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A mother and her adopted daughter reflect on their closeness

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps - 22 years ago, Jami Miyamoto traveled to China to adopt a baby girl. Recently, Jami and her daughter, Daily, sat down at StoryCorps to talk about her adoption during the era of China's one child policy.

DAILY MIYAMOTO: What was it like to see me and hold me for the first time?

JAMI MIYAMOTO: Oh, it's so weird. They said to stay in your hotel room, and they were going to knock on the door and bring you the babies.

D MIYAMOTO: Oh, wow.

J MIYAMOTO: Yeah. It's like Uber Eats delivery.

D MIYAMOTO: (Laughter).

J MIYAMOTO: They just deliver a kid to you. It's like, OK. And you were so sad, just sobbing, and I just felt so bad. And you came in this little yellow Hello Kitty outfit.

D MIYAMOTO: You still have it. It's so cute.

J MIYAMOTO: But it was so cute. And then as soon as they put you in my arms, you peed all over me.

D MIYAMOTO: (Laughter) I don't think either of us remember when you first told me I was adopted. It's just - I've always known my whole life. Yeah. I don't know in what conditions they had to give me up in, but I just hope it wasn't a super traumatizing thing for them to go through.

J MIYAMOTO: You know, I think I told you why you were probably adopted as a girl. You sort of just accepted it all...

D MIYAMOTO: Yeah.

J MIYAMOTO: ...And then moved on.

D MIYAMOTO: And I understood because I remember even a long, long time ago, I always thought, oh, I hope they don't think I'm mad at them. I hope they know that I'm OK, you know? So one of the main things I want to meet them for is just to let them know that I lived a good life and so that they can rest easy because I know a lot of birth parents who give up their child for adoption just never know. And they're just left to wonder.

J MIYAMOTO: Yeah.

D MIYAMOTO: Do you think someday that technology will allow us to find my birth parents?

J MIYAMOTO: Oh, God, I hope so. I really want to meet them, and I feel so bad for them that they never got to meet you.

D MIYAMOTO: Oh, wow, Mom, you never cry.

J MIYAMOTO: I know I never cry, but I really feel bad for them.

D MIYAMOTO: I don't know, growing up just you and me, it's made our - I think our relationship is really strong. I remember when I was a kid, I'd have nightmares about you getting married. Was there ever a time where you really wanted to start dating?

J MIYAMOTO: I think the first, God, 10 years or whatever, I was so exhausted. Of course, you know, it was the best thing in the world. Now that you're in college, I feel like, yeah, I could date, but now I'm, like, 62.

D MIYAMOTO: (Laughter).

J MIYAMOTO: It's like...

D MIYAMOTO: Sixty-two years old.

J MIYAMOTO: It's very different than if I was 40. But that's OK because, you know, what better to dedicate your life to than your child, right?

D MIYAMOTO: Oh, that's really nice.

J MIYAMOTO: Yeah. I mean, I don't think I would change one thing.

D MIYAMOTO: Really?

J MIYAMOTO: Yeah, not one thing - I think it's all worked out pretty well.

D MIYAMOTO: Thank you for everything. I mean...

J MIYAMOTO: Thank you.

D MIYAMOTO: For what?

J MIYAMOTO: Bringing so much joy to my life.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FADEL: That was Jami Miyamoto and her daughter, Daily, in Santa Monica, Calif. Their conversation has been archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Zanna K. McKay