Just three days before finals week, senior Annie Doig left for China to visit her native country for the first time in 17 years. “I have always wanted to visit China to see where I was born and from. I was adopted when I was eight months old, so it was my first time back in my motherland. I was so excited,” Doig said. Doig traveled to six cities in China— Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Guilin, Yongxiu and Nanchang — with her mom and aunt.
“Overall, it was really hard not being able to speak, read or understand the language at all,” Doig said. “Besides the culture clash, I loved experiencing the everyday lives of the Chinese people because they were much different from our lives here.”
Doig toured through many impoverished Chinese schools and neighborhoods.
“I was shocked at the difference between the Chinese schools and lifestyles versus what we have in the U.S. My gratitude became even more real because it would have been a lot harder, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I have now such as a good education and financial stability,” Doig said.
In Nanchang, Doig visited the orphanage and met her foster parents. “It was really emotional meeting my foster parents; I cried a lot. There was no real reason for me to cry, but my body just acted in the moment, and the next thing I knew, I was crying,” Doig said.“It was more interesting to see their reactions because they remembered my face but also were surprised how much I had grown since I was adopted.”
Preparing for their trip, Doig and her mom searched for records of Doig’s childhood and biological parents. However, the orphanage officials turned Doig down. “There was no record of my biological parents or my founding spot and date. The orphanages are owned by the government, and their strict rules restricted us from knowing and finding about any of the records,” Doig said. “They actually questioned us why we would even want to find out about these things, implying that ‘I should be happy that I had been adopted’. I was very upset because they were my only chance to ever find out about them,” Doig said.
Back in Saint Louis, Doig still faces questions and confusion from others about her family. “I’ve always known I was adopted; it just came naturally to me. It’s not an everyday subject to talk about, and it’s okay that some people are confused,” Doig said. “I don’t think I’m different from anyone else. I don’t think my family is different from any other family. I may be adopted, but I feel like I belong to my family just as much as my other siblings. I am just as loved as everyone else. Being adopted doesn’t make me any different than anyone else. My family and I are just as loving, caring, happy and complete as every other family.”
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