Welcome

Welcome to ONE WORLD: Chinese Adoptee Links (CAL G2 est. 2007) Blog!

FOUNDED BY A GROUP OF EIGHT, YOUR ONE WORLD HOSTS ERIN, ANGELA GEE, JAZZ, JEANNETTE LOAKMAN, JENNIFER BAO YU 'PRECIOUS JADE' JUE-STEUCK, DR. MEI-MEI AKWAI ELLERMAN, AND SABRINA SPAN 3 CONTINENTS and REPRESENT 6 GENERATIONS of CHINESE ADOPTEES. (scroll down for more details)

They Think I'm Chinese!

They Think I'm Chinese!
[LEFT] "ON ME PRENDS POUR UNE CHINOISE" ("They Think I'm Chinese!") - a Film by Nicole Giguère & "CHINEAS GIRLS" art from IRELAND by Lin Ye, age 4 [RIGHT]

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day: Reflections



MOTHER'S DAY...
A day to remember and honor all mothers,
in spirit, whether related by blood or not,
Women who have nurtured and raised us, 
held us in their embrace and loved us unconditionally.
Women whose faces and scent are familiar to us as our own.
Women who have loved us from afar,
only able to imagine who we have become
as we have conjured up their images in our minds,
have fantasized about them, aching for the unknown,
yet feeling mysteriously and inexorably connected.
Women who have inspired us through their deeds and words,
in history, literature, science,and the arts,
whether our contemporaries, our ancestors,
or mythical figures from the remote past.
All these women are our Mothers,
whom we honor and revere each day.
But let us also remember our Mother sans pareil,
Mother Nature, who has sustained and provided for us all,
The Giver of Life, of the air we breathe,
the water we drink, the soil upon which we tread,
the beauty which surrounds us to quench
our thirsting souls during our brief, arduous,
yet intoxicating sojourn on this planet.
Mei-Mei Akwai Ellerman, May 10, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Remembering My Maman

May 10th, 2015

Her presence is ubiquitous. Her mellifluous voice wafts towards me on the cold travertine hearth where I sit, alone with thousands of memories. At any moment I expect her to appear at my side and envelope me in her loving embrace.
 
How is it possible that 21 years have slipped by since we held our last silent conversation, I perched on the edge of her bed? A warm August breeze filled the room with the heady scent of lavender. The silence, more eloquent than any exchange of words, eased my heart. Sacred, timeless. Her hands cradled in mine, translucent from age, radiated wondrous energy. She emitted an ethereal aura as she gently approached the end of her journey.

We were meant to be together in this life. She found me and fought for me when I was 7 months old. She stood by me throughout, my champion, my inspiration, my source of strength and compassion.


I feel her breath upon my tear-streaked cheek. She is with me, forever. My beloved Maman.


[Written at Il Vallone, Tuscany where my mother lived from 1970 to 1999. She was 94 when she departed].




Finding Magic in The World


Hello all,
I apologize for not writing in a while. College can get pretty busy.
So I have a quick fun story for you all. Recently, my family spread my grandma's ashes into our garden, because my grandma loves gardens, and we wanted her to be apart of ours, as well. A day or two ago my dad noticed some pink tulips  growing in the garden that were never planted there before, and because tulips are bulbs, they cannot just randomly start growing. Coincidentally, my grandmothers favorite flower was a pink tulip, and they used to grow around my dads old house in NY, while he was growing up. This is why I believe there is a certain power and sort of magic in the world that us humans do not understand yet.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An Evening with Maxine Hong Kingston at Columbia University


Maxine Hong Kingston, April 20, 2015, Columbia

I came to New York primarily for two reasons: to see the fabulous exhibit at the New York Historical Society on the Chinese Exclusion/Inclusion Act [next post!] and to hear Maxine Hong Kingston whose books I hold close to my heart and with whom I have a special bond. 

Despite pouring rain and encroaching fog, I made my way to the Columbia Univ. campus and finally managed to find the Lecture Hall which was filled with devotees of all ages. Maxine Hong Kingston spoke as part of  the Heyman Center Writing Lives Series and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race's Artist at the Center Series. Journalist, anti-war activist and acclaimed author, recipient of many awards, she paved the way for Chinese American writers with the publication of her extraordinary memoir The Warrior Woman: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. It was followed by China Men, equally enthralling, thereby completing what the author considered a larger work. The two deeply personal books were followed by novels stemming from the desire to change genres and speak from a different place with a different voice. 

