For so many years, it is common all around the world to adopt children from China and the Southeast Asia. Many orphaned children, either the product of war or poverty, ended up with Australian families who took them in as their own. We talked to two members of the Asian Cultural Management Team who were raised by adoptive families in Sydney. Meet Florigine and Hope!
Florigine is of Filipino origin. She was adopted by an Australian couple and was brought to the country when she was a few months old. Florigine grew up without any siblings, either natural or adoptive. According to her, she never felt that she was adopted. Florigine’s closest relatives accepted her and treated her like they were connected by blood.
Growing up, Florigine reached a point where she rebelled not because of her adoption issues, but because she was behaving like any other teens her age. Despite her ancestry, she recognizes herself as an Australian — in culture and identity. When she looks in the mirror, she sees Florigine and not a girl who looks different in colour, appearance and culture.
Thank Heavens, Florigine never experienced being bullied because of her race and colour. However, her family gets irate with racist comments even if Florigine is not affected by it. At some point, she yearned at knowing who her biological parents were. Florigine said that she’ll get there when the right time comes.
“Ching chang, ching chang chung.” These are the words that Hope frequently hear growing up. She came from Vietnam and was adopted due to the Vietnam War. Despite being raised by a loving and happy Australian family in Sydney, she grew up longing for something she couldn’t comprehend.
Racism during her time was pretty common. Hope was always teased for being different. There were also kids who poke fun at her for being adopted. One time, she questioned her parents’ reasons for adopting her. She kind of hated her early years in life, especially her biological parents for disowning her. As Hope gets older, she developed a fear of being abandoned. This seriously messed up her intimate relationships.
There’s one thing about being Vietnamese that she couldn’t forget. One time, a man asked her to translate the Chinese passage from the book he was reading. She laughed at the man and told him that his guess was good as hers. The problem with most people is that they distinguish all Asians with small eyes as Chinese. Hope tried to convince them that she’s Vietnamese, but people dismiss her and said that it doesn’t matter; that they’re all the same.