Portland Press Herald: “Adopted teens share and advise”

Adopted teens share and advise

Jack Milton/Staff photographer
Jack Milton/Staff photographer
Isabelle Wilson, left, Jin Roberts, and Tess Kupel participate in a group session at Maine Adoption Placement Services in Portland recently. Transracial adoptions often pose added difficulties, because children don’t share the cultural origins of their parents.

When you’re of one race and your adoptive parents are of a different one, just walking down the street with your family can feel like the whole world knows you’re adopted.

That’s one of the things that a group of adopted teens talked about recently when they gathered at a Portland adoption agency to eat pizza, do artwork, and share their thoughts and feelings.

"It’s just the odd looks, like when you’re out in public, but you learn to ignore them after a while," said 14-year-old Tess Kupel of Scarborough, who was born in Vietnam but whose adoptive parents are white.

But Tess and the other teens laughed about how the experience can also have an up side. "It’s great because when your parents are being very embarrassing, you can just walk away," Tess said. "It’s like, ‘No, I don’t know you."’

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