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international adoption connect

It’s been several weeks since my last post. I hate that I don’t have as much time to devote to my beloved blog these days. I’ve started a new job working in memory care with residents who have dementia and their families. Our residents live in a four storied community, and each neighborhood is designed to meet their needs based upon their level of functioning and stage in the disease process. I’m quickly learning more and more about the different types of dementia. My adoptive mom succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, so I feel that I have much compassion for anyone facing such a frightful disease. There is no cure, and the prognosis is grim. I have a long commute to work, and the work itself is challenging. After I graduated with my MSW in 2015, I would never have thought that I’d end up working with the elderly with memory impairments, but I’m grateful to have a job, to be learning and growing my skills, and to be working towards my clinical licensure in social work.

That being said, I will always have an active interest and passion for international adoption and connecting to other adoptees. I’ll continue to use my blog as a platform to reach out to adoptees and adoptive families and to discuss important issues related to the complexities of international adoption, which are often not understood by those looking from the outside in. Just the other day, I was speaking to someone about a child who was internationally adopted recently. This person expressed how “lucky” the adoptee was to be adopted to America. I cringe when I hear such comments, which tend to be one dimensional, yet know that many are ignorant to the grief, loss, and trauma related to adoption, especially across oceans. Some don’t understand this perspective, but I’m certain that other adoptees know where I’m coming from. On another note, I find it quite interesting that wherever I go, I cross paths with other international adoptees or people connected somehow to international adoption. At Arizona State Hospital, my colleague and social work partner (whom I really miss working with) was adopted from Brazil by an American family, and the psychiatrist I worked with adopted multiple children internationally from Ethiopia and some other countries – I don’t recall which ones. I recently learned that an outside Care Manager who advocates for several of our residents adopted a little girl from Armenia some years ago and went back to the country a couple of weeks ago to adopt her older brother. They just returned to the States. I look forward to talking with her as well as her adopted children in the very near future. God has a way of keeping me connected to international adoption in the most uncanny way.

My hope one day is to further my work in international adoption. To what capacity, I’m not sure, except to finish my book, Beyond Two Worlds: A memoir, at this time. I know I sound like a broken record! I’ve gotten terribly behind in editing my work due to starting my job. It’s a real bummer. My goal is to finish all editing by the end of this month so that my editor, Allyson, can complete her editing process; however, it’s gonna be difficult. We’ll see. My publisher continues to press me to submit the manuscript, but I can only do what I can do. Despite all the setbacks, the book will be published this year, 2017, something I greatly look forward to! It’s the beacon in my crazy world.

Today is my day off. Sigh…We’ll be spending time with our daughter this afternoon over sushi. Can’t wait. The rest of the afternoon I’ll devote to writing. Tomorrow I must go into work for New Hire Orientation – on my day off 😦 Alas, I’m taking a day off towards the end of the month to make up for it and to write. I wish I had the energy after work every evening to write, but I typically fall on the couch and snooze.

Lastly, I came across the quote featured in this post this morning. It was just what I needed. Hope it inspires you too wherever you are in your journey! Oh, and we never found our bed linens (after our move)…

a year and change

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The Faulkenbergs on L, my sister, & mom holding me

2016 is quickly coming to a close, and what a year it has been! We arrived in southern California late Friday afternoon where we’ll take up residence indefinitely 🙂 It’s rainy and cool in Seal Beach, not so typical So Cal weather, but the rain is much needed considering the drought. Our daughter was born in Anaheim, the home of Disneyland, but was raised primarily in Chandler, AZ where we lived for just over thirteen years. As we departed Phoenix, I thought about what we were leaving behind- so many positive and significant milestones were achieved while we lived in Arizona. I’ll miss Chandler very much, our friends and my old stomping grounds- Tumbleweed Recreation Center where I worked out with a very friendly and lovely group of women and fitness instructors, Pomogranate Cafe, my favorite vegan restaurant, Peixoto Coffee where I enjoyed many a seasonal coffee special, Chandler Whole Foods because the employees were so darn friendly, and our church, Redemption Gilbert, which has the best worship team and ministry leaders we’ve ever encountered. I’ll miss the less jammed freeways for sure. Change is scary, too. Moving to a new city and finding the right job and home is certainly anxiety provoking. We’re looking at homes in a region of So Cal that we’ve never lived in before, but have close friends in nearby Los Alamitos. Home prices are outrageous. Nevertheless, the best part of our move is being closer to our daughter, who’s attending college here. As I’m writing this post, we’re eating cookie dough in bed and watching old episodes of Modern Family, one of our favorites!

