Tag Archives: Reunion with Birthfamily

Book Release Date

CoverBeyond Two Worlds: A Taiwanese-American Adoptee’s Memoir & Search for Identity is now live! If you have not yet purchased your copy, don’t delay. Signed copies can be purchased right here on my website.  Just click on the Shop tab above to order. Ebook and hardcover editions are also available via Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately, I am unable to ship internationally; however, those copies can be ordered through Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. To learn more about the book and to read an excerpt, click here. Thank you for supporting Beyond Two Worlds!

 

another new year

79376012152105987_4xfbuDqm_c_zpsdc63f278 copyHello 2016! I say this every new year, but really, where did the time go? Now that Christmas 2015 has come and gone, I’m a little sad that I was so caught up in my busy life, primarily the new job, that I didn’t take enough time to relax and enjoy the holiday season. Everything seemed like a chore. Wow, that’s pathetic. Family and friends are too precious. I’m trying to accept that work is work. I continually strive to better myself professionally and am constantly looking for learning opportunities to do so. It’s both a virtue and a vice, but perhaps more so a vice. I miss having the time to indulge my creative self…blogging, improvising, coffee with a friend, movies, the symphony. You know, a slower mental pace and flexibility of life and schedule. I guess in many ways, though, I kind of asked for it by going back to school and beginning a new career in a profession where the burnout rate is high.

What are you hoping for in 2016? Personally, 2016 promises to be a year of big changes. My niece in Taiwan is soon to be married! How I would love to be there to see my family. In 2012, I reunited with my birthfamily in Taipei and have wanted to go back each year since. One day, I will return, maybe even in 2016.

Our daughter will be going to college in the Fall. She’s been accepted into 4 different universities, so we’re ecstatic that she has options. We’ll hear from 2 other colleges in the spring. I have moments of grief knowing she’ll be gone soon. She’s our only child. Tears are sure to be shed. Life is certainly going to be different when she’s in college. I have mixed feelings about how much less time I have with her now that I’m working full-time. The energy put into work often renders me emotionally depleted. Isn’t that every working mom’s dilemma? She’s a teen and yes, very independent, yet it’s our last year at home with her before she leaves the nest 😦 That time can never be recaptured. On the other hand, it’s exciting that she’s entering a new stage in her life sure to be full of new adventures and paths to increased learning and growth. We couldn’t be more proud of her.

On the professional front, I’m submitting a proposal to the Adoption Initiative’s 9th Biennial Adoption Conference. The theme this year is Myth and Reality in Adoption: Transforming Practice Through Lessons Learned. My master’s thesis investigated how international and transracial adoptees manage experiences of racism and racial discrimination. It also focused on strategies adoptees proposed to better equip adoptive parents and adoption professionals to help international/transracial adoptees manage identity issues and racism/racial discrimination. I’ve never attended an adoption conference and am really looking forward to it. I plan to attend the conference whether my proposal is accepted or not and am excited about traveling to the East coast.

Finally, I hope this year to be one where I focus more on spending time with friends and on taking better care of myself. For the last 2 years, I’ve been rather isolative. It seems that the older I get, the more difficult it is to stay connected with friends.

To all my family, friends, fellow adoptees and followers far and near, I wish you good cheer, good health and a new year full of personal and spiritual growth. Oh yeah, be sure to stop and smell the roses along the way.

welcome 2015

I cannot believe how quickly 2014 swept by. It seems that as I get older, time just flies. It’s definitely been a full year, and many wonderful things happened. I saw my sister and her daughter from Taiwan in Vegas. We spent about four days together. Although my family and I were not able to travel to Taiwan as planned, it was a blessing that they were able to come to the U.S. My other sister and her husband are doing much better and their health is improving. We missed seeing them in Vegas, but my brother-in-law had a medical emergency that prevented him from traveling. We met some of his classmates who all travel together to a new destination every year. Now that’s a reunion.

In other news, our daughter is in her junior year in high school. She’s done extremely well, although it’s been tough. I’m always amazed at the amount of homework teachers give students, especially over the breaks, and how some assignments are due in such short periods of time. Seriously, it’s a crime. I keep telling her that college is much different. Stressful, yes, but at least most college professors give you a little more time to turn things in. She has been studying for the SAT and will take the exam in January. Tutoring is costing us an arm and a leg, but hopefully, will increase her score. She wants to attend college in California, so we’ve been tossing around the idea of moving back to California if she ends up getting into a college there. I have mixed feelings about this. My husband loves California and has fond memories of living in San Diego and Orange County. I, on the other hand, do not and absolutely hate the traffic. However, we have some close friends in O.C.

This year promises to be an interesting one. Around spring time, I’ll be looking for a J-O-B. Searching the job boards for social work positions has been a little discouraging, as the area of work that I’m most interested in appears to be the lowest paying. But then, I’m not really that surprised. In just a few short weeks, the spring semester will begin at ASU. I have so enjoyed doing absolutely nothing over the break other than hanging out with friends, catching up on movies and sleep, and eating way too many carbs. I can’t say that I’m ready to begin my last semester in grad school, but I’m trying to keep my eye on the prize: graduation! So much must be done before then. This year, I hope to be a little more patient, joyfuI, and gracious. I hope all of the hard work in grad school eventually pays off. We shall see…And I hope to make it to Taiwan next October! The Lunar New Year is just around the corner, the Year of the Goat.

Wishing you all a very bright and healthy New Year!

vegas family reunion

Hey folks! I’ve waited long enough to share some very exciting news. In four days, my family and I are heading to Las Vegas to meet my birth family! My sisters, my niece, and brother-n-law are coming to the U.S. In fact, they are touring Alaska even now and will then head to Vegas for a brief visit. I haven’t written about our reunion because one of my sisters has had some health challenges and wasn’t sure if she could make the trip. I have prayed for her constantly and am so happy that she is well enough to travel so far away. I think that it’s just hitting me that I’m really going to see them again in a few short days. My family and I had planned to take a trip to Taiwan this fall but will not be able to after all, to my great disappointment. However, I’m hoping to be able to go back to Taiwan sometime next year – we’ll see.

