn't the minority wow yeah. That's amazing. I think because Iremember the first moment that I was you know in acgugest, in the crowd, noteven like learning and engaging knowing that this was going to be. You know thefuture for the next couple months. The first time I was in a crowd- and I wasno longer the the minority- and that was extremely impactful, let alonehaving you know, an entire class setup where you're learning about you knowwhat that means to you and what that means as a whole in society with thepeople that also reflect you ith. That's definitely I something unique andspecial to remember for sure. Thank you again for joining us today. Censor.It's been amazing. Having you, I love the converation withbeen having, and Ihope, Iove to have you on the podcast again sometime for maybe a topicalepisode, but for everyone listening if you're interested in participating oneof our episodes, you can email us at somewhere that between that podcast,that you will not come and O' forget to join our instagram family at somewherebetween that FAM and Sey connected with...

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