mecarmenThe last few weeks prior to leaving AZ were hugely chaotic. I was writing quite a bit and trying to organize our house for the moving crew. I’ve hardly had time to process our departure. I spent a weekend in Louisville/Middletown Kentucky where I visited with Carmen Faulkenberg Seitz, another adoptee from Taiwan. Carmen and her husband, Courtney, were beyond hospitable, and Kentucky was absolutely beautiful! The fall weather was gorgeous and a welcome change from Arizona’s warmer temps. Carmen and I had so much to share. There’s a connection between adoptees, and maybe even more so adoptees from the same country, that’s undeniable. I learned from Carmen that she was abandoned as a baby. She was taken in by a group of nuns at a Catholic organization, St. Benedict’s Home for Children, in Taipei, now a Catholic monastery. Carmen returned to Taiwan with her husband in 2008 and reconnected with the same nun who signed her adoption contract and helped facilitate her adoption. She was able to take a tour through the old orphanage, currently headquarters to the monastery. We were adopted from different orphanages in Taipei, but in one of my mom’s diaries, she wrote about visiting St. Benedict’s. I wondered if she had hoped to adopt a baby there. My parents adopted me from The Family Planning Association of China. Carmen’s date of birth is unknown, but was presumed to be around 1962. She was adopted in 1965 by Clarence and Janice Marie “Mickey” Faulkenburg, just a year before my adoption. Carmen found out from her father before he passed away that he and my father were close friends in Okinawa and made a verbal agreement making my adoptive parents Carmen’s godparents. Both our fathers served in World War II and at Kadena AFB in Okinawa where my parents lived when I was adopted.

It was heartbreaking to learn about the difficulties Carmen experienced as a young girl. Her adoptive mother was physically and emotionally abusive often leaving her and her younger brother, a biological son, alone for long periods of time while her father was serving overseas in Korea. She and her brother grew up in Indiana and would leave the house frequently unaccompanied wandering off into the city and asking strangers to take them back home. Today, that would be incredibly dangerous for kids, placing them at great risk for kidnapping, child prostitution/human sex trafficking, or who knows what. Carmen said she protected her brother as best she could and assumed care and responsibility for him. It’s what we call “parentified” behavior. Such behaviors lead to a burden far too heavy for children. Carmen’s brother was never abused, and Carmen felt unwanted by her adoptive mother. She said she believed it was her father who wanted to adopt her. It’s remarkable that Carmen was able to cope with the abuse and eventually forgive her mother. Although she has overcome much of the trauma she experienced, the emotional scars still exist and continue to manifest in different ways. Despite her painful past, Carmen is one of the most uplifting and energetic people I’ve ever met.

fullsizerCarmen and I both have many questions about our adoptions and how our adoptive families crossed paths. We wondered how our dads originally met and what their relationship was like. Did they work together, were they drinking buddies, why didn’t they keep in touch? My dad never mentioned Carmen’s father or any other friends he may have had during his service in the Air Force. Neither of our parents are living, so our questions will probably never be answered. In any case, I’m thrilled to have connected with Carmen and Courtney. We talked about how cool it would be to form a gathering for Taiwanese adoptees one day to connect and share stories. That would really be something.

So, here we are in California. Who knows what the future will bring. We continue to house hunt, praying to find a home we like (and can afford!). I continue to send out new apps and resumes. We’ll be spending the holidays in temporary housing, but at least we’re here. I’ll finish writing my book, Beyond Two Worlds, by the end of the year. It’ll be submitted for publication by the end of January 2017 with a release date of Summer 2017. Lots of change on the horizon. It doesn’t feel quite real yet, that we’ve moved to California. It kinda feels like we’re vacationing as we’ve done so many times before in California. I’m sure in time, everything will fall into place as it should be. Until then, I’m gonna do my best to enjoy the ride.

mid-autumn festival

wholemooncakeHappy Moon Festival! I went to check out the moon cake display at my favorite Taiwanese bakery, AA Ozzy Bakery in Mesa, this afternoon after lunch. The moon cakes came in single packages as well as pretty pre-packaged boxes.

