I think framing the discourse about transracial adoption as a “well do you think you’d better off if you weren’t adopted?!”… or “at least you got a home rather than living in poverty/the slums/an orphanage/foster care!”… type discussion is really fucked up, as it places the onus for reconciling children needing homes with the inherent problems of white people adopting POC kids on the adoptees. It completely lets the white people who actually make the choice to adopt POC kids off the hook and absolves them of any responsibility to do so in a way that causes the least amount of harm to the child.
No discussion about transracial adoption should be centered on whether or not I’m sufficiently grateful for having been adopted. It’s completely irrelevant & parents who expect their adopted children to feel some sort of gratitude toward them shouldn’t be adopting in the first place.
The discussion that we should be having is why are white folks allowed to adopt POC children regardless of whether they’re sufficiently educated/prepared to rear the child in a way that won’t do lasting harm. Why is it that when actual transracial adoptees and other POC attempt to highlight the problems with white people raising children of color, the first response of most people is to essential tell us to “shut up & be grateful for what you got!”
I’m glad I was adopted because if I wasn’t I more than likely would have ended up in foster care going in and out of white peoples’ homes anyway. I would have been better off, though, if I’d had parents who didn’t ascribe to color-blind racist ideology (as do 90% of white people in the U.S.) but rather chose to educate themselves about the struggles inherent of brining up a child of color in a deeply white supremacist society.
So many emotions while making this video… revisiting a place in my heart that I have no memory of was truly a life-changing experience.
During these last few weeks, I have started on the process of searching for my biological family, but haven’t gotten any information. Creating this video was a first step of my understanding of the details surrounding my biological family and my adoption.
I decided to publish it for a few reasons. Many friends have asked about details pertaining to my adoption, so I wanted to fill them in. Also… it’s a small chance, maybe one in a billion, but on the internet, who knows who will see this video? The chance that someone who remembers the baby that left the Philippines as Marian Ruth Gabiazo… well that’s a chance I couldn’t pass up.
I hope you enjoy it.
**editing was very basic.
Please… take the moment to reblog this video!! I am hoping that many people view it… who knows who will. :)
Pathos of Asian Adoptees is one year old!
Thank you everyone for following. For those who do not have a Tumblr account, I encourage for everyone who enjoys this blog to fill out the “Remind This” pop up.
If it does not pop for you, click the red remind this tab on the right hand side of the blog!
Multiculturalism. Pluralism. Syncretism.
Adoptees and adoptive families, how do you feel about each subject? Send your submissions please!
Some Not So ‘Lucky’ Adoptees Talk Back
Dear Dr. John Raible, You’ve got to be freaking kidding! We are 21st century transracial adoptees. But none of us feel “lucky” in the way you talked about in your letter.
We just read “Lucky Adoptee.” It’s hard to tell if you were just trying to be funny or maybe sarcastic. Either way, some of us felt very offended at the way you trivialized our lives with your tongue-in-cheek attitude. For us, transracial adoption is NOT a laughing matter. Real kids are being hurt. Some kids are hurting so bad that they end up feeling suicidal. Other kids get locked up in jail or put in mental hospitals by their parents who gave up on them.
We talked about your letter at our Teen Empowerment Group. Somebody tweeted it to us on Twitter. We decided to write to you for a couple of reasons. We mean no disrespect, Dr. Raible. But we strongly take issue with a lot of what you said. Basically, you made it sound like “racism is over.” It could be very misleading if parents who don’t know any better read your letter. We DON’T think things are all that different from your childhood in what you call Whitesville. (Yes, we do follow your blog and we usually agree with what you write about.)
As teens of color, we get followed around in stores all the time. We get pulled over by the cops, too, just because we have brown skin. This happens in our “nice” neighborhoods that are mostly white. Telling the cops that our parents are white doesn’t help us stay out of trouble. It doesn’t keep us from being watched and followed around, either.
Some of us have had other really painful experiences, like with the families of our boyfriends and girlfriends. Some parents are flat out prejudiced. They tell our friends not to go out with us, even though we have white parents. Even though we can act white and sound white, even though we go home to white families, it seems like we are not allowed to date white kids. But who are we supposed to date if that’s all we have been exposed to our whole lives?
