Features Kate Gordon A heart warming follow up from her first appearance on the Antiques Roadshow
Posted with kind permission of the BBC
Features Kate Gordon A heart warming follow up from her first appearance on the Antiques Roadshow
Posted with kind permission of the BBC
HKAN 2023 Pre-Xmas Post-Thanksgiving Zoom Meeting
Date: Sunday 03 December 17.30-19.30 UK (2 hours)
Time: UK 17:30; San Francisco 09.30, Washington DC 12.30, HK 01.30
This was a successful zoom call managed by Sue and Debbie. It was lovely to catch up with all and a welcome to some new members to our group. It is hoped we can try and schedule another Zoom meeting around Chinese New Year so watch this space.
During the 1960s, just over 100 children were sent to the UK via the International Social Services (ISS) UK Hong Kong Adoption Project and placed for adoption following publicity surrounding World Refugee Year. Placing these children for adoption was intended to provide them with a family life and to help reduce overcrowding in Hong Kong’s orphanages with the influx of refugees from China.
All but two of the children were girls and most were babies, although some were toddlers and a few of them were older when they were placed for adoption.
Between 2010-13 Julia Feast, along with her colleagues, Margaret Grant, Alan Rushton and John Simmonds, undertook a mid-life follow up research study of this group entitled the British Chinese Adoption Study (BCAS). The study sought to contact and follow up the 100 women. They located 99 of them through publicly available records, and 72 agreed to participate. The study explored the long-term outcomes for this group of ethnically Chinese girls, now women in middle age.
For further information about the study: BCASSummary2014.pdf (adoptionsearchreunion.org.uk)
The HK adoptees community was developed in parallel with the BAAF’s British Chinese Adoption Study (BCAS). The study played a pivotal role in helping bring together UK HK-adoptees mainly from the 1960’s & 1970’s. Hong Kong Adoptees Network (HKAN) has developed into a well-establishedcommunity that runs an international network of people who have also been adopted from Hong Kong:
In October 2021 a meeting of the Hong Kong Adoptees Network (HKAN) was held at the Foundling Museum. The HKAN has a wide membership and at this particular meeting it included 16 women who had participated in the British Chinese Adoption Study (BCAS).
BCAS was published in February 2013, and among the many areas of investigation was research about how curious the women were when deciding to find information about their origins, and to subsequently search for birth family members.
The study identified that compared to other adoption studies where curiosity levels were reported, most of the women in BCAS expressed significantly lower levels of curiosity. It was notable that one of the reasons for not searching for information and birth family was because most of the women had been ‘left to be found’ and at the time of the study they recounted that it would be an impossibility to search, as they had absolutely no information nor access to records relating to their origins. Hence, they did not have the same opportunities as afforded to their UK adopted counterparts who had been adopted within country, where records were available. The challenges were compared to that of the saying that it is ‘similar to finding a needle in a haystack’.
As one adopted woman described:
‘Well, the thing is, when you are told from dot that you were left on the doorsteps of the orphanage, it is very clear that you can’t find somebody. So, you don’t harbour those hopes.’
At the HKAN meeting the attendees gave Julia Feast their permission to conduct a short survey of the BCAS participants present to help find out if the women’s curiosity had altered since the study was published. This survey was undertaken independently whilst Julia was studying for a PhD, entitled Curiosity and Opportunities: The impact of accessing adoption information on adopted adults and the decision to search for birth relatives.
At the time of the original BCAS study, the majority had little opportunity to embark on a search for information about their origins and birth relative. The aim of the short questionnaire was to find out if and how curiosity levels about accessing adoption records and searching for birth relatives had changed in the previous 10 years.
All 16 women who were present and part of the BCAS study completed the questionnaire. There were 5 other women present who had also been adopted from Hong Kong, but they had not been part of the BCAS study. However, they also completed a similar questionnaire. The following summarises the key findings from the survey of the 16 participants who had taken part in the BCAS study which was published in 2013. It must be noted that this ‘snap- shot’ involved 16 of the 72 original participants (22%) who took part in the study so the findings can only be seen as a potential indication.
All but one woman reported that their curiosity levels had changed and heightened since the study.
Seven women had accessed adoption records prior to the study, and since then 6 more had done so. Three women had not accessed at the time of the study nor since.
