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.