China’s Lost Girls: Walking Our Halls

By Signe Sandstrom

In an overcrowded country with over 8.3 million more boys than girls born in 2004, nearly 6,693 girls from China have been adopted into American Families.

In the United States, the adopted girls are a part of China’s lost girls. This is where they are today.

“My mom only left me my birth date and my Chinese name, and that's all,” said Freshman, Taylor Altman.

In 2002 through 2004 about 94% of Chinese adoptees were under the ages of two-years-old.

“Most Chinese adoptees don’t know anything about their biological family or anything about their history, just because if the parents are giving up the girl their trying to hide it from the government,” said Altman.

Many Chinese adoptees were abandoned, due to the one-child policy or financial reasons.  Freshman, Emma Wilson was found in a grocery store, while her adopted sister was found in a park.

Altman was also abandoned in China.

“I think they found me at an intersection or somewhere like that, and they took me to a foster home. That's where I stayed until my parents adopted me,” said Altman.

They have biological family in China, but their lives are not revolving around that.

“Of course if there's a political or a big disaster, sure I’ll be worried, but then again China’s a big country. Over 12 billion people live there, so if I’m only worried about 1 or 2 people it wouldn’t really matter," said a student who didn't want to be named.

China may be where they were born, but the adoptees are very much American.

“I’m in Chinese class and there's a bunch of Chinese people or Asian people and they...eat food from their homeland or what their family eats, and I don't because my parents are white. Basically I was raised white,” said Altman.

This can lead to a feeling of having lost culture.

“They’d be like 'ew she's a banana'. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside," said Wilson.

Although there is a loss of culture, there are ways that they preserve it.

“If my mom didn’t have two Chinese girls she wouldn't celebrate Chinese new year,” said Wilson. “We have Chinese food every Christmas."

There is even Chinese school.

“My parents make me go to Chinese school every Saturday, and I take classical Chinese dance at that school,” said a student who wished to remain anonymous.

Even if they don’t go to Chinese school, Grandview has its own ways to preserve culture.

“I’m currently in Chinese club and learning Mandarin," said the student.

Being adopted can affect school life.

“It makes biology hard, I'll tell you that, because they’ll be like genetics. I don't know anything, so I can't do this assignment, sorry," the student said.

Other than biology, “I’ve been privileged to be in a school that has different culture involvement,” said the student.

The adoptees have been taken the opportunities that Grandview offers, when it comes to cultural involvement.

“I think I’ve become more appreciative of what my parents have given me and how they treat me and how they love me. I definitely see love as an important thing. Considering the alternative life I could have,” said Wilson.

Many people think that adoption is bad, but it is a way to give a person a new chance at life and better opportunities.

Emma says that she feels like a “charity case” when she talks about adoption.

"I feel like the automatic question is, 'oh my gosh what happened?', 'what's wrong with you?' Or 'did your parents not love you?' I think that's the most insensitive one that people can hear,”said Wilson.

Other than charity case the most common thing heard is people just being rude.

"There's always those kids that tell you that you’re not loved, but you don’t listen to that," said Altman.

Even with all of the negative connotation that comes with adoption, people still find pride in it.

“I’m definitely proud to be adopted considering that I was chosen, and that I know I’m loved. People kind of doubt sometimes if their parents love them, and I know my mom loves me, and I know my sister loves me for the most part," said Wilson.

Even though, they know close to nothing about their birth parents, that does not mean they have a lost sense of family.

“The thing about adoption is people should realize your legit just another child. You just might be a different skin color, and that doesn’t even matter...and sometimes you’re not a different skin color, and that doesn’t matter... ‘cause you guys come from different backgrounds and you guys kind of just fuse together," said Emma.

“I wish they realized that adoption isn’t bad. I feel like people have a negative sort of feeling about it, but it’s not bad," said Altman. “Without adoption I probably wouldn’t be here. I was put into such a loving family, and I’m surrounded by all this love."

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