Jun 10, 2018 #1
my adoption experience
Yes, I have looked up myself on Google before. Type in the search box: "Vera Kee", then press enter. A list of results will display. My "Google identity" lists my leadership positions and my accomplishments. However, I often I find myself shaking my head, disagreeing with the results. I think Google is wrong.
The information that it provides about me is deceitful for it only gives the highlights of my life and the parts of me that I selected to put on my social media account. Google doesn't know that I was actually born in Taiwan and raised single handedly by my biological father nor that I was a foster kid who was bullied by classmates because I had no parents. The Google results of "Vera Kee" will not display that the responsibilities I had as the older sister to take care of my sister and the house because my father was out earning money nor the number of hours I spent to study. I am more than what Google portrays me.
My father lost his battle to cancer when I was third grade, and, to my dismay, my mother gave up her legal guardianship for us to be adopted. When an Asian American couple adopted us, however, in my twelve-year-old mind, I envisioned America as an opportunity to start over and the uncertainty of my future as hope.
Starting over was much more difficult than expected. I recall times when I blankly stared at the list of vocabulary to memorize and the pile of grammar books and cried until my eyes were swollen. I had to google-translate almost every word in a children's vocabulary book called "Times Giant Book of 4000 Words" and learn to correctly pronounce simple words such as "in" and "ball". However, my desire to succeed motivated me to work hard to adopted the language and culture within a span of one year.
As I became adjusted to my new life, I found myself surrounded by a group of talented friends who encourage me to push my own limits and pursue my passions. Nevertheless, I felt isolated for I was still haunted by my past. When people ask "So you're Taiwanese, your dad's Malaysian, and your mom's Korean? How come?", I often remained silent or tried to switch topic. As an older adoptee, my past was like a scar that is permanent and visible because I remembered everything. I viewed my past as my weakness because it hurt and made me feel inferior, not until I accepted my role in the adopted family as my parents' daughter and embraced my past instead of avoiding it. Through both my parents' and friends' acceptance, I learned to accept myself as well.
I realized that my past is integral to my identity. Because of the hardships I went through and the difficulties that I faced, I learned how to appreciate opportunities and education. Though I was still embarrassed of my past, I knew that I had to embrace my old self in order to truly mature as an individual because experience itself is a lesson from life. Slowly, I learned to reflect on my life experience and enjoy my identity. The accomplishments I have today are the manifestation of my past. My participation in Leo Club has allowed me to give back to the Lions Club, an international service organization from which I received a scholarship as a child, and my involvement with OCA, an organization focusing on advocating the rights of Asian Americans, helped me to be proud to be a Taiwanese American. Looking back now, the growth I experienced as I started to learn from the past is far more valuable to my identity than my accomplishments, and this is what Google fails to convey about me.