Sanjana, with her grandfather
“My name is Kira Omans, and I was adopted from Zhongshan, China in the Guangdong Province when I was 10 months old. My birth parents held onto me for several months before I was put into the hospital before arriving at the orphanage. There are records that indicate either I or someone in my household was having respiratory infections, which my parents speculate is one of the reasons why I was put up for adoption.
I have a younger brother adopted from Korea and a younger sister, who is my parents' biological child. My siblings and I are very close. My family lived outside of Washington D.C. for our entire lives, though I recently moved to Los Angeles to continue my performance career. I am also a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo, a Chinese folk dancer, and a graphic designer.
I have never conducted a search for my birth parents. With the extremely limited information I have, it would be difficult to know where to start. The closest I have come to creating a connection with my birth family is doing a 23andMe DNA test. I met a third or fourth biological cousin who was also adopted through this website.
I went to a private, predominantly white elementary and middle school without a lot of diversity. I experienced racism and bullying growing up, and as a result, became very closed off. I was shy and had low self-esteem and didn’t see value in what I could offer. I did not want to be Chinese. I did not want to be adopted. I did not want to be anything that made me different. My family always fostered love and compassion, but outside of our home, it was an entire another world that loved to scrutinize people’s differences.
I found my voice and gained confidence with the help of my high school teacher. I went on to become the first adoptee to win the title of Pacific Miss Asian American, launching my involvement in the adoption community and in advocacy for adoptees. Today, I am fortunate enough to be performing full-time (though if you told anyone from my elementary/middle school that, I don’t know if they’d believe you!).
Today, I am not afraid to be different. So many adoptees struggle with their identity and their own voice due to society telling us we have to look, be, and act a certain way. It is important to embrace differences and view them as assets rather than deficiencies. We can only learn and grow by learning from others who are different from ourselves.”
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Kira is an actor, martial artist, model, and an adoptee advocate. She is currently playing the lead in a series called Southern Fried Rice. Keep up with her on Facebook @KiraEmilyOmans and on Instagram @KiraOmans.