The Daily Eastern News

Identity can be a lifelong process

Kate Rehwinkel, Columnist

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Identity is more than just a name you are given. It is something that evolves during a lifetime. The search for identity usually begins as teenagers question who they are and where they came from. Some people find it sooner than others, while others never find it. Identity is not something that once you find it, it stays that way forever.

I personally struggle with my identity, like many other people. I was adopted on Halloween, when I was one day old, and I went home dressed in a pumpkin suit that was a gift from the nurses who took care of me after I was born.

I was five before I understood that I was adopted, but my parents told me the story a lot starting when I was a baby. It took a while to comprehend and at 20 years old I am still trying to comprehend it. It’s hard to find your identity. I struggle with where I come from, like where do I fit in. I have always wondered what my genealogy background is.

My adoptive family has all these cool stories about their ancestors and all the exciting and historical escapades that they went on. I always wish I was blood related to my adoptive family because to me their history is so fascinating. All I know about my birth mother is that she has two other kids from a previous relationship. I know nothing about the history of her family, nor will I ever. Sometimes I just wish I knew where I get my personality traits and looks from.

Last Christmas my mom gave me an Ancestry DNA kit, which is something that I have always wanted, so I did the test. I was hoping to be something exotic, but with my pale skin I figured that was a little farfetched. When I got my results, it showed that I am 97 percent European (go figure, my skin could tell you that from how easily it gets burnt). The other 3 percent surprised me.

I am part Scandinavian, Asian, and Middle Eastern. I also discovered that this information doesn’t answer all of the answers that I wanted to know. Unfortunately, that’s all I will ever know about my heritage. I am always envious of people who have these amazing accomplished ancestors because I wish I could have that part of me so I could feel honored to be related to that person.

As I got older I have realized that my family I have now is my real family. They took me in when I had nowhere to go and no matter what I will always feel a connection to them, but part of me will never stop wondering where I came from.

Kate Rehwinkel is a junior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Identity can be a lifelong process