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“What’s in a last name?”

Adoption+is+a+life+changing+experience+for+the+adoptee+and+the+adopters.+
Adoption is a life changing experience for the adoptee and the adopters.

Adoption is a life changing experience for the adoptee and the adopters.

Ava Hollmann

Ava Hollmann

Adoption is a life changing experience for the adoptee and the adopters.

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Flushed cheeks and eyes cast downward, Scout Fleming sits slightly uncomfortable in her seat at an authentic Chinese restaurant. Her caucasian parents sit on either side of her, while the curious eyes of the Chinese diners flit between the Chinese girl and her white parents. Like every visit to the restaurant, Scout is used to the attention, though it never fails to give a quick jolt to the system.
Occurrences such as these can be commonplace for Scout and kids who are adopted that don’t resemble their parents. On the other hand, adoptees who do resemble their parents receive surprised reactions as well, but for the opposite reason. Either way, it is often challenging for their peers, or adults, to approach the subject with them in a manner that does not breach their sensitivity to the subject. Whatever the comfort level of the adolescent regarding their adoption, it is important to consider their past experience with the questioning as well as their appearance in comparison to their parents’.
Born in China, Scout stands out in appearance from her parents. From a young age, friends and adults alike have discovered her heritage, either from her disclosure, or their own realization.
“When most people find out I am adopted, they are not too surprised because they see or know my parents and can connect the dots. Sometimes, though, if there is a school assignment about family history or genetics, I feel awkward in how to answer because I am torn between my family now and a culture I left behind,” said Fleming, junior.
As a result of the commonly-believed misperception that adopted children look different from their parents, it is often startling when this is not the case and physical attributes appear to be biological.
Henry Meyer, a junior at Lafayette High School looks exactly like his light-skinned, blue-eyed parents. Thus, no one who encounters his parents thinks anything otherwise.
“When my friends come over and I tell them that I am adopted, they do not believe me, and it’s entertaining to watch. I should bet them money on it because I would make a fortune from it,” said Meyer.
Though Henry’s parents are white like Scout’s, he has not experienced the same responses as hers to his adoption. It is apparent, however, that both Henry and Scout take pride in who they are and what their parents have done for them, thus they are not bothered by their peers’ questions.
Like both of these teens, I am adopted, but from Russia. I relate to Scout in that my olive skin and dark hair and eyes contrast from my parents’ blonde hair and blue eyes, and to Henry in that I have never experienced much of a stark discomfort about my heritage. Over the years, I too have grown more used to people’s curiosity about my adoption. Now, almost a young adult, I am confident in my identity as the daughter of Dave and Cindy Hollmann, and I am more than excited to answer interested people with it.

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