Monday, September 16, 2019

"I Found My Family"

Hi. My name is Emma. I am 17 years old and I was born in Jiangxi Province in China. I was brought to an orphanage when I was less than a month old. There is no record of my family. I was adopted when I was nine months old and I live in California.

Hi.  My name is Alexandra. I adopted Emma in 2003 from China. Emma has spoken to me on and off throughout the years, regarding her life and history. Last fall, her statements came with anger and sometimes tears. “You don’t know how I feel. You’re not my mom. I don’t even look like you.” and more. Then one day, I saw a meltdown like no other.  “How could my birth mom do this to me? What kind of mom does that? How do you just abandon your baby?”  She was sobbing.  Painfully. It was like no other meltdown I had seen.  

Two weeks later, Emma said, “I want to find my birth mom.  There has to be something in the documentation. I want you to look again. And I don’t want to help, just tell me if you find her.”  I had the finders name, but no contact info.  I thought this was definitely an impossible undertaking. I googled something like,  “How do I find my daughter’s birth mom in China when she was adopted to the United States in 2003?” came up.  I received her finding ad and interesting details about Emma’s orphanage.  Brian Stuy, the researcher, gave me some eye-opening news: “There is corruption in many of China’s orphanages, trafficking of babies for financial gain. It is very possible the finder doesn't even exist.”  

About two weeks into the search, Emma asked me about DNA testing. The likelihood of a family having a kit? And beyond that, the billions of people… At best, Emma could learn her genetic makeup. Thank God for her interest! Unbelievably, when the results arrived,  Emma’s first cousin was located!  The cousin’s name was definitely Chinese, so I assumed we'll just contact her and find out who Emma's birth mom is. Seemed pretty simple. 

Emma was skeptical. Interestingly, the emails sent us to, Brian Stuy.  The same Brian. He said he and his wife, Lan, travel to China and deliver DNA kits to birth families who are looking for their children.  Lan is the one who provided the kit to this cousin. Lan contacted the cousin and the uncle. They would not provide any information about Emma’s birth family. Odd, in my opinion. Lan said she would be returning to China in the Summer and she would try in person. Emma still skeptical,  “Just tell me if you find her.”

As we waited, I continued to search and, in the process, became a different mom.  I had no idea how adoptees felt and what they went through. This search changed our relationship. We became closer.

Lan left for China in June.  A couple of weeks later, I received a message that she believed she found the birth family. How will we know?  DNA.  Now we have to be patient and wait.
Translated from Mandarin:

“Hi.  My name is MeiFang.  A lady named Lan called and said she found my daughter and said she lives in another country. Lan said Emma wants to find me. I couldn’t believe it.  I'm happy and excited. I was crying. I never thought I would see my baby again.  She said something about needing DNA, but I don’t understand.  I cannot read and write.  Lan called my older daughter LaNing, because she knows DNA.  I think about my baby every day, but I have to ignore the pain.  She was taken from me. I just want to see her again. Please tell me this isn’t a scam. I am so happy, but what if it isn’t true?”
LaNing speaks English:

“Hi. My name is LaNing. I received a call from my mom. She said my baby sister was found. I am so moved and astonished. I even cried, for something impossible happens. Missing pours out from the bottom of my heart. I don't know how Lan found us.  She requested DNA and I understood it. I would know for sure if Emma is my sister.  I remember my mom was pregnant when I was a little girl, but I was not told what happened to the baby.  I know my family was sad and things were never the same again. I am eager to know.”

“Hi.  This is Lan.  Look on Gedmatch.  Emma has a mom and a sister.”

“Hi.  This is Alex again. I am now the “American mom.”  MeiFang is Emma’s mom.  LaNing is Emma’s sister. Lan did not just find Emma’s birth family.  She found Emma’s family.  MeiFang and LaNing are Emma’s family. Our family has grown.  Nature is strong. I can see changes in Emma. She is happier. Her eyes are brighter. She has more energy. Emma messages them everyday and has seen them on video chat. I am so happy to have been part of this reunion.”    

“Hi.  This is Emma:)  Lan found my birth mom. I saw the DNA results on the internet.  I now believe LaNing is my sister.  I finally have my birth mom.  My birth mom told me my story.  She didn’t abandon me.  I was taken and she has had a hard life since then. I am learning my history, my life from the very beginning. I am getting to know my mom and my sister. I found my family."


