On My Way Home
I was born in Changzhou, China, on October 8th, 2000; to a poor family with an unknown amount of siblings, and to parents I have cannot remember. A year later, I was left at a bus station with my mother’s jacket wrapped around me, a note pinned to my clothes telling who I was, my age, and that my mother could not care for me. Just a small child, barely over the age of one, left alone in the streets to figure out life from there on out. I was taken to an orphanage with other children who were abandoned and on December 2002, I was adopted into my American family. My biggest obstacle I dealt with from when I was first abandoned at the train station, was finding my home.
My adopted family and my parents who raised me have been more than supportive. I could not thank them enough for all they’ve done for me; but I found it hard to find permanent things. Whether it was my fleeting time with my birth family, to my short-term home in the orphanage, to my seemingly permanent home with my adopted family, everything felt temporary. It felt like there was nothing I could do that could make me fit in and help solidify my foundation. With misguided confusion, I hated my birth parents; hated them for giving me up and putting me in this situation. That hate I directed towards myself, blaming myself for their abandonment. I have been held back by a fear of abandonment, ruined relationships because of it, and lost people by pushing them away. Throughout my years of school, I have been one of the few, if not the only person of ethnicity in my classes. With the lack of diversity came the question, “Why did your birth parents not want you?”
It was this single question that has haunted me throughout my childhood and teenage years today. As I have grown I have realized things are not as simple as I would like them to be. It is not a matter of whether they wanted me, but it was a legal issue, economic issue, and a mix of things I will never know. Even though I would grow up with a shadow of a family history, in exchange I would be given the opportunities they could not have given me, such as being a part of my high school’s wrestling team, meeting my American family, and going to college. To say I have found an indefinite home would be a wrong; the truth is, I have found multiple places where I can set and grow my roots. My birth parents are where my birthplace lies, the orphanage that raised me is my heritage, my adopted parents who I love more than anything, are where my roots are set. I have been looking everywhere to find where I belong to, I did not realize that I belong to a melange of people, places, relationships, and experiences I have cultivated.
My biggest accomplishment so far in my life is not finding my home, it was forgiving myself for a past I could not control. At times I would like to think my birth family are thinking about me, and miss me. I wonder if they notice my absence, or if they celebrate my birthday with the ghost of me wandering the lonely house. And although I will never have the answers to my past, it does not mean my future has to fall victim to the same outcome. I am not defined by location, I am not defined by an action that single-handedly changed the course of my life, but by lessons I have learned throughout my life, I have found refuge within the people I have lost, the people I have gained, the places I have been, and within the future that lies ahead. .