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Adoptee spotlight: Mei Tomko; 2023 year in review

YangChun, Guangdong, China --> Pennsylvania, United States

Originally published on April 26.

Hello! I’m Mei (阳春菊), a Chinese adoptee from YangChun in Guangdong province. I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania, where I was able to count the number of other Asian students on my fingers. I was almost always the only Asian student in class, and, sometimes, even the only person of color. It was extremely isolating because I always longed to connect with other Asian American people but lacked the opportunities to do so. At the same time, I always worried that being adopted into a white family would make me “less Asian," I and was deeply insecure about sharing my transracial adoption experiences. I strived to fit in with other Asian American people in superficial ways.

"I learned to hold space for my unique experience and perspectives, as these experiences and perspectives are what have defined me."

After finding community in my college’s Asian American Student Union, and later co-creating Adoptee Alliance on campus, I have become more comfortable in my skin. I learned to hold space for my unique experience and perspectives, as these experiences and perspectives are what have defined me. Though it is still difficult to accept that I will always exist between two worlds, I know that I can be authentically Asian, American and Asian American as a transracial adoptee.

 

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[Description: On a dusty pink background, there are two photos. One of the photos shows Mei in a traditional Chinese dress and sitting on a blue couch. Another photo shows Mei in front of a large building that's illuminated with lights and has Chinese characters on it. Large text at the bottom says "Mei Tomko."]

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