Alexandra: "We are very fortunate to have a match.  I understand many try for years and never locate their family, so we are very thankful.  DNAConnect.Org did all the leg work, all the hard work.  In the end, they could find a match, but no one will lay their head down on their pillow at night and feel 100% certain, without DNA. It’s easy for us here in the USA.  Order it, gather the sample, mail it in.  But on the other’s not that easy.  Most are not educated on DNA.  Kits are not readily available.  And the money?  Many of the birth families do not have the money. The DNA of the birth families is just as important in your search as your own DNA is. My recommendation is to get a DNA kit, get the results and post them on GEDMATCH.  Gedmatch is a free service that joins other DNA results of other companies together.  Keep looking as you wait for DNA results. Some families from China give information about their missing child, just not DNA.  Some of those facts will show up on various FB pages:  the province, the country, the city, the actual orphanage.  Some prefer posting baby and older pictures on posters.  Just remember, many of these families move.  Emma’s birth mom and sister are in two different provinces, and neither are in the province where they originally lived.  Another immediate family member is even in a different country.  Just remember, no matter what happens, DNA is the final match.  

OK, so all of that takes care of your side, but what about the China side?  DNAConnect.Org is where to donate.  You can donate kits or money.  DNAConnect is changing lives. Sounds like a commercial, but my family is living that amazing change.  Thousands of families are searching for their kids and only need a kit to make that match.

From a very lucky family:)

Monday, July 22, 2019

"We Didn't Know"

Xiao Xiao, you were born at around 10 am on lunar April 21st, 2001, Puyang County, Henan Province. You weighed 3.2 kg.

When you were born, the one-child policy was very strict. In rural areas, if the first kid was a girl, the family would be allowed to have a second kid, but was forbidden from having a third one. If the first kid was a boy, and the mother conceived a second child by accident, the government would force her to have an abortion along with a huge amount of fine. It’s believed in China that having more descendants means more happiness and luck, so many people wanted more than one child, which may cost a whole family’s hiding away from home.

It’s a traditional belief in China that “there are three kinds of being unfilial, among which having no child is the greatest,” which means that a family should have a boy to heir. Your birth parents are traditional and they wanted to have a boy.

Before you, the family already had a girl. Even though they knew in advance that you were a girl, they didn’t choose to abort. However, at the same time, they also wanted a boy. The final decision was that they would give birth to you, entrust you to your uncle for some time, and then take you back home.

You kept coughing since you were born. We took you to several hospitals, all in vain. Finally we took you to the People Hospital in Hebi, a city where your second aunt lived. Doctors there had better medical skills at that time. During this period, all of us were afraid of you being found by the government. We suffered both physically and psychologically. We rushed about for you and took good care of you in turn. We all loved you very much.

When you started to talk at the age of 2, you often said that you had three pairs of parents: your birth parents, your uncle & aunt, and your second aunt & uncle. They all loved you very much. Even then the family condition was not good, they would try their best to satisfy your needs, like if you wanted something to eat or play with. Especially your grandmother (your birth mother's mother): you were the apple of her eye.

You had shown many good qualities since you were little. You were outgoing, not afraid of strangers, and smart. The family all believed that you would be outstanding when you grew up. They said something like they would send you to a good school, and you could go to a college in the future (At that time, entering a college was not easy, and people thought it promised a good accomplishment in the future). When you were about 3, they sent you to a kindergarten near your second aunt’s, but didn’t know that you ended up in orphanage (It’s not until your adoptive mother told us did we finally get to know that the place you went was an orphanage). Your birth parents knew nothing about it. They were illiterate. They didn’t know what “orphanage” meant. They only knew that you were supposed to be studying in there.

When you were adopted and left China, we all missed you very much. Thinking of you, we were in tears, especially your grandma. Your birth mom said that your grandma missed you so much that she got ill. When she passed away, she still missed you, repeatedly saying that “Xiao Xiao finally came back home!””I finally met Xiao Xiao!” - she missed you so much that she had disillusions.

Later, we got in touch with your adoptive mother. Knowing that you are well and loved by your adoptive parents, we felt relieved. We often looked at the letters and photos your adoptive parents sent to us when we missed you.

