From There, To Here, shares the story of people who have experienced transracial and intercultural adoption. As a Chinese adoptee I made this project in response to how I felt growing up in a place where my cultural and ethnic background was unfamiliar to most people. One look at me and most people see that I’m Asian, and with that comes all the racist stereotypes. To the Asian community, however, since I wasn’t raised in an Asian household, I was never “Asian enough”. Because of this I struggled with my identity a lot. I still continue to be unsure of who I am. I don’t know my Chinese heritage, I don’t know my biological family, I don’t even know when my real birthday is. Some of the most basic knowledge most people have I have zero detail and context about.
Being separated from our roots as a child was something us adoptees couldn’t control, and often leaves us with subconscious trauma. Adoptees are twice as likely to struggle with mental health and develop depression or anxiety. Many of us have also grown up in a world where our experiences are invalidated and silenced with the remark that we all know too well: “You should be grateful.” We never said that we weren’t grateful. The adoptee experience is often overly romanticized and seen as giving a child a new life. In reality, it’s a new life that’s completely disconnected from our personal and genetic history, leaving us with no foundation of an identity.
After recently meeting a group of adoptees who grew up with the same confusion and similar experiences as me, I realized that our stories are all too similar. It immediately became obvious that no one knew how we really felt growing up. I made this project in response to wanting to give voice to the adoption community and share our experiences.