Celebrating Lantern Festival: A Happy Reunion in a New Hometown

Celebrating Lantern Festival: A Happy Reunion in a New Hometown

The Lantern Festival is coming, and many cities have put up light displays which celebrate the first full moon after the Lunar New Year. A lot of parents bring their children to experience the traditional way to celebrate Lantern Festival: making lanterns, guessing riddles, eating Tang-yuan. These sticky rice balls eaten in sweet ginger soup symbolize reunion of the whole family. (The Mandarin for Tang-yuan is a pun on the word reunion.) At this festive time, we also have many adoptees returning to Taiwan for roots visits. These trips connect the adoptees to this island in the different stages of their life journey. – 
“Now I know what I miss.”

Ann’s tone was chirpy, and her eyes seemed to sparkle with the expectations for the future. Born in Taiwan and adopted by her European parents, Ann’s family has carefully kept her connection with her birth country and explained her her unique background in age-appropriate ways. This upbringing led Ann to enroll in a college program in Taiwan after she graduated from high school.

This last winter break, Ann reached out to CSS seeking to meet with her birth mother. Ann was too young to remember much about her first meeting with the birth family a few years ago, but this time, she was already a young adult. She and her adoptive parents previously visited the town where her birth mom spent her childhood. “Taiwan is no longer just few photos and letters,” Ann stated, “Now when I am feeling uncertain, I can recall the conversations with my birth family and the time we shared.”

At the meeting facilitated by the social workers, the two families chatted at a slow pace. Ann shared a video of her playing the piano in a concert. She has been learning to play the piano since she was little. Her birth mother soon expressed her passion for music. She learned to play the piano after she started to work, and now she is the accompanist for her church! Ann’s adoptive parents don’t have any music backgrounds, so Ann recognized her talent might come from her birth mom.

The memory of this day has activated the connection for Ann and the place where she was born. Taiwan has become a real “hometown” for her. Prior to this, Taiwan was only part of her adoption story told by her parents, the Christmas card she sent to every year, but now she experienced how the humid air smelled and how the warm sea touched her toes. She saw the village by the sea where her birth mother grew up, and she confirmed that her birth family missed her as much as she did. 

Adoption is a lifetime journey. Ann shared with us that before she came to Taiwan her heart was full of questions and doubts. She was not sure how much she’d like Taiwan, if the birth family would approve of her, and most importantly, she was concerned about whether she would accept her origins once that origin was unveiled. However, she had to come home herself, so she could discover her real thoughts and find her inner peace. Knowing what to miss made this journey easier.

Ann’s Journey will continue. In different phases of her future life – when she graduates, gets married, has her own child/ren – she might confront different challenges. One solid dependable support is that the Christian Salvation Service will be there, ready to provide services for the journey for her and both the birth and adoptive families. When an adoptee is ready to explore his/her roots and early life story, our roots team will be the beacon, steering a path to his/her earlier history and/or reunion along this journey.

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