My First Post! And… already, a Name Change

Holt adoptee Michelle Li introduces herself and shares about her relationship with Holt International.  Michelle will be sharing her experiences on the blog frequently, so check back to read her latest entry!  “I hope I can make some of my adoption stories relevant for your family,” she says.

by Michelle Li

 

Michelle with her parents Charles and Sharon and husband, Jim. Hawaii, 2008.

I am so thrilled to be writing for Holt’s blog. It’s funny because I write for a living, but when I was given the opportunity to write for Holt, I called up my family as if I had won a major journalism award. It’s that exciting, people!

I like to think of Holt as the “mothership.” Over the last three decades, a number of people from Holt made a tremendous impact on my life. I’m sure many of them don’t even know it. And, truthfully, I couldn’t remember all of their names anyway. But, what I do know is that without Holt, I would not be where I am today. And, as an adoptee, I’m sure many of you can relate.

Some dedicated Holt blog readers may know me as Michelle Sherwood. It’s MY name—a name I used my entire life and as recently as the main anchor at a television station in Southwest Missouri. I’ve connected with a lot of adoptive families on the blogosphere throughout the years. The best was when I went to Seoul in 2009 and shot video of a baby staying at a Holt orphanage. The minute I posted it to my blog, it hit a Holt forum, and next thing you know, his mother in the U.S. introduced herself online and asked for more pics!

 

These days, I go by the name Michelle Li. And, I’m still a news anchor, but now I’m working in North Carolina. The name Li is actually my biological mother’s maiden name, and I’m still not entirely comfortable with the switch. I’ll save that story for another day, but the short version is that it was a necessary evil to survive in a cutthroat industry. And, the truth is, I know other adoptees who’ve taken the same action for the same reason.

I hope I can make some of my adoption stories relevant for your family. I won’t lay it all out on the table now, but I have had an interesting experience with my birth family, and the relationship is constantly evolving.

Not only have I met my birth family, I’ve also built a real relationship with them over the last 13 years or so. My Korean family is intact. I didn’t grow up with siblings, but I am very connected to my three Korean sisters. I also have a biological aunt in California and have visited her twice in two years. And ironically, I learned about this “imo” around the same time my (adoptive) favorite aunt passed away.

And just when I thought the language and cultural barrier had taken its toll, my second oldest sister, Hyun Jeong, announced she was going to marry an American from Wisconsin. That is what I call a game-changer.

It changed everything about how I saw anything related to my Korean family, and I’ll be glad to share it with you soon enough. It involves my husband and I traveling to Korea, having a traditional Korean wedding, and talking about living with my sister when and if she moves to the states. Yeah, you could say a lot has changed.

Next week, Michelle will be blogging from the International Forum in Washington D.C.! This meaningful forum seeks to build on 55 years of international adoption experience, moving forward to strengthen the collective intercountry adoption community.

Watch for Michelle’s blogs next week!

Read more about Michelle, here

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