With the advent of social media and easily available access to online resources such as Facebook, adopted people and birth relatives have greater potential for contacting one another. However, for 11 of the BCAS women the advances made in DNA and easier access to Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing (DTC-GT) had an impact and influenced their decision to take such a test in the hope that they might find birth relatives.
Although DTC-GT consumer testing is currently not widely used by the Chinese population, and therefore finding a match was still limited, nonetheless being tested gave them a new opportunity and some hope that they might now be able to find birth relatives and understand more about their genetic history. Eleven women had taken a DTC-GT, of whom two had found a half-sibling. The DNA companies that were used were mainly 23 you and me and Ancestry, with some being registered on both.
Taking part in the study had provided an opportunity for the women to come together and support and learn from one another about how they could resolve some of their information gaps. This demonstrates how technology, life stages, networks, and sharing with others can provide an impetus to make use of new opportunities.
Four women were also very keen to find out more about their origins whilst the same number were not, with the other 8 saying they were somewhat curious.
Some reasons for not wanting to find out more:
‘Even if I did know my birth parents’ background I still would not have tried to find them…….Perhaps if I hadn’t had a happy childhood, I would feel differently, but because I was such a good childhood, you know, what is the point?’
‘My adoptive mother always said there would be no chance of ever finding’
‘Concerned how it may be if my birth mother didn’t want to know about me and very content with adoptive family so not really interested’
‘Believed language would be a barrier. No concerns about upsetting adoptive family who would have supported me, but felt I had nothing missing in my life and no gaps to fill’
Ten women reported their views had changed whilst the remaining 6 said that they had not, mainly because they were just not interested (4), and for one other it was because it was not a viable option or was not specific. However, hearing about other women’s experiences and knowing that some had been successful in finding birth relatives or accessing information, and learning more about the circumstances of their adoption, appeared to enhance their curiosity needs.
‘Gathering original files and my ‘mug’ shot’
‘when I learnt that my birth mother hadn’t want to give me up I am now pursuing finding out more’
‘As so many others are searching and some successfully – this has piqued my curiosity’
There was exploration about how their situation had changed in relation to their curiosity levels and their decision to search for birth relatives. The developments in DNA testing and taking part in the study clearly had an impact on their levels of curiosity. This created new opportunities not just for the women themselves but also for their own children who may also express curiosity about their mother’s origins. This is demonstrated by the result of this enquiry as all (15) but one woman said that their curiosity had been heightened since the study.
The HKAN was officially formed during the course of the study and open to and actively involved people who had been adopted in similar circumstances, so it had a broader reach. From the positive comments this group has provided a valued source of support to these women. It has enabled them to feel less isolated:
‘Our shared experiences have been interesting, and I’ve found an affinity with previously total strangers’
‘Being invited to join the study gave me a reason to explore my past. I looked at my own beliefs and values and found that family mattered a lot. Thinking about my birth family was a new experience. At a distance of 50 years. It sparked a month-long trip overland across China and seeing myself through a new lens’.
It will be interesting to observe how the levels of the women’s curiosity continue to develop, or not, particularly if locating birth relatives through DNA testing and matching becomes easier when more Chinese people from Hong Kong use these media.
Some members of the HKAN group have said that having the support of one another has enabled them to develop a ‘sisterhood’ and that they have gained support from each other as they share similar beginnings, which has also helped them embrace their Chinese identities.
Many of the women have enquired whether another investigation could be undertaken to revisit the enquiry areas of the original study, such as their connection to Chinese culture and identity, as they have said that they would now provide very different answers to those reported in the original study. This could provide an opportunity to assess the changes in their thoughts and feelings, and a measure of the impact of learning about one another, and an outcome of the study.
Dr Julia Feast OBE, February 2022
The Survey Questions
The following are the questions asked in the survey and more detailed information about the responses received.
Question 1 Were you part of the BCAS =16
Question 2 Did you have thoughts about birth relatives at time of the study?
Often = 4 / Occasionally=5 / Rarely=5 / Never=2
Question 3 Have these changed?
Yes = 10/ No= 6
Question 4 How curious were you to find out about your origins at time of the study (10 years ago)?
Very = 4 / Somewhat = 8 / Not at all= 4
If you answered Not at all, what were the reasons for this?
Not interested = 4 / Not a viable option =1 / Other= 1 … If Other, please give reason
Question 6 Have your curiosity levels change since the study?
Yes= 15 / No=1
Question 7 If so how and why?