This evening, Maxine read from her major works, sharing parts of her journey and her writing process. Not surprisingly, she began writing at a very early age- her practice years as she calls them- always drafting first in pencil, then moving to a fountain pen, and finally transferring her words to the computer. She considers writing in pen part of the creative process- she owns 15 fountain pens, some extremely valuable. 

After losing a finished manuscript [fiction], to a devastating fire that burned all her belongings and razed her house to the ground, Maxine pulled back from fiction, unable and unwilling to express her pain and feelings through invented characters when they were so deeply connected to her personal experience. Nor had she any desire to recreate what she had lost: "Writing is going into the new..."

The audience was mesmerized by the powerful and luminous presence of an author who at age 74 is keenly aware of the passage of time, its effect on her physical appearance [wrinkles, lines, her white hair, all mentioned with great humor], and of how little time may be left for her both as an activist and a writer. Yet I was struck by her youthful spirit, her energy and drive. She has many more gifts to share with her readership and human kind. 
After hugging in a spirit of sisterhood, it was hard to pull away and slip out into the misty night that in the space of hours, had transformed the City into an almost ghostly world. 

Love, Mei-Mei 
If you haven't read Maxine's work, I encourage you to start with The Woman Warrior and China Men. May they change your lives as they did mine.



Columbia University, shrouded in fog

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rooted to Resiliency: On Mother Dreams...(in loving memory of my Mom, Janet Jue, 1941-1999)


Dear Sisters,

Yesterday would have been my (adoptive) mother's birthday. I was 19 when she was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. I watched her die beside me under our living room Christmas tree, and do you know that I have never been the same? It is one thing to lose a birthmother, and another to watch your (adoptive) mother die beside you. Do you think that I miss her?

Part of being rooted to resiliency (for me) is learning how to be in connection...even whilst living in disconnection. How can you keep your own connections active and alive (even, and especially, in the face of great adversity), thus keeping yourself alive in most vital ways?

Much Love,

Jennifer


"ON MOTHER DREAMS...."

I dream about having a Mother.

Some people may dream about their favourite sports car, or winning the lotto, or becoming famous or about their retirement.  I dream of none of these things.

Instead, my dreams consist of much smaller things, such as...



  • Telling my mother that (yes!), I finally finished something that I was afraid to do...
  • Sharing a laugh together, or a memory.
  • Inviting her to my birthday party each year (she always used to get me an ice cream cake).
  • Telling her that I graduated from Harvard (I'm the first person in my adoptive family to have ever gone to Harvard) and being able to invite her to the ceremony.
  • Calling her when things go wrong, like when I accidentally had to be rushed to an emergency room in Norway after falling over my ankle running through a wild Norwegian forest.
  • Bumping into her randomly in the middle of the day on the street (this is one of my most common dreams).
  • Sitting together in a theatre.
  • Smiling together for a photograph.
  • Saying goodnight...or good morning.
  • Telling her how my day went, and listening to hers.
  • Remembering together, and letting her remind me of things I used to do when I was small...
  • Holding hands.
  • Sharing hugs.
  • Going to clothing stores and trying on outfits together.
  • Telling her about my latest writing project, about my Ph.D. research...
  • Inviting her to travel with me (this year I really wish I could invite her to Paris to do a writer's workshop on memoir writing, which I know she would have loved).
  • Rubbing noses together, and comparing the shape of our toes (so very different looking since we are not genetically related, of course).  Mom was tall, thin and gorgeous; I am short, petite and look absolutely nothing like my (adoptive) beautiful Mom.
  • Helping her decorate her summer house in Maine (now sold and gone).
  • Sharing my writing with her, and giving her feedback on hers.
  • Being able to celebrate Mother's Day.
  • Overhearing someone say, "I'm so proud of my daughter."
  • Even getting annoyed with one another -- I miss this as well.
  • Just being able to pick up a phone -- anywhere, anytime -- and being able to call her.
  • Telling her about life in London...

I once read about a lady who also lost her Mom whose greatest wish was just to have her mom back for one day to be able to do mom-and-daughter things together. Just one day. One last day.

I cried reading that article.  
Because I never ever even dared to dream of an entire day with mom. That would seem so greedy. So grand. So rich.  

