Cultural identity.
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2008.041.004 Oral History Interview with Jeff Gammage

Jeff Gammage is a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the author of China Ghosts: My Daughter Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood. He and his wife Christine are the adoptive parents of two Chinese girls, Jin Yu and Zhao Gu. “We wanted them to keep their names as a reminder of their heritage and their homeland,” he says. Jeff initially did not envision becoming a father, but his wife Christine wanted children. They decided on adoption from China because at the end of the process, you could be assured that you would bring home a child. Jeff provided the Chinese government with information and they selected the child for them based on this. They received letters about their daughters, Sho Jin Yu and Zhao Gu, with some health details. The adoption process was completed after 18 months. Meeting their daughters was challenging due to the long plane ride and their unfamiliarity with Chinese culture. Jeff felt guilty adopting Jin Yu when she was two years old because she knew her surroundings and it was not easy leaving everything behind. Jeff and Christine kept the girl names to honor their heritage. Jeff strives to expose their daughters to Chinese culture, from lion dancing to kung fu. They recognize that the children will eventually make their own choices about their cultural identity. Jeff acknowledges that being a good parent is determined by their daughters and expresses deep love and joy in his role as a father. Jeff ends with a cheerful interaction between him and his daughters.