Question 8 Had you accessed your adoption records at the time of the study? Yes=7/ No = 9
Question 9 Have you accessed your adoption records since the time of the study? Yes = 6/ No= 3
Question 10 Have you taken any DNA tests?
Yes = 10 / No = 6
Question 10 a Please give names of test kits:
23 and me = 6, 23 and me plus ancestry = 3
Question 11 What prompted you to take a DNA test?
Question 12 Anything else you would like to add?
‘Being invited to join the study gave me a reason to explore my past. I looked at my own beliefs and values and found that family mattered a lot. Thinking about my birth family was a new experience. At a distance of 50 years. It sparked a month-long trip overland across China, and seeing myself through a new lens.’
I feel happy and balanced in both parts of the world.’
‘……(The) original study and research – it enabled us adoptees to form a group and meet and form some lovely friendships.’
‘Our shared experiences have been interesting and I’ve found an affinity with previously total strangers.’
‘Thank you so much for your original concept and curiosity, Julia into the outcome of us all.’
‘Another study of the BCAS Group Now would be really interesting as we have more connections and some of us have gone back to HK and attended many HKAN Reunion Meetings’.
Results from the 5 non BCAS participants
‘My life is in a better place. I’m a lot happier to consider this’.
‘more interested as my children and partner encouraged me, my adoptive’
parents passed away.
Sue’s introduction and origami activity
Welcome to this HKAN Lunar New Year celebration.
sun nin faai lok – Happy New Year – Cantonese
shin nee-an kwai le (as in the French le) – Mandarin
Literally translated as New year happy or you can say shin nee-an how New year good!
A few facts about the New Year
These are often used interchangeably – Are they the same or different?
Lunar New Year is a more general term and encompasses all celebrations that mark a new year according to a lunar calendar.
Lunar New Year is celebrated in many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, the Koreas, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia & the Philippines. Though some traditions are shared, others are unique to each country’s cultural identity.
In China, Lunar New Year is referred to as the ‘Spring Festival’, or ‘Chinese New Year’. In the UK we tend to use Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year.
Chinese New Year is well-known for starting a new sign in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese animal-zodiac.
The rabbit is the 4th sign of the Chinese zodiac, So why 4th ?
The Jade Emperor (The Emperor in Heaven in Chinese folklore) wanted 12 animals to be his guards. The selection and ranking would be given according to the order they went through the Heavenly Gate.
1st Early Risers – Quick witted Rat and Diligent Ox
On the day of the race the rat got up very early, but on his way to the gate encountered a river. He had to stop there, owing to the swift current, After waiting a long time Rat noticed Ox about to cross the river and swiftly jumped onto his back. Ox didn’t mind and simply continued. After crossing the river, he raced towards the palace of the Jade Emperor. Suddenly, Rat jumped off his back and dashed to the feet of the Emperor. Rat one first place and Ox was second.
Competitive and Fast: Tiger and Rabbit
Tiger and Rabbit came third and fourth because both are fast and competitive, but Tiger was faster. (Rabbit got across the river by hopping on stepping stones and a floating log)
Thereafter, the other animals arrived at the gate according to characteristics assigned to them in the legend.
[Good-looking Dragon and Crafty Snake
Good-looking Dragon was fifth and was immediately noticed by the Jade Emperor, who said Dragon’s son could be sixth. But Dragon’s son didn’t come with him that day. Just then, Snake came forward and said Dragon was his adoptive father; so Snake ranked sixth.
Kind and Modest Horse and Goat
Horse and Goat arrived. They were very kind and modest and each let the other go first. The Jade Emperor saw how polite they wereand ranked them seventh and eighth.
Monkey had fallen well behind. But he jumped between trees and stones, and caught up to be ninth. Last were Rooster, Dog, and Pig. These 12 animals became guards of the Heavenly Gate].
The Year of the Rabbit includes 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927…
It starts from January 22nd, 2023 (Chinese New Year), and ends on February 9th, 2024 (Chinese New Year’s Eve).
The Year of the Rabbit / hare. The Chinese character is for “hare”
The sign of Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture.
2023 is predicted to be a year of hope.
Each zodiac sign is also associated with one of five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, or Earth.
This means each comes along once in a 60-year cycle.
2023 is a year of the Water Rabbit Only those born in 1963 and 2011 are Water Rabbits.