It's just these little moments that I dream about the most, miss, yearn for, tenderly remember or witness between other moms and daughters...and wonder, "Who would I be without you, Mom?"

And also, I wonder, "Who will I become now that you're not here?"

It's small dreams like these -- of every day, oh-so-ordinary-but-extradordinary moments -- that I long for the most.


(Cross-posted in The Lost Daughters Blog)

"Nowhere to Call Home," a Powerful Documentary on a Tibetan Woman's Journey to Freedom, by Jocelyn Ford




Documentary Film by Jocelyn Ford

Dear One Worlders,

For several years my daughter Mei-Ling, both a Fulbright and Boren Scholar, ran her own research project on Chinese women migrant workers who left their families in rural China to work as domestics in Beijing. She interviewed over 100 women, at first finding them in public parks or via word of mouth. She later did in depth interviews, focusing on the life stories as well as work experience of a smaller number of workers for her PhD thesis.

During her years in Beijing she became close friends with an American journalist, Jocelyn Ford, who
did reporting for NPR and was a long-time ex-pat who had settled in the capital. I too came to know Jocelyn both on a social and professional level. She introduced us to Zanta, the protagonist of what would become the amazing documentary that is being shown around the US, in some European countries and in China. At the time, Zanta was struggling to sell jewelry on the streets of Beijing while ensuring that her son, with Jocelyn's help, was enrolled in a good school. Every decision she made went against the patriarchal dictates of her family and village elders.

On April 21st and 22nd, "Nowhere to Call Home, A Tibetan in Beijing" is being screened at the Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, in Vanderbilt Hall, located at 40 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012. Time: 4:00PM, in case any readers live in NYC. I have registered for the first screening myself. Look forward to seeing both Jocelyn and Zanta and am thrilled to see the finished documentary versus just the snippets viewed over time. I will report back on this event as well as on a presentation by Maxine Hong Kingston at Columbia University for the Writing Lives series! 
Screenings of "Nowhere to Call Home" in the US, Europe and in China, have received rave reactions by audiences and reviews. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/movies/nowhere-to-call-home-examines-prejudices.html

http://www.lse.ac.uk/internationalDevelopment/news/2015/Film-Screening-Tibetan-in-Beijing.aspx

Trailer:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/movies/nowhere-to-call-home-examines-prejudices.html

Love, Mei-Mei






Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Amazing Chinese Acrobats as Butterflies





Dear One Worlders,

Just saw this video and wanted to share it with you. Such beautiful lines, perfect control yet seemingly effortless and graceful. The art of acrobatics taken to a new level.

Imagine the countless hours of practice and rehearsal to achieve what can only be defined as pure art! All of us, in our own way, strive to be our best at what impassions us, be it writing, dance, drawing, painting, singing, playing an instrument, sports, investigating one of the many scientific fields... But what counts more than a perfect outcome is that the effort we put into our endeavors yields a sense of personal satisfaction and achievement. Sometimes it may be a relatively simple project or undertaking, yet if it makes you smile and warms your heart, it is worth more than high accolades from others. Part of learning to appreciate and love oneself!

Enjoy! You will have to copy and past the following link into your browser to view the extraordinary performance.

http://www.doovi.com/video/acrobatics-butterflies-in-dream-cctv-chinese-new-years/sCRcMGC8IuU

Love,

Mei-Mei

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rooted to Resiliency: A CALL TO FREEDOM


(Cross-posted from THE LOST DAUGHTERS blog)

Do you know how small island nations become imperial powers?

They colonise and terrorise the mind.
How else can they wield power?

Can you free your mind?
Can you unlock the doors that small island thinking boxes into neat little origami shapes...to disguise the fullness of freedom?

Mind games are like chains we cannot see,
make them visible.

Rooted to Resiliency
is about connecting to our truths,
reclaiming our voices,
from lost lands and far off, frozen faces, forgotten places,
standing in the here and now
where your destiny is written 
by you.
By your heart.
By your truth.

I may have no family tree,
but I stand here before you,
rooted
to
RESILIENCY.


For my two mothers -- of body, spirit and eternal hope.



