Article: Asian adoptee, now CLU grad student, researches ties

Thanks to Hilbrand for the link.

This was an interesting article about a Korean adoptee, Joy Hoffman, who is doing research on Asian adoptee identity.

From the Ventura County Star: Asian adoptee, now CLU grad student, researches ties.

Part of Joy Hoffman’s postgraduate work at CLU is researching how Asians adopted by white parents form their ethnic identity, a question she addressed in herself.

One of the quotes from the article really struck me.

“I can be open about my adoptee identity, but not always about my
Asian, even within my own family,” said Hoffman, 41, who also works as
director of the Cultural Center at Whittier College.

This is very similar to my own experience growing up. I may have mentioned it on this blog already, but if I were to take all the "issues" or "struggles" I have experienced growing up as a transracial Korean adoptee, by far the majority of those are due to being the only non-White person in the family. My family has struggled to accept me as an Asian American.

Another quote from the article:

Based on those interviews, she found that adopted Asians fare better if
their white parents encourage them to explore their ethnicity, rather
than ignore it in an effort to be colorblind. She also found that
adopted children identify themselves as adoptees before any ethnic

You can read the rest of the article here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

4 thoughts

  1. I know that you don’t do your blog only for us adoptive parents, but I so love these articles. I keep telling other parents about how important race and culture is but sometimes I feel like i am beating my head against a brick wall. Thank you for consistently giving us reports so that we can show first person experiences from fresh voices to pass along to adoptive parents who don’t appreciate the value of race and culture

  2. “She also found that adopted children identify themselves as adoptees before any ethnic identity.”
    I’m not sure how to interpret this sentence – by “before” do you think she is talking about developmental stages (i.e. first identify as adoptee, then later identify with ethnicity), or do you think she is talking about one identity “trumping” the other? Both strike me as plausible.

  3. Psychobabbler, I had that same question. It was the first comment that made me pause. I also thought Carlin’s quote was dead on:
    You’re never going to be fully accepted by white culture because of the way you look,” said Carlin, 38, an assistant vice chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “You’re never going to be completely accepted in Korean culture because of the way you were raised.”
    It’s the same thing we’ve all been saying for years and years. And when Hoffman then goes on to say that she felt like a fraud, I identify with that immensely. There’s this sense that I needed to “represent” my culture, and that I couldn’t.
    However, I figured out that perhaps I needed to make my “culture” realize that I was part of them, and their perception of Korean needed to be expanded.

  4. Thanks for highlighting these articles. They bring forth some interesting points. I still have a difficult time swallowing this whole international adoption upswing, which is becoming so much more validated by people in the public eye.

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