Olivia N.



Resilience, to me, is about never giving up, no matter how difficult life gets. When I was adopted, my parents were told my birth name meant Lotus Blossom. In the deepest mud, the lotus blossoms into something beautiful and unique. I believe that my life has reflected this. I was born in Seoul and adopted at four months old. My father is Caucasian and my mother is Japanese American.

Growing up, I heard stories of my maternal grandparents’ experiences in concentration camps after Executive Order 9066 was issued. My maternal grandparents, their siblings, and their parents were sent to Camp Minidoka, a facility in Idaho. I have heard tidbits about what the experience was like and how terrible the conditions were. I later learned of the sacrifices made, even when they were treated terribly by the government. What has always inspired me is how my family survived something so atrocious, so dehumanizing, and still came out of it with grace. Knowing what my grandparents and their families have been through has put many things into perspective for me. I understand why people distrust authority, how trauma can unfold even generations later, and the necessity to fight for our place at the table. It gave me an empathetic outlook and a need to help others who could not fight for themselves.

I grew up in a primarily white area. I always felt different, out of place among my peers. I was subjected to racism at a very young age. They were usually comments about my monolid eyes or the fact that I looked exactly like one of the other handful of Asian girls that attended school. My identity as an Asian adoptee is complicated; I was born in Korea and I am Korean but I am also someone who was raised in both a Japanese-American and Caucasian-American family. I have struggled to find my place in this community. However, I am learning more about myself, the history behind my own my identity, and what that means for me moving forward.

Like everyone, I have experienced various ups and downs; the struggle to figure out my identity as an Asian American woman, the loss of a partner in 2019, and just trying to survive in this crazy world. Whenever life gets a lot, I remember a few things. I come from a family of survivors who lost everything in a cruel and unjust way and rebuilt their lives. Resilience is about continuing forward and fighting for what you believe in. It is never giving up on yourself and on others. Another thing I remember is my namesake, the Lotus Blossom. My birth mother gave me a chance to build a life and achieve greatness; I am a college graduate who got her Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology, I am an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence, and I will always be resilient.