Her family, her story

Senior talks about her adoption experience


Photo by and used with the permission of Jia Anderson

Jia Anderson, senior, was put up for adoption in China right after birth. Despite being adopted, Anderson has always seen her parents as her true parents, and has felt like she belongs in her family.

Kaitlin Geisler, Social Media Manager

When people ask Jia Anderson, senior, if she would rather meet her “real” family, she answers ‘This is my actual family.”

Anderson, who was put up for adoption at birth, says she has dealt with these types of questions her whole life. The one thing that has helped her in these situations is that she has always known who she is.

“My parents have always been transparent about [my adoption]. I mean, it’s pretty hard to ignore it when there’s this Asian kid with a white family. Sooner or later people [would be] asking questions,” Anderson said. “[My parents were] always really good about being transparent about [my adoption], always making sure that I am part of the family. They always made sure that I never felt like I was singled out, or like I wasn’t their child or biological child. My parents always did a good job of shielding me from any surprises. But to me, it always comes to a point where they can’t protect me from that all the time.”

Despite her parents “shielding” her, as Anderson says, there are times when she can’t escape the judgments of those who don’t understand the realities of adoption.

“I kind of just ignore it because I’ve chalked it up to them being ignorant and not open-minded to things. In my heart, I know they’re my family, but other people might just be ignorant about it,” Anderson said. “Of course, I wish I knew who my birth parents were. Of course, I have questions like, ‘why would they put up for adoption?’ Of course, my mom would like to know if there’s any health concerns or if there’s any genetic concerns for me, but other than that, I just never really thought of it. I never really cared to go back to [my birth parents] or know them because I love my family as we are.”

There aren’t that many students that can say that they were adopted, as less than 3% of LZ students report being adopted, according to a February Bear Facts Student Media survey of 232 students. Because of this, the majority of students may not know what it is like to be adopted, let alone what an adopted teenager might experience in their life.

For Anderson, that experience includes being born in China and put up for adoption soon after her birth. What most people don’t know is that her parents immediately wanted to adopt her and make her part of the family, but the adoption process was not simple, according to Anderson.

“[My parents] had to go through this year-long process of background checking and everything,” Anderson said. “It probably didn’t help that I was in another country, since they were here all along.”

While the background check part of Anderson’s adoption may have been more “typical” as she said, coming from China was one of the more unique aspects to her to experience.

“I never really looked at myself like ‘Oh, I’m adopted, I’m different from you guys.’ Obviously, it was still there. I was adopted. But, I always looked at it like, ‘this is my family.’ This is who I’ve been living with and who has raised me,” Anderson said. “I haven’t really felt like me being from China or my adoption has separated me. At least it shouldn’t.”