A huge wave of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Asian adoptees are now reaching adulthood. How do these adoptees feel about growing up in a “conspicuous” family?” How do they cope with standing out and looking different than the rest of their family? Good Housekeeping ran a wonderful article written by an Asian college student adopted from Indonesia into a Caucasian family — I Hate Being Judged Because I Look Different Than My Adoptive Family.
To say I am lucky is quite the understatement. As an adopted child, I’ve received more love and generosity than I ever could have imagined. …
…No one in my family treats me any differently just because I look different. Though I’m a full foot shorter than almost all of them and I tan so much during the summer that my nickname is Coffee Bean, I still consider myself their blood.
Only when I’m out in public am I ever reminded that, “One of these things is not like the others.” Although it’s a long-standing joke in my family to ask strangers if they “see the resemblance?,” there are times when I wish I had their fair skin, brown hair, and green eyes just to avoid the stares that I sometimes receive when I’m eating dinner out or I’m at the mall shopping.
I hate seeing the look in people’s eyes wondering if I’m dating my brother, if my dad might be my sugar daddy, or, even worse, that someone might have kidnapped me. Though I truly appreciate the concern I received that day at Wendy’s — especially because there are so many women trafficked around the world — such a simple question pointed out, even if just for a moment, that I don’t look like I belong.
I’m an unbelievably proud daughter and sister and would never in my life trade what I have, even if that meant living in an alternate universe where my birth mother had kept me. I sometimes wonder about my other relatives out there, but I’m perfectly happy with how things have panned out in my life so far.
I might be adopted, but I don’t feel it. So if you happen to see me, or someone else out there like me, please don’t gawk. My family isn’t so different from yours. And I’m not so different from my family.
Do yourself a favor and read this well-written essay. We need to understand how the adoption experience changes as our children age.Image credit: Good Housekeeping: I Hate Being Judged Because I Look Different Than My Adoptive Family