Recently, we heard that you were going to go back China, we were all excited, anxious to meet you. The family members asked for leave at work ahead of time to wait for you. Your elder sister, your younger brother, your cousins all came to meet you, some from other places. Your aunt and uncle also planned to come, but they couldn’t get a leave at work. They had intended to have a video talk with you when you came back. The point I want to make by saying this is that all of us cared foryou very much. We didn’t abandon you on purpose. It was an accident that sent you away from us.

Following are two funny stories about you when you were little:

1. You were braver than all the peers. If you wanted toys or snacks, other kids were noncompetitive compared to you. You weren’t scared of fish at all, while other 3-year-olds were. When you saw the fish bouncing, you would giggle.

2. You loved singing, as cute as a cream in milk. You often wore your hair in four braids, jumping and dancing and singing. You were also a naughty girl, making all the little “damages”.

Monday, May 27, 2019

“A Glimpse of a Miracle”

Growing up as an adoptee, I've occasionally wondered whether I had siblings…it only made sense because why else would I have been put up for adoption? Maybe I had a brother or a sister… I wondered about my birth parents too, especially my birth mom. Both my adoptive mom and dad were very open to talking about my adoption when I had questions about it, how it all happened, and what they understood to be true. I understood that there was this One Child Policy, and that the situation in China at the time wasn't the best. Growing up, I did not feel as though I was abandoned, and I did not feel resentful. I am very fortunate and grateful for the life I've been given. I couldn't have asked for any better parents or an any more loving family to be a part of. I am incredibly blessed, and the life I live is something I will never take for granted.

It wasn't until fairly recently, within this past year, that I thought seriously about getting a DNA test. I was curious about my ancestry and my health. I've been told I looked Vietnamese before, so I was curious about that, but I mainly wanted to know if I had a predisposition for anything. By doing a test, it crossed my mind that maybe, on the very off chance, I could match with a sibling or close relative. I had never really had a strong urge or need to find my birth family, but with DNA testing being what it is today, I figured, it’s worth a shot. I was not holding out a whole lot of hope, so my expectations were pretty low.

I got my 23andMe results back a couple months later, and my results were interesting, but not too surprising. Turns out I did have a small percentage of Vietnamese in me! Otherwise, I was mostly Chinese, with a few small percentages of other Asian ethnicities. As far as matches, the closest match was a 2nd cousin and from there it went towards distant cousins. I briefly chatted with a couple of them, but nothing really came out of it. As I started back at school, I didn't really check my results again all semester.

It wasn't until the end of winter break that I decided to upload my results to GedMatch and check to see if any new matches came up that are relevant. To my complete surprise…I matched with an aunt…Um, what?? I really couldn't believe it. I looked at her name, I looked at how similar our ancestries were—it was just so crazy! Then I saw that she had left an email… or really it was a message from the person managing my aunt’s profile. I was congratulated on my search and then encouraged to email this person named Brian if I wanted more information. My parents and I were very skeptical… the email handle was “DNAConnect.Org”, which sounded like a website, so I did a little investigating. Sure enough, there was this full website about birth searching, being run by Brian and Lan. Although we still had our reservations, we thought it wouldn't hurt to send Brian an email and see what happens.

He emailed back a few days later, and that began a back-and-forth chain of emails between us, basically trying to piece together how “birth family searching” worked and what Brian and Lan’s roles were in it. We were still pretty skeptical at this point and weren't really sure how to process all this information. It was very unknown territory for us. My parents and I discussed it, and my parents decided to reach out to the adoption agency we used to inquire if they had any information about birth family searching and if they had heard about Brian and Lan. Turns out, the agency had heard about Brian and Lan through other families, with no negative feedback, which made us feel more comfortable about everything. With that, we decided that we would go ahead with the search.

Brian connected me with his wife Lan for the next part of the search. We messaged back and forth through the app she asked me to download, which she would later use to put me in contact with my birth family if the time ever came. She asked me to send her some pictures that would help with her search. I was still away at school and didn't have all the pictures available, so I planned on sending them to her a week later when I was on break. My parents and I had planned to be out of town for the first few days, so I had planned on sending her pictures when we got back.

