Remember this post from way back when? Well, actually, it was just a few months ago but it feels like forever ago. I announced the creation of a Public Syllabus about Asian children and transracial adoption, and I finally, finally have it ready.
There are a few caveats so far, as it’s work-in-progress and as you’ll see, I have yet to link to the resources for the course and define some terms. But…the content is there and I wanted to thank you all for helping me choose resources and more.
Humanizing Asians in popular culture will provide racial mirrors for those of us unlucky enough to lack them.
I’m not a singer, I’m not a consumer of pop culture, and I’m definitely not that into music. But when I watched this kid’s amazing rendition of Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” I was taken not just by 13-year-old Jeffrey Li’s unquestionable talent but by something else completely.
Through my work as a transracial Korean adoptee, I write a lot about racial mirroring and its importance for children of color. Without families or communities resembling them, many Asian adoptees grow up insecure about, ambivalent toward, or hating everything that makes them Asian, all characteristics–like their adoptions–completely out of their control. Unsurprisingly and without remediation, such attitudes become deeply ingrained in children who grow into adults with complex racial identities.
So, I have some amazing friends and collaborators and one of them put me in touch with an even more amazing person and ran my article on Nextshark. Forever grateful and lots of joy here! It’s my first no-holds-barred piece and I’m nervous and scared but it had to be said. Read an excerpt below then take a look at the full piece!
“Transracial adoption is about knowing a good home and a loving family aren’t enough. Kids of color need connections with people who resemble them and not just a few token times a year at culture camp. They need adults who’ve been called a chink and told to go back to their own country and asked to stop barbecuing in public places because those are the people who’ve experienced their reality….
…The white adoptive parents doing it right by their children of color acknowledge their privilege, admit they won’t be able to fully relate to their child, and constantly engage. They engage — deeply — with their child’s ethnic community. They talk to other adult adoptees who don’t just spin happy endings for rainbow families, and most of all, they know transracial adoption means love can’t transcend the loss of racial identity.”
to push for better pre and post adoption supports by our governments who facilitated our adoptions; to ensure those of us already adopted, have improved options to enhance the possibility of better outcomes, throughout our life long journey.
If you or another adult intercountry adoptee (ICA) is interested in attending, please comment below or send me a message.
I’m thrilled to announce that my second literary work, playground ghost, has been published in Parhelion Literary Magazine! It’s a brief piece describing loss, love, and grieving.
Read an excerpt below and then take a look at the collection of AMAZING authors they’ve shared in their inaugraul issue. Thank you all so much for your support!
I see you sitting with your graying blonde hair and an arm outstretched across the worn white plastic outdoor bench that’s found new life as makeshift indoor seating.
You’re glancing over at me. I’m crouching by a ball pit that reeks of old gym mats and little kid sweat. I’m scolding my son and you’re fixing your bright blue eyes on me, smiling, curiously.
You’re starting to call to me but think twice, calmly watching me throw balls at my son. I can see memories all over your face, each flick of your lips a stop-and-start of a “back when you were little” or a “we didn’t have these things.”
Some of you know I’m a contributor to Intercountry Adoptee Voices, an organization devoted to elevating the intercountry adoptee voice. In my latest post, I discuss “the journey back home” and what that idea means to me. Many adoptees and adoptive parents believe it’s a rite of passage, but in reality, it’s a very individualized concept.
Here’s an excerpt:
For many years, Korea was a Bad Word, something spat out, a noun formed in the back of your throat where phlegm collected. It was shameful. It was ugly. It was full of people with flat faces and squinty eyes and coarse dark hair like me. But Korea was the country, my home in only the metaphorical sense, that I was instructed to embrace.
I’m thrilled to share that my first literary piece, “the lucky ones” is now live in Tilde: A Literary Journal’s inaugral issue! I’m proud to see my work featured alongside some incredibly powerful poetry and prose.
In the time it took my mother to let me go, summer never changed to fall. Less than two months after her heart beat for mine, I became her living ghost.
We floated in parallel worlds, sharing blood, sharing tissue, the space between us widening with each infant’s longing wail. For nine months I heard her whispers and felt her lies, love, and tears. And then she left me.
For six months after her face dissolved into a foggy memory, I was no one’s daughter. I was someone’s lament, someone’s case number, a stranger’s hope. But for a few brief moments in my frenetic early life, I lurked in a shadowy limbo where unwanted children go to wait.
Tonight is the launch party and yours truly is a featured reader. Thank you for ALL of your support and I can’t wait to keep growing with you!
This has become a point of contention for many people. I’ve decided to repost this just as a friendly reminder.
I am not an absolutist, especially in very human situations like adoption and race.
People must remember not to confuse critical discussion with opposition. Real change can’t happen unless we allow ourselves to think openly and analytically.
Before you angrily push the “share” button and furiously type a non-flattering explanation of my site, I’ll clarify my position: I am not anti-adoption, nor am I happily bouncing my way into that “pro-” category.
Thanks to the Internet’s uniquely divisive nature, I need to proclaim my stance in the most neutral, succinct way. And here it goes:
I am “adopt transracially with extreme prejudice.”
Doing legit research (not just blogs, reddit groups, or other online echochambers)
Realistically evaluating your understanding of race and your attitudes toward it
Reviewing the community in which you live and objectively assessing its ethnic-friendliness
Reading perspectives from both sides of the adoption experience and anticipating potential issues
It also means really, truly sitting with your expectations for transracial adoption and really, truly, honestly appraising your ability to provide for the unique needs of a transracial child.
This may mean listening to anyone else but your family and friends and maybe hearing a transracial adoptee’s (TRAd) perspective, peppered with some honest-to-goodness academic research.
Since there are no hard and fast guidelines established yet for navigating these complexities, I’ll offer suggestions (not solutions) based on forty-plus years of research on the subject and leave you to determine what best works for your family. My hope is that you’ll find some common threads that pull it all together and pick out what works for you.
If you are considering transracial adoption, this site’s for you.
If you are a transracial adoptive parent (TRAp), this site’s for you.
If you are a TRAd, this site’s for you.
If you are simply interested in exploring racial complexities and how adoption isn’t the solution to ending racial problems, then I think you’ll want to sit and stay awhile.
Like this? Want more? So do I! Find out about my upcoming ventures on my Patreon page!