For 27 years, until July 1, 1991, I was Irish.
I was treated each year to an Irish celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. My Sicilian/German adoptive family wore green plastic hats, feasted on corned beef & cabbage, and made a merry spectacle of the day.
When I found my birthmother, I asked her about my lineage. “Your family is from Newfoundland, by way of Wales and England.” I was no longer Irish. All of the years that I had claimed St. Patrick’s Day as a celebration of my biological roots, were fun but false.
We believed that I was Irish, because it was written in my adoption papers. We were wrong. Since thousands of non-Irish folks celebrate St. Pat’s, this discovery changed my personal identity, but was not as life-altering as the truckload of facts revealed by reunion.Imagine though, the shock of being an international adoptee, and finding that your nationality is a complete fabrication.
Marijane Chaling Nguyen, an American adopted from Asia, lived her life thinking that she was Vietnamese and Japanese. Later, after her adoptive mother’s death, she discovered that she was Taiwanese. Marijane chronicles her search in a blog titled “Beyond Two Worlds: Musings of an Asian-American Adoptee”.
Marijane’s story is retold in an article titled, ‘A Taiwanese American Adoptee’s Journey and Search for Identity‘ at AsianWeek.com. This woman’s heartfelt journey is a beautiful look at the importance of identity, cultural awareness, and an adoptees right to the truth.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all!