Interestingly, the origin of the Moon Festival is rooted in Chinese mythology and beliefs. It’s celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Today, September 15th, happens to be the exact day of the Moon Festival. As its name suggests, legends (there are several) surrounding the Moon Festival are generally related to the moon. One of the most popular legends told widely during the festival days is that of Chang E flying to the moon. It is said that in ancient times, ten suns existed, and the extreme heat made people’s lives quite difficult. Hou Yi, a famous archer, shot down nine of the ten suns and became a hero due to this great feat. Upon hearing about this act and the hero who performed it, people came from far and wide to learn from him. Peng Meng was among these people. Later, Hou Yi married a beautiful and kind-hearted woman named Chang E and lived a happy life.
4mooncakesOne day, Hou Yi came upon Wangmu, the queen of heaven, on the way to meet his old friend. Wangmu presented him with an elixir which, if taken, would cause him to ascend immediately to heaven and become a god. Instead of drinking the potion himself, however, Hou Yi took it home and presented it to Chang E to keep. Unfortunately, Peng Meng secretly saw Hou Yi give the potion to his wife and three days later, while Hou Yi was out hunting, Peng Meng rushed into the backyard and demanded that Chang E hand over the elixir. Knowing that she could not win, she took out the elixir and swallowed it immediately. The moment she drank it, she flew out of the window and up into the sky. Chang E’s great love for her husband drew her towards the Moon, which is the nearest place to the earth in heaven.

mooncakehalvedHou Yi was so grieved after realizing what happened to his wife that he shouted Chang E’s name to the sky. He was amazed to see a figure which looked just like his wife appear in the Moon. He took the food liked by Chang E to an altar and offered it as a sacrifice for her. After hearing that Chang E became a goddess, folk people also offered sacrifices to Chang E to pray for peace and good luck. Since then, the custom of sacrificing to the moon has been spread among the folklore. It is said that Chang E looks the most beautiful against the full moon on Mid-Autumn Festival. According to legend,  you can see her dancing and swaying shadow in the light of the moon.

Today, the Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival with dances, feasting, moon gazing and, of course, mooncakes. While baked goods are a common feature at most celebrations, mooncakes are inextricably linked with the Moon festival. Mooncakes are often filled with lotus seed paste, are roughly the size of a human palm, and are meant to be cut diagonally in quarters and passed around. This explains their rather steep price ($8.00 for mine!). In the middle of the mooncake is a salty yolk, representing the full moon. I’m not particularly fond of mooncakes; however, I do love many of the other baked goods. And they are really fun and pretty to look at!

 

grown and flown

chair-in-college-courtyard-I love being a mom. The one most significant, life-changing event that has occurred over the course of my life is having a kid. Our beautiful daughter is now on the cusp of starting a new adventure. Next Monday, we head out to California where she will be attending college. We’re so proud of her, and I can’t wait to hear about how she likes her classes and professors, the new friends she’s making, and how she’s adjusting to campus life.

On the other hand, I feel as though I’m on a roller coaster of emotions. One minute, I’m thrilled for her, like when we’re out shopping for her dorm room. And then, I have a momentary lapse in grief, this overwhelming sense of panic that she’s really leaving the nest. I realize that my part is naturally diminishing. I remind myself that she is ready to fly and so very excited about going away to college. I think about how fun it will be starting the next chapter of her life.

Mom & LexOne of the most important things that being a mom has taught me is unconditional love. Seriously, there’s nothing our daughter could do that would make me love her less. I also think of unconditional love as something that’s not earned, but given freely. My daughter and I have a very close relationship, and so saying good-bye is going to be especially hard. She in turn has been grieving the loss of her friends, whom she claims are the best friends in the world. I have fond memories of our daughter and her good friend, Sophia, dancing at many a competition. Sophia’s mom and I lamented the strict rehearsal schedule and all the crazy driving back and forth between rehearsals and competitions. Our daughter worries whether she’ll be able to find friends as amazing and supportive as the ones she’s had over the past couple of years in high school. I have no doubt that she’ll make new friends in college and will simply expand the circle. But she understands that things change when you go away and are moving in different directions.

Being a parent has been the one thing I think I’ve done most successfully (not that it’s completely over yet). Parenting has taught me so much. It’s increased my sense of intuition and ability to have deeper relationships with others. It’s made me wiser and more empathetic. It’s made me appreciative of my own mother, my adoptive mother whom I had a turbulent relationship with. I learned to forgive my mother and realized that despite her shortcomings, she loved me and was parenting the only way she knew how. Being a mom has brought more joy than I could ever express in words. I’m grateful that we have shared such an intimate relationship and that it’s markedly different than the relationship I had with my adoptive mom. It’s scary how alike my daughter and I are in our interests and opinions. It’s also scary how I’ve passed down to her some of my most negative attributes. She is her own person, however. Strong, independent, and kind.

