“You can’t be what you can’t see” – Marian Wright Edelman
If you’ve ever sat down to interview someone for the first time, you know that there is just no way to predict the outcome. As I was working on the most recent Adoptee to Adoptee video series on racial identity, I wanted to feature the voices of some local Adoptees that I have the privilege to work with in Eugene. Maddy, featured in a recent “Adoptee to Adoptee” video, is one of the students that attends our campus group at the University of Oregon. I asked her if she was interested in sharing more about her identity for a video, and she happily volunteered her time.
I’ve only worked at Holt for three years, but there is something really special that occurs when Adoptees sit down together one-on-one and talk about their identity. I continue to be in awe of how easily conversation flows and how the level of vulnerability can go from 0 to 100 in mere minutes. Adoptees are not always able to have intentional conversations about their identity with those that share in their Adoptee identity, but when they do, I can’t help but feel a little bit moved.
Working with Adoptees continues to reveal to me the importance of representation — i.e., the critical need for positive role models and the power of knowing fellow Adoptees. In her interview, Maddy talks about how coming to college and being around Asian Adoptees changed her perception of the world — as well as her view of herself. We benefit from rubbing shoulders, hearing from and building relationships with each other.
One of my favorite things that Maddy said during our time together was that as Adoptees, we need to grow a relationship with our identity. Like many things in life, it is truly a process, but one that we don’t have to go through alone. It is so exciting to me that through our video series and Holt post-adoption programs like Circle Back, we are helping Adoptees connect and build critical skills together — no matter where they live, or where they are in developing their identity.
Caitlin Howe | Former Holt team member