Photos of how Chinese adoptees live in the US

Take a moment and look through the pictures in this wonderful photo essay of the lives of Chinese adoptees in America taken by a Chinese journalist, Meng Ha, studying in the US — Chinese Adoptees at Home in America. Ha was interested in what happened to the multiple thousands of Chinese children adopted internationally to the US. The pictures are a wonderful cross-section of Chinese adopted kids and their families, capturing the everyday moments in their lives.

Ha was interested in how they lived and how they adapted as minorities in their families and society.

“At the beginning, I felt very appreciative for the American families,” Ms. Han said. “Otherwise these children will live in a bad situation in China.”

Despite their current comfort, she learned of a common complication.

“When they were teenagers — 11 years old, or 13 years old, or 14 years old — they always want to think about where they are, why they are here, why they are different,” she said. “Where are my birth parents? Why did they give me up? Why did they abandon me on the street?”

Those questions led to different responses: from taking language and other cultural classes to visiting China when they were old enough.

“As adoptees enter adolescence and deal with issues all adolescents deal with, as part of identity development, some want to search for their roots and connect to the first or genetic family,” said Victor Groza, the director of the Child Welfare Fellows Program at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. “Others want to connect to their culture and are less concerned about the birth family and more about who they are as a cultural person. Others just want to establish who they are in the context of the peer and culture in which they live.” …

Ms. Han has found that in general many Chinese appreciate and feel grateful that these orphans are adopted by Americans.

“I also feel so thankful that these children were given better lives by these American families,” Ms. Han said.

Take a moment to enjoy these pictures. They made us smile.

Image Credit: Photo taken by Meng Ha published in the New York Times: Chinese Adoptees at Home in America.