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Happy college freshman. July 2016

As I move forward into the next phase of my life (as an empty-nester), there are many things I hope to accomplish. We are experiencing much change, so much that it makes my head swim at times (moving, the prospect of starting another new job). I have had hopes for a long time to visit two other adult adoptees who were adopted from the same orphanage in Taipei. One lives in Kentucky and the other out East. Unfortunately, my plans always get sidetracked for one reason or another. One day I will make it happen. I want to go back to Taipei and visit my birthfamily. This, too, is always sidetracked. I’ve tossed around the idea of writing some kind of book about my adoption/reunion with my birthfamily. So many adoptees have done this, however, and I don’t want to just write another memoir or book on international adoption. These days, videos and podcasts featuring adoptees are becoming increasingly popular. I feel that I’m too old to start something like that, but perhaps I have the wrong perspective. I have a dream to work in orphan care, but not the kind you think. My hope is that one day, there will be no orphanages and that children will be fostered or adopted within their own countries. There is much work to be done on this front.

For now, it’s time to send our daughter off to college. Wow, it’s been the adventure of a lifetime raising our daughter. So many memories of the past 18 years come flooding back. Some say it gets better as time goes on. Others disagree. I tend to think that it really depends on the individual parent and their own internal process. Those first few months are gonna be tough. There is no doubt about that. I am so proud of the woman my daughter is and is yet to become. California here we come.

i am

It’s always interesting to me the words that people use to identify or describe themselves. I am this or that. Surely, we all identify ourselves in multiple ways. I get a kick out of reading how people describe themselves on their Twitter profile or blog tagline. Here are some words that I came across: Storyteller | Dreamer | Adoptee | Activist | Advocate | Feminist. Parallel Parker and Fully Qualified Batman Villain were a couple of the more interesting ones. And here is an intriguing tagline I found: “Blabbering, borderline, wannabe badass with a wicked case of wanderlust” at a blog entitled Big Mouth. That about sums it up.

When I was growing up, I used to say about myself, “I America girl,” or so my adoptive mom told me. No doubt, I  was very proud to be an American. As an adopted kid, to be American carried special meaning. I’m still proud to be an American, for the most part. As I watch the DNC, I’m filled with nostalgia. I remember my childhood growing up in a military family. I knew even as a youngster there was something significant about being in the military. My father was a lieutenant colonel, a staunch Republican by political orientation, and my mother, a Democrat. Their political views and opinions were as different as night and day. Honor and respect for America and the land of the free became inherent. In elementary school we stood up in class with our hand placed over our hearts and recited the pledge of allegiance every morning. When we drove back onto the military base, the dude in the funny get up gave an extra special salute to my dad. I went to the BX and commissary with my parents, and when my dad retired after 29 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, they gave him a very proper retirement ceremony full of pomp and circumstance that I still remember vividly. We were American. I have nothing but fond memories of being a military brat. I was American through and through. Funny thing is, I didn’t look American. Duh, my outward appearance suggested that I was an outsider, different. And you know what, that is how I came to view myself. Never quite fit in no matter how hard I tried. Subconsciously, I considered myself inferior, although I’m sure that most others did not view me in that way. It became hardwired nevertheless.

I have followed recently some blogs authored by transracial adoptees that I find inspiring. One, The Adopted Life, is authored by Angela Tucker, who began a film series on transracial adoption. Angela describes herself as an “advocate for adoptee rights.” I caught Episode #1 of her film series where she sits down with 6 different adoptees who discuss being transracially adopted. One adoptee, a 20-year old female from Vietnam, speaks of feeling “embarrassed” while growing up because she did not look like her white parents. She states that her eyes were different, her skin tone was different, people knew she was different. Another adoptee, a 15- year old from China, says that she wants to “know the truth” and what happened. She states “it’s annoying not knowing that part of you.” Another adoptee, age 19 from China, further describes the unknowns in the following way, “accepting the mystery is part of me.” I thought that was very well put. There is definitely mystery in our lives as adoptees. It’s a part of our identity.

