provided by Abby and Al Trch

Abby and Al Trch standing side by side.

…to be adopted

Bold as told by Al Trch and unbold as told by Abby Trch

By the age I could understand basic concepts, I knew I was different. I’d ask questions like ‘why do my friends look like their parents and I don’t look like you mine?’ Being so young I didn’t understand everything but I understood I was different from everyone else. 

We always knew we were adopted, it was never a secret. Our parents always tried to embrace our Chinese culture to show us another part of ourselves and give us the option to express our heritage. 

We would play ‘Learning Chinese’ DVDs in the car or celebrate Chinese New Year so that we never really lost our culture. 

Our mom used to come into our classrooms when we were in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade and she’d talk to our teachers and ask them if she could come in to teach the whole class about Chinese New Year. She’d come in to teach us while dressed up and we’d hand out all the red Chinese envelopes to the students.

Growing up, it wasn’t necessarily hard being adopted. It was definitely a challenge and a bit awkward from time to time. Our lives were typical in the sense that we went to school and we played with friends like everyone else, but we always knew that we were different from our friends’ families.

I think it’s a good thing [being adopted] as it makes me different from all the people I know. For example, whenever I’m in class and we’re doing icebreakers, it’s always something that can ease the tension. 

Being adopted has also given me a different perspective on life as for me, family no longer means people who are necessarily genetically related to me. Family to me is anyone who I choose to be in my life to support me as much as I support them. 

From a very young age, I saw that love isn’t always through blood. For instance, both of us are not related to anyone in our family, not even each other. A lot of people mistake us for being biologically related and adopted together. 

As siblings, we do occasionally fight, but for the most part we get along. It’s cool having someone you can share this [experience] with because I know that both of us went through the same thing and it’s nice having someone that you can relate to.

I’m very extroverted compared to Abby. She’s super introverted. I mean, we’re both a mix of both, but I’ve always predominantly been a social butterfly. I was really shy as a kid but going into high school I’ve been the one with large groups of friends and going out to hang at different places. 

Abby has the smarts or the family. She’s super intelligent. She’s book smart and I’d say I’m more street smart. 

Al usually has a lot of people around him but for me, all I need is a few close people to connect with and I’m set. 

For me, I usually like to be around large groups of people as I feed off other people’s positive energy. I guess it’s just a quirky trait of mine. 

Being adopted has helped me because I definitely become more grateful for what I have, where I live, what I like, and who I am. I know my life would be completely different if I was still living in China right now. I’d say the only obstacle is just having that unknown feeling of not knowing who your parents are and why you were given up in the first place. But for the most part, I think it’s impacted me in a positive way. I’m unique. I have a fun story to tell. 

I’m absolutely more grateful for the smaller things. Being adopted has also taught me to have a thicker skin and how to handle a lot of negative commentary, especially with times like this pandemic and its place of origin. It’s [being adopted that has] taught me to not hate the people that hate me. But rather just strive to inform them that I’m no different than they are because I’m adopted or that I’m Chinese.

I plan on starting at McHenry County College for one or two years and then transferring to another school. I want to pursue a career in anything medical related. However, I’ve lately been interested in education such as teaching or helping kids in any way.

For my post high school plans, I’m going to Carthage College for four years to do my major in Political Science. I’m not sure exactly what career that will lead as at the moment I’m just vibing. 

In terms of advice to people going through hard times because of their differences, I would say that although you’re different, you could always find someone in your community or near you who’s going through the same things or who is willing to understand you as a person. Always remember that being different is never a bad thing.

How I see it, I’d rather be different than the same as everybody because people everywhere have crazy stories and it’s a great feeling to have a story to tell. It makes you feel more than just average. It makes you unique.

— Al Trch

Some people may feel they are very different from the average person but it’s important to remember how unique you are and ask yourself why would you want to be like other people? How I see it, I’d rather be different than the same as everybody because people everywhere have crazy stories and it’s a great feeling to have a story to tell. It makes you feel more than just average. It makes you unique.

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