I’m working on a photo project today. I’m pretty excited about it, but it’s taking longer than I thought it would (color me shocked!) so no trip report post today. I will, however, leave you a photo from the dusty piles.

My great-grandma Grace grew up in an orphanage. She was placed for a while with a couple she adored and later remembered as her parents, but the state of California removed her from her home after a few years because she had been placed with a Chinese couple. Grace was dark-skinned as an infant, but as she got older it became apparent that Grace was a mix of Caucasian and Native American, not Chinese. The state didn’t feel that it was proper for a Chinese couple to be raising a Caucasian girl (no matter how brown) and took her away, refusing two petitions from her adoptive parents.

I can’t imagine if Eva was suddenly taken away because the state thought our family looked inappropriate. Grace spent the rest of her childhood in a Chinese-speaking orphanage (she didn’t speak English), grew up to marry a Chinese man, and was eventually so much a part of the Bay Area’s Chinese history that they named a San Francisco bay shrimp junk after her. So heartbreaking to think about how confused she must have been when people came to take her away for not being Chinese enough.


grace quan

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  • Reply Eunice

    It’s crazy to think that’s how things were, and still is in some places. My husband and i were just in Orlando on our honeymoon, (he’s Caucasian and I’m Korean) and we got a lot of funny stares. They wouldn’t even look away when we caught them looking! I thought it was all the just married stuff, but even when we didn’t have out buttons or ears on it would still happen. Nyeh.

    November 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm
    • Reply Carly

      That’s terrible and sadly doesn’t surprise me much. I know it’s a bad stereotype, but there is something about being in the South that just makes me a whole lot more aware when I’m traveling with my browner relatives!

      November 15, 2013 at 9:32 am
  • Reply Hope

    How heartbreaking to be taken away because you don’t look like your family. 🙁

    November 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm
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