Times Herald-Recorder: “Creating a family”

Another example of how we frame discussions of transracial adoption in the media.

Creating a family

Local parents are embracing children from other countries and of different races. By

When Diane Kirk was shopping with her little son, Jason, they caught the eye of a shopper in Wal-Mart. The woman asked Diane a question about her son that broke her heart:

"Is he Asian or just retarded?"

This was not the first time Diane and her husband, Jim, have fielded questions such as this. Jason, 2, is Korean. Diane and Jim are Caucasian. They adopted Jason when he was 6 months old. The woman thought Jason may have Down syndrome.

WHILE MADONNA HAS CAPTURED world headlines with her transracial adoption of a baby from the nation of Malawi in Africa, many couples in the mid-Hudson have quietly opened their hearts to children by adopting internationally and transracially.

Some couples encounter ignorance and other difficulties when they adopt children, either abroad or in the United States. However, the strong desire to enlarge their families by adopting is what compels couples to travel any distance, endure any heartache and spend any amount of money.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

5 thoughts

  1. I think I might have punched that woman in Wal Mart if it was me… she’s lucky it wasn’t!
    My heart broke for Yared when I read his question to his mom… “Why and I black… I want to be white.” It’s so obvious, at such a young age, how transracial adoption can scramble the brain of a child. I’m glad to hear, however, that his parents are trying to help him understand why he is different, and help him accept those differences. Although he will probably NEVER feel 100% like he “fits in” with his family, it’s nice to know that they are making an effort and not just pretending that he doesn’t have Ethiopian roots.

  2. “Is he Asian or just retarded?”
    “Asian. Which are you?”
    i’m glad to see that “what prospective parents should know” part, although i’m not certain, reading the article, that any of those parents have done any of those things.

  3. Article says, “Diane has even been asked, when I wasn’t around, ‘Is your husband Asian?'”
    Notice how they took that as an insult. I suppose on the one hand it isn’t anyone’s business what a partner’s race is, but the way that question is framed seems almost like there is a contempt for Asian men. Perhaps, I’m reading it the wrong way, but I sure wish I was a fly on the wall in that interview.
    Compared to most articles, that one was fairly good. It still had the whites as rescuers, but at least it doesn’t try to argue that whites are saviors and blacks are impeding their progress.

  4. I winced repeatedly while reading this article. The author and adoptive parents made repeated reference to the ignorance of others. They need to focus on overcoming their own. In my opinion, the adoptive parents are in need of some big time ploinking. To get my reference, read “The Unanswerable Question” at

  5. Ugh, that article had me cringing many times.
    “Seemingly, Marianna and Greg rescued them.”
    “Parents usually adopt to create a family for themselves. However, 22 percent of those who have adopted did so to provide a good home to children (regardless of age and race) who needed one.”
    I just hate to think how a child might pick up on this “rescue” vibe.
    There were also a lot of inacurracies. Here’s just one example:
    “A couple cannot lose their child in an international adoption.”
    That’s just not true. You CAN lose a child during the adoption process. In Guatemala, the birth mother can change her mind at any point in the process and must sign off at four different times.
    This article is indeed pretty typical of articles about adoption in the media these days…

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