I look around me today and I have no family in sight. I was torn at the roots when I was born in the Philippines in destitute poverty in 1985, orphaned at birth and adopted in 1987.
Dually, my intercountry adoption process had systematically erased my entire heritage and knowledge of my ancestors. While also permanently bonding me to people that had no interest in preserving or keeping in tact my birth nationality and culture.
I don’t know why that had to happen in the adoption process.
Why the past needed to be so efficiently erased as if it never existed.
Why did any of this have to be erased?
The narratives of my grandparents, the narratives of my great grandparents, the voices of all the flesh and blood and bones that made my DNA today.
Why did their stories have to leave me?
Was it because I was brown?
Was it because I was born from the Philippines, which in history has always been a developing, marginalized country with a colonized past?
Was it because I was a vulnerable child who didn’t have a say or rights to my own life at that time? Was it because my memories and my identity didn’t matter?
Did I have to be separated from my own birth country and my own birth country’s mother tongue to be saved by a more privileged family?
And why was the remaining biographical information so unbelievably useless and irrelevant? And why did I have to wait until I was 18 to receive even that information, which parts of it, I later found out from a reunion with my birth mother—was not even true.
Am I complaining because I was orphaned?
Or am I complaining because there were parts of this adoption process that was systemically inhuman including adopting me to a Midwestern Caucasian couple that had shown no interest in preserving my cultural heritage or keeping myself connected to my own birth country’s language. As it shows, even in that adoption documentation, they had no interest in my heritage.
Little did I know—that if I had kept this connection when I was a vulnerable brown child and basically purchased by a privileged white family, I would have been able to return to the Philippines in my adulthood, my birth country, and I would have been able to speak fluently, which would have given me a much easier pathway in reclaiming my citizenship.
Even my birth name, why did my adoptive parents who never met me, suddenly have the right to change my birth name when they adopted/purchased me?
Why kind of rights had been given to them?
What rights were taken away from me in this dual process?
Where did my citizenship in my birth country go when I was adopted?
Why did any of this have to leave me—when I was adopted?
You can read Stephanie’s article: On the Road to Recovery, follow her at Weebly or Instagram @starwoodletters.