So much has happened since our reunion in Taiwan in 2012 when I met my birth family for the first time since my adoption. I can’t wait to catch up with my sisters! My Mandarin, sadly, has not improved. I do hope that one day I’ll be able to speak the language, or at least manage it somewhat. School has taken over my life. It has been a challenge and I cannot wait to graduate in 2015. I often wonder if going back to school will be worth all the trouble. I do hope so. In any case, I plan to enjoy the summer while it lasts, especially the reunion with my sisters and family in Vegas. I’ll keep you posted on our adventure.

a thousand years

It’s been just over a year since I reunited with my birthfamily in Taipei, Taiwan. Distance, of course, puts us at a huge disadvantage for seeing each other more often. I think of them often, though, especially my two sisters who I spent most of my time with in Taiwan. In those brief ten days, we got to know each other and tried to fit into a week what we had missed in half a lifetime. They took me under their wings and introduced me to a culture that I never knew. I keep in touch with my eldest sister via email. However, I learned late last year that she had become ill and required surgery. She didn’t tell me at first because she didn’t want me to worry. Furthermore, there were complications following surgery. My other sister took care of her during and after the surgery. My eldest sister and I continue to keep in touch as much as she is able to, but reading and using the computer are difficult for her now. I pray for her complete recovery and also for the rest of my family in Taiwan. In dedication to my two lovely sisters and family in Taiwan, I share this song by Christina Perri, “A Thousand Years.” The lyrics remind me of how significant our reunion was in my life and that we found each other so late in our lives. You will see the lyrics posted in a unique way throughout the video. Sending love and hugs out to my two sisters through this song ♥

reunion video captures bone-chilling anguish of korean birthmother

mqdefaultThe other day I happened upon a video of an adoption reunion posted by writer, Vicki-lynn, who blogs at adoptionfind. The video, called “Recovering What Was Left Behind,” by Korean adoptee, Kira Donnell, documents her reunion with her birth mother, which took place in October 2010. Kira also blogs at starlingblue. Vicki-lynn describes the footage well in this statement, “you are privy to the torment many birth mothers carry in their hearts after relinquishing a child.” It is a reminder of the grief and loss experienced by many birth mothers who must give up a child due to poverty or their status as unwed, single women. The footage also speaks to the adoptee’s need to know in many instances and desire to connect with her/his birth heritage. I often wonder if my birth mother mourned the loss of her fourth child (my biological father secretly relinquished me due to financial stress). As a mom, I cannot imagine being separated from my own daughter. There was such a strong emotional and spiritual bond I felt immediately following her birth. It’s almost indescribable. We were inseparable from that moment on. My heart goes out to any woman who is forced to relinquish a child or consider such a plight because of adverse circumstances during that period in her life. Kira and her birth mother celebrated their reunion, although not all reunion stories end as happily. Kira sends out a beautiful poem at the end of the video meant for her birth mother. Watch the video (approximately 7 minutes) below. Thank you, Vicki-lynn, for sharing this story.

the letter that brought us together

I have been crazy busy this week preparing for the holidays and to host a Christmas party for a bunch of teens. Before I started baking though, I realized that this day exactly one year ago is the date I sent a letter to Taiwan– the letter that brought my birthfamily and I together.

By the time Tien (the social worker who helped me find my birthfamily) thought to write the letter to the Registration Office of Taipei, we already knew that I had two older sisters and one older brother. I was also working with an agency in Taiwan at the same time who found the addresses and names of my sisters but were unwilling to reveal them to me until they had received permission from my sisters. With continued delays, Tien decided to pen a letter in Mandarin to the Registration Office as if I had written it pleading for assistance in locating my sisters. We were so close to finding them, yet it seemed nearly impossible to move forward. I remember feeling frustrated over our inability to access the information we needed. The day I sent the letter, my co-worker, Jewel, and I drove to the Phoenix post office from the hospital where we worked. It was a cold, rainy afternoon, and I was worried that we wouldn’t have time to mail my packet if there was a long line. Sure enough, there was a line creeping along from the entrance to the counter. Jewel, however, spotted a self-mail kiosk with no line at all. I hopped over and, after printing and attaching a mailing label, sent the letter on its way to Taiwan.

It’s hard to believe that nearly a whole year has gone by since mailing that letter. I couldn’t wait to hear news from Tien about a response from Taiwan. Each day that passed, I waited in anticipation. Two weeks later on Christmas eve, I got my response from Tien! It truly feels like just yesterday I arrived in Taipei and met my biological sisters and family for the first time since my birth.

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A couple of days ago, I was sifting through some of my adoption papers, and I looked more closely at a document that’s almost blackened beyond readability, perhaps from sun damage. I had forgotten that I was relinquished for adoption at the age of one month and nine days. It suddenly struck me how brief a period I had with my birth mother. My adoption became legal on December 16, 1966, 45 years ago.

2012 has been a year full of introspection, reflection, and wonder. Not only did I reunite with my birthfamily, but for the first time, I understand some of the reasons why I am the way that I am. After all these years, I feel comfortable in my own skin. I thank God for bringing my birthfamily and I together and at the perfect time. There were plenty of times when I lost faith that we’d ever find them. My eldest sister and I still keep in touch regularly, and she passes along my hellos to the rest of the family. In the Fall of 2014, my husband, daughter, and I will make a trip together back to Taiwan. I imagine it will be another exciting celebration of family and reunion.