I FEEL Canadian, I LOOK Thai

This is my journey, MY LIFE. I am beyond excited but scared to death about finally going to Thailand. Wherever it takes me, and whatever I discover will be my story. Curiosity is the strongest feeling pulling me back to my place of birth.

While at the doctors I had to fill out the standard personal information form. One of the questions was ethnicity/nationality. It stumped me. I starred at it for what felt like eternity. I questioned myself as to what I should write down. I KNEW I should write down Thai, but I really wanted to put Canadian. Had someone been with me, I would have definitely written down whatever they suggested. I did not have wi-fi at the time but as soon as I got home I asked my Aunt what she thought I should have done. The same feelings were brought up again while filling out a New Zealand census form. I had to write down my nationality and place of residency….I was born in Thailand but lived my whole life in Canada. If Thai-Canadian was an option there would have been no need for hesitation.

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When the doctor looked me over she asked me where I was from? I told her Canada and she immediately gave me this look of disbelief. This cold glare like I was trying to lie to her. I could feel her looking my whole body over. I FELT obligated to tell I have lived in Canada all my life but I was born in Thailand. Why do I have to feel so defensive when stating that I am Canadian? It’s as if her glare was her warning to tell me the truth or she would not continue the exam. When I told her I lived in Canada practically my whole life she told me I had ASIAN ears, was I from the Philippines? I had to restate that I was born in Thailand but lived in Canada virtually my whole life. I know the atmosphere of a doctor’s office always comes off as intrusive but I felt beyond uncomfortable and defensive.

I have never met an adoptee who doesn’t wonder about their origins. Adoptees share a unique bond: we are consumed by our loneliness. We don’t openly talk about it but it’s apparent. My life never had a defining moment of a “big reveal” of my adoption story. My parents never had to tell me on my 18th birthday (like someone I knew), or sit me down for any big discussion. There was no need for suspicious thoughts as I was always aware I wasn’t their biological child. I was brown and EVERYONE else in my Dad and Mom’s family are Caucasian. No matter how loved you are, being adopted harvests a visceral feeling of loneliness . Every adoptee has a shared experience of rejection followed by loss. I am not saying the heavy rainstorm can’t create a magnificent rainbow…but a rainbow is impossible without the rain.

I am not wanting to delve too deeply in this conversation now because I would like to try as best as possible to put my thoughts into an array of posts. Divide my thoughts up.

These posts about my adoption are personal. I would like to make them as honest and raw as possible without breaching my own level of comfort. It is not my intention to hurt anyone’s’ feelings. I hope to be as honest as possible. Maybe sharing my thoughts on the topic can help others open up about their experiences. Reading about other peoples’ journeys has helped me to heal.  I have amassed some notes from books I have read and hope to post my thoughts on my newly acquired information in upcoming post.

Sincerely yours,
Amanda Sumalee

PLEASE comment or message me privately to share your thoughts. I would love to hear suggestions or personal stories from my readers. I have never been a member of an adoptee support group but have read about some in the United States of America. Anyone have any information on online ones? xo

5 thoughts on “I FEEL Canadian, I LOOK Thai

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