“Bridging My American and Chinese Identities”

This letter sent to MBL, for Xinran, from a Chinese girl adopted by a family in the US is heart-warming (and reproduced with kind permission of the author). We hope more adoptees could be inspired and share their own stories and thoughts with us…:

Bridging My American and Chinese Identities

Tears fell from my eyes as I finished the last pages of Messages from an Unknown Chinese Mother, which holds the stories of mothers who were forced to give up their children. It has provided me with the answers that I never knew. Its honesty, pathos, and raw emotion have greatly touched me. I am a sixteen-year-old girl who was adopted from Wuhan, China at fifteen months old. I now live in Boston, Massachusetts with a loving and supportive family.

Throughout my life, I have faced an identity issue. I look Chinese, but on the inside I feel white. With whom can I identity? Who was my birth mother? Why did she abandon me? I am grateful that you have published your books because they allow me to access the world of Chinese women and learn about the difficulties that they endured. I am not mad at my birth mother for leaving me to be found by someone else. Instead, I am thankful for her for giving me life. I now know that she really did love me. I only wish that her life is improved and that she is happy.

At sixteen years old, I am growing as an individual and creating new experiences. I am grateful for my birth mother and parents. I cherish my life in America and the opportunities that I have. I have always wondered what my life would have been like if I lived in China. Would I be a migrant worker or an indigent farmer, bear the burden of the less fortunate, and have to struggle for education? My Chinese mother must have faced adversity; otherwise, she would not have left me. Although it is heartbreaking that we are separated, I am thankful for the life that I have and for my future.

I go to a public school in Boston, and I am motivated to do well. I now look towards life with a new perspective. I want to take full advantage of what I am given, and be happy and healthy. I am in my fourth year of learning Mandarin at school. Despite its challenge, I feel that it serves as the gateway to my Chinese heritage. In fact, this summer I received a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship to study abroad in Beijing for five and a half weeks. In addition to learning Chinese, I also visited the Dandelion School. The Dandelion School is a middle school for children whose parents are migrant workers. For a weekend, I taught them English and played with them. During that trip, I also volunteered at the New Hope Foster Home. New Hope takes in babies with physical disabilities from government orphanages, and it provides them with surgery so that they can be adopted. Although I did not return to my birth city, my return to China was a great experience, and I definitely want to go back.

Thanks for allowing Chinese adoptees to learn about our Chinese mothers. Our Chinese mothers loved us and always will. My message to them is that they remain in our hearts. Love is full of hope, and the bond that it creates is indestructible.

Sincerely,

Nicole Gildea

 

在读完了《一位不知名的中国妈妈的来信》那本书的最后几页后,我的眼泪潸然而下。她所讲述的,关于那些被迫放弃自己亲生子女的妈妈们的故事,让我终于为自己曾经苦苦思索的问题找到了答案。信中那诚实、悲伤又真挚的感情深深地感动了我。我今年16岁,在自己15个月大的时候于中国武汉被一个美国家庭收养,现在,我和这个充满爱的收养家庭住在美国马萨诸塞州的波士顿。

在我的生活里,自始至终,都面临着一个身份的问题。从外表上看,我无疑是一个中国人,然后,从内心上来说,我觉得自己是一个白人。我到底是美国人还是中国人?谁是我的亲生母亲?为什么她不要我了?欣然,我真的很感激您出版的这些书,因为它们让我了解到了中国妈妈的世界,了解到她们所忍受的苦难。现在,我不再气愤于我的亲生母亲抛弃我,让我被其他人收养,相反地,我很感激她给了我生命。我现在终于知道,她是真的爱我,希望她现在的生活已经变好也希望她现在是幸福的。

16岁的我已经成长为一个独立思考的个体,也逐渐在创造属于自己的新的经历。非常感谢我的亲生母亲和养父母,我很珍惜自己在美国的生活,和现在所拥有的机会。我经常猜想,如果我还是住在中国的话,我的生活会是什么样子的。我会成为一个农民工,还是一个贫民,忍受着温饱不足的生活,还要为获得教育机会而苦苦挣扎? 我的中国母亲一定有着她自己的难言之隐,否则,她一定不会抛下我的。尽管,我们天各一方,这是件伤心的事实,但我仍然感激我现在拥有的生活和这个收养家庭带给我的未来。

我在波士顿的一家公立学校读书,课业表现良好,现在,我正期待着生活翻开新的一页。我想我要充分利用好自己所获得的这些资源,幸福健康地生活。如今,我已经在学校学习了四年的普通话课程,尽管课程非常具有挑战性,我感觉它为我提供了了解中国文化的途径。事实上,今天夏天,我获得了“国家安全语言倡议”提供的青年奖学金,有机会在北京学习了五周半的课程。除了努力学习中文以外,我还参观了蒲公英中学。蒲公英中学是一所专为农民工子女创办的中学,我在那里度过了一个周末,教他们英语并同他们一起玩耍。在这次旅行中,我还在新希望孤儿院做了志愿者。新希望孤儿院从政府的孤儿院接收有身体残疾的婴儿,为他们提供治疗,以便他们可以被收养。虽然我没能回到自己出生城市,但是我回中国的这趟经历是一次难得的体验,而且,我一定会再次回到中国,回到这个生我的国家。

非常感谢让我们这些中国领养儿童了解到了我们的中国母亲。我们知道,她们当初爱着我们,并将一直爱着。我想告诉她们,在我们的心里,她们一直在。爱充满了希望,用爱缔造的联结永远存在。

真挚地,

妮可·吉尔迪亚

翻译(Translated by MBL volunteer): 李星(LI Xing)

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