What are your experiences as an adoptee?

During yesterday’s show looking at the decline in international adoption, a caller questioned why we didn’t invite adult adoptees on the show to talk about their experiences. He is correct to suggest that firsthand accounts are extremely helpful in aiding listeners’ understanding.

Adoption gets talked about so little in the media that starting the show off with the intention to look at a specific issue will lead to people wanting to know what is it like to be a parent of adopted children and hear adoptees share their experiences. As the caller noted, Minnesota is indeed the “land of a gazillion adoptees” so we are a superb resource of information for prospective parents and we have potential to build a strong support or social community for adoptees.

Another organization, in addition to Children’s Home Society, doing work to accurately assess the needs of the international adoptee population is AdopSource. They are seeking as many participants as possible in this survey of adoptees and parents to better understand what resources families need, desire or find useful. It’s also seeking to help connect existing resources that can sometimes be scattered or hard to discover.

As a Korean adoptee, below is a sampling of FAQs my family has been asked:

Are your parents your real parents? Yes, I arrived when I was 9 months old. They are the only parents I have ever had and have been known to me as “my parents”.

Did you always know you were adopted? Yes, my parents always told me I was and made it very special. They frequently read me a book, “Why was I adopted?” Later, I learned to say, “Of course, I definitely don’t look like my Scandinavian parents.”

Are you and your brother real brother and sister or come from the same place? Yes, we are real brother and sister. He’s the only brother I know. But we do come from different birth parents and cities. I came from Busan and he came from Soul.

Where do you suggest we live? My brother and I were some of the only minorities in a small school district. We felt much better when we moved to a larger school district with racial and socioeconomic diversity. I also suggest traveling to diverse cities. Seeing other people who look like you helps a lot when you’re growing up and figuring out how you belong and perhaps where you belong.

Do you know your birth parents? Have you been back to Korea? I do know my birth parents. Any one of you go through a reunion? We should talk. And no, I haven’t been back yet. I’d love to, but need to find a couple grand first.

What are your experiences as an adoptee? Have you adopted children? Share your stories.

–Meggan Ellingboe, assistant producer