A Story Worth Telling

Like most, the first hours of my life involved in a hospital. But unlike most, after I left the hospital, there was not a home waiting for me.

There isn’t much about the first few hours of my life because only person truly knows what happened, and that’s only because she was the one who gave birth to me. Unfortunately, this is pretty much the case for the abandoned girls of China. We were left alone and with no identity. No story to be told.

Where a girl is abandoned depends on the mother and where the mother can safely, but secretly leave her child. It has to be somewhere the baby won’t be in harm, but a place where someone can easily find the baby. After all, what would be the point of hiding a living baby if not for it to be discovered?

For me, my birth mother chose a hospital. Whether or not I was actually delivered in the hospital remains unknown, as well as most of the details from that day. Based on a report, I know the floor of the hospital from which I was discovered, I am aware of the fact that I had a congenital heart disease (probably why I was abandoned here), and I have somewhat of a birthdate (they estimated from my umbilical cord). That’s it.

This was the bedtime story for me; the details are from the mouths of multiple people who told my mom who told me. For all I know, it could be as real as the Cat in the Hat.

After the hospital, I was taken to an orphanage. There, I would live with fellow sisters who shared one and only one dream: to be in a home with loving parents. After three years in the orphanage, that dream traveled around the world until it found me.

All at once I went from one of many unwanted girls of China to a child hand-picked to live in a family where unwanted was only the crumbs of food that had fallen to the ground.

Little Quinn (that’s me) would come to learn the American way of life with her three older brothers, younger sister (also adopted from China), and soon-to-be little brother.

Apparently, being adopted at three has its perks, at least for my parents. The big one: I had already been potty-trained. Now I’m no parent (and not now or anytime soon, Mom and Dad) but from what I have heard, this is a milestone one should not cry over missing.

Another benefit is that I could already speak with a decent amount words. The only problem— actually a rather troublesome obstacle— was that I was speaking in an entirely different language. This wasn’t a colossal issue considering I was only three, and teaching me thousands of phrases as soon as possible wouldn’t be necessary. But the language barrier did, on at least this one occasion, prove to be cumbersome.

One of my brothers took me jumping on a trampoline. At one point, like any three-year old is at risk of doing, I came down like a toothpick and broke my leg. I sure as heck didn’t know why I was in so much pain, and my brother and his friends apparently couldn’t figure it out, but surely my parents would. Nope. Turns out a toddler screaming in Chinese and crying about a pain she can’t describe (much less identify) only results in a terrible round of charades. But rest assured, the screaming banshee was taken to the emergency room where her parents learned the cause of such a horrendous episode.

This is me during my first Christmas styling the latest trend: a beautiful white cast.

Fast forward. I am fine and healthy. I have two working legs, I can jump on a trampoline (still at the level of a three-year old), and English has actually become my best subject. Case closed.

After reading this, you know as much as I do about my past regarding Chinese me. I call my past self this because after living as long as I have in America with a family of mainly caucasians, I feel more American that I will ever feel Chinese. That’s not a bad association at all; it’s just how my life worked out. Trust me. I am beyond grateful for this outcome. If I had not been adopted, well, I’m not sure I want to find out. Even though I do not have a story to be told for the me who was in China, I have this story: the one for the me who has grown up in a loving, promising home in air breathed by those who love and care with their hearts and not because they feel obligated to. And that is a story I would much rather tell.

Thanks for reading.

until next time,

peace and love,


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