Last thing to mention is that this year Vietnam celebrates the Year of the Cat
There are several theories explaining this – the most common is that at some point in history the Chinese word for rabbit, “mao” was misinterpreted as “meo”, the Vietnamese word for cat.
Another explanation stems from the Chinese versions of the legend about the race that determined the order of the zodiac animals. In the Chinese version, both the rat and the cat were on the ox, and the cat was pushed into the water by the rat, leading to its loss. Meanwhile the rabbit had been hopping on stones, then landed on a floating log that quickly bought it to the shore to give it 4th place.
In 1958, The Great Leap Forward was a campaign led by the Chinese Communist Party to reconstruct the country and its economy which resulted in mass starvation and famine. Thousands or people fled to the neighbouring state of Hong Kong, which was a British Colony at the time and many children – often girls – living in overcrowded HongKong orphanages we’re adopted by British families in the sixties. Both Kate and Debbie talk about their remarkable start in life. Link below
This was very kindly sent from Olivia Cope at BBC Woman’s Hour Radio Producer
Our very own Kate appears on the Antique Road Show – Link below
Kate shows the only belongings she had when she was flown to be adopted in the UK.
A passport, bracelet and a little Chinese jacket.
Thank you to James Harrison from the BBC Bristol Broadcasting House
By Claire, Kate, Sue & Debbie. Picture by supplied by Serena and Kate
This year’s first face to face UK HKAN reunion in simply forever was at the Foundling Museum in beautiful Bloomsbury. Our Zooming is great, it really is: seeing sisters and brothers across the world, comparing notes, taking in both personal news and touching on global events, Covid comparisons, talks, laughter and learning, all that. But seeing each other and hugging safely for the first time was wonderful.
Kate always comes up with the most magnificent icebreakers and Saturday’s was particularly special. We each had a list of adoptees and had to find each one and ask what she’d started doing and what she’d stopped doing recently. It meant we got up and circulated, and found out things we didn’t know about each other and reminded ourselves how amazingly resourceful we all are. It was significant how many had retired and were embarking on creative and exciting projects. Rock choir. How cool is that? The CHAPS (Companions, Husbands And Partners/Siblings, and of course, photographers) had their own little icebreaker which was similar to ours but with the intriguing question about the word Foundling. A few of us had experienced Covid in our families and some of the new ventures we’d undertaken were because of Lockdown. Some of it was for a good cause and some of us sold produce, crafts and paintings to swell our coffers a little to afford venues and to support projects back in Hong Kong, particularly the Home of Loving Faithfulness for those with special needs. It was founded by Aunty Val and Aunty Wendy who looked after Linda when she was in Shatin. It’s so touching that sales of her delicious produce are supporting those that supported her.
Kate wasn’t the only one getting us to fill out forms. Julia Feast gave us all a survey to complete about whether our attitudes to searching for birth relatives has altered since we participated in the 2013 study, which will support her PhD on the subject, entitled Curiosity and Opportunity. Julia remembers well during the BCAS study how many of us reported at the time that it was not something we gave much thought to partly because searching wasn’t an option as information about our origins did not exist. Some of us were categorically told not to bother even trying to find our families because, with no registered birth name or records, we couldn’t even get off first base. Julia asked us about our reaction to the use of the word Foundling as opposed to Abandoned. An interesting discussion followed. The majority of us on the receiving end of such a concept agreed that we much preferred the former: Foundling -indicating Left to be Found is psychologically a much kinder expression reflecting the feeling that our original families, as far as we knew, had no choice about letting us go and took great care to ensure we were left in a safe place, indeed to be rescued as soon as possible.
Those still facing barriers to finding their adoption records were supported by those of us who had succeeded and we’ll no doubt be calling on our dear friends on the ground in Hong Kong for advice.
Our other guest was Peng Wenlan, an esteemed documentary maker, journalist and writer. She came to propose that we consider applying for financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund on the basis that our very unusual start in life and the circumstances that brought us to the UK amounted to a unique moment in British History. Off the back of success with campaigning for recognition of the Chinese Labour Corps (the Chinese men shipped over during the First World War to dig and clear the trenches for British Forces and their allies) and an account of the Chinese in Bengal, Wenlan suggested that our legacy for our children could be a documentary about our story. Generally, we felt that we had come a long way since earlier attempts to relate our tale and this could be an opportunity for us to tell it in our own way.
