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Sophie Navarro

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Sophie Navarro was born in Wuhan, China and adopted at five months old by a family from San Francisco. She grew up there and later moved to St. Paul, MN to attend Macalester College.

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0:05:16

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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Sophie Navarro Transcription


(Special thanks to Bao Phi’s “Yellowbrown Babies for the Revolution!”)

“This is not about yellowbrown babies for the revolution…This is about love.” But this is about more than just love, it’s about the yellowbrown baby and how she left her home and settled in a new country.
This is about how she let go of her Chinese citizenship and was naturalized and raised in America, and yet, still somehow, remains connected to what once was, and in many ways will always be home. And this is about love.
This about an American mother who flew to China to adopt a daughter. This is about the pictures she took of her daughter: in the arms of her foster mother, in the arms of a Chinese physician, and in a makeshift bed of two chairs pushed together in a hotel in Wuhan, China. This is about the photo album she filled with all of these pictures and kept for her daughter.
This is about the yellowbrown baby’s favorite bedtime book. This is about her at the age of four, laying in the big bed with her mothers, paging through pictures, asking to hear more about where she came from, who her foster mother was-- did she love me?
This is about a window into her past, a collection of people, places, and experiences that she was too young to remember but that have been passed down through pictures and oral history. This is about how they became her memories.
This is about never having the ‘talk’ with her parents. This is not about reinforcing similarities. This is about recognizing differences as a strength and an identity, rather than a source of insecurity or disconnection. This is about pride and reclamation.
This is about how a picture is worth a thousand words which means a photo album is worth millions of words, of bedtime stories, of discussions of return, of identity, of belonging, discussions that have happened and discussions that will.
This is not about white parents stripping their yellowbrown child of any remnants of their past culture. This is not about white parents saving the yellowbrown baby and taking them to a country free of child labor, of racism, of poverty, of illiteracy, of human rights violations, a country of highly educated, liberated patriots, a better country. This is not about white parents saving the yellowbrown baby. No, this is about white parents and a Chinese baby.
This is about my history and my narrative.