In my Contemporary Development of American Politics, our teacher asked us “How many of you don’t like Facebook?” and most of the class raised their hands. I get it, Facebook was a cool thing in ninth grade following our middle school emo/scene/goth MySpace phase. Now Facebook is full of those damn Minions, someecards, and check-ins of where your friends went without you last night.
At some point, I brought up how after #BlackLivesMatter became huge in August of 2014, I got to see all of my high school friends who were actually racists! It was great! Also, with the presidential campaigns going on, I get to see all of the “I friended you in high school because we had Bio together freshman year” people show off how much they know about politics.
I was feeling cynical because I had just listened to my classmates bash Facebook, something that I am actually really into. That’s ridiculous, right? Who likes seeing what their distant, homophobic relatives post online? Luckily, all of my relatives are wonderful and intelligent, so I don’t really have that problem. However, Facebook offered me something that I would have been unable to find anywhere else: a community of Chinese adoptees.
I met another Chinese adoptee over the summer (and wow was that a story in and of itself); her name is Charlotte. We friended each other on Facebook, and she invited me to a wonderful page: China’s Children International (CCI). This page was just for the CCI adoptees (there is another one that is for families with children adopted for China). So I post some introduction about where I’m from, when I was adopted, and where I am now. Other adoptees from around the globe proceed to comment and welcome me into the group. It was amazing.
After my first blog post about the Two-Child Policy, I started talking to some other adoptees from the CCI group. Sometimes we talked about what it’s like to be adopted, and sometimes we talked about how the weather was wherever we were at the moment.
A couple of weeks ago, a wonderful woman named Kate from the CCI group messaged me and asked if I was going to write a poem about the Two-Child Policy, or about adoption in general because she wanted to sign it. I was confused for a second, so she clarified that she knew American Sign Language (ASL) and that she was interested in videoing herself signing something I wrote.
I was thrilled, I thought that was the coolest thing ever! I asked how she learned, and she said that she was adopted in 2001 and she’s deaf. We talked for a bit, and I asked if she would be willing to teach me some ASL; she agreed and decided on a time that we could use Facebook’s video chat.
The internet is incredible.
I spent 45 minutes learning ASL, and talking with another adult adoptee from China, who was adopted 6 years after me, and currently lived over 900 miles away from me.
Social media creates communities that are impossible to find anywhere else. So, to anyone who thinks people spend “too much time on their phones” have never been to China and tried to stay in contact with international friends, have never met people online who share similar interests but live in Romania, have no family that lives across the globe that need to be contacted during natural disasters, and have never been torn away from their birth country and found an online community filled with others who share the same loss.
Social media is an spectacular tool that allows for a more globalized, fast-paced world. And I will forever be grateful that I was born into the internet era.