We had our usual knees up in a nearby pub: an opportunity to catch up even more on what was happening with everyone and how we all survived the Lockdown. We could probe further the discoveries during the icebreaker exercise and enjoy each other’s company after such a long break. Never mind that we celebrated our 10thAnniversary Reunion a year on: better late than never!
UK HKAN would like to Thank the following:
The Foundling Museum for being so welcoming for providing a lovely room for our meeting. https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/
NSUN for making this possible by awarding a Grant earlier in the year https://www.nsun.org.uk/projects/our-grants/side-by-side-fund-grantee-profiles/
Go to Our Grants, Previous Grants, Side by Side Fund Grantee Profiles
Julia Feast who took valuable time out of her PhD
Peng Wenlan an esteemed documentary maker, journalist and writer
Kate & Sue for their commitment & energy to make these reunions happen and there endless patience with me (Debbie)
Linda Fawcett who brought a Christmas Cake in for us all to taste
And last of all, for all of those who attended and helped to make this a special occasion as we celebrated a belated 10th Anniversary of this group coming together.
UKHKAN 10th Anniversary Reunion – Foundling Museum – 30 October 2021: Feedback
This was a reunion with a difference. Chris Toy had volunteered in the previous reunion to demonstrate how to cook a typical Chinese dish. This idea was received with great enthusiasm, an offer we could not refuse.
The meeting was started promptly as those who were cooking along with Chris had their broth on the stove and ingredients prepared and ready to go. A list of ingredients and method had been sent to all the participants in advance, so that we could all purchase all the necessary ingredients and prepare. See below.
Chris started off by telling us that the Chinese Wonton translation is that they are like floating clouds, because they float in the soup. Chris showed us the many kinds of broths one could use if you didn’t want to make your own.
He told us that ginger, garlic, and scallions (spring onions) are the 3 main base ingredients in Chinese cooking, and he showed his expertise in using a meat cleaver. He demonstrated how to smash the garlic and ginger, and how one uses the knuckles to stop the cutting off one’s fingers. Oooch! In making the wonton filling, Chris said that one can add further ingredients such as chillies for those who like it hot. Shrimps can be added to the chopped/minced pork and even soya sauce. (Or for vegans one can substitute with vegetables etc).
Chris used a baseball metaphor to describe how he folded the wonton wrapper around the wonton filling. He placed the wonton wrapper like a baseball diamond – the bottom is Home base and working anticlockwise Base 1, the top being Base 2, and Base 3 on the right. During his demonstration he showed us 3 ways to fold the wrapper – as a triangle, a Bishop’s hat, and the latter, where he turned up the ends like ears and twists. I think the latter is one that would take a little practice.
Those who cooked along with Chris were able to sample their own creations, leaving those that had opted to watch feeling very hungry!
We had time at the end to ask Chris a few questions such as how to best store garlic and ginger.
Serena then did the group screen shot and a 10-minute break was called.
On our return we went into Breakout rooms. The theme for discussion was what food memories were triggered by cookery demo and one person was elected to speak on behalf of each group when we came back.
There was a very short discussion on the practicalities and ideas of a Book Club, which Chris had mentioned at the previous meeting. As time was running out it was put to everyone to give their ideas direct to the committee for next time.
A request was to try and fix up another international reunion before the Christmas break and it was left to be considered.
Debbie thanked both Kate & Sue who arranged the reunion.
A big Thank You to Chris and for everybody who attended.
Chris’ recipe: Basic Wonton Soup
2 quarts (2 litres) broth * Use prepared chicken or vegetable broth made from bouillon or stock cubes/powder, but you can use your grandmother’s secret recipe!
½ ounce dried sliced mushrooms – fresh can be used as well.
20 wonton wrappers * Remove the wonton wrappers from the fridge ten minutes before you intend to use them, to allow them to warm up.
(Seal and freeze unused wrappers or make extra wontons and freeze them for later!)
¼ lb. ground pork or favorite ground/chopped protein meat/seafood/vegan
1 clove fresh garlic crushed and minced (1 teaspoon of paste garlic is fine)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger crushed and minced (paste ginger is fine)
1 cup sliced bok choy/Pak choi or napa cabbage
2 scallions (spring onions) or chives minced (finely chopped)
¼ cup of water in a shallow cup or bowl – for sealing wontons
Note: For the cooking class have the broth ready and simmering in a large pan.
