gallery Dear Adoption, My Story is Important

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Dear Adoption, My Story is Important

My story is so complicated, yet so important. I was born in China; found abandoned at two days old. I was adopted out of my orphanage when I was about 10 months old and then came to America. I always knew that I was adopted. Out of 5 siblings, I am the only adoptee and the only Asian. My family is dysfunctional and made it harder for me to cope with my adoption feelings.  

When I was four, adoption truly became clear and ever since then I have felt incomplete. I have been looking into a mist of people trying to find my birth mom. Then I start to feel dumb because I don’t know what my birth mother even looks like. When I was younger, I would go to my window and make a wish on the stars to see my birth family again. I have always wondered what I got from each of my parents and if they are okay.

In school, it was obvious I was adopted. I couldn’t hide it as a transracial adoptee. As I got older, I didn’t want to tell people that I was adopted anymore. I remember kids asking, “how much were you?” and “where’s your real parents?”. I was bullied for being Asian. Kids would pull back their eyes and say stereotypical Asian slurs. I was always not Asian enough for the “real” Asians and too Asian for others.

As a transracial adoptee, I grew up always feeling alone and not belonging. It’s hard when there are family events. Hearing about family trees and how someone resembles another family member makes me feel left out. There are so few Asians in my community and overall, in America. I have never felt like I fit in here and I never got to learn my culture. If I went back to China, I’d feel like a tourist in my own country.

Adoption has brought me much pain and has left a deep wound in my heart. As an adoptee from China, I don’t know much about my past. All I know is, the location I was found, my birthday, and the name of my orphanage. I have no sealed records or an original birth certificate. Currently, I do not even have citizenship. I am a citizen, but then I am not…

Birthdays and holidays hurt so much for me. The hardest holiday for me is Mother’s Day. There aren’t words to explain my pain, but I always wonder if my birth mother thinks about me on those days. I feel as if I am mourning ghosts. I wish so badly that I could remember what my birth mother looked like, sounded like, and the last time we looked into each other’s eyes. At the same time, I have days where I absolutely hate her for abandoning me within 48 hours of being born. There are also days where all I want is for my birth mother to hold me and tell me it’s going to be okay. It’s a love-hate relationship for someone I don’t even know.

Throughout all of this, I have become a warrior through my adoption struggles. I lost a family, but I also gained one. Sharing my story has been hard, but also healing. Remember everyone has a story and they are all important.

April Thornburg was adopted from China in 1999. She is a transracial adoptee and currently resides in Arizona. 

9 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Gazelle's Scirocco Winds and commented:
    Yet another international adoptee taken from her roots to be plunked in the middle of a group of people with whom she is mismatched.. But whether international or domestic she shares the same angst of us all: who is my mother, where is my family, and where are those who resemble ME?

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  2. My sister was adopted from Korea. She kicked idiot’s behinds in school – Arizona kids are no more stupid in the new millennium than they were thirty years earlier – by gathering more friends willing to support her than the morons with “slant eyes” comments. As for me, I consider I am fortunate that I was ‘adopted’ into an instant family by my spouse and three kids, when I married her 17 years ago. It takes work. We ALL have dysfunctional families. I had one when I was a kid. It takes a strong internal fire to overcome and then raise your own children differently than you experienced. But there are no guarantees.

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  3. I feel really frustrated with her adoptive parents right now. Jesus, get your shit together people! Understand the weight of what you have done (taken a child out of her birth country) and help her through this angst. This is where potential adoptive parents need to be vetted more carefully. There has to be some sort of education provided so they understand all the implications of what they are doing. April, there are places in the US that have larger Asian populations honey. Go there. Don’t stay in a place where ignorance reigns. I hope you can find the support you need that you aren’t getting from your clueless family. Stories like this break my heart. xo

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  4. Hi April I was born in 96 and adopted in 97. Im sorry your adoptive family isn’t more understanding. My adoptive mother was great early in my life. I knew I was adopted and we celebrated Chinese New Year. But I definitely understand the feelings of anger. In my preteens I asked my mother to tell me everything she knew about my early childhood. It isn’t a happy story. For years I was also angry at my birth parents especially my father. But I read a book and it is very heartfelt. I recommend you read it. Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran. And you can check out any of her other books as well, but that one in particular definitely helped me gain clarity and peace with my mental image of my birth mother. And if you have the money, you can always get your DNA analyzed. I recently got my results back from 23andme and found over 400 DNA relatives that had also been registered with 23andme. I wish you the best of luck!

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  5. I’m sorry to read about anyone in so much anguish. Thank you for sharing April.
    Have you watched This Is Us? Totally different culture and I’m not saying its the same at all… but one of the main characters is a black newborn adopted into a white family. Watching what the adopted character goes through has given me some small insights into the types of challenges and emotions one could face in a similar situation.
    Hugs and peace
    ~Jitterful

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