In a thousand years, I never believed that I would be presented with the chance to go to China. Of course, once the option presented itself to me, I snapped it up as quickly as possible. I wanted more than anything to be able to experience a culture that my cousins, two adoptees from China, lives were so entwined in.
The idea was given to me two years ago, and finally two weeks ago, I was finally able to step off the plane after that 14 hour flight and say, ‘I’m in China!’ China was everything I had hoped and expected it to be. I had expected it to be different, exciting, exhilarating and mind-opening. I learned that it was so much more than that.
In many ways, the Chinese people are a lot like Americans; they dress like us, have slang like us, and go to parties like us. Sometimes, it was hard to tell the difference from one culture to the next. Going abroad, especially to a country like China, is a mind-opening experience. I learned many things about the Chinese and their culture that I hadn’t known before, such as: in their opinion, Chairman Mao was a great man, they still don’t see many westerners in most cities and many of the Chinese don’t know that their children are being adopted out by American families.
I learned many things about myself, too. As an adoptee myself, I found that a lot of the trip was in an emotional haze; how could one thing be so simple for me, as a domestic adoptee, to receive, but nearly impossible for the Chinese government to give to my cousins? I also learned that miles between people and differences between culture makes no difference. You can have a friend that lives right next door to you, or you can have a friend that lives in China.
We had great guides throughout our trip, and I am happy to say that they all taught me new things about their wonderful country. One of my favorite things that we did on the trip was visited my youngest cousin’s orphanage. It took a lot to get to go there, though. The tour company had contacted the orphanage and didn’t know that we needed paperwork to go visit.
This issue was presented to us the morning that we were supposed to go to Andie’s orphanage. Instead, we spent two days angry at the tour company for not looking into the laws of Dianjiang, while our lovely guide, Oriole, worked with the orphanage and local offices to make the trip happen. In the end, we were able to go to the orphanage.
Getting to play with the children and seeing their smiles and knowing that many of them will end up in happy families was one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced in my whole life.I am blessed in many ways to be brought this opportunity. I know that not many people can say to their children or to their friends that they went to China. Seeing cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Changsha, Chongqing, Dianjiang and even Shanghai brought me new information and taught me different things about myself.
The memories that I acquired on this trip will stay with me for a long time, as will the friendships that I gained.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.