Guest blogger, Avia Weber, shares her personal story of her journey as an international adoptee and how she established her own initiative called “Made of Love Not Genes- Redefining the American Family”. In addition, shares her desires to playing a role in the conversations of accepting diversity surrounding adoption. Please note this is her personal story and we all have our own voice to share, please respect her piece that she has chosen to share with us. Thank you :)
“Family is not defined by our genes… it is built and maintained through love” (Unknown). As an international adoptee, it has not always been easy to be proud of who I am and my ethnic background. I was born in Chongqing, China, and my birth-parents left me at a tax office due to the One Child Policy in China at that time. Growing up, I always knew that I was adopted. Whether it was through the open communication in our home, the scrapbooks my mom made of my adoption, and celebrating my “Gotcha Day” every January 3rd. I mainly knew because I was different. In fact, my school has a lack of diversity, my brother is adopted from Vietnam, and my parents are Caucasian and much older than my friends’ parents. I struggled with feeling ashamed and “less-than” others for being different. However, when I started to connect with other adoptees, to learn more about my culture and the diversity of our country, and to get involved in the Miss America Scholarship Organization, I overcame these struggles and saw that a family is truly Made of Love, Not Genes.
I established my own initiative called “Made of Love Not Genes- Redefining the American Family” to share my story with others, and help others as well. My main goal right now is to educate people about adoption and diversity and their connections to help others become more accepting of the diversity that makes up our world. Through social media platforms such as Instagram and my OWN website, MadeOfLoveNotGenes.org, I share statistics, facts, blog posts, history lessons, and personal stories--including my own-- to educate everyone on topics related to adoption and diversity. As a member of the SPIRIT Council, a student organization that works to educate and celebrate diversity in our school, I actively work with my peers to create an inclusive environment. We recognize and promote special cultural history months and organize days of observance. Our club also helps organized a statewide SPIRIT Summit where nearly 500 students came together to celebrate diversity, participate in activities during break out sessions, and leave with the necessities to further promote inclusivity in their own schools.
I hope everyone can join in my work to educate the public about the multitude of cultures that make up our world and the diversity that surrounds adoption. I have big plans and dreams as well with this platform as well. If anyone who is adopted or knows of someone who is adopted, I would LOVE to share your story on my blog to raise awareness and show that every story is different. I want to become as involved as possible in any way shape or form and continue the diversity surrounding adoption conversations!
My social impact is "Made of Love Not Genes: Redefining the American Family" and it is my main goal to educate and spread awareness about adoption and diversity with you all and the rest of the world. I ultimately plan to redefine the average American family and America as one whole family. Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions here.