Adoption Stories from Adopted the Movie - A Feature Film by Barb Lee

July 2, 2007

Talking About Race

Dr. Joseph Crumbley, a therapist specializing in adoptive families, discusses the importance of talking about race with your internationally adopted child.

 


May 30, 2007

Lucky to be Adopted

Filed under: Film Clips,Perspectives — Catherine @ 5:21 pm

A term often used to refer to adoptees is "lucky." Adoptees are lucky because they have been "rescued" from a bad situation and placed into a better one. Below, Dr. Amanda Baden discusses the consequences of using this term and what effect it has on adoptees.


May 18, 2007

Jen’s Experiences with Name Calling

“Adopted: The New American Family” follows Jen, an adult Korean adoptee, as she confronts issues of race and identity. In the video clip below, Jen has frank discussions with her parents about being teased as a child because of her race. Watch the video and tell us about your experiences with your child’s racial identity. Or if you’re an adoptee, let us know what it was like to grow up confronting racism and how you discussed your feelings with your parents.


April 19, 2007

Watch as John and Jacqui Receive Their Referral

Filed under: Adoption,Chinese Adoption,Film Clips — Tags: , , , — Catherine @ 3:10 pm

For an adoptive parent, receiving your referral is a life changing moment. This is the phone call where you find out the name, age, sex, and date of birth of your child, in effect transforming you from a parent-to-be to a parent. We were lucky enough to be with John and Jacqui when they received the phone call that would change their lives. Click on the video below to watch as John and Jacqui officially become parents to Min Xin Pei, a little girl from China.


January 2, 2007

Asian Women as Exotic

Amanda Baden, a transracial adoptee and adoption psychologist, on the exotification of Asian culture.

One of the interesting facets of being Asian in American, an Asian woman in America is recognizing in our culture that there is a tendency to exoticize Asian women in this society. And so for parents who are raising children who are Chinese and adopted, their recognition of that may take on a different tone. They may not be aware of it in the same way that I, as an adult woman, am aware of it. And so, emphasizing the child’s tie to Chinese heritage and cultures is wonderful; but, there is also this tendency to sort of–there can be a fine line I guess I should say– between objectifying being Chinese and celebrating being Chinese. And so when we objectify and exoticize this Far East kind of place, then it doesn’t become real to us here in America. And it’s hard to incorporate that sense of what China is in our everyday experience. So for a child who only sees that being Chinese means wearing those silk jackets and doing line dances, may be an inaccurate way for them to think about it. And may not help them at all understand how they interact as a Chinese person in school or at work with their friends on the playground. So we have to sort of balance it much more carefully.


On Feeling Lucky to Be Adopted

Amanda Baden, a transracial adoptee and a counseling psychologist, discusses the view that children adopted from China are often viewed as "lucky" to have been adopted by American parents.

One of the real struggles in adoption has been that people who are adopted, particularly from China at this stage in the game is that, these girls are always talked about as lucky. They are so lucky to have been adopted. What a great thing your doing for them. Which implies then that they need to be grateful and that they should be thankful for what’s happened in their lives. Which, as we know, isn’t always the case. They didn’t ask to be abandoned. They didn’t ask to be adopted. That doesn’t mean that they’re lives aren’t better, that they don’t’ have positive relationships and real loving relationships with family. But what it does mean is when gratitude is expected for being a child of a parent it somehow says that they aren’t allowed to be angry. They aren’t allowed to have frustration and they might not– if they have any sort of dissatisfaction, its something that they have to keep to themselves and internalize. That it’s not a family issue. It’s an individual issue. And I think as a clinician it’s really a family issue a lot of times. If everyone can tolerate being able to look at themselves a little more objectively and with a little bit more of an eye towards improving rather than criticism, then it can be very effective for everyone involved.


Asian Stereotypes

Richard Lee, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota who specializes in the cultural socialization of Korean adoptees, discusses common Asian American stereotypes.

There are definitely stereotypes that men and women experience that are very different. For Asian American men, whether they are adopted or not, the stereotypes are that you are less masculine, nerdy, into technology and computers, you’re not athletic and you’re not attractive. You’re short and effeminate. The stereotype for Asian American women is not necessarily any better but it’s different. Women are perceived as exotic, as submissive, as care giving, also as sometimes conniving or too clever, tricky. So there are these different stereotypes that men and women have to manage. For Asian American men it’s a challenge because the prevailing Americans sort of pressure is for a man to keep their emotions inside, to not share or reveal the insecurities or struggles.


