When I turned fifty last year, I can’t say that I felt very happy about it. I wrestle with myself almost daily to exercise self-compassion in a culture where youth, beauty, and perfection are idealized. It colors my world. It’s much easier to be self-critical and unforgiving, indeed my Achilles heel. When I wrote my book, Beyond Two Worlds, I felt inspired to share my story with others – my struggles with identity, my own fears, insecurities, and losses, the emotional and psychological impact of being adopted and curiosity about my origins. I also wanted my book to have meaning, or a higher purpose. There are plenty of adoptee memoirs on the market, and I have enjoyed reading several. I think we have stories to tell that are meaningful, and the telling is much more than cathartic.
On Sunday, I was feeling rather down, but a good friend reminded me of what I’ve accomplished over the last year – the year I turned fifty. It’s so weird to think of myself as fifty because I don’t really feel it, except for maybe the little aches and pains here and there. It’s good to remember what we’ve accomplished in a great once in awhile, especially when feeling down in the dumps, right? I completed a master’s thesis. My advisor and I approached the project as though it were a dissertation in anticipation of me entering into a PhD program, and it took nearly a year and a half to complete with the literature review, the interviewing, transcribing and coding. I wrote a book, and the release date is just around the corner. We sold our home in Arizona and bought a new one in California. I started a brand new job in a population I’ve had very little experience with. My husband and I are now empty nesters. Everything familiar to me has become like one of those dreams that you want to hold onto forever, it was just that good. I know that I’ve been mourning the losses for weeks now, and things have certainly gotten better, but somedays, the losses are felt more deeply than others. This was one of those weeks.
Lately, I’ve also gotten very caught up in marketing my new soon-to-be released book – trying to figure out how to recover the costs of self-publishing, etc., etc. I’ve been so afraid of losing money and feeling that pressure that I lost sight of the bigger picture. I want my book to have some meaning other than just getting my story out there. In all of this, I was suddenly struck in the moment to give back – and that came in the way of making donations to a particular orphanage in Taipei, Taiwan that I’ve been following for some time now. The name of the orphanage is Taiwan Xi En. Its name, 台灣希恩, means “hope” (希望) and “grace” (恩典). It’s a fully licensed orphanage that receives referrals from hospitals, social workers, and individuals. They’re able to care for children from birth to age two in the House of Hope nursery and can house a maximum of fourteen babies. They’re seeking licensure through the government to facilitate both domestic and international adoptions in the distant future. The self-critic in me began thinking of other adoptees who might criticize my actions – those who do not support international adoption. I consider myself an advocate for adoptees and the first to support the provision of monies for family preservation. This is not always possible, and many babies with special needs often have a better chance of being adopted by families abroad because of the cultural stigma in their birth countries. Any demeaning comments made on my website regarding the support of this orphanage will be promptly removed. I still believe that more post-adoption services should be made available to adoptive families and will always advocate for this end.
So, with that being said, for every book sold on my website, $1 will be donated to Taiwan Xi En, specifically to provide necessities for the babies. Books are still available for pre-order on my website. I will be announcing a formal release date soon and a date when books will be shipped to you. In the meantime, please check out Taiwan Xi En’s webpage and learn more about this orphanage. To all of you out there who are reading this post, thank you for your interest in my work and for your support! In some small way, I hope that my book is able to have impact on the lives of other orphans. Perhaps one day, some will write their own stories to share with the world.