Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Matched Adoptee Shares her Story

Michelle wanted to share her story of being matched through DNAConnect.Org to her birth family. Thank you Michelle!!
Last December I took a DNA test to discover my ethnicity and health. All was fine and we found out I was Chinese (Whoah what a shocker!) The following February I received a notification that I was matched with my biological father.
When I first saw that I cried. I was in shock and disbelief. Looking at the computer screen, I thought, “Impossible! This is too good to be true.” I gathered up my hopefulness and curiosity and replied back. There is an organization that travels overseas and collects DNA from families in China. The cofounder Lan is the one who contacted me. She met my birth father and had him do a DNA test. And by luck I was a match! But even though this was amazing, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Many thoughts crossed my mind. What if it was a scam? Many people have been swindled out of their money and are left with broken hearts. So I decided to take it easy. I began to message Lan back and forth over the course of many months. I received pictures of the family, but I was still apprehensive. I was then told that my birth family wants to contact me and Lan asked if I had Facebook. I thought it couldn’t hurt to send my Facebook profile. I will be careful. I then got a notification from Zhang Jackson, my brother.
At 10:20 PM Sept. 16 I got a Facebook message from him, “I am your China’s brother.” His English wasn’t perfect, but he got the message across. We only had a short window to talk to each other. China is 12 hours ahead of us. For one hour we messaged each other and talked about our lives. He is 23 and is studying IT at Qingdao University. I learned that I have four sisters and two brothers. I also have six nephews and one niece. My birth family was happy to have found me. I even got more pictures. It was surreal. I was actually talking to my brother. I found my family. We had to end our conversation because it was getting late and I had class the next day. Due to China’s censorship, Facebook is technically blocked. He had to use a “work around” to contact me which wouldn’t be easy in the future for the rest of my birth family to message me. I asked Lan if there was an easier way I could contact them.
She suggested to me that I download a texting app they use in China and add her. So I went ahead and got the app. I received a notification that I was added to a group chat with Lan and my whole birth family. I began to talk to my sisters, brothers, and parents. Thankfully the app has a translation option I can use to understand them. I received and sent more pictures. They wanted to know if I was happy and healthy. The answer is yes by the way. For the past week we have been messaging each other back and forth. I am learning more and more by the day. Sometimes I am up till 3 AM talking to them and then I’m up early the next day to talk more. Most of them are busy with their jobs so it is hard to find a good window to text. However it is worth it. To know an answer to this huge mystery in my life is amazing. It wasn’t like a part of me was missing. The thought never weighed me down with the necessity to know the truth. But now I had them right at the tips of my fingers. I wanted to know everything and so I asked them about my birth.
I was born March 23 in Guangdong Province. I was born at home like all the rest of my siblings. My given name was Zhang Guanhong. At that time my birth family was very poor and they could not keep me. A person from a welfare agency [orphanage] had to take me. My sister said she remembered a lady came to take me and my birth mother cried. The agency told my family I would be back in 20 years. However in order for a child to be adopted in China the law requires them to be abandoned. They cannot have a surname or family in China. On my adoption files, from the Wuchuan Welfare Agency [orphanage], it states I was born February 10 and I was abandoned at a hospital’s doorstep. The Chinese welfare agency [orphanage] changed my information so I could be adopted. My birth family came to the agency [orphanage] to find me, but the agency [orphanage] did not know anything. They did not know I was all the way in the United States because of the forged information. Thankfully they did not give up hope.
Talking to them and realizing what really happened is a bitter sweet feeling. On one side, yes, what the agency [orphanage] did was wrong, but on the other side if they didn’t I would not have the life I have in America. What happened is in the past now. We cannot go back and change it. I have the rare and lucky chance that I did reconnect with my family; which is amazing. I am not the only adoptee that has birth families looking for them. There were eight other babies that came to America in the same group as me. I want to help Lan, the other adoptees, and birth families out there to find each other. So hopefully this testimony finds its way to another adoptee out there. I know there is a lot of risk and you don’t want your heart to get broken. But the thought of meeting someone out there that loves you unconditionally makes it worth it.