Adult Adoptee Says: I Am Their "Real" Daughter

My name is KaiLi, I’m from Wisconsin and I was adopted from China when I was 3 months old. In Chinese, “Kai” means victorious and “Li” means beautiful. 

I have always known that I was adopted. However, from the moment my parents adopted me, they wanted me to know that I was their real daughter, no question about it. While they didn’t hide the fact that I was adopted, they didn’t constantly say it, or refer to me as the “adopted child.”  When I was little, they read a lot of children’s books about adoption to help explain what adoption was in a way that I could understand. They referred to my birth mother as Mrs. Li, because “Li” in Chinese means beautiful. They would tell me that Mrs. Li loved me so very much and wanted to keep me, but for some reason, she couldn’t. So, she did everything she could to save me and give me a forever family.   

My siblings have always seen and treated me as their “real” sister, too. In fact, my sister, Kaylyn, is only 9 months younger than me, so we’ve always been really close. Because I’ve always been in her life since the day she was born, she didn’t know any different or realize I was adopted until she was in 3rd grade. We were at recess with some of our friends and someone asked Kaylyn, “Oh, so your sister’s adopted?” She was really confused and replied, “No, she’s not.” We have lots of laughs over this story, but it also shows how close my siblings and I are even though we aren’t blood related.

I have always gotten along with my family, even growing up. I was fortunate enough to be adopted by a family that has shown me unconditional love since the beginning. Of course, just like any other family, we are by no means perfect. My sisters and I still fight over clothes and get sassy with each other, but I have never felt like I was less a part of the family because I was adopted. 

If I were given the chance to talk to my biological parents, first off, I would wrap my arms around them and give them a big hug. I would reassure them that I have absolutely no hard feelings towards them. I would tell them how incredibly grateful I am for the hard decision that they made 21 years ago, when they took me and left me in a safe place where they knew that I would be found and hopefully given a forever family. Then, I would excitedly tell them that I was adopted into a family that every orphan would dream of having (and then hopefully introduce them to this forever family that they always wanted me to have.) I would tell them that this family has cared for me and loved me in the best way possible and that they should be proud of the woman I have become. I like to think that one day, I’ll get to meet them both of my biological parents in heaven.  

My advice to people considering adoption would be to step out in faith and act on it! There will never be a “perfect” time to adopt. There will always be roadblocks and reasons why it would be easier to not adopt, but I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and take action.  

My advice to everyone is that I want the world to know that the orphan crisis is real. There are millions of kids out there with big personalities, big potential, and big love to give that are waiting to come home. 

~KaiLi

To follow more of KaiLi's story, you can follower her on Instagram here: @kaili_freeman