1. Place dried sliced mushrooms in simmering broth.
2. Make wonton filling by combining ground pork crushed garlic, and crushed ginger in a bowl.
3. Place a wonton wrapper so it looks like a baseball diamond with you sitting behind home plate.
4. Wet around the baselines with the water.
5. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center, where the pitcher’s mound would be.
6. Bring home plate up to second base, folding the wrapper into a triangle, enclosing the filling, and seal the edges.
7. Bring the simmering broth to a rolling boil and drop the wontons in one at a time and cook for 1 minute.
8. Add and stir in the bok choy for 1 minute.
9. Squeeze the minced scallions and stir them into the soup.
10. Serve immediately
There are many different skills among HKAN members. Chris has
demonstrated his cookery skills but what talent do you have that
you’d like to share? Even if you don’t want to do a practical demo,
you could talk about your hobby or interest, maybe accompanied
by some photographs. You can take anything from 4 to 40 minutes.
DIY SEWING DRAWING SINGING
PHOTOGRAPHY DANCING WRITING
GARDENING KNITTING MODEL MAKING
DOG GROOMING MECHANICS TRAVEL
You name it – we want to hear about it
Chris Toy Demonstration Video
This is a big file so please be patient for it to download no more than about 10 mins
Written by Sue Jardine
For those who have attended previous online reunions, the joining process will now be familiar – that of your arrival being announced by Debbie to those already on the call. This is usually followed by greetings to one another as you are spotted in the “room” and often a call out of “What’s the weather like where you are?!” Responses can be quite varied because of the international nature of this gathering. This meeting brought together HKAN members who live in the UK, USA, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand.
The meeting opened with a Welcome to everyone, especially those who either had to stay up very late or get up very early to be with us. The big news for the meeting was that our application for a grant from NSUN has been successful. This will support us to continue to have our online meetings and, all being well, to organise our first face to face meeting in the autumn, which will take place in London.
Attendees of this, our Summer reunion, were invited to share photos or images related to the theme of “my relationship/attitude to Hong Kong”. Kate talked about how her relationship to Hong Kong has changed over time and she shared photos she had taken when visiting Hong Kong and the special meaning they had for her. Debbie had selected photos, which were taken from slides she has cleaned and digitised, from a collection on loan to her by Mary Ogden’s son. Mary Ogden was a nurse at Fanling Babies Home (FBH) in 1955.The photos included activities such as a child having a haircut, and the older girls doing everyday tasks of supervising toddlers whilst on their potties, feeding the babies and preparing vegetables for a meal. Serena bought Hong Kong to life by showing us some of her wonderful paintings which were inspired by her visits there. These were scenes depicting Big Buddha, Hong Kong harbour, Hong Hong’s distinctive skyline, street life and the trams near Happy Valley Race course.
Following the presentations breakout rooms were set up to enable small group conversations and the opportunity to get to know other members of the network.
The last part of the meeting was given to free discussion. A couple of suggestions worth noting were:
*New* Book and the idea of setting up a book club
Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu, 2020
Cooking tip and an exciting offer of an online cookery lesson for our next international meeting.
Use refined avocado oil when using a wok. In high-heat cooking it has a very high smoke point of at least 400ºF.
As is often the case, final comments before the close of the meeting were about food!
Another fantastic reunion.
It was great to see everyone and a big Thank You to our presenters, to the organisers, and to all of you for making our time together engaging and fun.
We are pleased to announce UK HKAN has been awarded a grant by NSUN Side by Side Fund.
The fund aims to support peer support, mutual aid or self-help groups who benefit people or communities who live with mental ill-health, trauma and distress. The grant will enable us to continue keeping Hong Kong-born adult adoptees connected in a safe, welcoming and supportive space – online and face-to-face.
‘We are grateful to NSUN for their support”.
Link now available to NSUN website.
Very interesting when you can see all 37 groups that have been supported with this grant.
In addition to the anonymous Surveymonkey poll, we asked the question: ‘what difference have the HKAN meetings made to you?’ Responses came from across the international network: UK. Hong Kong, Singapore, CJS & Canada. Unfortunately, the timings of the meetings have so far meant members in the Southernmost region Australia and New Zealand have not been able to join in
Below are some of the wonderful replies we received and permission has been kindly given to put onto our website.
Thank you to all for participating.
