Tuesday, June 14, 2016

To Search, or Not to Search?

Cross-posted from ONE WORLD: Chinese Adoptee Links Blog.

Hello Dear Friends & Sisters:

An editor in Australia recently asked me about my experience of search and reunion. My response?

I've actually never searched! People always ask me if I want to search, and I find it difficult to answer. On the one hand, of course I am curious (who wouldn't be?). Do I look like my biological family members? Are we similar, at all, in personality or taste?

On the other hand, in all honestly part of the reason I have never searched is because I do think that it would affect relations with my (adoptive) family, and it probably comes as no surprise to fellow global citizens that I am very protective of my family's feelings.

One friend suggested searching in secret. She said, "It's none of their business. It's your life and your identity that's at stake, not theirs." But would my family understand? Or approve? I'm not so sure. I think that they would feel rejected, and profoundly hurt.

Do I feel like my identity is incomplete without knowledge of, and from, my biological family? I wish that I could say 'No, who needs to know about their genealogical past?' (True, I have my adoptive social identity. Isn't this enough? many will ask.) 

But if people didn't long for information about their genealogical past, entire tourism industries in Ireland and England, for example, would collapse. The truth is that—adopted or not—there is a universal human need to know where we come from. It gives humans a sense of belonging, continuity and collective understanding. 

Even if we have new (adoptive) social identities that are legally created and codified by the state, the fact is that the fabric and structure of human society is grounded in the geometry of genealogical identity. To not acknowledge this social fact is to turn a blind eye to social traditions, rituals and connections that are encoded in the earliest historical annals of human time. 

We, as adopted, fostered and orphaned global citizens, are connected to these annals of genealogical history. It is our birthright, therefore, just as it is the birthright of every member of the human family, to sit at the table of the human family tree. Failure to acknowledge this birthright dehumanises not only individuals connected to adoption, but all peoples, for we are all intricately connected and whatever missing pieces there may be of our identities are missing not only to us, but to all of human history.

What do you think?

Much Love,

Native Province: Taipei & Jiangsu (mainland China) Hometown: Laguna Beach (OC), California Arrived in the USA: Dec 1979 / Jan 1980 Education: NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts & Harvard Generation: G2, “A Global Generation” Proud Big Sister of: Chris (from Seoul, South Korea) Why This Blog: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller