I ‘speak well’ ’cause I’m adopted

Grace Jiahui Robinson,
Kentwood, MI

Of all the six-word phrases I could’ve chosen (‘I am NOT your sexual fantasy,’ or ‘I’ve felt safe here til 2020’), I feel like the story behind this phrase really encapsulates my experience as a Chinese-American adoptee. I went to a private Christian school where the only other kids that looked like me were foreign exchange students, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when someone complimented me and said I spoke English so well (though it’s too bad it had to be a teacher who said it). I brushed it off, maybe even found it humorous, because I was young and I didn’t know that that was just the beginning of the stuff I’d have to deal with on my own without my parents. Nevermind that I probably grew up the same way as every other white person; when it’s just me, without my parents there to provide the context of ‘oh she’s adopted,’ I’m just another Asian face.

 

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