Going Back to the Roots


The word means a range of things to different people.

Many usually think of it as a sensitive topic that is hard to approach. They will try to avoid it, so that they won’t make anyone depressed or create a depressing atmosphere. They won’t try to know the truth, instead, they decide to keep it as a mystery.

With such uncomfortable view about adoption, Amy Decilis surprises people around her with her outgoing personality and openness about the fact that she is an adopted kid; born in China, but raised in Unites States. However, not only is she adopted, but Amy also thrives to learn more about her origins and the country she was born.

Having no idea as to what her real name, real birth date, or who her biological parents are, Amy only knows that someone found her in front of the police station in China, HuNang Province. From there, the orphanage, XiangTan Welfare Center, took her in and gave her a place she could call home for the next year. They named her MiaoMiao and chose February 10, 1998 as her birth date.

Although Amy’s foster parents already had kids of their own, Amy’s mother always wanted to adopt a kid from China. Thus, despite the long and tiring process of filling out papers and finding the right fit, Amy was finally adopted on February 1,1999. From there, her parents took her back home to North Carolina, Charlotte where they raised her to the woman she is today.

In Charlotte, Amy never seemed to have trouble with the fact that she was adopted. Even though she grew up knowing that she was different because of her appearance, she didn’t let the fact that she was adopted define her. “I never think about being adopted,” says Amy, “I had no reason to be sad, because I always knew that there was love.”

In fact, her high school friend Elijah describes how, when he first met her, he didn’t know she was adopted, but when he found out, he was “intrigued” and was interested to know more about her background.

Despite being American, Amy also identifies herself as chinese. When chinese people talked with her and she could not understand the language, she felt embarrassed. As a chinese, she felt the obligation to learn more about the language and culture.

That is why, in school, while her siblings learned other languages, Amy learned how to speak chinese. Outside of school, her foster grandfather constantly taught her chinese and talked about China’s traditional cultures.

During her junior year of high school, Amy went to a small american program at BeiJing to further improve her chinese. During nine months from 2014 to 2015, she stayed with a chinese host family the school provided.

Today, Amy is back in China studying at Shanghai New York University. Even in a new place and a new country, Amy keeps on being ambitious.

Since international students are required to learn chinese, when Amy thought that her chinese class was too easy, she challenged herself and moved into a harder class. She wants to keep herself connected to China, so she decided to major in Global China Studies and continue improving her chinese. When people around her see the kind of person Amy is, many are glad to be her friend and they are glad that she is the kind of person she is.

As one of her closest friends in NYU, Greta says, “Actually, she is the only adopted person that I’ve known that has talked about being adopted. I like how she acknowledges and accepts it, and isn’t afraid to talk about the process like I feel like a lot of people are, but it also doesn’t define her.”

“Its nice that she’s always talking about China and she has two homes,” Elijah said.

“It’s fascinating knowing that she was raised in a white family and knowing she is asian. I feel like she is very comfortable with who she is right now,” Kevin says.

In the two months Amy’s been studying at Shanghai, she has already impacted lives of various people. She has found people who care for her and understand her. “I feel like I belong to this NYU environment,” says Amy. “We can all relate that we are not all one thing.”

Amy doesn’t want to find her biological parents because she doesn’t want to be disappointed at not being able to find them. She understands that there might have been some circumstance that made them do what they did, but she doesn’t blame them. The fact that she is adopted is not a miracle nor a curse, but an unexpected event that turned out to be a blessing. Her background has shaped Amy to who she is today and we are happy that Amy enjoys it! As she says,“I just love my life so much!”

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