Mamazine: “Experiences in transnational adoption”

Shameless plug alert: my brilliant friend, Kim Park Nelson, was
interviewed for, an online magazine. Love it, love it,
love it! Please check it out! Experiences in Transnational Adoption: An interview with Kim Park-Nelson

Some of my favorite quotes:

" . . . it’s becoming more and more clear that parents
are sucked in to the cultural and social conflicts of adoption just
like adoptees are. Their function is often different from
adoptees—white, middle-class, empowered—compared to adoptees,
non-white, poor, less empowered in society."


"What’s going on in transracial adoption is a microcosm
of society. Groups in power are often not open to critiques. It can be
hard to talk about racism with white people . . . Often they’re
unwilling to be accountable, because they feel they didn’t and don’t
personally commit racist acts. It’s less empowered groups that see how
change will improve their lives."

(This reminds me of what happened at Ji-In’s web site, when adoptive parents took the comments we adoptees made personally.)


"An attempt to keep kids in contact with their birth
cultures is the current trend, and I have really mixed feelings about
it. Right now the "cultural education"is so tokenized . . . Here’s the
other thing about culture camp—it’s not like contemporary Korean at
all. It’s Orientalized, the tea ceremony, fan dancing, nothing about
contemporary Korean life. Unfortunately, a lot of predominant
stereotypes end up being passed on to adoptees."

This part resonated a lot with me based on my experiences of late:
"Multicultural understanding of adoptees is far from done. For
instance, I’ve noticed that adoptive families of young Chinese
daughters can be very self-righteous, with an attitude that they’ve
learned from what adoptive families of Korean children did ‘wrong.’"

Kim, you said it better than I could. Cheers to you!

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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