National Adoption Awareness Month 2018 is coming to an end. It’s been a very long, sad month for multiple reasons. Sometimes, I have to step away from social media because the chatter is too much. And, on Veteran’s Day, we had to put our beloved dachsund, Peppermint, down. It was one of the saddest days of my life, and I’m still grappling with the loss of my sweet friend. Life will not be the same, at least not for a while.
I was working on a sketch of my first mother earlier in the month and finally painted it. It was referenced from a black and white photo given to me by my sisters in Taiwan. I’m guessing ma was in her forties or fifties when the photo was taken. My sisters told me that I look very much like ma in her younger years. There are no photos of ma in her youth, as they were all destroyed. She also loved classical music, reading, and learning new things. We have that in common. My sisters and brother are also artistic – my second sister is a web designer, my elder sister draws beautifully and my brother is a photographer. I’m a late bloomer as an artist. I’ve never had formal training, and I am still not great at drawing eyes, shading and using paint, at least not in the way I’d like to be. In any case, I appreciate the art of practice and enjoy the creative process. I actually like the sketch better than the painted version. What I love about art is that it allows you to express without words. To this day, I’m not the best communicator. Perhaps that’s why I loved my dog so much – unconditional positive regard and love 24/7, without having to say a whole lot.
I’m glad that Adoption Awareness Month is coming to a close. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I truly have much to be grateful for, despite the loss of Peppermint. May you make many happy memories with family, friends and loved ones, including furry ones, this Thanksgiving.
Well, today marks the first day of another month-long focus on adoption known as National Adoption Awareness Month. Throughout the month of November, there will be images, articles, campaigns that promote adoption. On the other side, Adoption Awareness Month brings mixed, often conflicted feelings for adopted persons. Experiences and feelings related to adoption loss, rejection, separation and, in some cases, reunion are stirred.
As a growing artist, I plan to make art this month related to my own personal experiences of adoption. In the piece above, I wanted to convey the sense of invisibility that has defined much of my life versus the power of getting woke. In all of my experiences as an adoptee, the feeling of invisibility has been the most profound. Invisibility for me feels like powerlessness, unimportance, differentness and not mattering. Over the years since coming out of the fog, however, I’ve gained a much deeper sense of self-acceptance and empowerment by sharing my story and connecting to other adoptees who share similar experiences. The reunion with my birth family also largely contributed to this growing sense of acceptance. So invisibility versus speaking out about adoption and trusting that what I say and do matters is a constant struggle.
Coming out of the fog woke me to some important truths about myself – that my story does matter and that my voice can be used to empower adoptees. Staying woke is vital. I encourage you to tune into the voices of adopted persons. After all, we are the experts because we’ve lived it. Read a book or memoir written by an adoptee, listen to an adoptee-hosted podcast or read an adoptee-curated blog/website or an article written by an adoptee. Check out this link for a list of multiple adoptee-centric resources. I hope that you’ll take the time to explore adoptee stories and listen to adoptee voices.
I did not fully understand the impact of adoption on my life and relationships.
Happy Saturday! Today, I’m going to take a departure from what I typically post to promote my first book, Beyond Two Worlds: A Taiwanese-American Adoptee’s Memoir & Search for Identity. As we prepare for National Adoption Month in November, I invite you to listen to the voices of adoptees and to those who relinquished a child, first mothers and fathers. I believe that you will hear a different story about what adoption means.
For many years, I did not fully understand the impact of adoption on my life and relationships. I had little insight, no voice and felt a deep sense of isolation. As I came into contact with many other adopted persons, I began to see that that we shared common feelings of loss, grief, shame, confusion and anger surrounding our experiences of adoption. Today, there is a growing movement of adoptees writing and publishing their stories. The adoptee memoir has blossomed into its own literary genre. Our voices are gaining strength and being heard, yet there is still more work to be done.
Beyond Two Worlds is centrally a story about loss and gain, rejection and acceptance. My hope is that by listening to adoptees and reading our stories, hearts and minds will open to a different perspective that is not always seen, heard nor understood. For a signed copy of Beyond Two Worlds, jump on over here. Other editions can be purchased at my author page on Amazon. Book reviews are also available to read. I invite to explore this work and share it with others ❤️ Many thanks!
Photo credit: Anna Wu Photography