Families Are Not Always By Blood

Families Are Not Always By Blood

Family: bound by love.

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During my sophomore year of high school, I started to form my close group of friends. Eventually, when we got pretty close, I invited them to sleep over one weekend. When my friends came and we finally got to the basement, one of my friends asked, "Wait, are you adopted." When people see my parents and me together, they can clearly see that I am adopted. Since I didn't know anything different, I never felt that it was necessary for me to directly state it because this was normal for me. However, this is a big part of my identity, so here it goes!

I was born on August 29, 2000, and I was adopted on October 29, 2002. My older sister, Samantha, was also adopted when she was 2 years old, but she is 8 years older than me. My parents decided they wanted another child, so they went through the adoption process again. The big news finally came and they took a 13-hour flight to Beijing, China and then later that same day, had another flight to Nanning, China, where I was at. I was supposed to be adopted on October 28, but something got messed up, so I was adopted around three in the morning on October 29, which also turned out to be my mom's birthday. It's pretty unique because we get to celebrate two holidays in one.

As I have been getting older, I have always wondered why I was put into an orphanage. One that pops up in my head is the law where families had to pay extra taxes to the government if they have more than one child. But there are also the more known reasons which are that the family can't afford a child financially, or the mom just left the newborn somewhere. I think it would be a lot of fun to go back to China to explore. Since I was only two, I don't know anything about the country and I would love to learn more about where I came from.

Growing up, I had many traditions and experiences relating to my culture and the traditions my family has done. My parents adopted me along with six other families, so there are seven girls total in the group. We have made an effort to keep in touch. On October 29, we have an anniversary called Gotcha Day and Family Day. All of the families try to meet up around that time to update each other on our lives and to hang out. Our families call us the Wu sisters since we were adopted together and that was the last name we had in the orphanage. Nora is one who I am very close with. We act as if we are sisters and tell each other everything. Growing up, we have done ballet, tap, Chinese dance and Chinese language together for about ten years. Even if we didn't like doing some of those activities, it was still a lot of fun because we did it together. My experience is very different from many other people coming to the United States. My first language was English and was raised American. I didn't really have a culture shock since I grew up with many American traditions and experiences.

I'm very thankful for being adopted and growing up in the United States. With adoptions, the parents are given a child by the orphanage and obviously, there is no choosing. From time to time, I get the thoughts of wondering what would happen if I wasn't adopted by my current parents. My life would be drastically different if I was still in China today. I'm so fortunate for all of the opportunities I have had. I wouldn't have these great experiences, being able to meet amazing people, and having the chance to go to Butler.

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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Divorce Is Honestly The Best Thing That Happened To My Family

"When people treat you like they don't care, believe them."

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When most people think of divorce, they see all the negative it brings. Sometimes, everything just adds up, and you can't push past it anymore. Also, if there are kids in the mix, it suddenly becomes a huge deal. If you just stop and think about the kids, you'll do what's best for them, which sometimes means divorce is the best option. If you've never experienced divorce, you may consider yourself lucky and I don't expect you to understand my perspective on it.

Divorce is not some scary word, it's becoming normal in today's society; this is sad, but it's true.

As you can tell, I grew up in a divorced family. However, I wouldn't call it a "divorced family" because my mother raised me on her own, with the help of her side of the family. I basically grew up without my "father" being in my life. I honestly don't think he cared about me at all, and that used to bother me a lot. I used to wish that my situation was different. I used to want him to want to be my dad. Instead, he never did and now I could care less. Is it sad? Maybe, but I have put up with way too much for my age. He was never in my life, and sometimes I feel as if it's his fault for me growing up too fast.

I'm just tired of the pity looks I get when people expect you to have a relationship with your dad, but you honestly don't know anything about him.

It scares me to think about what would have happened if my mother wasn't the one to raise me. She is one of the most hardworking, smartest women I know, and I'm lucky to be her daughter. I don't define myself as my biological father's child. If it wasn't for the divorce, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. Honestly, I'm thankful for divorce, and I don't care what anyone has to say about it.

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