This is Cross-posted from our new One World Chinese adoptee group blog…
Birth Province: Taipei, Taiwan/Republic of China & Jiangsu, mainland China Adoptive Province: California (Orange County), USA Generation: G2, as in ‘Global Generation’
Post #1 Dedication (originally posted on Dec. 7, 2009):
To Glorious Maeve, my sister in the Emerald Isle, with love. To my fellow One World C0-Bloggers, who each inspire me with their own unique brand of magic, giving me the courage to carry on and to “bloom my best” where I was planted, no matter what. And to my mom, the Goddess who never knew she was… (Mom, you were mistaken – You did make a difference, you did matter. I love you. I’m so proud that you were my mom.)
“The Smell of Magic, Magic Mondays” by Jennifer, a G2
8 Chance Encounters That Changed My Life:
1. At age 2…seeing the beautiful poet & artist Janet Jue, a Goddess from Los Angeles, sitting in (of all places) my birthfamily’s living room in China/Taiwan. Just moments before meeting Janet, birthmother was about to bestow her blessing on an Australian couple to take me to Australia. Little did I know that the Goddess from California was going to become my mom!
2. At age 4…bumping into and being swung round and round in circles by a laughing little boy who had just landed at Los Angeles International Airport from Seoul, South Korea. This toddler became my charismatic baby brother, Chris.
3. At age 8…spotting Santa in my chimney with cousin Colette way past our bedtime on Christmas Eve.
4. At age 20…discovering, for the first time in my life, an adoptee in class. She was adopted from Korea, and was also an undergrad at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (a place with very few Asians and Asian American students at the time). She approached me because she was going through a phase when she was exploring her “Asian” identity. I had already explored that terrain and yearned to be seen as “Jennifer,” which, in my mind, was so much more than just my “Asian face” and ancestry. We later became fast friends, spending hours chatting into the wee hours about our lives, our adoption experiences, the complexity of our various identities, our dreams of a future when Asian adoptees could be seen and represented on the big screen as real people, as we saw ourselves (instead of being defined by how others saw us — Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon….gaaaaaaggg!!).
5. At age 24…sitting, by chance, beside a young Chinese adoptee and her mom on the NYC MTA subway. I explained I was adopted, too. “She’s beautiful,” I stood to exit the subway car at 59th Street. Her mom beamed back a smile, “So are you.” Merging into the midtown Manhattan crowd above ground, I felt like an angel had just spread its wings and kissed me.
6. At age 28…meeting Maeve, age 4, a Chinese adoptee in Ireland. While sharing ice creams and crossing a street in southern Ireland, Maeve slipped her small hand in mine and wouldn’t let go. We’ve been sisters of the heart ever since.
7. At ages 28-29…first time ‘meeting’ fellow peer-aged ADULT Chinese adoptees!!! They were NOT easy to find, and in fact, I wasn’t even sure if they existed!! (Through books, friends and a worldwide search, I “met” Dr. Amanda Baden, Dr. Mei-Mei Ellerman, Devorah Schwartzbaum Goldstein, Miss Chris Atkins. We realized there was no group for Chinese adoptees of all ages, created by Chinese adoptees…so we launched Chinese Adoptee Links International.)
8. Today…Meeting YOU through this group blog. Today is full of magic. It’s magical because we met. May your week be filled with love, lavished with magical moments that nourish your spirit and nurture your soul. (Special thanks to author Susana Saladini for inspiring the title, “The Smell of Magic, Magic Mondays.”)
What chance encounters have changed your life?
Jennifer Bao Yu “Precious Jade” Jue-Steuck
Taipei, Taiwan & Jiangsu, China (birthmother’s native province)
ARRIVED IN THE USA:
Dec 1979/Jan 1980 GREW UP IN: Laguna Beach (Orange County, California), Branch Pond Lake (near Acadia National Park, Maine), Paris (5ème, 7ème, 16ème arrondissements), Cambridge (Massachusetts), NYC (8 years in Greenwich Village & Columbus Circle)
Making new friends on airplanes, dancing, writing, musicals, travel, riding trains, majestic old train stations, trees, animals, perfume, the color purple, fresh fruit & cheese platters, dim sum, dumplings, warm cookies, ice cream, noodles (of any kind!), architecture, ‘expotitions,’ sudden epiphanies, letters, libraries, the sound of waves, pilates, yoga, afternoon naps at the beach, lying upside down listening to opera music, star gazing
When my (adoptive) mom, my best friend, was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer. Watching your mom die and knowing that you can’t do anything to save her changes your perspective forever. (I was 19. Mom lost her cancer battle at age 58.)
Inspiration Ice Cream: Tips for Blooming Your Best! (wellness title)
Leaving Grand Central (MG novel)
Adoption Pride (non-fiction)
University of California at Berkeley, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts & Harvard
WHY THIS BLOG WAS BORN:
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
“I dreamed of a place where different generations of Chinese adoptees and friends could come together to have a conversation, to share knowledge, to empower and inspire one another with our stories through a group blog for CAL (Chinese Adoptee Links) International. When Erin told me about her own blog idea, we combined our blog concepts into one to create “ONE WORLD” (title inspired by the song “One World” our talented team blogger, Jazz, composed for this site). My wish for you, dear reader, is that this blog blesses you with new thoughts (perhaps here you’ll find just the words you needed to lean on), connects you to others (including role models, of all ages), and inspires you to bloom your best (!) wherever you are planted, no matter what your background is or how you came to be part of our family, the human family. Thank you for your contributions to our global ‘ONE WORLD’ community.” ~ Love from Jennifer
P.S. Recently decided that I really do not like the term “adoptee.” Besides, I never called myself that growing up (other people did!). I’m a “G2,” a global generation. So being a G2 (a term inspired by conversations with talented filmmaker Jennifer Arndt-Johns, who calls herself a “global citizen,” and with Marilee, Jemila and Zehara Eckert, who generously shared hot chocolate and tea with me one afternoon to test and try out new phrases, which led to the name “global generations”) sounds so much more empowering, encompassing, and filled with possibility.
“BLOOM YOUR BEST”