When you're adopted into a family of a different ethnicity or culture, people think you must want to “find yourself” or “go back” to where you came from. Sometimes it's important to do that, but not always. Fitting in isn't always about skin colour; we can belong in different ways too. But sometimes it *is* important to see our own faces reflected in those around us. Here's how some of us feel about it:
I want to go back to Haiti one day and rediscover what it would be like. It's important because I want to be able, when I'm older, to put two and two together and say, ‘this is the complete Maddy.’ I have to be able to accept that I'm Haitian. Accept that I wasn't raised there. And put both of the pieces together so they fit.
I was given up to an orphanage and they didn't have any records of my birth parents, so even if I wanted to, I don't think I'd be able to find them. But it's never been something that I've really felt I needed to do or wanted to do. My parents have given up on trying to celebrate my heritage because I never really identified with it. My parents have always made us Korean food and wanted to take us back to Korea, but me and my sister always refused. We were like, ‘let's go to Hawaii instead!’
I'm Cree. My aboriginal culture has been important to me my whole life. But there was a time when all the aboriginal people I had seen in my life were the “drunken Indian on the street” or the people in the worst part of town who were homeless. I had never seen a positive aboriginal role model before. After awhile, I started to have mentors in the culture, and it's now a part of my life.
When you’re adopted, the medical is really crucial to know, but other than that I haven't had any desire to connect with my birth family, because I feel the family I have is my family. It’s not true that you automatically have this need or desire to know your birth family.