After Mengwen Cao moved to New York from China, she started to feel like she was straddling two different worlds. Cao, 28, found that particular family structure interesting. To her, it seemed Asian adoptees and their parents constantly had to consider their racial and cultural identities.
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It depends where you look. Adoptees may face all kinds of hurdles, but transracial adoptees can face a specific kind of hardship given the fact that they grow up in between two worlds, or sometimes in one with a foot standing precariously, hesitantly in the other. Both young women are South Korean transracial adoptees, raised by white parents in predominantly white towns.
Forcibly separated from his wife, children and friends in Americahe is isolated by language and culture, left alone to navigate this sprawling city he's been expelled to four decades after being sent to adoptive parents in Michigan at age 3. Crapser was abused and abandoned by two different sets of adoptive parents in the United States then deported after run-ins with the law because none of his guardians filed citizenship papers for him. He told The Associated Press in an interview that he has struggled in South Korea with intense anxiety and depression, even as he searches for answers about why his life has become defined by displacement. That search has led him to file a landmark lawsuit against South Korea's government and a private adoption agency, the Seoul-based Holt Children's Services, over what Crapser calls gross negligence regarding the way he and thousands of other Korean children were sent to the United States and other Western nations without accounting for their future citizenship.
I was walking down the street today, on my way to the ATM to take out money for my trip to Pretoria tomorrow. I passed a man on the street wearing an orange work suit. However, my brief monologue, although recently written, has become well-rehearsed at this point.
It would be tucked neatly in a stack of summer program options. The purpose of the camp was to connect Asian American adoptees to their native culture. The smiling children on the cover looked just like me, yet somehow seemed so foreign.
Many people might think of adoptees as having won the lottery of life. But sometimes it can feel like quite the opposite. Yes, we are grateful for what we have gained through our adoption, but at the same time, we have lost the chance to grow up knowing our culture, language and birth family.
One afternoon in the summer oftwo people I had just met sat across from me in their sunny apartment and asked if I thought they should adopt. They wanted to adopt a child from another country. None of the programs they were interested in would lead to them bringing home a white child.
Left: Book cover via Catapult. Right: Photo via Erica B. Though transracial adoption is extremely common in the United Statesthe adoption narrative is rarely told from the point of view of the adoptee.
I mentioned being adopted from outside the U. I was born in Maoming, China, and then, nine months later, I was adopted by my white parents, who raised me in the Midwest. My parents encouraged me to connect with Chinese culture through foodvisits to the Asian art collection at the museum, and going out to a Chinese restaurant every Chinese New Year.