Sanjana, with her grandfather
"I do not remember her, but I know that she is one of the three mothers that I have had in my lifetime.
The first memory that I can form concretely in my mind is that of being carried in by my foster mother and handed over to strangers in a dim room in a building with no electricity. This memory was taken from a video that one of the parents in the adoption group took while my parents were abroad in China. Today, I keep a screenshot of this video showing my foster mother playing with a white bear that my adoptive mother gave me.
Growing up in the United States, I was one of the only Asian students who attended my schools. But my best friend from childhood was also Asian American and I noticed the differences between her family and mine, as my parents were older and Caucasian. Although my sister is also adopted from China, I wished that my parents looked like both of us, just like my friend's. During college, I started exploring my identity with adoption when I experienced severe grief and later depression after a relationship. Not many people understood why I responded so severely or why I showed signs of depression. I felt the grief in my arms and my body literally weighing me down. Part of me knew it was because I was suddenly mourning something greater than a single relationship - I was grieving for a loss of a family, a mother that I didn't know, and I felt abandoned all over again.
After almost a year of depression and trying to find others who shared my experiences, I found several adoption communities online and many adoptees locally in Seattle. When I started to talk to other adoptees, I realized that we shared many of the same experiences and it became part of the healing process for me.
Today, I strive to learn more about adoptee's experiences as I try to understand my own as well. As a transracial adoptee, I have learned that I process grief differently than others and that I am still trying to come to terms with the concept of family. Despite all of the challenges with adoption that I've faced, it has helped me learn more about myself and has made me become the stronger person I am today.”
(Chicago, IL, USA)
Alyse is currently a Teach for America corps member and graduate student in Chicago. She is also a coordinator for Adopteen Chicago who hopes to bring adoptees together from around the region.