Mom Reveals 37 Awful Things People Have Said About Her Adopted Chinese-American Daughters

Asian-American adoptees are, unfortunately, used to ignorant questions. “Where are you from?” or “Who are your real parents?” are constant queries that these people hear, from adoption to adulthood, and it can be a depressing, “othering” experience.

One mother and photographer, Kim Kelley-Wagner, decided to use her creativity to showcase the pain her daughters go through with each and every question asked through a unique photo series.

“I have tried to explain to my daughters that people do not say these things to be mean, they say them out of ignorance, which is why I am sharing some of them. Words are powerful, they can become tools or weapons, choose to use them wisely.”

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Kelley-Wagner said the experience was eye-opening and a positive one, and that they received generally supportive feedback.

“Most of the feedback was positive and supportive, however, there was a fair amount of backlash from the adoption community, some disagreed on our method of approaching this problem and accused me of exploiting my children. I explained within the project that it was my eldest daughter’s idea and a project we worked on together. My younger daughter was not originally supposed to be involved, as she was so young, but she felt left out when we started shooting photos and argued that she had been spoken to in this way as well and wanted to participate, so she was included. I let them remember what was said to themselves.

“Though the criticism to my parenting was hurtful, it wasn’t/isn’t important. All that matters is what my children think and feel. For them the project was cathartic and they were proud of it. Ultimately my oldest daughter, now seventeen, continued her activism and is active in our community. She has even won a college scholarship recently for her service to the local community. I believe that this early experience in forming opinion and having an impact made a strong impression on her.”

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Check out the photo series below:

“They can’t love you like your own could.”

Asian adoptee

“Why didn’t you get one that was ‘perfect’?”

Asian adoptee

“You must take after the other side of the family. Haha.”

Asian adoptee

“You’re lucky you got one of the pretty ones.”

Asian adoptee

“Are you REAL sisters?”

Asian adoptee“Say some Chinese for me!”
Asian adoptee

“Why didn’t her REAL family want her?”

Asian adoptee

“Why didn’t you get one from OUR foster care system?”

Asian adoptee

“How much did she cost?”

Asian adoptee

“She is lucky you came along, otherwise she would be dead on the street.”

Asian adoptee

“It is so nice of your mom to SAVE you.”

Asian adoptee

“They send their babies here so that they can become spies when they get older.”

Asian adoptee

“Where are your REAL parents?”

Asian adoptee

“I could never think of someone else’s kids as my own.”Asian adoptee

“Wow, special needs, bet she was extra expensive.”

Asian adoptee

“Why don’t you look like your mom?”

Asian adoptee

“They hate girls in the country you come from, you know that right?”

Asian adoptee

“But what are her emotional issues?”

Asian adoptee

“How could you love a child you didn’t give birth to? I could never do that.”Asian adoptee

“You don’t know what problems they will have down the road, and they WILL have problems you know.”

Asian adoptee

“I could never take on someone else’s problem like that!”

Asian adoptee

“What a China doll!”

Asian adoptee

“Do you know her REAL family?”

Asian adoptee

“Aren’t you afraid they will hate you later for taking them away from their own country?”

Asian adoptee

“Didn’t you want one that looked like you?”

Asian adoptee

“Do you both have the same mother?”

Asian adoptee

“Do you have any kids of your own? No, I mean your OWN kids.”

Asian adoptee

“Why don’t you speak Chinese?”

Asian adoptee

“It’s so easy to get a baby over there, they just give them away.”

Asian adoptee

“She isn’t your REAL sister, you know that, right?”

Asian adoptee

“Why would you bring more immigrants into OUR country?”

Asian adoptee

“Your mom is a real saint for wanting you.”

Asian adoptee

“Did they let you pick one?”

Asian adoptee

“Do they know they are adopted?”

Asian adoptee

“You’ll send her back when she is an adult, right?”

Asian adoptee

“Wow, your mom could have bought a nice car instead of adopting you.”

Asian adoptee

“She speaks really good English! (they were adopted as babies)”

Asian adoptee

Featured Image via FaceBook / Kim Kelley-Wagner Images

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