As an adoptee, I have a unique and personal understanding of the notions of luck, fate, and privilege. I am so fortunate to have been born into a loving, well-off family, but at the same time, I am painfully aware that had I not been dropped off at the orphanage when I was newborn, I would be living an entirely different life as a young woman in rural China. While I know that I have accomplished so much in life due to my hard work and commitment, I also recognize that I would have never had access to such amazing opportunities had my mom not decided to wish upon a star and adopt me.
I was born in a rural southern province of China called the Hunan Province. After my mom, Kim, divorced her first husband, she still had a dream of becoming a mother. She had established a successful practice in law in Incline Village, Nevada, but she decided that she would move back home to where my grandparents lived in Northern Michigan to raise her daughter. So at 38 years old, she filed for adoption through the WACAP adoption agency for me.
I was raised by a single mom until I was around seven years old. My mom met my dad on a cruise ship. My dad is Portuguese and my mom is mainly of Irish decent. We are quite literally an international family.
I always knew I was adopted, but I think I first began asking questions about it when I was five or six years old. I remember asking what my "real mom" looked like, and I would draw pictures of her with details about what she might have worn. It wasn't until a couple months later when I realized there was a difference between my biological "mother" and my adoptive "mom".
It was difficult growing up in a virtually all-white community as a kid. I was lucky enough that my mom adopted me with a group of seven other families from China. Until I was around 10 years old, we had annual or biannual reunions that allowed me to spend some time with girls who shared the same experiences as me. Now I'm friends with them on social media, so it's cool to keep up with their lives in that way.
My mom's decision to adopt is the truest example of how a single action can cause a huge effect. After she adopted me, my aunt and two of my mom's co-workers adopted young girls from other countries (two from China!).