However, while we were away, I got a message from Lan, saying that she believed she found my birth family and asked me to check my matches. My parents and I were completely stunned. How in the world did she find them already?? I didn't even send her the pictures yet. I go to check my results, and there was a match with my birth mom. Needless to say, my parents and my heads were reeling. We were at a loss of words.

A couple days later, after some processing and time to get back home, I had agreed to be put in a group chat with Lan and my birth family. Lan sent me a picture of my birth family before she connected us in the group chat. I had gotten the impression from Lan that my family was big, but I never imagined how big! There were five siblings pictured with my birth parents. I couldn't stop looking at the picture. I scrolled over each face. At the time, I wasn't sure if it was all siblings or if some were cousins or friends or what. I just couldn't wait to learn about my family!

My oldest sister was the first to talk in our group chat, and Lan was there to help facilitate the conversation. For one thing, my sister was typing in Mandarin, which I obviously didn't understand, but the app we’re using has a translation feature (technology is INSANE), so Lan told me how to translate the message, and from there I got introduced to each sibling. I discovered that I have two older sisters, one older brother, one younger brother, and two younger sisters (one of whom was also adopted outside of China and has yet to be found)! So, I went from being an only child to being one of seven kids. Talk about mind-blowing! For a number of days, I messaged them night and morning, learning more and more about them and telling them more about me. I soon came to learn about my birth, which in itself is pretty extraordinary.

I was born at home with the help of a midwife. At the time, family planning was very strict, and the economic situation was not good either. They were unable to keep me, so the midwife told them that she had already found a good family that wanted to adopt me, and that she would help arrange the adoption. With this assurance, my birth mom gave the midwife some money to help with the adoption. The midwife took me the second day after I was born. However, what the midwife told my birth family was not true at all. I ended up at an orphanage 80 miles away from my hometown, and was adopted by my parents, outside of China. All this time, my birth family thought that I was adopted into a family in China, not internationally. They have since been trying to find me, but the midwife never provided any information on where she sent me.

By sharing my story, I hope can inspire other adoptees to take the chance and do a DNA test if they are curious and/or have an interest in finding their birth families. For me, it has been a really positive experience. My family has only grown bigger since! In fact, that second cousin I mentioned earlier-- She recently got matched [through] with her birth family and by extension, has been in touch with me and my birth family. Small world! Also, in the midst of all this, I became an aunt, which was a role I never really imagined playing- at least biologically!

But to further reiterate, doing this search process and finding my birth family has answered a lot of questions for me. It’s really liberating to know the truth. Most of the information that my adoptive parents and I had known to be true about my adoption and where I came from, was essentially false. It was a bit mind-blowing to learn about the circumstances in China at the time and what my birth parents were going through. My perspective has definitely shifted a lot. I hope I can serve as resource for other adoptees and give hope to those who are looking for their families. I also hope to find my younger sister, so that my whole birth family may be reunited one day!

Articles published about this match:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

All In Our Family Are Happy!

Dear little sister,


I am your sister. My name is [Meiyan], I am a freshman at the university in Jiujiang City, Jiangxi Province, three years older than you. You were born on March 6th, 2003. I am happy to have the chance to write this letter to you, to express the true feelings of our family these years.

On March 6th, 2003, you were born in Linchuan, Fuzhou City, Jiangxi Province. Your father’s name is [Chen Fengmiao], your mother’s [Wang Lanxi]. Though I never met you face to face, I have always wanted to have a little sister. I miss you very much, and look forward to getting in touch with you. In fact, you have three elder sisters. Unfortunately, one of them haven’t been found yet. Your eldest sister’s name is [Chenjing]. She now works in Zhejiang Province.

At that time in China, birth-control and the one-child policy was very strict. One couple was only allowed to have one kid. Our mother was so weak at that time that she couldn't receive the abortion operations. Besides, she didn't want to end the kids’ lives, so she gave birth to all of us. We were poor then. Our parents made a living by working for others. We struggled in life with a tiny salary. My elder sister was brought up by my grandma, while I grew up with my aunt in the countryside. Till elementary school did I come back to the city. Because of the one-child policy, my parents couldn't make it public that I was their child. In fact, when I was young, I didn't know they were my birth parents. Instead, I regarded my aunt and uncle as parents, and my parents as uncle and aunt. My aunt and uncle treated me as their birth daughter, but I still resented my parents for abandoning me and stopping me from feeling the true love from my birth parents for a time. I felt I was cheated. When I grew up and learned about the real situation, I started to understand them. The policy was strict, and they were poor. I’m sure if they had had the ability to bring us up, they definitely wouldn't have given their birth children away.

