Jen Kim joins the podcast with Teen and Mark to compare the Asian adoptee experience vs. growing up as the second-generation of an Asian immigrant family. Jen is the vice president of AKA (Also Known As), an association of international adoptees.
Twitter: Also Known As (@alsoknownasinc),
The following are edited excerpts from “Walking In Adoptees’ Shoes”, the 14th episode of Plan A’s podcast, Escape From Plan A.
I hear this from a lot of transracial adoptees who grow up and you think you’re the race of your family. I grew up, I thought I was white for a really long time. It’s a common theme. It’s very hard to explain that to people who aren’t adopted. They’re like, “Look in the mirror, man.” And you’re like, no, it’s something in your head. It gets in there.
That’s why I say they know it deep down, and that’s part of where some of the defensiveness comes in…because they put two and two together, right. Well, being a person of color in America is not the greatest at all times, and my son or daughter is a person of color, and you put two and two together and they’re like “Oh shit…” their experience isn’t going to be the same as mine, it’s going to be negative in a lot of ways. So I think a lot of that defensiveness is from a fear, and them realizing that they’re not equipped to teach us how to cope with that.
In the Wes Yang article, the “Paper Tigers one… There was a really interesting passage when he talks about this Chinese kid, I think he’s 1.5 generation. Really high-achieving student at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. But his family is working-class, his parents are never home and they don’t really speak English. And he’s dating this white girl and one day, she invites him over to her house for dinner, and he has this realization about what’s missing in his life. It was dinner. It was sitting at the dinner table with Americanized parents. This family life conducted in English, where the real education happens.