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Adoptee spotlight: Maddie O’Brien

Hunan, China

My name is Maddie O’Brien, and my Chinese name is 候月敏 (Hòu yuè mǐn). According to my abandonment certificate, a woman and a policewoman found me abandoned outside a government district in Hunan, China. I was then transferred to Zhuzhou Social Welfare Institute, where an American family adopted me when I was 14 months old. I have an older sister (she's not blood-related to me) who was also adopted from China. In 2014, I took a heritage trip back to China when I was ten. I started growing a sense of interest in learning more about my birth culture.

"My Chinese teachers were the first to give me a sense of belonging in the Chinese community."

Growing up in a diverse area, I struggled to connect with the Chinese community because I did not fit their definition of being "Asian." However, I still wanted to learn more about my birth culture. So, in high school, I studied Chinese. My Chinese teachers were the first to give me a sense of belonging in the Chinese community. After graduating high school, I wanted to continue to learn Mandarin in college.

I am now a student at Loyola University Chicago, where I am studying social work and minoring in Chinese. One day, I hope to study abroad in China.

 

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[Description: Beige background with two photos. To the left is a smaller photo of Maddie as a baby. She's sitting in a car seat. To the right is a larger photo of Maddie. She's standing outside and is surrounded by greenery. Large text at the bottom says "Maddie O'Brien."]

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