Initially, “identity” seems like a simple word. Most of us have a general idea of what it means in our head, but the truth is, it can be defined in multiple different ways through different means.
Each person usually has their own unique definition of identity; whether it’s how you see yourself, how others see you, or anything in between and beyond. Something not often talked about is how adoptees view identity and how their adoption has influenced it. As more resources become available, there’s been a rise in voices discussing their adoption experience. Adoptees are speaking out more about their connection to the term “identity” and what that means for them.
Due to the large number of adoptions within the last forty years, many adoptees grew up with technology that allows for a global voice. With 59% of international adoptees being from Asian countries, Asian adoptees make up one of the quickest-growing adoptee communities.
Now what makes Asian adoptees want to share their stories so much? The fact that 90% of Asian adoptees are adopted by parents and guardians of a different race; referred to as “transracial adoptees/adoption”.
The Realistic Side
While race should not impact a person’s place in society, it does. It affects our identity and how we view ourselves. Many transracial adoptees face issues related to imposter syndrome, racially-charged insults; and other extensive mental illnesses related to their struggle with identity as they age.
This isn’t necessarily the parents’ fault; however, there are multiple situations that emphasize the lack of resources for both the guardians and the adoptees. The adoption narrative is often shared in a way that only recognizes the “good side” of adoption — becoming part of a family — but often fails to recognize other technical issues that come with it.
As adoptees grow up and have more mature thought processes, they recognize the large community of people who struggle with the same issues. Because of this, they’ve been able to connect with other transracial adoptees to use their voices and speak out. By creating social media platforms, podcasts, books, events and more; they have been able to create resources and information about struggles with their identity.
Some aspects of identity are still a work in progress for many transracial adoptees; but it doesn’t stop them from using their experiences to grow and understand the world in which they live. As the community works to understand their meaning of “identity”, they’ve created their own connection to these pieces of their lives — on their own terms.
Header: Rainier Ridao