Archives for category: East Asian

#Adoption911 | Second Chance Adoptions.

Contributor nos.46 helping me TO GET MY WORK TO THE KING’S HEAD THEATRE is the versatile actress, fight performer

and improviser Eugenia Low.

If you aren’t familiar with Eugenia then please just take a few minutes to visit her website
http://www.eugenialow.com/
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Eugenia thank you so much for your support and contribution which is greatly appreciated and valued.

So who is going to be the next contributor and join Eugenia in supporting this campaign?
http://igg.me/at/getlucytothekingshead/x/393196

This is an post that I wrote for The Mothers’ Bridge of Love

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Who Am I?

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. “

E.E. Cummings

“How we remember, what we remember and why we remember form the most personal map of our individuality.”

Christina Baldwin

I think these two quotes sum up for me the journey that I have undergone in order to answer the question “Who Am I”  Over four decades ago as a toddler I was stood on a school desk by my Adoptive mother, the object for a bring and tell*. I’d been dressed in the clothes that I’d worn when I’d first flown over to the UK. Blue trousers and red silk happy coat. I was poked, prodded, pinched and laughed at. As young as I was, I realised that I was not like everyone else. I was different from everyone else. That experience and being slapped across the face at the age of about six, when I asked the direct question, had I been adopted, are the two early defining points for me and who I am. I was not able to define myself physically as I shared no physical or facial similarities to those who lived about me. My likeness was not to be found in any of the black and white TV programs that I was allowed to watch. For the first sixteen years of my life I was defined by other people, my adoptive family, relatives, neighbours, teachers and what those people projected onto me. I was the outsider. The other, a child of difference. In spite of the so called swinging sixties, living as I did in suburban conservative England different was not good. Differences were frowned upon, shunned even feared. My adoptive mother warned me when I was about seven, maybe eight. That if I ever attempted to find out where I had come from, I would be kidnapped by the Chinese embassy and taken back to China. There I would be miserable and have to grow up on a commune. That was the “cold war” working and the West’s fear and misunderstanding of China in the late 50s early 60s. My adoptive mother also warned me that if I did start being nosey, it would prove how ungrateful and wicked I was. The idea of being kidnapped and sent back to China petrified me. At that age I had a vague idea of where China was, but beyond that I new nothing of my culture or racial heritage. China was alien to me. After my adoptive mother had given me this warning I had a recurring nightmare about being kidnapped this lasted well into my late teens. However what that did do is make me want to learn more about China and where I had come from. I used to go to the local library on a weekend and read book after book about China and the Chinese. Most of which I didn’t really understand, but I read them nevertheless. The first three books I read were

  • The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck
  • Journey To The West by Wu Cheng’en
  • Records Of The Grand Historian by Sima Qian

The offering in the local library was not extensive and new books were few and seldom. But as I grew I self taught myself on the culture of China some of its long and complex history. The language I never was able to master. But then in the early sixties without friends of acquaintances that were Chinese how would a person like me learn Chinese?  My cultural discomfort, displacement and disenfranchisement has made me the actor, writer and filmmaker that I am today. I think that it is no co-incidence that I chose a profession where I spend all of my time pretending to be someone else. Speak someone else’s thoughts and express someone else’s emotions. It’s what I call “hiding in plane sight”.  I think over the past couple of years since 2010 I have finally realized who I am. I am Lucy Chau lai-Tuen Sheen. Actor, writer, filmmaker and transracial adoptee.  Knowing where you have come from and how you got to where you are is very important. You cannot truly move forward, progress or develop if you do not know where you have come from.  If you have no cultural or linguistic foundations identity will always elude you. Now that I understand this, I can stand up and be counted for what I truly believe in as  British East Asian transracially adopted person.

*Bring and tell/Show and tell a popular exercise for school children you would be asked to bring in a object and then stand up in front of your class and talk about the object.

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Good morning from a fine if not slightly chilly Sunday, what is everyone up to?

The campaign is only £3 shy of  reaching £1000. THANKS to EVERYONE who has contributed and supported this campaign.

Please continue to help by sharing the link.

Who’s going to be contributor nos.40 to HELP GET LUCY’S WORK TO THE KING’S HEAD THEATRE.

There are also some nice “quirky” perks to be had by way of a thank you for contributing to this campaign

Don’t delay contribute today

Thank you

going to keep silenceI’m not a trained or qualified social worker, neither do I have any desire to become so. But it came as a little eyebrow raiser when trying to talk with some adoption professionals, my attempts to reach out into this “field of work” were brushed off.

If I was being ingenuous, I could say that my status or lack or it i.e. not being a qualified social worker was a reason not to engage with me.  But that then also leads to a not unreasonable inference that this is an excuse which excuses them from having to consider the idea that an actual transracial adoptee might have something to bring to the table. That a person like me might actually have some merit in the formalised “adoption sector”.

If I was being paranoid I’d say that this is a deliberate ploy to keep adoptees out. To silence the voice of the adoptee. I actually don’t really believe that. It’s the same within the creative industry people who have no “formal” training as tutors and lecturers become so? How,  it’s who you know and whether that institution sees the value of your expertise as a working creative practitioner.

But then the flip side of this situation suddenly topples over. In my in-box an email inviting me to speak to another group of National Health Service professionals. The director of this team heard my last lecture and was impressed. So off I will be going again to speak to a room full of trained professionals all eager to hear from likes of little ‘ol me. Can’t help smiling at the irony. Plus I will also start blogging and vlogging for The Mothers’ Bridge of Love a charity set up by renowned author and journalist Xinran.

Talking of which I have to wrap my mind around the eternal question of Who Am I

One unexpected benefit of bilingualism is when I speak English to my daughter in China, people think I don’t speak Mandarin and talk very, very freely about all sorts of things about us. Here’s what I recently overheard!

via InCultureParent | Overheard on the Beijing Subway When People Don’t Think I Speak Mandarin.

Monday morning, 1st of July I delivered the third “lecture” or talk on the subject of being a Transracial adoptee. Today’s was ““All you need is love..?”: What happens to cultural identity in transracial adoption? A personal perspective from a Hong Kong Chinese adoptee raised in a white British family. ” for the Clinical Psychologist/Thinking Space organising committee, Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

It never ceases to amaze me how interesting people find what I have to say. I guess when you live it, it can become somewhat “boring” whereas if you see it for the first time as an outsider looking in then quiet possibly it is interesting. What I speak about is certainly different. Because that’s what I am, a person of difference.

If you would like to read the entire “talk” that I gave then please click here