Miss Who-What-When-Where-How-Why-Watchamacallit

This was one of the nicknames my dad used to call me when I was a young child. Like all children, I had a natural curiosity about life. But as a transracial intercountry adoptee, it was more than just curiosity. In addition to an innate, human drive to learn, questioning everything had become habit.

When a baby is born, it can immediately recognise its mother’s face and her smell. But what if a baby is denied her mother?
When a baby is born, the mother’s body is geared up and ready to deliver nutrient- and antibody-rich milk to her newborn. But what if a new mother is denied her baby?
How can taking a baby away from his mother the moment he’s born be ok? Is it?
How come we can’t adopt a kitten from the animal shelter until it is at least 2-3 months old?

Why does the baby monkey always choose to cling to the soft puppet that looks like a monkey instead of the wire one? And why do they keep doing this test to baby monkeys and the mothers? Doesn’t it make them sad?

Where am I REALLY from? Why don’t I “feel” American? What’s my culture?
How can I call myself Colombian or Latina when my verbal command of Spanish doesn’t reach beyond the present tenses and a decent grasp of basic vocabulary?
What does nationality mean to me?
How do I self-identify?

Can any adoption that involves an exchange of money be ethical?
How can society accept poverty as a reason to suggest adoption as a solution to a pregnant woman seeking help?

How do I heal from my losses and trauma?

Do I ask too many questions?
What happens if “we” as a collective stop questioning things?
What can I do to give back to the adoptee community who have taught and supported me so much?

A few years ago, when the topic of institutionalised racism came up, a woman told me she didn’t need to think about or question the status quo because those are issues “that have nothing to do with me.” She further advised me, “Try to smile at life…” and
“… take it with lightness and laughter,” instead of asking hard questions and talking about such a “painful” topic.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I love to laugh and to live life by doing. But I also question nearly everything, my beliefs included. I absolutely do not think it is mutually exclusive to expect these two things to go together – to enjoy life and laughter AND question things, especially systems that hurt or disadvantage people (often people who are already disadvantaged in some way). Both go a very long way to creating healthy individuals, and, in turn, healthy societies.

About Abby Hilty

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