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Adoptee spotlight: Mary

Guangchang, Jiangxi, China --> Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hi adoptee friends! My name is Mary, and I am a 22-year-old video and social content editor from Philadelphia, PA. I was adopted from Guangchang in Jiangxi, China, in 2001, right before my first birthday. I have tons of photos of me as a baby with my family standing on the Great Wall and in the lobby of the hotel where I met them for the first time, but I have no memories of it. I have always had a strange relationship with my adoption story, because I always felt afraid of what I would learn about myself, and, in doing so, I would somehow betray my family and all the good things they have brought into my life through adopting me. I was very content with my family of five (my mom and dad and my two little sisters – one who's also adopted from China) and my East Coast life.

In January of 2021, I took a DNA test out of curiosity, because I am not 100% sure what my genetic background is, and, to my surprise, I found a biological cousin around my age living outside of Toronto. Over the coming months, I got to know her very well and found that we have many of the same interests, and, for the first time in my life, I had someone who shared some of the same physical features as me. Due to the pandemic, we have yet to be able to meet in person, but we are working on planning a visit sometime this year.

"In a few short months, I swallowed 20 years of fear and anxiety, immersed myself in the adoptee community in NYC, and I met many warm, insightful, and comforting individuals."

I attended undergraduate university at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where I majored in film and specialized in documentary films. For my thesis, I was given complete creative freedom, and I felt this unfamiliar pull to do a film on Chinese adoptees. In a few short months, I swallowed 20 years of fear and anxiety, immersed myself in the adoptee community in NYC, and I met many warm, insightful, and comforting individuals. At the end of the semester, I screened my thesis documentary, "Motherland," which features interviews with three different Chinese adoptees (and artists!) living in New York City. In the film, they talk about their adoption stories, their families, and how adoption has shaped their personalities and work. It has only been about a year since my personal adoption journey started, but I am proud that I now have the bravery, patience and grace to be flexible and go where this path takes me.

 

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[Description: Pale pink background with three circular photos. Two photos to the sides are translucent. To the left is a photo of Mary sitting by a body of water. To the right is Mary hugging a sister. In the center is a photo of Mary with white flowers behind her. Large text says "Mary." Under that, smaller text says "Jiangxi, China."]

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