a whole new world

I have become intrigued by everything Asian, specifically things related to Chinese culture and to Taiwan. It surprises me how strongly I feel about this. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve become a little too obsessed. Am I going overboard? Is this a mid-life crisis? Have other transracially adopted adults gone through this kind of searching later in life? When I explain to friends and family that I’m taking Mandarin lessons, going to Taiwan soon, and really exploring my cultural roots, their reactions are often encouraging, but I don’t think they quite get it. Perhaps they believe that this is just a phase I’m going through similar to a kid going through adolescence. It has, after all, taken half of my lifetime to get to that point of wanting to learn more of my cultural heritage. Twenty years ago I would never have thought twice about pursuing a search for my biological sisters, planning a trip to Taiwan, or learning Mandarin. There was no hint of a desire whatsoever.

I am happy that this new chapter of my life has begun. I’m not sure where it will all lead, but it’s an adventure. Recently, I’ve been watching a Taiwanese TV drama called, “Meteor Garden.” I had a hard time getting into it at first because it’s targeted for a younger audience, but I must say I got sucked in. I’ve begun to pick up on a few Mandarin words and phrases here and there. I have a growing list of Taiwanese dramas that I want to watch! I’ve also been listening to K-Pop (Korean pop music) and Taiwanese pop music lately. I’ve been enjoying it and am getting acquainted with popular Taiwanese singers and bands, like Jay Chou and Jerry Yan. I’m sure there are a lot more great artists out there.

I still have many questions about my adoption. One thing that still mystifies me is why my adoptive parents told me that I was Japanese and Vietnamese. My birth parents were both from China and moved to Taiwan where I was born and adopted. When and whythey moved from China to Taiwan, I’m not exactly sure. I would like to know what happened to the adoption agency, The Family Planning Association of China, as it no longer exists. I’d like to know if Tze-kuan Shu Kan, the director of the agency, is still living. My adoptive mom also kept a list of orphanages in the Taipei area. I wonder if she visited all those orphanages before finding me? I would like to visit one of those orphanages in Taipei while I’m there in January. Of course, to find one of my biological sisters and meet would be beyond wonderful and would most likely lead to some of the answers to my questions. Maybe going to Taiwan is just the beginning. I hope that more doors open up. I don’t think that this is just a phase. I think it’s a growing appreciation for my birth culture, an opportunity to explore it and expand my identity. So, I may come off a little obsessed, but it really is a whole new world.

23 thoughts on “a whole new world

  1. Alisa Pearson

    This has hit home reading your article . I was adopted by a American couple when I was 18 months old from Family planning association of china in Taipei Taiwan March 1966. I have been trying to find my biological family . .

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    1. jazzygirl Post author

      Alisa, thanks so much for visiting. I’d love to hear more about your story. You can contact me via the Contact link privately, and I can provide my personal email. That’s incredible that you were also adopted from the Family Planning Association of China in Taipei. We were adopted the same year. I’m so happy to hear from other adoptees from the same orphanage. I hope you’re able to find your bio family. The Child & Juvenile Information Center in Taipei may be able to help. Their agency web link is listed on my Resources page at the bottom of the page. Please keep me posted 🙂

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  2. Amy

    Hi there, I came across your blog from an acquaintance who shared the link on Facebook. The Meteor Garden photo caught my eye, and I’d like to shyly share with you a subtitling project that I’m working on for an older drama. It’s written by a writer called “Qiong Yao” who was born in China, and then moved to Taiwan as a child due to the civil war. I’m doing this as a way to learn Mandarin, because I was raised in the US, and also like you, am experiencing an obsession-like thirst for all things Chinese, as if to make up for all the years I missed. Enjoy your writing, thank you!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/belovedpeartree?feature=mhee

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    1. Marijane Post author

      Hi Amy, I watched some of the 1st episode on you tube. How awesome that you’re able to subtitle in English! You’re Mandarin is really good. Thanks for stopping by! I’ll go back and watch more of the videos!

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  3. Anne Siebert

    Thanks for replying! If you could send me your email address, I could share a little more of what I know and some of my background. You can email me at ksiebert888@gmail.com. I’m very excited to have stumbled across someone who basically has a similar story as mine. If I was a little older, we could have been crib buddies! ha!:) But I was born in ’68. Email me whenever and I would love to share some stories.

    Anne

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      1. anne

        Marijane,
        I apologize for not emailing you sooner but My home computer crashed and your email information was on there along with the email I was in the process of writing. Could you please send me your information again? Would like to email you before you head out on your trip.

        Thanks.Anne

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  4. Anne

    Marijane, I am quite delighted to have stumbled upon your blog as I googled “Family Planning Association of China”. I was adopted in 1969 by an American family, also like you, through the Family Planning Assoc. of China. My adoption was a proxy adoption, with my adoptive parents staying in the states and family friends who worked for the US government living in Taiwan (but Mr. X was originally from Taiwan). I probably know a little more about the orphanage only I have some old letters from Mrs. X to my adoptive mom. In fact, her mother in-law was on the board or closely associated with this orphanage. Rest assured, she said the orphanage was clean, but a lot of babies. Apparently this orphanage only adopted out babies and not children older than a certain age. One of the letters that I have, titles Tze-kuan Shu Kan as Secretary General, and I would doubt that she is still alive.

    Would like to share my story more in depth with you if you’d like to hear more. From skimming over your blog, you must be quite busy getting ready for your big trip! Congrats in finding your bio family and wish you all the luck in your journey back “home”.

    Best Wishes!

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    1. Marijane Post author

      Hi Anne, I’m also delighted to hear from you! Wow, you’re the third person now who I’ve been fortunate to connect with and also adopted from The Family Planning Association of China. I would love to hear your story and learn more about the orphanage from the info that you have. I understand that the orphanage no longer exists. It was a long time ago, so I’m not surprised.

      I am very excited about my trip to Taiwan and am preparing pictures, etc. to share with my sisters and brother. It will be a blessed reunion! Thanks for visiting. I’m very happy that you stopped by.

      Marijane

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    1. Marijane Post author

      Sadly, we will miss each other. I’m going to Taiwan mid-January and staying for almost 2 weeks. Wish I could stay longer, but then there’s my work! Would love to hear about your trip when you come back.

      MJ

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      1. JW

        Bummer…. we are missing each other by two weeks!!
        are you on Facebook? you can add me by my yahoo email. I am including my my blog below, but it hasn’t been updated for a long time.. 🙂

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      2. Marijane Post author

        I went to your blog. Thanks for sharing! You’re right, it looks like Taiwan has the best food! I enjoyed reading your blog and seeing all of the pictures from Taiwan, as well as you and your family!

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  5. anewmoon123

    Taking this journey is a gift for all of us, Marijane. I know I speak for everyone when I say we are extremely grateful to be included in your efforts to ask the many questions you have. We are as eager to know the answer as you are. In fact, I think we all have our “passports” ready. xo

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    1. Marijane Post author

      Carole, I’m grateful that you’ve been on this journey with me from the beginning. It means a lot. Thanks for your support and encouragement across the miles! I’m always encouraged by you!

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