Being pregnant while adopted, and how the colliding worlds bring peace

Being pregnant while adopted, and how the colliding worlds bring peace

I have been on a slight hiatus from my blog – and this is due to finding out I was expecting a wonderful new addition to my little family. My husband and I are expecting our baby at the end of the year, and we simply can’t  wait! 

For the past 5 months I have been able to reflect and enjoy the remarkable world of being pregnant. Being pregnant is wonderful, terrifying, and amazing all at the same time. There are relaxing days where you forget that at the end of the journey, you will have to push a tiny human being out. While on other days, the realization of that is quite intense and often a nap is needed. 

I am so thankful for being pregnant, for being able to get pregnant, and for having a wonderful life partner and father to be in my life. It’s not everyday you find someone so great that you want to make a person with half their genes. 

I frequently think about how life has unfolded for the both of us. My husband and I were both adopted at young ages into wonderful families. It sometimes baffles me how we found one another. Our paths crossed at just the right times and places for us, and I often think about how the timing played such a key role for us to match.

Being pregnant as an adopted child is sometimes odd. 

I get to experience and feel everything my birth mother felt with me. First flutters, kicks, and hiccups. I remember the first time I saw my baby and listened to the heart beat. I remember feeling immense joy and fear all at the same time. It was then that I also realized I was experiencing something my birth mother had, and it was something I was not prepared for. On top of that, I was experiencing something for the first time with my wonderful husband who also got to experience something his birth father may have experienced. It felt like our life tracks were paused, and a new life was truly acknowledged, and life pressed play again. 

Growing up, understanding why my parents gave me up for adoption was something that took time. I LOVE the family I have today, and everyday I am so thankful for them. But there will forever be the unanswered questions about how I got to where I am today, and why. Throughout my life, there were of course ideas of what might have happened. For example, there was a one child law in China when I was born, so maybe I was their second. A lot of times Chinese families preferred sons, so maybe I was the daughter they were willing to pass up in hopes of a boy the next time. They could have simply not been ready for a baby, or maybe they wanted to ensure that I could have a better life than they could have provided at the time. There are a million reasons I may have ended up where I am today, and the answer to those questions will forever be my own personal cliffhanger. 

Understanding those around me is a huge part of who I am,  and putting myself in others’ shoes has always been something I’ve attempted to do to accept the actions of others. Now, being pregnant myself, I imagine that for my birth parents it took a great deal of selflessness and faith to let go of someone they created and nurtured. The thought of giving up the countless hours of rubbing my belly to connect and talking to the baby is unimaginable. Though, to be honest, I feel grateful that beyond anything else I was given the chance to live the life I am living today. 

People often ask me – why not do the 23 and me test and get some answers? 

I am usually puzzled by this, only because it won’t answer any of the questions I want the answers to. My genetics won’t tell me why I was given up for adoption, it won’t tell me what my parents were like, and it won’t tell me how my life could have been different. It would tell me things that most people take for granted knowing – medical family history and family tree. Going to the doctors has always been the same routine for me. Whenever there is a family history section, I write in big letters – adopted/unknown. It’s so normal for me that sometimes I forget it’s not the norm. 

I am also finding I am more and more content with knowing what I know. My life really wouldn’t change much if I knew the answers now. I would still be the person I am today. I might have more to write on medical papers, but that’s it, and I am okay with it. 

Having unknowns is not all bad either. Our child’s family history begins with my husband and I. We get to write the story of us and our family. At the end of the day, it’s exciting to begin this amazing chapter of our lives.

Where are you REALLY from?

Where are you REALLY from?

Okay, I’m going to answer that question right off the bat. I am adopted from China, and I honestly know very little about my original home town. I’ve seen pictures, heard stories, and even watched documentaries, but I’ve never experienced it. It’s been on my bucket list for a while. 

I don’t even remember when I found out I was adopted, it might have been self explanatory. In my early days, I remember being different, different hair color, eye color, and skin color. In many ways my family worked hard to make the differences an excuse to celebrate my uniqueness in our daily lives. For one of my birthdays my family spray painted their blonde hair black for my birthday (it sounds like it was in bad taste,but I loved it). 

My parents tried to keep me involved with cultural groups, like dance and language classes, but I was never into it. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I immediately fell into a category. Chinese girl, adopted into a caucasion family (my dance class was filled with identical situations). It felt more like a label than my race difference, and with time the classes slowly disappeared from my life. 

Growing up, I remember people asking where I was from, speaking to me in chinese, or thinking I didn’t even belong with my family group. It stung, and often took me back for a second, but I got used to it and learned to live with the constant replies of “I am from China”, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak chinese” (in my very american accent), and “I am with them”.

As I got older, friends were sometimes the worst. I often forgot my different looks, in my house it was never mentioned, but in school – I was asked the same questions that strangers asked me. The most popular though, was “where are you from?” or “WHAT are you?”

Friends would ask – do you ever want to be white? And I remember thinking about my response – it was often a short no (but in secret, sometimes it was… yes). My friends mostly consisted of non – asian individuals, so I was never the friend who was called the twin or the sibling. These little instances really hurt, but I learned to mask it and eventually learned to own my differences. This was definitely not over night, and took a lot of self love. No one can really make you happy about you, except you. 

Once I got to my teens the stereotype shifted into something more adult. There were times where the shift was thrown in my face, while other times it was less recognizable. Once my father took me to a restaurant after one of my choir concerts, and the hostess seated us in a private room. It wasn’t until we asked to be moved to the main dining room that it dawned on me – they thought I was only with him for the night. 

In high school and college I no longer knew if people liked me for me or if it was an “asian thing”. Sometimes it became self explanatory, a phrase like “I’ve never been with an asian girl” would eventually be verbalized or “can you speak with an accent?” and it would set off my radar.

As an adult – I still deal with these insecurities. The difference now is that I know where to spot them, and how to digest them, and eventually grow past them. Like all things, it ebbs and flows – with time, with news, and with who I meet.