Taiwan ROCKs Seattle 2017

It’s always hard to say goodbye. My daughter and I spent a weekend in Seattle, Washington, for the annual Taiwan ROCKs event where adoptive families who have adopted children from Taiwan get together, catch up on each others’ lives, and make some fun memories. Each year, the event is held in a different city. There were about 16 families and 25 kids adopted from Taiwan, not including non-adopted siblings, and one sibling adopted from the DRC. We’re now heading back to California. It was a memorable experience, and I enjoyed connecting with so many families.

The event began on Friday night with a pizza fest at Angle Lake, a park within walking distance from our hotel. There were water features and playground equipment, and the kids looked like they were having a lot of fun. This year’s event was organized by Molly Gleason O’Brien and Kerry Murphy, two local moms. My daughter and I were welcomed, and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Tien, the very woman who helped me find my birthfamily in Taipei, standing across the way talking to a family. Then it dawned on me that Tien lives in Seattle – I’d forgotten! Almost every family there, if not all, were connected to Tien in some way, as she helped some of the families with their adoptions. We spent the afternoon with Tien yesterday touring the city and eating lunch. It was lovely to spend time with her after our trip to Taiwan together in 2012, five years ago. I have never been able to return to Taiwan since.

On Saturday evening, I talked to the families after a BBQ dinner about my new book, “Beyond Two Worlds: A Taiwanese-American Adoptee’s Memoir & Search for Identity.” I spoke about how much international adoption has changed since the era that I and many other adult adoptees were adopted. I was struck by how many families had already taken their kids back to Taiwan, as it’s not common for adoptive parents to do so. Some adoptees had the opportunity to meet their birth mothers and extended birth family members. The trips were prompted by the kids’ curiosity about their early beginnings. It was unheard of years ago for adoptive parents to encourage their kids to explore their birth culture. I found that the parents at the event were sensitive to the importance of connecting their children to their birth culture. They appeared to understand the importance of open dialogue with their kids. I was very inspired by the support the families provide to each other and to their kids as they continue to ask questions around birth heritage. One mom told me that her daughter, age 11, wrote an essay about her adoption and birth family and loved to write. Most of the adoptees fell between the ages of 6-10. It was a pleasure to talk with these kids and learn their stories. Truly, the highlight of the trip was connecting with the young adoptees.

Taiwan ROCKs has approximately 400 families within its network. I was told that the Seattle ROCKs event was one of the smallest compared to past years. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every minute of it. Tien told me she believed that approximately 1,000 Taiwanese adoptions have occurred since the 1990’s, and most likely more, including adoptions that were private, or occurred without the assistance of an agency. Adoptions from Taiwan have declined significantly, as have international adoptions across all countries. There is a whole generation of young Taiwanese adoptees who I hope one day will support one another and perhaps even write their own memoir.

10 thoughts on “Taiwan ROCKs Seattle 2017

  1. Rona

    Hello, thank you for your blog. My husband and I are adopting from Taiwan, we hope to have our child come to the US with us by the end of 2018. I was wondering how we can join the Taiwan Rocks network? We would love to have him meet and connect with other Taiwanese adoptees and we would love to connect with other families as well. We hope to have an open adoption. Thank you!


    1. jazzygirl Post author

      Hello there,
      Thank you for visiting and for your comment! I can put you in touch with some of the members of Taiwan ROCKs. They’re both on facebook, and I’ve messaged them to ask for their personal emails. Once I get them, I’ll forward to you. In the meantime, here is a link to the Taiwan ROCKs Facebook Event Specific page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1492657907636376/. It’s a closed group, but you can certainly send a request to join. I hope all goes smoothly with your adoption! Do you mind if I ask what age the child you are adopting is? Please keep in touch. I’d really love to hear how everything goes. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Julia

    I had a few more thoughts while reading your post again:
    My daughter has friends who are adopted from China who have been taking Chinese language classes for years and can speak it fluently. Their mom tried to take the classes also, but eventually gave up. When my daughter told me that, I thought how nice that was and it showed a nice progression in the international adoption community.

    In the last 10 years I’ve seen more Asian Adoptees with their families. My heart always wants to speak with them, but I don’t for various reasons.

    It’s so nice that you were able to see Tien. What a great surprise!

    Liked by 1 person


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