Mon September 7, 2009
Culture, Identity, and Family: An Asian-American Woman's Memoir of Her Two Personal Backgrounds --- One in Taiwan, and the Other in Michigan. (Encore presentation.)
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – (Note: This program first aired earlier this year.) On this edition of StudioTulsa, we hear from a woman with two different families on two different continents. Our guest is Mei-Ling Hopgood, an award-winning journalist who has published a memoir, "Lucky Girl." As detailed in her new book, Hopgood (who grew up near Detroit) was among the first wave of Asian adoptees to arrive in America in the early 1970s. Then, several years later, she started getting calls from her Chinese birth family. They were requesting a reunion; they wanted to meet her --- and many wonderful and difficult moments would follow. As we learn on today's show, with international adoption becoming increasingly common among American citizens, Hopgood's story is likewise becoming more frequent. And what a story it is.... As one book critic, writing for Kirkus Reviews, has noted: "Buenos Aires-based journalist Hopgood looks back at her reconnection with the Chinese parents who gave her up for adoption. After arriving from Taiwan as a baby in 1974, the author lived an all-American life in the Michigan suburbs with two adoring parents and two adopted Korean brothers. She had recently graduated from college and started work as a reporter at the Detroit Free Press in 1995, when she met the nun who had arranged her adoption. Sister Maureen persuaded the initially reluctant Hopgood to make contact with her birth family, and correspondence eventually led to a 1997 visit to Taiwan. An imperious father, a docile mother, six chattering sisters, and an adopted brother welcomed her. She reveled in the intimacy of sisterhood and the cacophony of an extended family, and its secrets unfolded over time.... Hopgood grew to love her sisters, but she had a harder time with her deeply flawed father and maddeningly passive mother; she still thought of her adoptive parents as her true mom and dad. She writes with humor and grace about her efforts to understand how biology, chance, choice, and love intersect to delineate a life. [This book is] a wise, moving meditation on the meaning of family, identity, and fate."