This Is Us

So, my mother suggested something to me today. I have a feeling she was hoping for a different response than what I gave her though.

Mom: “You should write about your family! The normalcy of adoption.”

Me: ………… (utterly confused, zoned out, blanked out face)

Mom: “Oh my god…you actually went blank.”

Needless to say, I had never really thought about writing a blog entry on that weird concept. So, after several minutes of contemplation, I finally have it.

Looking back through all my entries I do think that this is an important topic to discuss. Adoption has more than once face. My story has more than one face. And though my other entries might evoke more emotion, my whole life has not always been about finding who I was. Only a part of it. But what teenager isn’t trying to find them self? For us, it may just be a bit tougher and more emotionally draining. Adoption can be seen from hundreds and hundreds of angles. My blog hardly puts a dent in what other adoptees must feel. But with all of these angles comes one important thing, adoption is not weird. It is only weird if we make it weird, families who adopt are not special. They/We may have done things differently to make a family, but the lives we live are not drastically any different than any other family who does not adopt.

This is Us:

Our family. The three of us or rather five of us (two cats included) live under one big roof (or bungalow). We are involved with the Thai Association of Calgary and when I was younger I danced for the Royal Thai Dancers of Calgary. Close to the end of my twelve years of Thai dance, my mother decided to take it up too. To this day, I am unsure whether or not that was a good idea. Thanks to the Friday night dance practices complete with Thai food and the social scene, my father developed quite the tolerance to Thai food. It has ruined him. Any food he eats today he must douse in Thai red chili peppers and hot sauce. Be warned, your palate will forever be changed after eating Thai food. Our involvement with the Thai Association has helped me remain in touch with my heritage, something which I consider a very important part of me. Though I myself do not wish to bask in it, I do feel that it is important to maintain.

Every two to three years my parents and I make an effort to visit my Nativeland, Thailand, something which I thoroughly enjoy. My parents enjoy visiting my children’s home which to this day remains the thing that I enjoy the least. Don’t ask me why, I do not know why. Perhaps it is just that my thoughts have not gotten there yet. It is here in Thailand where I took an avid interest in elephant conservation and for much of my Junior High years it was one of my fundraising projects that my mother and I organized. My mother spends a lot of her time working to promote the elephant projects that she is involved in. If there is one thing you should know about my mother; she don’t be quittin’. As High School wore on my mother has took more of an invested interest in it, she frequently flies to Asia to work for various projects in the area.  So some days it is just daddy and daughter.

My father is a hydro-geologist. Rock/water doctor I suppose. He plays the biggest role in my High School life, between endless amounts of Chemistry assignments and Math. What a gentle giant. Some days I am so frustrated with school that I go on a mad teenage rampage and my face turns purple-not the typical red. And then there is Dad, “Now Orn, you need to sit down and lets go through this together. It has got be done at some point.” What a trooper. From what I have heard, most other parents would not put up with this. So, at night when he is exhausted from performing surgeries on water pipes and I am exhausted from life we still go through each page of homework meticulously and in detail.

Our family is involved in sports and music; my parents volunteer as much as they can with my Flatwater sprint kayak club. They have played the biggest role in keeping me on the water when my injuries and depression attempt to keep me off of it. I have been a cellist for ten years and my parents play a big role in helping me reach my desires and goals. Perhaps what might set them apart from a lot of parents is that they are pushers, but smart pushers. They want me to try something out in its entirety before judging it, and if my decision is that it is simply not for me then they respect it in its entirety.

So…the question is, what is wrong here? Aren’t adopted families supposed to be “different”? Aren’t the parents supposed to have their kids enrolled in private schools or have their kids playing every single sport known to man? Aren’t they supposed to embrace their child’s native culture down to the minute detail? Hoopla. I go to a typical High School (okay…it is self-directed but that is because I am a traveling athlete!!!) , I play one instrument by choice and I embrace my culture only as much as I feel comfortable with. I am Buddhist, my mother was born non-denominational and my father was raised in a Protestant family. Heck, I am sure that if I wanted to become baptised/christened they would let me. The fact of the matter is is that our family is not that much different. I think one of the most important things for me and one of the most important things that a lot of adoptees will say is that we are not ‘special’. In fact, most of our life we strive to be ‘normal’ just like everybody else. To say that we are ‘special’ implies that we hold ourselves at a different level than the rest of the population. Personally, I do not feel that I am special because I am adopted-I feel that I am proud.

There you go, normalcy in a nutshell.


2 thoughts on “This Is Us

  1. Kyle says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I know other adoptive parents are reading your blog with great interest.

    My two sons were adopted from Thailand are we’re considering return trips every few years. I’m curious to know what types of things you do in Thailand when you visit. Do you have favorite activities? Do you spend time in the city? country? resorts?

    I will continue reading. Thanks again.

    • ornblovo says:

      Thank you for reading!

      My earlier trips to Thailand were comprised of the Native-land Visit. It is a trip organized for children worldwide who have been adopted from various Thai Children’s Home. It lasted about week with a full schedule of activities (mostly out-trips). Because I was still sensitive about the topic at that age I enjoyed it, but I still had some bitterness. I do recommend it though, I met a lot of people from my own country and now have cross-country connections.

      Later on, we took a break from Native-land visits and started researching more eco-tourism opportunities. We volunteered for the Elephant Nature Park as they do not support riding or performing elephants, something which we do not support because of its cruel nature. We do lots of trekking in villages through local companies. We tend to not spend too much time in the city (Bangkok and Chiang Mai) except on weekends when we will visit the night markets.

      Being a teenage girl, I particularly request that we stay at a beach resort for at least a few days after volunteering and trekking in the jungle for several weeks. The beaches are beautiful, especially if you are lucky and go to a resort right on the beach or right across from it. I personally enjoy Hua Hin’s many resorts, but we have never gone anywhere else as far as beaches go so it is a bias opinion. We were very close to one of the National parks and took a taxi’ed squid fishing boat over to it. That might be something that your boys would enjoy.

      In short, I would recommend a volunteer activity (working with rescued elephants, teaching in schools, etc.) so as to become more aware of the Thai culture. After, a stay at one of the beach resorts is highly recommended (you will want to chill out after lots of hard work). If you can handle inner-city chaos than you might consider going around the city, but our family typically stays away from this.

      Hope this helps! Thank you very much for your kind words. I wish you and your family luck and hope that your trips are enjoyable and eye-opening!

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