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, 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 René Christian, Illustrated by Raina Yu Si Christian

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.

"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 René 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, and adults too!

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








HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

Wishing all One Worlders a memorable Valentine's Day! A little late but no less heartfelt.

Love, Mei-Mei


Saturday, February 14, 2015

A few glimpses of Hawaii

Dear One Worlders,

Sorry that I have been missing in action for so long! Between writing commitments, travel and snow storms [seven feet with another 8-12 inches on the way this weekend!], life has been busier than usual.

Would like to share a few photos from the thousands I took on the Big Island [Hilo and Kona] and on Kauai. It was my first visit to Hawaii and the beauty and diversity of the landscape and communities exceeded all expectations. May have to post photos in several batches as the files are so large.

Enjoy! Hope you are well and looking forward both to Valentine's day and the Chinese New Year! Celebrate joyfully!

Flowers, mainly orchids






Many more photos on their way!
Much love. Hope that some of you have looked at Dear Wonderful You!

Mei-Mei

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holiday Season to All!!!



Dear One Worlders,

Thinking of you all, scattered as we are all over the world, yet so closely connected. Wishing you a fabulous season of celebrations and a New Year full of new friendships, adventures, discoveries both about yourselves and the world around you.

Will write more before 2015!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Something to Brighten Your Day!



Dear One Worlders,

With so much going on in the world, turmoil and uncertainty, I thought you might enjoy watching something unusual and of beauty. Please click or copy and paste the following links into your browser.

Click on first link:
video.php?v=851829108170842

http://video.repubblica.it/natura/il-gufo-nel-lago-nuota-a-delfino
Apparently this owl was forced into lake by two hawks, accomplished this amazing feat and was even able to take flight with wet wings!

Hope that everyone is well and getting ready for the holidays. I am in Tuscany where it is raining non stop. Was able to take a few photos here and there but nothing like usual.

Thinking of everyone!

Love,
Mei-Mei


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dear Wonderful You - Meet the Writers (Extended Version)

Dear One Worlders,

Back again after a hiatus. Lovely to see all the activity and welcome new contributors! I thought you might be interested in hearing many of the authors whose letters appear in "Dear Wonderful You," talk about the process of writing their letter. Both Jen and I appear.

Sending you love and happy thoughts from windy, rainy Tuscany!
Mei-Mei




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Other Shoe

When I was adopted, I was wearing a pair of red shoes. My adoptive mother gave one shoe to my foster my mother, so that she would always remember me. Now as we leave tomorrow to find her, I hope that she will remember me and still have the shoe.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wonderful Trip to Washington, D.C. - and Warm Welcome to Melissa Yeung, CCI Board Member & New One World Contributor

Dear One Worlders and Friends,

What luck to have met two beautiful fellow One Worlders yesterday during one of my rare sojourns (for 1.5 days) in Washington, D.C.! Susan Orlins, author, fellow One Worlder and Mom to One World co-founder, Sabrina Orlins, generously welcomed us into her gorgeous home. Susan, Jessie and I have been corresponding for some time, but this was our first meeting in person (do you think that I was a little nervous and excited?).
We even met Susan's famous four-legged family member (also in Susan's memoir), Casey!
And we made dinner in her lovely kitchen (we loved green counter, plush & lush pillows and her hand-painted backsplash tiles). Susan told us about her latest projects, including work as editor of STREET SENSE, the DC Metro Area Newspaper committed to transforming lives. We were inspired by her commitment to social issues, and her outreach work. Bravo, Susan! You can order Susan's memoir by clicking here.


Jessie Lutz told us a bit about her studies at university, and I shared a bit about my trip to Monet's gardens in Giverny, France (more on this later). Just off to the airport! Thank you, Jessie and Susan, for sharing your stories with us, and for making my D.C. stop-over so special. 

Meanwhile, we'd like to extend a warm welcome to new One Worlder Melissa Yeung, CCI Board Member, to our global community. Looking forward to hearing your stories!

Much Love, 
Jennifer

Monday, November 10, 2014

Advocating for Special Needs Orphans this Christmas Season...