When they talked to me about you, they were always in tears. They have suffered a lot these years. My parents told me that you were taken away from home by the staff from the orphanage on March 9th, before they even had a chance to give you a name. For the rest of the decade, they kept asking the orphanage about your information, but the staff there refused to talk. My mom only got to know that you were adopted by a foreign family, unaware of which country. You know, at that time, the Internet wasn't advanced like now. Besides, they had little clues nor money. It was really difficult to search for you.

I don’t want to see them in regrets through out their life. I assumed that you may want to know the conditions of your birth family, so I began to search for you with them. One day, I saw a video about foreign kids searching for parents, so I contacted Lannie. She helped us to do a free DNA test, asking for nothing in return. After some time, she told me that your DNA successfully matched with my mom’s. All in our family are happy! Our endeavor in searching finally paid off! However, we are worried that you don’t want to get in touch with us. We feel uneasy. After all, you are innocent. It’s all because our parents did something wrong.  I am very excited to talk to you! We are close in age, and I’m sure we’ll have a lot of topics to talk about!

My little sister, we really miss you! At the same time, we also want to thank your adoptive parents for bringing you up.

Mei Yan
May 13th, 2019

Sunday, May 5, 2019

I Thought She Could Live a Better Life

I am from a village in Ningdu, Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province. My wife gave birth to a girl over 10 years ago. Due to the pressure of birth control policy, the infant was sent three days after her birth and adopted by a kind-hearted town resident. I sent her away because I thought she could live a better life in the town than in a poor village. From then on, I never heard any news about her. 

During the summer of 2016, a relative of mine told me that an American couple came to seek for lost family members. So I sent them our DNA sample and they carried it back to the U.S. for DNA matching. No feedback was received until the next summer in 2017 when I met Lannie when she visited Ningdu searching for birth families. I had her take my DNA sample again. She said she would do her best to find my lost daughter. 

Our efforts was paid one a winter night in 2018. A phone call woke me up. “Is this Mr. Wang? Your daughter has been found. She is in the Netherlands!” 

The caller turned out to be Lannie. I just couldn’t believe it!! Later, Lannie got our contact on WeChat and we checked the childhood photos of the girl we shared to each other. They also created a family groupchat where we were told by the girl that her DNA and my wife’s successfully matched. We do share the kinship!

We appreciate the dedication made by Lannie and her team! We truly respect your efforts! Hereby, I also wish all the parents who lost their children could work together with Lannie’s team and find your lost treasure someday! 

Once again, thank you Lannie! 

A Heavy Load Off My Mind

September 30, 2018

I would like to tell you how the situation was like at the time. We just returned to the home village after migrating to cities for jobs, and my wife was about to give birth. At that time, birth control policy was extremely strict so we rented a house in a remote area. We were so afraid that we would be reported, so we kept the door closed in the daytime and we even did not dare to hang the clothes outdoors. It is impossible to imagine how tough it was for a heavily pregnant women to stay in a house with so little space. 

On the 28th day of January of the lunar calendar, 2004, our second daughter was born. She weighed about 3.2 kilos, with chubby little fingers and toes, chubby legs, and chubby cheeks. She looked like a baby boy and was so cute that everyone liked her. However, as the old saying goes, you cant wrap fire in paper. The thing we were worried about still happened, and we were reported to be violating the birth control policy. 

When we knew the bad news, we immediately transferred to a safe place at 2 am that day, and the house we rented was surrounded with the country government staff the next day. Since they didnt find us, the country government then dispatched some staff to move all my electrical equipment and valuable objects away. The government at the time was so bad. We hid ourselves wherever we went as if we had been wanted by the police. The government wanted to capture us because we didnt obey the policy, which regulated that one can not give birth to a second child unless the first one has been born for at least five years.