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Some Photos from the American Adoption Congress Conference, March 25-28


Book Sale and Signing

I found it hard to mentally and emotionally re-enter my everyday life after spending three and a half days in the company of adoptees, birth mothers and fathers, and adoptive parents-the whole adoption constellation. What was unique about the event was the common threads that linked us: "feelings," and a sense of acceptance, understanding, and love. I met so many amazing people, some of whom instantly felt like soul-sisters and brothers. It was an extremely intense experience, what with keynotes, workshops, films, performances that ran from early morning until 11:30 at night. The final day I stay until after 1AM as it was so hard to take leave of new friends and the warm embrace of a community that grew closer with each passing day. 

Here are a few photos of writers, performers, film makers, and activists. You may come across their work or even meet them if you ever attend one of the AAC conferences. An overwhelming number of people flock together year after year. I will be attending the 2016 congress that kicks off on March 30 in Denver, Colorado. Already looking forward to it!


With Zara Phillips, singer/actress. Ann Fessler, writer, artist




Cynthia McGuigan, President of AAC, Susan Harris O'Connor, author/actor/MSW, Rhonda Roorda, author, Krista Woods, AAC Board and MSW, and Chris Wilson, documentary filmmaker, You Have His Eyes [powerful multi-award winning film]


With Suzanne Gilbert, author of Tapioca Fire



Panel of Lost Daughters


Kripa Cooper-Lewter, MSW and author, reading from her essay in An-Ya Parent,Teacher Guide


Amanda Transue-Woolston, LSW, author and activist



Angela Tucker, author [& plays self in documentary film, "Closure" by Bryan Tucker]


 Sarah Elizabeth Greer, author, actress, playwrightBio-Hazard: A Relative Comedy




Flash into the Future! [accessories from Sarah Greer]

Much love,
Mei-Mei 





Saturday, April 4, 2015

Wishing All One Worlders A Happy Easter, Passover, Spring!



Thinking of everyone in our vast community, spread out across the world, and how close we are despite being separated by oceans and artificial borders. This is the perfect time to come together as Spring begins to warm the earth upon which we walk, and brings more light and longer days for us to enjoy.


Wish that I could reach out to each and every one of you with a hug, or that we could all join hands encircling our planet many times over.

Love,

Mei-Mei





Sunday, March 29, 2015

Back from Adoption Conference: Magical






It is 4 AM in the morning so don't have the energy to post about the past few days right now. Promise to give you an update as soon as I catch my breath. Four days of intense, emotional, inspiring, riveting encounters- new friendships that run deep below the surface although we have only spent hours together. A new sense of understanding, kinship, belonging.

I will definitely be going to Denver next year for the 2016 conference!

Love,

Mei-Mei

Thursday, March 26, 2015

First Evening at Adoption Conference, Cambridge, MA




It is already late and I have to be up at the crack of dawn due to rush hour traffic. A fairly modest number of people, it being a Weds. night, but it was nice to have an intimate group. The majority of attendants will arrive tomorrow. We were able to become acquainted with quite a few people because of a "speed" chat exercise that encouraged all present to move around in circles every 3-4 minutes and speak to a different group, answering set questions. Most effective and rather fun though when one "clicked" with someone it was hard to move on- in fact, often some of us didn't! Just continued our conversation.

After a brief break, we watched a gripping film, Loggerheads,* referring to a species of turtles whose females return to the beach where they were hatched, leave their eggs, and then slip back into the water and swim away.

Based on a real story, beautifully acted, directed and shot, the film touched upon issues, pains, conflicts and resolutions of all involved in the adoption triad. A very sensitively narrated tale; paced with extended silences between revelations to give viewers time to step into the characters' emotional state of mind. Touching, poetic, authentic. At the end, we had the privilege of speaking via skype with both the main protagonist on whose life experience the film was based, a first mother, and the filmmaker. The general reaction was extremely enthusiastic, though several first mothers left half way through- simply too painful for them to watch.

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi3180527897

More to come!
Love,

Mei-Mei

For more information on the Loggerhead Turtle:  http://www.nwf.org/wildlife/wildlife-library/amphibians-reptiles-and-fish/sea-turtles/loggerhead-sea-turtle.aspx


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

American Adoption Congress Conference, Cambridge, March 25-29





On Wednesday evening the annual American Adoption Congress Conference opens at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge. Hoping that there will several One Worlders who are planning to attend.
I plan on being there all through the conference. Will also be selling books from the An-Ya Project.
Hope to see you there!

http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/docs/AAC_BROCHURE_FINAL_3.10.15.pdf

If you miss this series of events, I will try to share some of the highlights once I have caught my breath.  I very much look forward to meeting many of the authors who contributed to both Perpetual Child and Dear Wonderful You, as well as others whose names are familiar. Hope to see old friends too! There will be far too many events, films and workshops from which to choose. Exciting and a tad frustrating...

