“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.


Nicole Gildea




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。





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