I also came across a You Tube channel called The Here and Nao produced by Naomi, a Chinese/British adoptee living in the UK. She describes herself as a “UK based student and cat lover.” In one episode, Figuring Out My Identity: An Adoptee Talks, Naomi discusses her views on the topic of identity. She talks about having tea with her close friends and feeling very strongly British, and then visiting China and returning home feeling like, “yes, I’m Chinese.” She explains identity as being “fluid.” A lot of times she feels, and perhaps other adoptees can relate, that she has to be “one or the other” in regards to her English and Chinese identities. She expresses that this often leads adoptees to feel “like we can be neither.” Hmmm. I can relate to that. How’s that for a tag line? Naomi concludes with the idea that identity evolves and that multi-ethnic individuals can integrate both or all identities, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and we go back and forth between our identities. I envision this like the ebb and flow of the ocean tide, or something like that.

I was touched by these videos because the adoptees are much younger than I am and yet also struggle with identity and being internationally/transracially adopted. Sometimes I think it’s just us older generation adoptees who struggle with identity and issues related to growing up in a family of a different race. It appears that transracial adoptees of all ages share the same struggles, young and old, raised in America or the UK or wherever. Apparently, I’m not the only one. I find this to be extremely validating.

Not too long ago, I updated the tagline on this blog from “musings of a Taiwanese-American adoptee” to “musings of a reunified Taiwanese adoptee.” It’s a better reflection of who I am now. The “American” part of me is a given I thought, as I’ve lived in America pretty much my whole life. The Taiwanese in me gets the spotlight. So what’s your tag line? You know, they really do speak volumes.

become

shutterstock_449362561A recent post written by another adoptee caught my attention the other day. The author’s name is Kumar, and he blogs at A Stroll Through My Mind. Kumar was adopted from Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu, India. In this particular post, he discusses a book, Daughter of the Ganges, written by author/adoptee, Asha Miro. Miro chronicles her travels back to India to uncover her native roots. She visits India on two separate occasions, the second eight years after the first. What struck me as I read Kumar’s post was his comparison of the two trips and how the impetus of Miro’s journey seems to change over time. He reflects, “Her first [trip] feels naive, innocent and very good natured. She, as I would do myself, trusts that others have her best interest at heart and ends up receiving information that is not wholly accurate.” I have not read Miro’s books, but could certainly relate to the naivety in which Miro sets out to uncover her roots and the receipt of inaccurate information. Kumar shares that he similarly trusted that others had his best interest at heart, as did I when I first began this blog and the initial search for my birthfamily in Taiwan. I trusted my adoptive parents and the information they provided to me only to find out that the information was hugely inaccurate. Unfortunately, I will probably never know where the lines got crossed. Miro’s second journey to India is quite different. Kumar says, “She pushes people for information, gets the necessary help and is able to create some amazing connections.” Adoptees are constantly pushing others for information. It often doesn’t come easily.

I set out to find my own native roots anxious to investigate the unknowns and find answers. I held no ill feelings towards my adoptive parents for withholding what they knew about my adoption, although I had a right to know. Finding and reunifying with my birthfamily has been one of the most significant events in my life, one that I continue to ponder. That my sisters and family never forgot me and wanted to reunite is beyond wonder. As I have researched international adoption and read the stories of many other adoptees and birth mothers, I have lost the naivety I once possessed regarding adoption. Although I gather that many adoptive parents approach international adoption with the best of intentions and for a multitude of reasons, the very nature of international adoption is complex and rooted in loss, which is oft misunderstood or minimized. The loss of a culture and language, the loss of parents/caregivers, the loss of everything familiar is no small thing, and this grief and loss cannot be understated nor underestimated. Most internationally adopted children eventually adapt and assimilate, yet for some of us, the unknowns continue to be painful reminders that our pasts are not quite whole.

I know that my adoptive parents loved me, and despite the challenges in our family, I loved my parents. It was not easy growing up in my adoptive family, and I was often conflicted by their expectations and anger, primarily my adoptive mother’s, and my own insecurities. I’ve come to terms with who I am as a transracially adopted person, although there are days when my drive for perfection and neurosis drives even me crazy. I’m no longer the naive, “good natured” adoptee that I once was, which is actually freeing. I can’t help but be a little cynical and sarcastic. With age and maturity, I’ve come to a new knowledge, perspective, and understanding.