Happy Spring, even if temperatures in NE are still far from warm!

Love,

Mei-Mei

Monday, March 16, 2015

Invitation to Panel on Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth--A Global Perspective

For those who live in the Boston area: Invitation to the 

The Gender and International Development Initiatives (GaIDI)
at Brandeis University
presents a panel on

 Letters to Adopted & Fostered Youth--
A Global Perspective 

March 19, 2015, 4 - 6 p.m.
Women's Studies Research Center
Brandeis University
515 South Street, Waltham, MA 02454

​Call Mei-Mei for more information781-237-6826
Please spread the word!

FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Bios of Panelists 
Ming Foxweldon was adopted from Kunming, China in 1994 at age three and a half. Raised mainly in New England, she majored in Chinese and minored in Anthropology at the University of Vermont. Her interest in adoption-related topics has grown through college-oriented activities and her involvement with adoptee-run organizations, such as China's Children International, Land of Gazillion Adoptees, and The An-Ya Project, among others. She responded to the call for submissions by the An-Ya Project for the Dear Wonderful You anthology and was elated to have been included as a contributor. She felt free to express herself and was able to connect with others who walk a similar path, thus expanding her horizons on adoption-related issues and finding support to continue on her life journey.

Olivia Lunardo is an undergrad nursing student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. They identify as genderqueer and use they/them/their pronouns. They were adopted from Hunan, China a little over the age of 2. Since then, they grew up in Massachusetts their whole life. Although most of their time is dedicated to studying, they like to occasionally get involved with other projects such as participating in plays, LGBTQIA+ advocacy work, panel discussions, and research.

Raymond Pillidge, LICSW, MSW, Boston University, MA in Social Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University, is a Social Worker and Child Welfare Administrator. His professional interests are in organizational development and change, and in restorative justice practices in Child Welfare. Former Adjunct at Salem State where he taught ‘Community Practice and Social Change,’ Ray has also taught in the Urban Leadership Program at Simmons College School of Social Work.
Ray was born and adopted in New Zealand at a time when all adoption records were closed. After a search he reunited with his birth family 30 years ago. He is interested in policy and justice issues for people separated from their families and countries of origin and in adopted people’s complex identities.

Tien Ung, LICSW, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Simmons School of Social Work and Director of the Urban Leadership Program. Dr. Ung teaches courses on research, leadership, trauma, and social work practice. As a practitioner-scholar, Dr. Ung works with clients, trains practitioners, and provides organizational consultation in child and family settings with specific expertise in child protection, adoption, forensic social work, child and family trauma, and immigrant and refugee mental health. Consequently, Dr. Ung’s research is broadly
focused in the field of transnationalism, with particular attention to the effects of culture and intercultural dynamics on identity, mental health, and family well-being.

Mei-Mei Ellerman, PhD, was adopted at the age of 7 months in a closed adoption in NYC. A former academic, she is now a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center where she focuses on memoir writing and social activism She has both spoken and written on adoption- related issues, based on her life journey and her two decade- long search for her origins as well as her adoptive family’s history-she is working on two memoirs. Founding director emerita of Polaris, leading anti-trafficking and modern day slavery NGO, Mei–Mei is committed to addressing the growing industry of transnational trafficking in adoptions. She is also a passionate advocate for legislation granting all adoptees free access to their original birth certificates. A board director since 2006 of Chinese Adoptee Links International and co-founder of Global Generations, she regularly contributes to the One World, ChineseAdoptee.com blog. Recent publications as Co-founder of the An-Ya Project with Diane René ChrisDan include: Perpetual Child, Dismantling the Stereotype, an Adult Adoptee Anthology and Dear Wonderful You, Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth, which Mei-Mei also co- edited. 


Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Mighty Tree, by Diane Christian, Illustrated by Adoptee Raina Yu Si Christian, Age 16

This is another book by Diane René Christian, illustrated by Raina Yu Si Christian, age 15, older sister of Paden [see previous post]. Two immensely talented sisters, both adopted from China.





