Two Thanksgiving Transracial Adoption Links

1. An excellent article in The Stranger.

Black Kids in White Houses: After all this time, there are still things we don't talk about.

The door is closed. There is a black woman at the front of the room,
near the blackboard. She is facing a black man who is sitting down and
talking fast. He keeps talking for a long time, as if he has been
waiting a while to say this to someone. The police, but not only the
police, treated him like he was a criminal. His parents, who are white,
didn't believe him when he told them this, or if they wanted to believe
him, they still just didn't know what to say. Why would they? They were
adopting a black child, they thought—not a black teenager, not a
black man.

When he finishes, there is quiet in the room, as if everyone is
giving him his due. A young Korean woman goes next. She says she has
tried to find her birth mother, but the Korean authorities have stopped
her. She says she is working to end all adoption from Korea.

There is a young Korean man. He is gay. He is also transgender. He
grew up in a white Christian family in a white Christian town. He had
to escape. For a long time, he didn't talk about it. He knows he should
be grateful, but here, among like-minded peers, he feels like he can
really talk about it for the first time.

This workshop is called "Race and Transracial Adoption Workshop
with Lisa Marie Rollins." Rollins is the black woman at the front of
the room. She says that a social worker labeled her Mexican, Filipino,
and Caucasian because people didn't want black kids. But she looked
more and more black as she grew older. Her parents still said she
wasn't black. She was. Finally, they admitted it too. Then once, as an
adult, visiting home, she found a mammy doll in her mother's kitchen,
in among the other knickknacks. That's the end of the anecdote. She's
still basically speechless about it.

She says it is time to watch a video called "Struggle for Identity."
In the video, people tell their stories, stories like the ones in the
room. A black woman who was adopted by white parents boils it down:
"Don't think you can make black friends after you adopt a black child.
If you don't already have black friends, you shouldn't be adopting a
black child." Then the lights go up. There are several white people in
the room who have said they have already adopted black or Asian or
Guatemalan children, or that they are right now waiting to leave for
Ethiopia to pick up their adopted children. All of those
people—the white people—are crying.

They are crying because they have heard things they did not want to
hear. But there is more to it than that. They are also crying because
they do not know how else to respond to the great, big cultural silence
that has been broken here.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

2. From the MN Women's Press, Feminist Lens on Adoption

Two years ago
my husband and I decided, after four years of unsuccessful pregnancy
attempts, to consider adopting a child from Korea. In doing so we
joined the thousands of couples struggling with infertility who
consider this option each year, in addition to fertile couples who
choose to adopt, and the hundreds of thousands of couples who have done
so since the practice of international adoption began. That number, in
fact, includes my parents. I was adopted from Korea at the estimated
age of 10 months.

As an adult Korean adoptee, I knew first hand how it felt to grow up
divorced from the language, culture and people of my birth country. The
undeniable question for me involved whether I could reconcile my
political beliefs with participation in international adoption. Could I
call myself a feminist and social justice advocate and still adopt? I
realized that for me, the answer was no.

I am part of a growing number of adult adoptees who view adoption as a
feminist issue, part of a continuum of reproductive rights. This
perspective extends to the right to raise one's child the same
importance as the right to choose whether or not to bear one.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

One thought

  1. I’m so glad you’re back, so glad you’re posting, and I don’t want to scare you away! Yet I have a burning question to ask…a question formed from experience rather than reading…and I would very much welcome your insight, if you would care to share it.
    Poverty and HIV/AIDS are undeniably feminist issues. My concern is this: could we be in danger of getting lost in rhetoric at a time when a real crisis is afoot?
    International adoption is changing. S.Korea will be closing to international adoption, China has tightened their criteria, Guatemala, Cambodia, and Vietnam are closed, Romania is closed, and Russia and the former Russian republics have bad reputations (i.e. kids with RAD and FAS). What does that leave? What are we really talking about when we discuss international adoption in its current form?
    There are more children today orphaned by AIDS than by any other single cause (Unicef and WHO). By 2010, it will be worse(UNAIDS). These are children victimized by poverty. Children who would still have parents, had there been doctors and medicine and the money to pay for it.
    These children don’t just lack parents. They lack adults.
    The generation that would parent them, that would teach them in schools and tend to them in medical clinics is gone. UNAIDS predicts that in Ethiopia and Nigeria, the adults who form the professional and ruling class will be direly impacted, leaving both countries without leadership.
    What is to be done about the children orphaned by HIV/AIDS?
    There is a missing generation in Ethiopia, South Africa, Malawi, soon in Nigeria. HIV/AIDS is taking hold now in India as well. What about these children, who don’t have real alternatives, because of dire poverty and low life expectancy (precluding their grandparents from raising them).
    Is it possible that for children orphaned by AIDS, there is something worse than being adopted internationally?
    And as women, should we not be thinking about our lost sisters and what they would have wanted for their children? I would want someone to help my children, to care for them, to protect them.
    I realize you likely won’t post this comment, but I would really like to hear your thoughts on this. Perhaps one day you’ll post on this topic?

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