HI Everyone,
i'm new to this blog and was introduced to it by Jennifer. i had the privilege of meeting Jennifer during a writer's seminar and it was wonderful to connect with her and be introduced to all of you.

A little about me - i'm Sandra. Home is, at the moment, Switzerland. i write, i blog, i manage the home - but most importantly, i advocate for special needs orphans. i was introduced to the heartbreaking and amazing world of special needs orphans more than 2 years ago and i fell head-over-heels into the lives of these precious children. i have not and may never meet any of them but they have no voice and i felt led to be a voice for them. i work mainly with Reece's Rainbow, which is an advocate ministry where these kiddos are available for adoption are listed and advocated for. Where possible, an adoption grant is open for the child.

Every Christmas season Reece's Rainbow holds an extra special fundraising/awareness building campaign, called Angel Tree, from 1st November till 31st Decemeber. During this period, anyone can sign up (actually sign up happens in October) to an Angel Tree Warrior for a specific child. The mission is to build awareness of the child's need for a family as well as raise US$1000 for the child's adoption grant.

i'm writing here to ask for YOUR HELP!

JASPER, waiting for his forever family.
He needs to be adopted by 1st January 2015.
i'm the Angel Tree Warrior for JASPER - who is desperately running out of time for a forever family. He is such a sweetheart. He was abandoned at 8 years and has lived at an institution ever since, waiting for a family to come for him. His special needs are Down Syndrome, undescended testis and some dental issues. These are not huge special needs and in another country he would have had the help he needed long ago. He still can - he needs to be adopted before 1st January 2015. So a paper-ready (homestudy already done, approved for 2 but bringing home only 1 at the moment) family needs to step up for him.

i have an online shop, Angel Crafts Shop, where i sell handmade hair accessories, keyrings and bracelets. 50% of all sales during November & December will go to JASPER's adoption grant. Please stop by, browse and make a purchase.

Here is one of the art-pieces in the Art Giveaway.
i am also running an Art Giveaway - i have 2 commissioned pieces of artwork up for grabs - taking part is as easy as sharing JASPER's profile page. See here for details.

There will be 2 more fundraising/awareness building events coming up... stay tuned.

Please do contact me directly (sandra_chia (at) hotmail (dot) com) should you have any questions.
You can also read more about JASPER and other orphans on my blog, trippingdifferently.com

Thank you so very much.
sandra yc

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Short Video Introducing Several Authors of "Dear Wonderful You, Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth."

This video made by Bryan Tucker, documentary filmmaker, is less than 5 minutes long but gives initial feeling for some of the authors of the anthology, "Dear Wonderful You." There is also an extended video about an hour long for those interested.

Enjoy!


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

Love,
Mei-Mei

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

TWIN SISTERS (New York Times film review)



"Everything about the Norwegian film “Twin Sisters” seems too good to be true. The stars are a pair of adorable 10-year-olds as energetic as they are well-adjusted. The supporting players look like the four nicest, most supportive parents you could meet. The story hinges on a set of fateful coincidences that profoundly change the lives of everyone involved. “Twin Sisters” is a documentary, though, so there’s no need to suspend disbelief.
Mona Friis Bertheussen’s film, showing on Monday night in the PBS series “Independent Lens,” is an Asian-adoption story. Movies in that genre are typically about grown-ups, often the filmmakers themselves, seeking out the biological families they’ve never known. “Twin Sisters” turns that narrative on its head...."
CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Young Performers from Inner Mongolia. Astounding.


Last week I had the joy of spending over two hours watching and listening to 20 students from Inner Mongolia, between the ages of 15 and 18 dance and sing at the Townshend, Vt. High School. Since 1999 there has been a unique exchange program between the Arts College of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot and Leland and Gray. The reciprocal influence of the two cultures on many hundreds of students and their families has been stunning. I video taped many of the gorgeous performances but have been unable to upload them on Youtube. The throat singing was amazing, as well as instrumentals and collaborative pieces between East and West. Have never heard such a memorable rendition of the "Yellow Submarine."
Waiting for my son to help out! Stay tuned. In the meantime, here are some photos [which don't begin to do justice to the artistry of these young professionals. 


Love, Mei-Mei