“HKAN Zooms have been a vital source of support for me during lockdown. I live alone and for the second lockdown did not have a support bubble. Even though I’m based in a part of the UK which is very diverse – meeting up with people, with whom I share a similar heritage, was difficult. The HKAN has given me a sense of belonging and identity over the years and during successive lockdowns its Zooms were indispensable to my well-being.”
I have found the HKAN Zoom meeting hugely interesting, informative, supportive and well organised. I feel very comfortable with the group as we all have much in common and therefore an understanding and empathy for each other.
It has been interesting, educational, and inspiring to meet fellow adoptees! Before learning about HKAN I had not realized it was possible to connect with others who were essentially my “orphan siblings”. I’m now considering how to find out more about my origins and time at PLK. THANKS!
“When I attended the 1st reunion, I was overwhelmed with the size of the group, but after getting to know them they are all good friends.Throughout the years I have not been able to discuss my early life with anyone. I have always held back from talking to people.Since attending the HKAN reunions and talking to people with very similar experiences I feel more relaxed and able to talk about my history.I no longer feel so alone and when people get nosey, about my history I find it easier to talk to people. Even when I get asked “did you come to the UK with your parents?”
A warm welcome is what I get when I attend the virtual HKAN meetings. Participating in these HKAN ZOOM meetings gives me the emotional feeling of belonging, that is so important for my mental wellbeing especially during the pandemic where we all were asked to stay indoors for what seemed to be an eternity. It’s inspirational to see/hear fellow Hong Kong adoptees rallying around each other and providing peer support of empathy, understanding, smiles of acceptance, affirmation nods, and uplifting laughter…all to say that I no longer feel so alone and that we have a strong network of about my history I find it easier to talk to people. Even support surrounding us! I’m encouraged that the group is reaching out for grant funding so HKAN may continue to offer the service of healthy connection that has been so beneficial to date.
What difference participating in HKAN meetings makes to me.
Many years ago, when I was feeling (l thought) secure. strong and had a good sense of my identity as an international adoptee, I found that I was one of over 100 adoptees, brought from Hong Kong to the UK. This was a big surprise, and it took some years to get used to the idea there were more like me, and even more used to the idea that they might see me as a sister. (Practically all the adoptees were girl babies/children).
Over the decade that I have been part of the UKHAN group, I have participated in many meetings. And hosted one of my own in my hometown. And got used to the idea of being called a sister, and gradually allowed myself to know, and view some of my fellow adoptees as ‘sister’ too. And realised how being part of the group, sharing our similarities and differences, gave me a stronger sense of security and identity. My sisters have accompanied me on the highs and lows of my life journey, and during the past 2 years it would be fair to say that this journey has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Without the meetings, to share and process what only other women who have experienced adoption, of a similar nature, there is no doubt my life would less rich. Less meaningful, less whole. I may not have the sister I should have from my adoptive family, as we areas unconnected as I am connected to my adoptive sisters, but this is made more bearable through being part of UKHAN. Without being able to meet on Zoom, throughout Covid, and during what has been a particularly challenging time of my life, I would have struggled harder to make sense of recent global, community and personal life changes. It is hard to capture in words exactly how being part of the group and being able to meet and continue to meet virtually hashelped my emotional wellbeing, but it has, and for this I am grateful.
I really enjoy participating in HKAN meetings for the opportunity to share experiences especially hearing about the searches some have undertaken to find their birth families and learn more about our own Hong Kong root, and the orphanages. Also like the social aspect of our meets and the great bonds of support and wonderful friendships that have formed and deepened over time, from across the world.
Thanks for all you are doing in keeping up the momentum of the group and being so pro-active. If I were living in the UK, I would definitely participate more but living abroad all these years has kept me on the fringe of the group in many ways.
I have participated in several of the UK HKAN group meetings. I have learned a lot about my own Chinese Heritage and had the opportunity to meet others like myself. I felt like we are a family and the knowledge that there are others in the world who were also adopted from Hong Kong and share similar experiences. Has made me feel more secure in my own identity. I have also been lucky to find my own biological sister through the 23 DNA program and this has brought me Joy! I enjoy listening and sharing other stories and learning about each other through the ZOOM media. I hope it will continue and we all can benefit from sharing with each other.
Participating in the HKAN has helped me to connect to other adoptees who have been through the same experiences. It has helped me to start my search to try and find my adoptive case notes and possibly my birth family. Information about DNA. To make new friends who are also Chinese. A lovely social event to meet new people.