Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Coming out to own my Adoption Story by Guest Author Dr. Jasi Joyce

"Little Jasi" (c) Dr. Jasi Joyce
By Guest Author, Dr. Jasi Joyce

Growing up, I can’t remember how many times people asked me, “Why did your biological parents give you away?”

“They did not want any more girls, they already had three daughters before I popped out,” I would say.

“Really?” or “Wow!” was usually their response, depending upon where they came from. If they were Westerners they could not comprehend why a girl or boy would make any difference. Fellow Asians would generally understand that such cultural conditioning prevailed in Asian societies around the time of my birth. You see, I was born in the 70s, and having a boy in an Asian family at that time was a big deal – in order to ensure the survival of the family name. Even today, many Asian people still think it is a big deal.

My birth mother once told me that my biological father didn’t want to visit her after she gave birth to their third daughter. I can just imagine my biological parent’s frustration when they had me - their fourth daughter in a row! DON’T!!

It is incredible to see how much power a man is given in a patriarchal society. I call that collective unconscious ideology.

After they had me my biological parents finally had the son they had been longing for. Then they had another girl, whom they sent away too. Then eventually they had a second boy. At that point the ‘production line’ finally stopped. They had produced seven children in total.

The fifth daughter was sent back to my biological parents, by her adoptive parents, around ten years of age. She was returned because the adoptive parents had their own children and they no longer wanted to keep her. In order to rectify the situation an agreement was reached whereby my biological parents paid the adoptive parents money to take her back.

The arrangement undertaken for my adoption was a different story. After my biological parents found a couple who were willing to adopt me, they ‘paid off’ local bureaucrats to alter my birth certificate in order to make it appear that my new adoptive parents were, in fact, my biological parents. They also changed my date of my birth.

I can honestly say that I am empathetic towards my biological mother and I have never blamed her for abandoning me. In fact, it is quite a blessing that I did leave that family. I can only imagine the distress and frustration she must have felt. Back then, my biological parents had just started their small family business and, on top of that, they had to deal with the pressure of trying to produce a boy. Their devotion to tradition ran so deep that any heartfelt connections to their children were lost. This realisation helps me define who they are.

If I put all that drama and trauma aside, the TRUTH is that I am the one who needs to establish a healthy aggression and learn to value who I am inside out. This is one of the greatest gifts I receive from my adoption experience.

So, about two months after having arrived in this world, I started living with my newly adoptive parents. Fortunately for me, they did not mind that I am female.

There were three reasons that motivated my adoptive parent’s decision to adopt a child. The first reason was their inability to bear their own child. The second reason was the need for someone to look after them in their old age as it is not uncommon for Asian people of their generation to expect their children to look after them when they are old. The third reason is that, as a married couple during that time, they probably felt very awkward at not having any children. The socio-cultural norm was, you need to have kids to have a ‘proper’ family.

I was pretty much growing up as the single child in the adoptive family. Until twelve years into my life with my adoptive parents, my mum got pregnant and had a son - my brother Eric. What a surprise! In my heart, he is the only sibling I have a true connection with.

So there you have it. The two sets of parents in my life had their own agendas, and therein lay the beginning of my stories as an adopted child. It only dawned on me recently that my life up till 40 years had been defined based on their agendas! OMG!! It feels like I just wake up from a coma, so painful yet so refreshing…

Now, I am taking the first fresh deep breath, landing on my Queendom of Joyce.

Hi, world. My name is Jasi Joyce and I am ready to rock and roll! Wanna dance?

Jasi was born, adopted and grew up in Taiwan. The trauma associated with her adoption led her at a very young age to a journey of personal development and spirituality, exploring who she is. The longing to rediscover her true self beyond adoption drove her to do a Ph.D. in Australia, specialising in student empowerment and life-long learning. She founded Empowering Adoptees to share her journey and promote wholesome healing, self-love, empowerment and abundant living for grown-up adopted children. www.empoweringadoptees.com