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Revisiting Landmarks From My Adoption

Téa Tamburo

In the summer of 2018, my family and I travelled back to China to see where we began our journey as a family, back in September 2005. I do not have much information on my life pre-adoption, so I went into this trip hoping to learn more about myself and my past. I did not expect to learn much; my adoption was over a decade ago, and I wasn't sure what records the orphanage would have. I didn't know if they'd even remember me.

I've grown up knowing I was adopted and the story of my adoption. My parents told me everything they knew, even though there wasn't much. They also shared with me stories about the process of adopting me and their trip to China to meet me. Returning to these same locations 13 years later was mainly intended to reminisce and for me to better understand what they experienced when we became a family.



In 2018, my family and I travelled back to China to see where we began our journey as a family, back in 2005. I was born in Hunan, Changsha, but my parents and I travelled through Guangzhou to finalize my adoption. Our first stop was Guangzhou, where we explored the city and Shamian Island.

We visited the White Swan hotel, located on Shamian Island. Many families adopting children stayed at this hotel while waiting for their children's visas to return to the U.S.. Families often travelled in groups, with everyone adopting babies. The hotel had a red couch that became an iconic photo spot for group baby photos. My photo on the "Red Couch" has me perching on the left edge, with my mom hiding behind the armrest to hold me up.

We also took some time to explore the island. Here, my mom and I are looking inside a hospital. This hospital was where babies were examined before able they were allowed to go home.

Since this was a trip for my parents to reminisce, my mom and I recreated a photo we had taken at this sculpture in 2005.



After we left Guangzhou, we flew to Changsha - the city of my birth. Changsha is the capital of Hunan and is where my parents and I first met.

After a night of exploring Changsha, we spent the day visiting my orphanage: Yiyang Social Welfare Institute. My parents hired a driver and translator to take us to Yiyang - slightly out of Changsha. The orphanage moved since I lived there, so I did not get to tour the facility that I actually lived in.

At the orphanage, I was introduced to the orphanage director (pictured left). She was the director 13 years ago and named me: 银一君 (Yin Yi Jun). "Yin" is now my middle name. Pictured middle is my caregiver that cared for me when I was a baby. Both remembered my name and caring for me.

We were brought to a small room and the director pulled out my records they had saved all these years. Inside were my medical examinations, footprints and some information that was used to prepare my adoption papers.

While fanning through the records they kept, I saw a photo of myself I did not know existed. My parents had only received photos of me when I was about six months old. This photo was taken when I was only a day.


Until we returned home, I didn't really have time to fully process and reflect on the experience much. After some time thinking, I realized that I wanted to feel more connected to this part of my identity. When I was younger, I never thought much about being adopted; it wasn't something I wanted to explore and discover. This trip, and seeing more of my story, helped me tap into this identity and actively want to learn more about myself and the adopted community.


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