Welcome back to another #ElementsofAdoption. This element is pretty special! She literally does so much advocacy work for the foster care system and is amazing all around. We don't have many other notes for you today, but we are excited for new projects in 2021!!! We are going to make it OUR YEAR!!! 2020 was a rough start especially since we started at the very end of 2019 (Dec. 31st exactly), but we are ready! If you are interested in joining our team, we are officially providing that opportunity!! Applications to join our team AND hold a lead position can be found at https://bit.ly/genzadopteesapp
Anna Spaulding - she/her(s) - Adoptee
Instagram - @anna_spaulding6 @missprofnyot20ny
Special date: November 16th Birthday
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a high school senior at Copenhagen Central School. I am Miss Pride of New York’s Outstanding Teen 2020 and my personal platform is the Pajama Program. I am very involved in my school and community. I love volunteering and advocacy. I am sharing my story to inspire people to get involved in their communities and to consider supporting adoption or even choosing adoption.
How are you impacted by adoption?
I was born in China and because of the one-child policy at the time, I was abandoned by my birth parents. I was only one year old when I was adopted but I have a strong connection to my heritage and past. My family has been blessed by adoption three times. My youngest sister was adopted from our local foster care system in the U.S., and my older sister was adopted from China like I was.
What is the biggest challenge you faced related to adoption?
I receive lots of love and kindness, however, I do still receive racism and hate. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt but sometimes I must stand up for myself and my Asian heritage. I live in an area where there is a lack of diversity. I think it’s important to educate myself and my community by having those difficult conversations about race and racism. I also have to remember that racist and ignorant comments should not make me feel ashamed of who I am.
What do you wish people knew about adoption?
There are many types of adoption and there are many organizations that can help families adopt. Adoption is a beautiful process and every adoption story is different, but the goal should always be to provide a child with a loving home, so please consider opening your heart to adoption. If you cannot adoption yourself, then please consider supporting the adoption community.
What have you done to support the adoption community?
My work with the Pajama Program has promoted foster care and adoption. Additionally, I share my story to almost everyone I meet in hopes I gain another person to support the adoption community. Connecting with people and telling stories is what I'm all about.
How has your opinion about adoption changed as you got older?
As I got older I felt more accepted because of social media. I connected with more adoptees and I spoke more openly about my adoption. I also recently did a 23 and me DNA test and I've become more interested in learning about my heritage. I was never into "finding" my birth parents however, I am interested am learning my about my culture and my roots.
What has helped/supported you through learning your adoption story?
Again social media and people like Avia make the adoption community so amazing. I am blessed to have an amazing support system who are willing to assist me in my journey. My parents have always encouraged me to be curious and they've always told me as much as they could about my adoption story.
What is your favorite quote/lesson you learned?
"Family is not defined by our genes, but it is built and maintained through love" I think adoption is all about the love and relationships we forms with others. It takes one person to love and care for a child, and then infinitely change their lives.
Tell us a wacky fact about yourself no one else would expect!
I can cry on command
Tell us anything else you want people to know.
For adoptees, I encourage you to show your gratitude to the people who support you. For both adoptees and adoptive parents, reflect upon your family’s journey and share your story with others. This will help spread adoption awareness by you advocating for adoption. I know adoption is not traditionally the first option potential parents think of. I have to say that I think our world is becoming more accepting and I see more people considering adoption. Adopting is not for everyone but it is worth being educated about and advocating for as a positive option for children who need a permanent, loving family.