Fall 2020: If you had asked me how I felt about adoption, I would have said that I was all good — that I felt pretty solid in my identity. Fast forward to Spring 2021, the Stop Asian Hate movement was quickly sweeping across the US and Canada. I felt so detached and ungrounded, with no one else to share these feelings with. It was shortly after this that I was sent the application to apply for The Park as a Digital Marketing Intern.
I had visited The Park in 2019 on a family trip and was in awe of the programs that were offered for kids and teens like me. It was comforting knowing that adoptees had a space to gather and it was something I wish existed closer to where I grew up in Ohio. I realized this internship would be the perfect chance to connect with adoptees and gain work experience: an opportunity I wouldn’t find anywhere else.
I remember being asked, “how are you connected to adoption?” It seemed like such a straightforward answer: I am adopted. Then I realized, that was about as much of a connection that I had. I began to doubt my ability to work in an adoption support organization. After all, I barely identified myself as Chinese; I was raised around white people and white culture; and I grew up knowing only two other adoptees and rarely engaged in anything related to my culture or adoption.
Despite my doubts, I received an acceptance email. I was thrilled! Little did I know how transformative this internship would be. I understood very little about the adoption process: how I got here, what my mom went through to get me, and all of the politics and international relations at play. Moreover, I did not realize how incredibly powerful and grounding it would be to be surrounded by a team of adopted and Asian women.
I loved my work and creating content for The Park, but the moments in between were by far my favorite. Learning everyone’s stories, sharing feelings and thoughts I had never been able to completely articulate before, and learning how to intertwine Chinese culture with my own upbringing was gratifying. I came in with so many preconceived notions about who I was, how I could feel, and what I believed in that were turned completely on their head.
The Park staff and interns helped me connect with my truest, most honest self, and we did it together. I connected with the interns and staff in a way I have never connected with anyone else. Coming from a lifetime surrounded by white people (sorry Mom), I was conditioned to give the short and sweet version of my background. Suddenly, I was graced with the beauty of not having to explain myself and, even better, my unknowns and my feelings were not only understood, but relatable. Never have I been able to relate to so many people at the same time in my life. This in itself was worth doing the internship. I know my fellow interns and Amy, Ali, and Claire will forever be in my corner, as I will be in theirs: always supporting each other, laughing together, and eating boba.