Meeting a “Lucky Girl” ~ Mei-Ling Hopgood
Saturday evening, I had the absolute good fortune to attend an event with Mei-Ling Hopgood here in Austin, TX.
Mei-Ling is 37-year-old journalist living in Buenos Aires with her husband and adorable daughter. She was adopted as an infant from Taiwan by a White couple living in Michigan. Mei-Ling grew up with very little information about her birthfamily and told us that she had very little interest in learning anything about her Taiwanese origins. When she was in her early twenties, her birthfamily in Taiwan made contact with her, setting into motion a whirlwind of emotions as well as trips across the globe. “Lucky Girl” is Mei-Ling’s story about this emotional and unexpected journey to get to know her birthfamily, her culture, as well as “unexpected secrets that haunt her family to this day” [from her website].
I’ve only just begun reading her book, but it’s casual and friendly tone almost dares you to put the book down from the very first page.
The evening with Mei-Ling and her mom was wonderful. She is an articulate and thoughtful woman and after meeting her, it is clear why she excels in her field of journalism. Mei-Ling spoke primarily to an audience of White adoptive parents who are raising Chinese children. She spoke for about an hour, including two readings from her book- the moment her birthfamily made contact with her as well as her first trip to Taiwan only a few short months later. She also talked about growing up Asian in a White community, and she recounted how she began to develop a deeper interest in her Asian background when she was a young adult. Mei-Ling then graciously answered over 30 minutes of questions, some humorous and some very emotional.
After the public event was completed and Mei-Ling had signed probably 50 books, board members from Adoption Knowledge Affiliates and Families with Children from China- Austin took Mei-Ling and her mother out to dinner. Mei-Ling was in the middle of a three day Texas tour- Dallas the night before and Houston the following day. I can only imagine that she was tired and had been making small talk with strangers for two days- with one more day to go. I was so impressed with her easy manner and genuine interest in spending time with our group. She made an effort to spend time with each of us and I know I can speak for all of us when I say that we really enjoyed talking with her and seeing pictures of her husband and daughter.
If you have the opportunity to attend an event with Mei-Ling, don’t miss it. At the very least, grab a copy of her book. You won’t be disappointed!
Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin and Bastrop Texas specializing in adoption and attachment.