[ Viet Irish Support Seminar ]

Posted on October 12th, 2008 at 12:14am

I literally have just got back from my trip from Ireland. I was only over for a day event run by Viet Irish Support who organized their first series of talks (in which I was one =P).

I was so nervous cos it was the first time I had really talked to this many parents that had adopted from Vietnam. The way this talk went was that most of the time was used for Q & A. I spoke after Dr Elmarie Egan-Sage a Counseling Chartered and Research Psychologist that talked about separation anxiety, bereavement/ loss of birthmother and family, self esteem & trust. It was a hugely enlightening to hear her talk and I really felt that doing my talk after was a lovely contrast between a more psychological view and a lived one. I think it was important for me to be as open and honest as possible… and funny enough, I thought I was going to have some much tougher questions asked… but in the end it just felt like I had a nice conversation with 70 other people =P.

It’s still a strange concept to me that a whole room full of adults (though I know I am an “adult” I’m still pretty on the young side) actually think that anything I say has some importances. As I’ve said at the beginning of this blog… I’m no expert in adoption… at the beginning of my talk I also said the same… The speaker after (Mary D Healy Chairperson Irish Chinese Contact Group) said that even though I didnt consider myself an expert, I am an expert in a sense purely from my experience as an older adoptee (since there are not many older Vietnamese Adoptees in Ireland that are accessible).

To be honest I think it is the same across all types of adoptions, that it can be hard to find people that are willing to openly discuss their experiences because totally, understandably it is a privet subject in a lot of cases. I think the main reason I am quiet comfortable about it is cos when I took that leap to actually explore adoption through my art, I realized that my work would most likely be viewed publicly… so I think somewhere down the line I lost my fear and embarrassment about talking about my adoption with even complete strangers… and of course after checking that is it is ok with my parents and sister since much of art/talks have something to do with them too.

This was the second time I have been to Ireland and to do a talk of this personal nature. Both times I was privileged to stay with some lovely families that had adopted from either China or Vietnam… and I’m sure I’ve made some little friends for life =D. It really just shows me how developed adoptive family support organizations have be come and what they have learnt from other generations of adoption… things like Life books, attitudes and understanding have really grown…

Here are a few things that have got me thinking from todays events:

… So this is my message to anyone who has involved with adoption, be it adoptees, adoptive parents/families/friends or natural/birth families… speak up, cos there are a lot of willing and eager ears to listen.

- Friends can be a huge ally. Having someone outside your family support and understand you through your adoption journey can be extremely helpful. In my case my husband (a white British Yorkshire man =P) is so support of me which helps being all “grown up” and away from imedate family… and not just about his understand of adoption, but also with his genuine interest in Asian cultes, philosophies, realigion & even food… which makes me laugh cos he probably has a better knowledge then me =P.

- Cute adopted kids will grow up… =P I was a treible teenage…

- The languge we use can really change our attudes about the world, not even just from an adoption point of view… which in turn can help us inform the people around us that might know nothing about our situations. (Mardy D’s talk).

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[ Little Leap ]

Posted on October 2nd, 2008 at 9:25pm

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about “missing” people from my life. My parents dropped off a load of photocopied documents of adoption stuff yesterday. I was flicking through it looking for clues.

In 2003 I tried searching for my birth mother through a UK organization. Their search ended in Hong Kong where they find some info. but was not aloud to view the information. So I gave up. Today was the first time I have tried again… it’s taken me a long time to take that step again. The only thing I could find online about anything to do with my adoption was the orginistaion that dealt with my adoption…. the internet is amazing =)…

… they had a website… I opened my email… wrote a short email… clicked send… now I’m waiting…

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[ Thinking About Vietnam ]

Posted on September 30th, 2008 at 12:38pm

I have a trip coming up soon to Ireland in which I’ll be talking with families that have adopted from Vietnam. I’m actually very nervous since it’s not very often I meet people that have adopted from Vietnam.

I have done some talks over the past year with a group I’m involved with. We are a group of adopted girls from ages 13-30, mainly of Chinese decent, though based in the USA. So many of the talks I’ve done this year have been mainly focused around Chinese adoptees… this is the first Vietnamese focused talk I will do and it’s been on my mind.

It definitely has not been on my mind in a bad way, but more that I’ve been thinking about the different questions that might be asked… but especially that every time I do a talk I actually learn much more than the audience might think. I defiantly dont know all the answers and I’m still pretty young myself (26) and my opinions about adoption seem to change on a daily basis. The main things I’ve been thinking about today have been  my constant pulling between the fact I was born and grow up in Hong Kong with a Chinese culture and the fact that I am indeed Vietnamese.

I’ve only been back to Vietnam once in 1997 (when I was 15). It was on a school trip where I helped at an orphanage Called The Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. At the time I stupidly didn’t openly tell the teachers or a lot my peers that I was adopted from Vietnam (though they may have known). I’ve dug up some photos from that trip =).

I think the trip was very much needed. The hardest thing for me was to relate to the poverty in Vietnam compared to my very Westernized up bringing. And also a lot of the touresty type things to do at the time was very much related to the Vietnam War, which is a shame cos vietnam is not just about the wars it has had, and I wasn’t able to really get to the heart of the culture on that trip. However, that was over 10 years ago… from what I hear there is a growing number of tourism and I really hope to go back =D.

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[ First Post ]

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 at 10:24am

I have had a website now for over 6 years now… I also once had a blog that I would only use amongst friends that was separate. It wasn’t until recently my mentor suggested to me that I make an official blog on my own website.

At first I was very unsure about an official blog. This is mainly due being dyslexic and that writing is my weakest form of expression… but I definitely could see the benefit of a blog. This gives me a chance to inject a more emotional and personable feel to my website instead of being so cut and dry.

The last worry that I had was about the power of words. I am by no means an adoption expert and really this blog is only my opinions. I say this to a lot of people I have met while doing talks, everyone is different and anything I say must be taken only as one person’s lived experience. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of adoptees and families in my life and I can garentee that no one person will have exactly the same ideas about adoption.

Despit my worries about starting this blog, I’m actually very excited. I hope that I can put up photos and maybe even see if I can sort out a podcast/voice posts at some point. =)

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