Home » Adoption » Personal Story: “I Can’t Give My Daughter China. I Can Only Give Her Chinatown.”
Personal Story: “I Can’t Give My Daughter China. I Can Only Give Her Chinatown.”

Personal Story: “I Can’t Give My Daughter China. I Can Only Give Her Chinatown.”

“Sometimes I wonder whether teaching my daughters about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac will help them thrive as Asian girls living in 21st-century America.”

By Jeff Gammage

Jin Yu is seven now, and lately she’s been telling me she wants to go and visit her nannies, the women who cared for her at the orphanage in China. Not so much for herself, she says, but for them. Because she is sure they must miss her and wonder how she’s doing. I promise we will try to go. “They are going to be so surprised!” she tells me.

I hope so. But the turnover in Chinese orphanages can be steep. Low pay and 24-hour shifts are not strong inducements for tenure. A friend recently sent photos from the orphanage in Xiangtan, where my daughter spent her first two years, and I didn’t see one nanny I recognized. There’s every chance that by the time Jin Yu returns, everyone who might remember her will be gone….

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Personal Story: “I Can’t Give My Daughter China. I Can Only Give Her Chinatown.” Reviewed by on . “Sometimes I wonder whether teaching my daughters about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac will help them thrive as Asian girls living in 21st-century America.” “Sometimes I wonder whether teaching my daughters about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac will help them thrive as Asian girls living in 21st-century America.” Rating: 0

Comments (4)

  • Amanda R.

    You raise some legitimate concerns. I read an article recently by an adoptee from China who confirmed what you said. She said that well-meaning parents try to forge a connection with “China” but don’t do enough to prepare their daughters for living as women of color in America. They talk about being “Chinese” but do not address the issue of race adequately. Unfortunately, as White people, we simply don’t understand what it means to be a person of color and there is only so much we can do to prepare them. One way she suggested combating this is making sure to have other Chinese-Americans, people who are ethnically Chinese but were born and raised in America, in your kids’ lives, not just Chinese immigrants in Chinatown.

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