When you said that our parents encourage us to hang out with our birth families, at first we were like, “He must be trippin.” Does that really happen anywhere? Mostly, our parents get sad or act uncomfortable if we even mention our birth families. BTW, a lot of us found our birth relatives on Facebook. Even if we have to go behind our parents’ backs. But it’s only fair that we can use technology to reconnect with our peeps online. Those are OUR RELATIVES. No more social workers blocking us from getting our information!!
Speaking of social workers: Do they really refuse to put kids in families if they live in an all-white neighborhood? Legally can they do that? We thought the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act says that parents get to adopt whoever they want and race doesn’t matter. We have been studying this in our transracial adoptee teen empowerment group. We believe that MEPA is one of the biggest problems with transracial adoption. The way we see it, MEPA protects the rights of adopters as “consumers.” At OUR expense as transracial adoptees, pure and simple.
Dr. Raible, you are right that some things are different nowadays. We grew up talking to camp counselors that are adoptees. And we follow blogs by adult adoptees. It seems like a lot of adult adoptees became social workers to try to help other adoptees. And a lot of you guys work with adoptive parents groups and adoption agencies. Meaning no disrespect, but we see that as part of the reason of why things have not gotten better. When transracial adoptees keep working with the system, it only makes it stronger. And then transracial adoptees are kept down. We want power and we refuse to support a broken system that harms youth like us. We plan to help transracial adoptees in different ways that haven’t been tried before.
Mainly, we don’t want to grow up feeling frustrated and angry. Instead of joining a broken and corrupt system, some of us are planning to go to law school. We are already making plans for a class action lawsuit. It’s time for transracial adoptees to take matters into our own hands. Instead of begging parents and adoption agencies to protect us better, we think we should just force them to do what’s in our group’s best interests. We know we have rights as children and youth. We are tired of grown-ups deciding for us what should happen. We demand to have a voice!! We are also looking into the Hague Convention, to see what it says about the rights of adopted children and youth like us. Our generation is going to make sure real change happens. Not another transracial adoptee should go to jail, be hospitalized, or commit suicide because they feel isolated, alone, and unsupported.
No offense to you after trying to convince parents and social workers for so many years. We really appreciate the way you and other adult adoptees have spent so much time teaching SOME of our parents about race and adoption. We think you did make a small difference. (For some of us.) And we love hanging out with you guys (older adoptees) at camp, even though we think “culture camp” is a wack concept. When we grow up and take over as camp counselors and directors, we have other ideas for the kind of camps transracial adoptees REALLY need.
We think there’s enough of us coming of age nowadays to change the power dynamics. If we stick together and strategize, we feel like we can fix transracial adoption because obviously it ISN’T working. Either that, or we will shut it down entirely. Like Native Americans did with the Indian Child Welfare Act. That’s something else we’ve been studying in our group. We are learning from their success in protecting Native children and youth.
We hope that you keep writing stuff directly to us, as transracial adoptees. Maybe you should stop wasting your time trying to get parents to see things differently. We can tell it just stresses you out anyway. Talk straight to US. We love you and respect you, Dr. Raible, and we are listening. Because you are talking about our lives in a way that no one else does. Respectfully yours, The Transracial Adoptee Teen Empowerment Group P.S. We DARE any adoptive parent to give their kid “Letter to a Lucky Adoptee!!” Hopefully, kids will find it on their own, just like we did. We are tweeting it to all our adoptee friends. It’s a great piece, even though it’s kind of offensive, cuz it makes you think.
Respectfully yours, The Transracial Adoptee Teen Empowerment Group P.S. We DARE any adoptive parent to give their kid “Letter to a Lucky Adoptee!!” Hopefully, kids will find it on their own, just like we did. We are tweeting it to all our adoptee friends. It’s a great piece, even though it’s kind of offensive, cuz it makes you think.
The Transracial Adoptee Teen Empowerment Group
P.S. We DARE any adoptive parent to give their kid “Letter to a Lucky Adoptee!!” Hopefully, kids will find it on their own, just like we did. We are tweeting it to all our adoptee friends. It’s a great piece, even though it’s kind of offensive, cuz it makes you think.