Two thumbs up for "A Mighty Tree," a children's book that enchants and touches the heart. The simple but powerful story of true friendship and recognition of the importance of preserving nature's treasures melds with the evocative and profoundly moving illustrations of the young, extremely talented artist, Raina Yu Si Christian. A mother/daughter collaboration in creativity; a marriage of words and images that will appeal not only to children but to their parents as they read this book out loud. [Raina was adopted from China at the age of 8]. 

"A Mighty Tree" beautifully conveys the magic of children's capacity to see and speak big truths, and to listen and learn from each other. Even a non-reader, just by looking at the vibrant illustrations, observing the sensitive expressions of the two protagonists and their body language, will intuit the nature of their initial conflict and its gradual resolution. One boy's vision of cutting down precious trees to build a mansion with a sweeping view credibly fades away as his friend, a Pied Piper of sorts with birds delicately perched on his shoulder or nearby, reveals the devastation the dream would cause. The story ends with the "dreamer's" realization that "I am the tree... and the tree is me," depicted in the exquisite image of the boy hugging the mighty trunk, eyes closed, his body almost indistinguishable from the tree. They truly have become one.

Hope you buy this for yourself, your child, a young friend! 

http://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Tree-Asian-Kid-Lit-ebook/dp/B00RPUSI1Q 

Love to all!
Mei-Mei


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lala The Fairy: Lives At The Zoo, by Diane Christian, illustrated by Paden YaLan Christian, Age 11

LALA THE FAIRY: LIVES AT THE ZOO


\

An enchanting story about a tiny fairy with exceptional powers and a pure heart. Lala lives in the zoo of my dreams: a zoo with no cages! But to enter, all the animals must pass through a silver gate. To be admitted by Lala, the gatekeeper, each new animal has to give its word in writing to respect each other. They walk into a world that is both safe and where they are utterly free, bound only by their promise to live in harmony.

The story revolves around Lala's vision to inspire all the animals to participate in a beautiful performance, even those who at first may feel shy or reluctant. One by one, Lala draws them in, by making each one feel special and proud of what it can contribute. Each animal is invited to lend its own personal, natural "voice." Their willingness to work together makes Lala's dream come true!

The heartwarming story featuring so many different characters is uplifting and joyful. Eleven-year-old Paden's beautiful illustrations delight and amaze with their vivid colors, artistry and palpable emotion. Paden captures the essence of each animal in both delicate and bold strokes. She conveys the magical connection between Lala and the zoo's inhabitants as well as the friendship between the animals themselves. Even after turning the last page, the images continue to dance in one's head, and the music to resonate in one's heart. 

I highly recommend this book! For children 6 and up, including adults! Paden, adopted from China, is now 11 years old. She has demonstrated a passion for drawing since she was toddler, essentially from the time of her adoption.

http://www.amazon.com/LaLa-Fairy-Lives-Zoo-Asian/dp/150600217X
[Asian Kid Literature]

Enjoy! 

Love, 
Mei-Mei

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy International Women's Day!



May today bring Peace, Harmony, Respect, Freedom and Equality for all the women in your lives, no matter what their age, their relationship to you, both far and near.  I have chosen this image especially because of the two symbols on the entwined trees, one Eastern, one Western. 

Supporting and empowering women affects the entire family, the community and well beyond. May your determination, passion and vision for the future, your future be the driving force in your life! Finally, always try to lead from the heart!

Much love,



Friday, March 6, 2015

Thoughts about adoption and race

Hello all,

Lantern festival was yesterday - the full moon after Spring Festival -  and I think Beijingers have finally used up all of their deafening crackers and fireworks (if you thought you could never get sick of fireworks, come to Beijing for Chinese New Year!)

I've been wanting to share this article I read about adoption and experiencing racism as an adopted child (of a transnational adoption or a biracial adoption, many ways to say this) Read it here:

http://the-toast.net/2014/11/11/race-adoption/

Race was certainly obvious to me when I was younger, more in the way that I knew I was percieved as "different": I look Asian and clearly my sisters are white, biological to my mother. Plus in elementary school a little boy without fail every day would taunt me and pull his eyes sideways. My older sister threatened to beat him up.

When we talk about race, I think it's important to recognize that race is a socially constructed idea, and it is different from ethnicity.

The article brings up some very interesting points that I think many people do not like to talk about, which is how their adopted child will experience racism, and how that racism will affect their child's identity and how they see themselves. Also problems of how to relate to something they have not experienced themselves.

