We’re talking about birth search! In part 1 of our series, we break down some of the basics of birth search. We’ll cover the big things that we want Adoptees to know about this overwhelming and confusing topic.
Katie Breeden is a Holt adoptee and freshman pre-business and digital arts student at the University of Oregon. This spring, she interned at Holt, helping to organize and promote one of her favorite Holt programs — summer camp!
Holt Adoptee Camp has been a part of my life for six years — I’ve enjoyed roles as both a camper and a counselor.
I started out as a camper, and I wasn’t sure what to think about the whole thing. At first, I had my doubts about this summer camp for adoptees. I was 13, going into 8th grade, and had no idea what to expect. I knew Holt camp wasn’t a heritage or culture camp, so what was it?
On the car ride to Corbett, Oregon that first year, I had about an hour-and-a-half to ponder what Holt Adoptee Camp might be like. My biggest fear was that we would be forced to sit around talking only about adoption for the entire week. The drive was a quiet one. I didn’t know if I would make friends and fit in.
Thankfully, my worries were for nothing.
By Holt’s vice president of policy and external affairs, Susan Soonkeum-Cox.
The recent NPR report, “Growing up White—Transracial Adoptee Learned to be Black” is an illuminating story of the complexities and challenges of transracial adoption. This is certainly not a new topic, or an easy one, but it is a critical reminder for everyone involved in transracial, domestic or international adoption, not to minimize the importance of race and identity as a life-long part of the adoption journey.
When Holt first placed children from Korea with adoptive families in the U.S. in the 1950’s, it was during the era of physically matching children and parents. This ‘matching’ made it possible for the adoption to be secret, hidden, as if the child was physically born to their adoptive parents. Adoption of Korean children into white families split wide open the notion of secrecy. It was impossible for adoptive parents to pretend that their Korean children were born to them.
The wisdom of the day was for parents to ‘Americanize’ their child as quickly as possible. “Fitting in” was given priority over understanding or maintaining connection to race, culture and nationality. Continue reading “Transracial Adoption and Growing Up White”