Why a Heritage Trip Matters to Me

Why a Heritage Trip Matters to Me

As I began to reflect as to why I even wanted to go back to Asia, I honestly had a moment of realization. I was unable to come up with a simple answer to a seemingly simple prompt: What was the desire to return to my birthplace?  The moment of realization was that it isn’t a simple answer, it’s sixteen years of living life with a little voice wondering about my beginnings. It’s living each day in my little bubble of a world yearning for opportunity to learn about where I came from.

It’s like Harry Truman said, “The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.” That idea is the root of my complex answer on why I want to return: to expand my world by going back to my start.

I think to understand the reason I want to go back to China I needed to consider my entire life. Growing up I always felt a little bitter when my history was even mentioned. No matter what my mother said about my birth parents loving me and not wanting to leave me, I hated my past. I didn’t want to be the adopted girl because there’s just so many unknowns. I envied my classmates who knew they were meant to be where they started.  I wanted to assimilate and be like everyone else, as if forgetting my past would somehow solve my continual minor existential crisis. It wasn’t until the recent past that I honestly and intentionally learned to love myself past and present. I realized that I didn’t need to be like everyone else to be happy I just needed to be me. If it wasn’t for this there is no way I would even be writing this essay, but I’m glad I am. I’m so happy to be able to genuinely embrace my past and want to explore my birth country.

For me personally it’s not just about going to see tourist attractions that I know Asia has to offer. I want to see the real Asia; I want to see the other part of my life. The part that got left behind when I was seven months old. I plan on visiting orphanages throughout China, for that’s the biggest calling back for me. I’d like to give back to those that gave to me. Meeting kids like me will surely be an eye-opener and perhaps make me an emotional wreck, but I think it’s important for me to experience and understand how easily I could have been them. To see how truly amazing it is that my other adopted siblings and I were ever brought together. I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I think my family was destined to be together; otherwise how could we have ever ended up together. I’m thankful for this and yearn to give back to where I came from, and that’s what I think I’m anticipating the most. I anticipate the satisfaction of discovering my past  as well as moving forward and gaining new perspective through travel.

I have a complex desire to return to Asia personally, and hopeful others can relate in some way or another. Whether it’s they personally have gone through some of the same struggles as me, or if they can just relate to the yearning for growth that travel brings. In the end, returning to Asia is a life goal for me and I know I’ll get there someday, and obtain some closure of my past as well as possibly start new beginnings for the future.

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Hope Ambassador: Lydia Martin

Adoptee Articles, Hope Ambassador