Made in China


Dana Pitell

This is the necklace the adoption agency gave to me and my mom.

I was born on August 8, 2004, in Fuzhou, China, and found on the doorsteps of an orphanage. After five years, an Asian family from California adopted me. I stayed with them for five and a half months before my current family adopted me.

Many people who aren’t adopted never know the behind-the-scenes of what adopted kids go through or the struggles and obstacles they face because one can’t truly comprehend the experience or how it affects them if they never undergo it. Everyone has struggles in their life whether they are big or small. Being adopted has created a variety of obstacles I have had to overcome.

For me, I didn’t have the normal experience of growing up or learning the regular life skills a toddler obtains with their biological family.  Being in the orphanage, I had many mental and physical delays. My body wasn’t strong enough to do physical activities, soI had to build over time. In addition, I didn’t have the opportunity to identify with other children my age, so I have difficulty in socializing and understanding social cues.

For the first five years of my life, I had very little knowledge of the Chinese language, so I didn’t really speak until I came to the United States. Once I was here, I adapted very quickly to the English language.

Whenever I had school projects or conversations that dealt with my family’s background, the unknown bothered me. Most kids take advantage of knowing their family’s heritage and being able to engage in stories of their infant years. It is sometimes difficult to not know my biological family and not having childhood stories that my family and I could reminisce about. Growing up, I would hear my current family talk about early childhood experiences, and I didn’t have that early connection.  

Not only this but also my Chinese culture and my family’s background. I am curious to know what medical conditions run through my family and knowledge of my ancestry. 

I don’t know what my life would’ve been like if I hadn’t been adopted, but sometimes, I like to fantasize how different my life would be. For example, would I be living in a small village, do I have biological siblings, and if I do, do they have the same characteristic or physical traits as I do? I am curious about their everyday life, and what their hobbies and interests are.

Someday, I hope I will get to find out some of these answers for myself. My hope for the future is to travel to China with my family to connect both families together. It would be an amazing journey for me to have a first-hand account of my biological family’s lifestyle and to experience the Chinese traditions and customs. However, there is always going to be a possibility of never getting to know them for many different reasons.

Adoption has made a huge impact on my life. I am grateful for all my struggles and obstacles because they have shaped me into who I am and allowed me to be a part of an amazing family.