Asian Women as Exotic

Amanda Baden, a transracial adoptee and adoption psychologist, on the exotification of Asian culture.

 

One of the interesting facets of being Asian in American, an Asian woman in America, I think, is recognizing in our culture that there is a tendency to exoticize Asian women in this society. And so for parents who are raising children who are Chinese and adopted, their recognition of that may take on a different tone. They may not be aware of it in the same way that I, as an adult woman, am aware of it. And so, by emphasizing the child’s tie to Chinese heritage and cultures is wonderful. But there is also this tendency to sort of-there can be a fine line I guess I should say, between objectifying being Chinese and celebrating being Chinese and so when we objectify and exoticize this Far East kind of place, then it doesn’t become real to us here in America. And it’s hard to incorporate that sense of what China is in our everyday experience. So for a child who only sees that being Chinese means wearing those silk jackets and doing line dances, may be an inaccurate way for them to think about it. And may not help them at all understand how they interact as a Chinese person in school or at work with their friends on the playground. So we have to sort of balance it much more carefully.


December 17, 2006

International Adoption Should Be Last Resort

Filed under: Film Clips,For Parents,Perspectives,Videos — Catherine @ 5:52 pm

Dana Johnson, the Director of Research and Education at the International Adoption Clinic, speaks on international adoption as the last resort. To learn more about Dr. Johnson, click here.

We just don’t talk about international adoption in terms of what effect it’s having on the countries of origin and how we’re viewed both in the United States and Western Europe by sending countries. I think we forget that the most important thing is for children to stay with their families and the vast majority of children come into international adoption because their families relinquish them because of poverty. Many are single women, but some are families but just don’t have resources to take care of another hungry mouth. You know, instead of bringing them into our countries and adopting them into our families, perhaps we should be sending money over there to help them stay with their families. Or we should be sending money over there to develop the adoption systems within that particular country so that those children can be placed with other families. And there are families in every country that would like to adopt.Only as a last resort should children be taken for international adoption and placed out of their country into a different country.


Adopted Children and Racism

Filed under: Chinese Adoption,Film Clips,For Parents,Race and Identity,Videos — Catherine @ 1:35 pm

Dr. Joseph Crumbley, a therapist specializing in adoptive families, discusses racism in adopted children from China.

I was invited by an organization titled "Families with Children from China." They asked me to meet with their children and to see if they were dealing with issues of race. And I met with the children, and I guess they were maybe five or six years old up to ten or eleven. And there may have been about ten children in the group. And I asked them if they knew what prejudice was, and they said "no." I asked them if they knew what racism was and they said "no," so I defined it for them. I defined prejudice as someone having attitudes and ideas about you because of what they heard, not because of them knowing you. And they said, "O.K., all right, we understand that." I asked them if they knew what racism was, and they said "no," and I defined racism to them as meaning when someone feels as though they’re better than you and mistreats you simply because you look different from them. So they got the definition. And then I asked them how many of you have experienced prejudice or discrimination or racism. All the hands went up. So I then went around the group and I asked them what kind of experiences did you have? And they said:

"Well, somebdoy called me a pan face. Somebody called me a round face. Somebody called me a chink. Somebody asked me if I had yellow fever. Somebody asked me where my glasses were, because they figured because of my eyes I couldn’t be able to see. Somebody even said to me that I couldn’t play basketball because the only thing I’m good at is being smart."

So the children were going around with all their different experiences and what people were saying to them. And one of the children in the group was about five years old, and I didn’t really think she could share anything. I asked her, "what was your experience? Did somebody mistreat you because of your race?"No." Well, I asked if somebody said something bad about you because of your race. "No." Well, what did they do and this is what she did, <makes motion.> And the other kids in the group started laughing and saying, "ohh, slanty eyes!" So they kind of knew what was going on, and she said, "but I’ve got an answer for that." And I said, "What are you going to do?"I’m going to have an operation." I said, "What kind of operation?" "Well, I’m going to have my eyelids cut back so that they’ll be round."