A mere five days after MPR broadcast a disappointingly one-sided piece about the decline in international adoption, adoptees in MN and beyond spoke up, called in, and made things happen. The result? This morning, they did a follow up roundtable featuring three well-known Korean-American adult adoptees.
It was so satisfying to hear these three adoptees speak about the challenges of being internationally adopted. JaeRan Kim and Kim Park Nelson rocked it as they patiently explained the limitations of the pre-adoption “training” that adoptive families are required to receive under the Hague Treaty (10 hours total. That’s it folks. 10 hours to cover the history of adoption, cultural issues, attachment, race and adoption…). Kelly Fern spoke eloquently about the need for adoptive parents to take responsibility for providing a safe space for their children to speak openly. They talked about white privilege, institutionalized racism, class and adoption, and racialized gender. It was fantastic.
I left with a feeling of having been offered some pretty appetizers, but not actually getting to sit down to the heart of the main course. There was no acknowledgement that this segment was the direct result of adult adoptees advocating for our voices to be heard. There was no opportunity offered to address the questions of the original segment, namely: what are we to make of the decline in international adoption.
Yes, I think talking about race and identity is important, and even with all the lip service paid these days by agencies about their training and support on culture and race issues, children are all too often growing up in predominantly white families/communities without life-long support in developing a racialized identity. But really, we have so much more to offer than our personal experiences with identity.
I hope the conversation continues. I hope we can create a space for adoptees to share their diversity of thoughts on international adoption to be shared with a wider audience. I hope MPR comes back for more–I hope that they don’t feel like this topic is done, because I’m still hungry for the real meal.