Finding Identity Through Heritage

At CNN, a story about a Chinese adoptee finding her identity through travel to China:
When Maia Stack returned to the pagoda, or tower, where she had been abandoned as a baby she was overwhelmed by what had happened there 11 years earlier.

"I remember thinking, 'Wow, I wonder if my birth family hid behind those bushes or something'" said Stack, now 18 years old, on returning to Hangzhou, China.
"I felt very disengaged throughout the entire process. I kind of removed myself from the situation because it was too emotionally challenging."
Stack is one of tens of thousands of children -- 95% percent of whom are girls -- who have been adopted from China since its government ratified international adoption in 1992.
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Being Chinese helped to define Stack's childhood growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She and her sister, who is also adopted from China, attended a Saturday school to learn Chinese language and culture while other children were playing soccer or baseball.

Stack was home schooled until partway through high school and attended a group of students that never treated her differently. However, when she started attending a charter school where she was the only Asian in a group of 40 students things changed.

"I did feel much like an outsider. I had the darkest skin, the only head of black hair in a sea of blond and brown," she said. "As the 'representative Asian,' the kids fed back to me the typical stereotypes about Asians -- super smart, good in math, short ... While they didn't mean harm, it did hurt."

Spending four-and-a-half months in Beijing in 2011 studying Mandarin changed her outlook.
"I feel very proud to be both Chinese and American," she said. "I know that those things will always be a part of me whether I live in China or in America."