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© 2015 by Jigsaw Queensland

I look Asian, but I'm an Aussie

by Analee Matthews

 

"I look Asian, but I'm an Aussie. On the outside I look Asian, but on the inside I feel like I'm awhite, blonde-haired, blue-eyed surfie chick." 

I thought I might share with you, the example I use when discussing adoptee issues with prospective adoptive parents, to describe what it’s like as an inter-country adoptee. I’d be interested to receive your thoughts on this very simplistic analogy:

 

“Let’s pretend everyone here lives in NSW and drives a car with NSW registration plates. So you drive around with these number plates and you feel great because you’re a local and you live here in NSW and your registration plates confirm that to anyone who sees you on the road but doesn’t know you.

 

But then one day, your car needs to go into the mechanic and the mechanic gives you a courtesy car that has QLD plates. And you have to drive this car around for, let’s say a week. So for one week everyone in NSW who sees you on the road and who doesn’t know you personally, assumes you are from QLD.

 

How do you think you might feel with people making that assumption about you? Special?   Proud? Novel? Mysterious? Ashamed? Embarrassed? Compelled to explain the real story to people?

 

And what if the mechanic then phones to say that your car was unfixable and you’ll have to drive around with the courtesy car forever? What do you think you might want to do?

 

Registration laws aside, would you accept it and learn to live with people assuming and judging you based on the registration plates? Or would you change them over to reflect who you really are?

 

For many, being adopted from one culture into another is like living with someone else’s number plates. We look like we belong to one culture, so people who do not know us assume we do, when in fact, we actually belong to another.

 

I look Asian but I’m an Aussie. On the outside I look Asian, but on the inside I feel like I’m a white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed surfie chick. 

 

So you can imagine the turmoil some adoptees have trying to establish a smooth and comfortable link between how they look and how they feel; and this confusion is compounded when the adoptee has grown up with no pride attached to their birth culture or country.”