I personally did not struggle too much with racism growing up even though it was always in the background. And in fact since it's my norm I rarely think about the fact that my family is termed "biracial" and I think that probably goes for many adopteees. I also tend to not care what strangers think about me in general. Also I believe showing your child you care by listening about these issues will go a long way.

It did spark some thoughts though: It's hard to realize sometimes that I am considered a minority in the US though I am part of a family who is majority. And it is strange thinking of all the things someone assumes about me due to my classification as an Asian woman, which is so different than how I perceive myself and what I know about myself. To try to explain this, I recently told my boyfriend who is German to imagine himself as exactly the same as he is now, but he looks like an Asian man. Maybe this is something that parents can do to try to capture that feeling.

However, like many adoptees, I am used to constantly having these "two" identities. I am very comfortable with myself and my time in China has definitely strengthened my Chinese identity and made me proud to be an Asian woman..I think it's pretty cool, a feeling I didn't have when I was young and thought the most beautiful women are blonde with blue eyes. Part of this is a huge lack of Asian role models in the US today, but also a lack of the feeling of belonging; which is a simple concept as a young kid but gets to the heart of minority issues.

These struggles with racial identity as an adoptee would be harder for me if I wasn't confident in who I am. Self- acceptance has allowed me to find peace in those identities and the emotional tensions it can bring.


Would like to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Sabrina

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Exhibit in Miniatures Scenes of Traditional Process of Making Porcelain Vases, Capital Museum, Beijing

When I was last in Beijing, I was enchanted by this exhibit at the Capital Museum in Beijing. Many other beautiful objects d'art as well, but these scenes really captivated me. Enjoy!














Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Two Great Videos of Fireworks in Beijing! Happy Lunar Year!



I have been in Beijing twice during the celebrations for the New Year. The experience is unforgettable as the whole world explodes into the most deafening, colorful, non-stop fireworks
for hours, even days...!

Welcome in the New Year vicariously by watching these two videos!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BErRvGgFZew

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOPf7TwN2WI

Love, Mei-Mei










Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Be Prepared for Dramatic Beginning of the Year of the Goat/Sheep



Am copying a post by Edward Liu from Voices of Chinatowns on Facebook. Hope you are able take in some of the excitement. Direct quote from Edward Liu:

Let the curtain rises....... from the East. The YEAR OF THE GOAT is soon to be ushered in with a signature "culture coming out" this Thursday on China's CCTV.
It may not be as dazzling and spectacular as the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Games opening ceremonies spectacular show....... but it will be telling of where China is headed and plans to steer its "culture capital" in the year ahead.

I encourage all those who follow and appreciate China and its unique culture, lifestyle and value-system to watch carefully and enjoy this year's "YEAR OF THE GOAT" annual Spring gala TV show being broadcast by CCTV on the 18th February, 2015.
In this year's cultural performance and content, from music, dance, drama, acrobatics, martial arts, folk performances, cross-talks, comedy......36 shows in a "mix-and-match" style reflecting China's enriched folk arts and diverse styles and indigenous cultures, including its cultural minorities...... one can discern and learn about the "cultural trajectory" that China is headed.
CCTV is under mandate to rekindle Chinese renewal and debunk the schlick-schlock of Pop Hollywood razzle-dazzle, less "tits and asses" and no hokey, hackneyed, vulgar material.
Never mind Hollywood hyper-stimulation, the Oscar, the Golden Globe, or the Emmys........let Americans have their shows. China can and must do better.
China is not the West. And China will never be the West.
China and its people will plod along, on its own path, in its own way, consolidating the inner essence and enduring values that have sustained its culture and peoples through 5,000 years of history.
Watch for the "software" side, not just the hardware side of the presentation.
Watch intelligently, reasonably, and sensitively.

CCTV's annual Spring Festival gala TV show is ready to go, as the last rehearsal wrapped up on Monday and the final rundown has been released.
ENGLISH.CNTV.CN|BY ZHANG JINGYA

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Story of a Leaf: Where it Originated and its Travels to the Ocean

While in Hawaii, there were so many extraordinary sights to photograph that I almost felt overwhelmed. This series of photographs is symbolic of the way I view an individual's journey through life. It could also be seen in reverse. You choose!

Love,
Mei-Mei