I have many friends who have adopted children internationally, and it’s ironic that I somehow end up inadvertently in the company of others connected to adoption in some way…One of the psychiatrists I worked with at the state hospital had children adopted from Ethiopia and I want to say Guatemala, and my co-worker, also a social worker, was adopted from Brazil. On the long plane ride to the adoption initiative conference in NJ, I happened to sit next to a woman who had an adopted daughter from China. She wanted to know about my experiences and how I managed. Her daughter is a second year college student going through her own set of challenges. Go figure.

I find it difficult to discuss international adoption as the only alternative. I know far too many adoptees around the world whose stories are not characterized by the “forever family” rhetoric and whose adoptions occurred as a result of unethical adoption practices (that’s another story). Search and reunion becomes extremely difficult as you can well imagine because of falsified information or lack of information. But no matter, adoptees are resilient. I think it’s in our genes. We awaken, we learn, we evolve, we transform, and we become. Sometimes it’s a lonely, misunderstood road, but we keep going…And we wish our voices to be heard by those in the industry who would otherwise hope for us to be grateful that we were adopted.

Revolutionary Daily Thought

I appreciate this particular post in lieu of the race-related violence that has occurred across our country.

Moorbey'z Blog

https://www.popularresistance.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/13619922_1376064189077559_7039347665253253671_n.jpg

It stopz with copz. good copz don’t let bad copz kill defenselezz citizenz.

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one step closer

I recently attended the 9th Biennial Adoption Initiative Conference in New Jersey at Montclair State University. I had the opportunity to present a paper on international and transracial adoptees and how adoptees manage racism/racial discrimination . The presentation was based upon a qualitative study I conducted while completing my master’s degree at ASU. The whole conference was one of those experiences that left me with plenty to think about and process. It was almost overwhelming, as there were many sessions on evocative topics. I wanted to attend them all, but only one selection could be made out of several per the conference schedule. It’s encouraging to see how many bright researchers there are conducting research related to international/transracial adoption, many of the researchers adoptees themselves. I regret that I did not meet and connect more deeply with people, as I, unfortunately, was not feeling very well during the 3-day conference and was not my usual self. Nevertheless, I had the pleasure of connecting with some attendees who made my experience at the conference that much more meaningful.

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NYC after conference. Patrick (L) is founder of The Brazilian Baby Affair in Zurich, Switzerland  & adoptee. Michele (R) is an adoption attorney in LA.

The week following the conference, my husband and I traveled to California to begin house hunting. We will be moving to California in the coming months predicated upon the sale of our current home in Arizona. Oh the joys of moving – we’ve moved so many times over the years that I’ve lost count. Friends offer their excitement about the prospect of us moving back to beautiful California; however, I feel that the task of moving is largely clouded by my own lack of energy and motivation, not to mention the stress of organizing such a move. We will obviously downsize, but have to find a home that will accommodate my baby grand piano. I’ve entertained the thought of selling it, as has my husband, but I’ve had the piano since I was 8-years old and for sentimental reasons, don’t want to part ways. The piano was given to me by my adoptive parents, and I grew up practicing on those ivory keys for many an hour. It’s really not important to anyone else but me, but important enough to hang on to. We will travel to California again next week to continue our ventures in house hunting.

Since arriving back home from the conference, I’ve thought a lot again about legally changing my name – my middle name that is. My adoptive parents gave me the middle name “Chaling.” There is no such name in Chinese. My birth name is Hsiao-ling Huang. I don’t know why my parents changed my middle name the way that they did – perhaps to Westernize my birth name, yet keep some token of my birth country? In any case, there is an exorbitant fee attached to a legal name change even in the state of California. If I could change my first name back to Hsiao-ling, I certainly would, but at this point in my life, it seems a little late. Names are important. I never thought so until I realized the significance of being renamed by my adoptive parents. Many adoptees’ names are changed by their adoptive parents, or adoptees are given a generic name by orphanage staff because there is insufficient information regarding the birthfamily. It only makes identity that much more convoluted by all of the unknowns. In the midst of all that’s going on in the world right now, this seems very insignificant. Maybe it’s just in the timing and I need to wait a little longer.

At this juncture, there are many big things going on at once. It feels unsettling, like a storm is brewing. We’re moving. I have to find a new job, and hopefully one where I can put my strengths to good use for a much longer period of time than my last 2 positions. I don’t know where that will be or what even interests me at this time. Our daughter is going to college in the fall. I guess a name change would go right along with all of the other changes that are taking place. The next time I see you, perhaps I’ll ask you to call me Hsiao-ling instead of Marijane…