top of page

Adoptee spotlight: Claire Griffith; 2023 year in review

Hunan, China --> Cincinnati, Ohio

Originally published on July 6.

Hi everyone! I am honored to add my story to the amazing narratives on this page! My name is Claire Griffith, and I am a Chinese American adoptee. Currently, I work as an advisor for an online program manager based in Chicago, Illinois. My interests outside of work include thrifting, spending time with my two cats (Cosmos and Gigi) and exploring the world through traveling and TikTok.


I was about 4-months-old when I was adopted from Hunan province. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio in a transracial and transnational household, where I was the only person of color and child born outside of the United States. My older sister was adopted from Cincinnati. I’d always felt different from my family, but I didn’t have the language or tools to know how to ask why. The first time I remember asking about my adoption story, I was 8-years-old. My mom, sister and I were driving home after school, and, as we were coming up to our house, I asked, “Mom, am I adopted?” Immediately, she replied, “yup!” This began the first of many identity crises for me. Even though my parents offered to help me find my biological parents when I was growing up, I always said, “Nope! No interest!” I felt like I would betray my adoptive parents or disrespect them if I was to search when I already had so much to be grateful for: a stable home, great schooling and close friends. I’d spent years answering these questions the same way, but it felt inauthentic. I think my parents caught onto this because when I was 11-years-old, I was able to connect with my first culture for the first time. In Minnesota, there are language learning camps for kids (and adults) through Concordia Language Villages. Over the next seven years, for two weeks during the summer, I was immersed with my first culture. SenLinHu gave me the opportunity to learn how to speak, sing, write and listen to Mandarin. I had the chance to meet other adoptees similar in age and background, connect with adults and children who also shared a passion for Chinese culture and to participate in popular Chinese holidays, like the Dragon Boat races. This experience was the first time I felt proud of my first culture. I could claim to know how to be Chinese.

"I had the chance to meet other adoptees similar in age and background, connect with adults and children who also shared a passion for Chinese culture and to participate in popular Chinese holidays."

During high school, I thought I had this being “Chinese” understood. However, it was difficult for me to connect and meet other Asians and Asian Americans outside of camp. It wasn’t until late 2020 where I started to feel ready to re-engage with this experience. I would take the 23&Me DNA test, find an adoption therapist and use Instagram to help me learn what it means to be adopted through a new lens.

Adoption is an early traumatic experience that can affect every aspect of your life: everything from how you connect to your culture(s), how to build healthy relationships and how you see yourself. It can be difficult to celebrate my birth date since it’s approximate; I don’t have a family medical history to reference like others, and I’ve internalized a lot of racism and stereotypes because of my race and ethnic background. Despite everything, I am still me, and I am reclaiming my identity — the good, the bad and the ugly. It can feel daunting at times, but I have a lot of support in my life. Thank you for sharing and reading my story.

 

Accessibility

[Description: Pale pink background with hearts. A large photo of Claire in a gray, circular frame is in the center. Claire is smiling with her hand on her chin. Large text at the top says, "Claire Griffith." Small text at the bottom says, "Hunan, China to Cincinnati, Ohio."]

Comments


bottom of page