Later, a relative of mine suggested giving away the baby, which was firmly rejected by my wife and I. We stopped contact with that relative for several years. However, we were so helpless and had no alternative, so we finally followed his arrangement. We were told that there was a childless couple who were honest and guileless. We were assured that our daughter would be nicely brought up. We finally decided to give the baby to them. One night, we put the baby in their doorway as we agreed on. We waited at a place ten meters away, and didnt leave until Mei, the wife of the couple, picked our daughter up. Tears coursed down our cheeks and giving away our baby wrenched at our heart.

Finally, we migrated to cities for jobs again, but we didnt have the mood to do anything. One day, I heard that the government knew that Mei and her husband adopted our daughter illegally and forced them to send the child to the orphanage. Otherwise, they should have suffered the consequence. I was so heart-broken when I heard the news and I hated that I could not do anything to help. I made a phone call to ask my sister to find my daughter, but was told that my daughter was adopted because of her beauty. We had a hard time, we quarreled all the time, and I was always self-condemned.

Now, since our daughters whereabouts has been known, we are so happy! We are grateful to all of you for your help. We are grateful to Emmas U.S. parents, whom it is Emmas good luck to meet. We are also grateful to Mei and her husband. At present everyone is supposed to be very happy. I am so glad that I have that heavy load off my mind. Well, I would like to stop now.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

"No, That Is Impossible!!"

This was sent to us by Kim H., an adoptee from Ningdu, Jiangxi that we recently matched. She lives in the Netherlands.

From the moment I realized that I was adopted and that the parents I grew up with were not my birth parents, I have always wondered who my biological parents were. However, there had never been a possibility to find them and after many years, I kind of stopped thinking about finding them. I just kept hoping that they were healthy and that there would come an option soon.

That possibility came along a few months ago. One of my mother’s colleagues told me that I should take a DNA test. Her adopted daughter took such a test too, but didn’t find a match, but she said that it is fun to do anyway. So, I followed her advice and did the test. The ancestry report showed that I am 99% Chinese (not really a shocker though). Then I looked at the family tree and I saw that there was a woman that matched my DNA for 50%. When I looked closer, it said that that person should be my biological mother and I was like: “No, that is impossible”. But then I was thinking about it, and a 50% match could only mean a relationship with with one of your parents. So, after a few days of thinking I sent her a message. After a couple of days, I still hadn’t received an answer, so my hopes faded a little again. 

But I was a bit too impatient, because after a week or so, I received a message from Brian, a man who cofounded an organization that helps Chinese adoptees find their biological parents and vice versa. After a few times mailing back and forth, I discovered that my biological parents have been in touch with Lan, Brian’s wife and cofounder of the organization, since 2016. After a few days chatting with her, she asked me if I would like to be in a group chat with my biological family. I was immediately like: “Yes, of course I want that, I can’t wait to chat with them.” So, she put me in the group chat with my biological father and older sister. My sister sent a few pictures of their family in China and I sent a few pictures of mine in the Netherlands. It was really weird looking at the pictures, because it was like I was looking in a mirror. My sister and I have been chatting for a few hours to try and get to know each other. Unfortunately, we had to stop due to the time difference between China and Europe. While chatting, I discovered that I have an older and a younger sister, a younger brother, a mother, a father and a grandmother in China. After a few days, I received a message from my birth father too. He probably needed to figure out how to chat with me, since I chat in English and they text in Chinese. The first thing he said was that he was really sorry for giving me away and that I must hate him, which really touched me. I had no idea that he would feel so much guilt. Therefore, I told him that I don’t hate him, because he must have had a good explanation why he gave me away. Moreover, I am just happy to know that my family in China is still alive, healthy and happy. After some time talking, I discovered the reason why I was the only one that was adopted. Just after I was born, I became ill and my parents didn’t have enough money to bring me to a doctor. The only option for them was to send me away to a welfare institute close to their hometown and hoping that I would be adopted by a loving family that could give me the help I needed.

Talking to my biological family in China has always felt to be impossible, but I was wrong, it is possible. For me, it is the best thing that has happened in my life so far. I had the rare luck to find a match immediately and to be able to get in touch with my birth family. Not everyone is as lucky as me and there are still people trying to find their biological family. By writing about my experiences, I hope to inspire other people to do a DNA test and bring families back together. Of course, giving away your DNA could bring some risks, but just knowing that there are people out there that really care about you and love you let me take that risk.

"This is too good to be true!"

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.