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TCK Voices: Adopted From China by a Military Family

Today we have Sarah with us. Welcome, Sarah!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the different cultures you are part of?

I was born in China where I was left at an orphanage. A few days later, I was placed in a loving foster home in rural China. I lived with my foster family until I was placed in an international adoption agency at age seven. A Christian military family from America adopted me. I left everything that was familiar behind. It was strange and somewhat scary to travel to a land where I looked different than everyone, didn’t know the language, and didn’t understand why I had left home.

What is one memory from your time in one of your passport countries that you would like to share?

One of my funniest moments was when I first came to America. The food was so foreign and much more flavorful than the plain Chinese food I was used to eating. I remember only liking fresh fruits – especially bananas. I love them so much that I ate six bananas at one sitting – just to escape the weird taste of oatmeal. Over time, I started to enjoy American food, but before that, I became a skilled banana consumer! As such, I earned the nickname “monkey girl.”

What is one thing you learned from being a TCK?

Being a TCK has shown me a whole new world full of adventure and thrilling stories. I’ve been able to experience so many unique things that others haven’t. Having a mix of cultures can shape you into a person you never thought you’d be. 

Much of my worldview is different than that of my peers, and I am not tied down by the more superficial things. There’s so much more to me than my social media page or the extracurricular successes that my peers prize. Suffering does exist in other countries, and change can be scary, especially when I’m thrown into different cultures.

How has being a TCK influenced your friendships and relationships?  

Sometimes, it can be hard to make friendships when your cultural differences seem strange to others. Most don’t understand our different or expanded worldview, so that can be a struggle while making new friends. However, these experiences are also excellent conversation starters.

When I meet another TCK or fellow military kid, I feel right at home. We are able to discuss the hilarious, embarrassing, and even difficult moments of adjusting to another culture. It definitely is something that binds TCKs together in relationships.

How has being a TCK influenced your faith?

Being a TCK has taught me that this world is temporal and change is inevitable. However, God is always constant and faithful. Being able to rely on something greater than yourself is reassuring, especially when you’re tossed into a different culture. 

I’ve always been able to relate to MKs through my experiences and have been able to sympathize with them. Additionally, I use my unique cultural background as a conversation starter with others. Many are fascinated by different cultures and often don’t understand how I’ve been able to adapt so well. I admit that it’s hard, but being a Christian has comforted me. It also strengthened my resolve to brave into a different world outside my comfort zone.

What is one thing you would like to tell your fellow TCKs?

Never regret being a TCK. 

I would never change or erase the different cultures that I’ve experienced. I would not be who I am today without the past that I had. Being a TCK doesn’t change who you are – it adds to it. Embrace your unique upbringing and use it as testament for Christ as you go out into the world.

Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah!

Have some thoughts?

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