Shaping a child’s race identity: Black, white, or other?

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-17 01:28Z by Steven

Shaping a child’s race identity: Black, white, or other?

Chinook Observer
Long Beach, Washington

Ruth Elaine Jutila Chamberlin

Lindsay Chamberlin was photographed near the time of her adoption. FAMILY PHOTO

We sat in straight chairs, waiting to meet our daughter. Burt held Jordan, age two, and Jamie, 13 months, while I jittered solo, eager to hold the baby. “Eager” doesn’t come close. I was afire. Atingle!

Here’s what we knew (no photos available): Eight months old. African-American/Irish-American. Foster child, next county. We wanted her! But were we, a white couple, the right parents for this child? Adoption workers would watch us interact with the baby and decide, yes or no.

The caseworker came in, carrying Lindsey (we’d already named her, hoping to adopt her). I was stunned! My imaginary Lindsey was a shy, pint-sized, brown-skinned baby. The real one was big for her age, light-skinned, calm, and forceful.

Lindsey was in charge of the meeting. She shot us piercing looks. Dear child! First she lost her birthmom, her familiar voice and heart rhythms. Lindsey grieved. Another mom took her. Everything changed. Lindsey grieved more. But she was brave. She learned to roll over, sit and creep, eat solid food, looking to that mom for praise and safety. Now SHE’S gone? NOT FAIR! No one asked ME!…

Read the entire article here.

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Returning to Korea

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Videos on 2017-04-30 02:03Z by Steven

Returning to Korea

KBS News

Decades ago, many children born to Korean mothers and foreign fathers were adopted by families overseas. Now, a growing number of half-Korean adoptees are returning to Korea to find their birth mothers. Here are some of their stories…

Watch the entire story here.

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[Interview] If only parents gave DNA samples when they put children up for adoption

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2017-04-09 21:41Z by Steven

[Interview] If only parents gave DNA samples when they put children up for adoption

The Hankyoreh

Kang Sung-man, Senior Staff writer

Bella Siegel-Dalton is a mixed-race adoptee who returned to South Korea after 51 years to look for her biological mother’s family. The big Korean letters on her shirt say, “Back in South Korea, my mother’s country.” (by Kang Sung-man, senior staff writer)

More Korean adoptees are organizing to search for their birth parents through DNA testing

Bella Siegel-Dalton is back in South Korea for the first time since being adopted by a family in the Napa Valley of northern California in 1966. When Bella Siegel-Dalton, 56, met a Hankyoreh reporter in a coffee shop on the first floor of the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Apr. 1, her face was pallid. Because of kidney trouble, she needs to receive a transplant within two years. She’s also receiving chemotherapy after being diagnosed with leukemia.

Seven years ago, Siegel-Dalton identified her biological father in the US through DNA testing, but he had already passed away. During this trip to South Korea she says she wants to find her biological mother. “My 17-day trip to South Korea is challenging, so I’m gritting my teeth and hanging on. But it’s not painful, because this visit is so important to me,” she said.

Siegel-Dalton is a mixed-race adoptee who was born in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province, in 1961, to a South Korean woman and an American soldier. Her birth name was Lee Ji-sun. “My adoptive parents were really good people. My mother was an English teacher with a Master’s degree, while my father was a researcher for Shell Oil. They would sometimes let me try kimchi and listen to ‘Arirang’ so that I wouldn’t forget my memories of Korea,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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Residential Racial Diversity: Are Transracial Adoptive Families More Like Multiracial or White Families?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, Social Work, United States on 2017-03-24 14:48Z by Steven

Residential Racial Diversity: Are Transracial Adoptive Families More Like Multiracial or White Families?*

Social Science Quarterly
Volume 97, Issue 5 (November 2016)
Pages 1189–1207
DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.12242

Rose M. Kreider, Chief
Fertility and Family Statistics Branch
Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division
United States Census Bureau, Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Raleigh, Associate Professor of Sociology
Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota

*The views expressed on statistical and methodological issues are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Census Bureau. Doctors Kreider and Raleigh contributed equally to this publication.

  • Objective: The purpose of this article is to examine whether and how the residential racial diversity of transracially adopted children (i.e., nonwhite children adopted by white parents) varies from those of biological children in white monoracial families and biological children in mixed-race families.
  • Method: Using the restricted access 2009 American Community Survey, we take advantage of the large number of adoptive families not only to investigate differences among these families, but also to explore whether racial socialization within transracial adoptive families varies by the race and nativity of the child.
  • Results: We show that the context of racial socialization for transracially adopted children is more similar to that of white children in monoracial families than that of children in mixed race families.
  • Conclusion: This article adds a quantitative, nationally representative picture of the context of racial socialization for specific groups of transracially adopted children, complementing existing research published in this area.

Read or purchase the article here.

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When Black is not the only colour

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-02-22 21:07Z by Steven

When Black is not the only colour

50.50: inclusive democracy
open democracy

Kamila Zahno
Haringey, London, United Kingdom

Kamila and her ‘slightly coloured’ siblings in the 1960s.

Too Black for the adoption agencies but not Black enough for the political campaigners.  On growing up an adoptee of mixed heritage in Britain.

Times have changed. When I was a child in sixties’ Britain there was no Jessica Ennis, Jackie Kay, Chuka Umunna or Lewis Hamilton. Mixed heritage role models were thin on the ground: we saw film stars like Merle Oberon, or singers such as Bob Marley, but I can’t remember seeing any British role models. Now people of mixed parentage are everywhere, although it was not until the 2001 Census that we became ‘official’.  In that year there were 677,177 of us.  By 2020 it is estimated that 1.24 million people in the UK will be of mixed parentage.

In the fifties when I was born, unmarried pregnant women were encouraged to give their babies up for adoption. I, along with my three siblings, was one of them.  However, the adoption agency files revealed what a headache we posed to them.  We were not adoption material.  ‘Baby is slightly coloured and adoption is impossible’ was the phrase written in my sister Ellen’s adoption papers.

We were all different ethnicities: our fathers from Asia or Africa, our mothers white. My mother was a young Swiss au pair working in London; my father an Indian engineering student. How they met I shall never know but I liked to think about them learning to jive at the Hammersmith Palais

Read the entire article here.

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Raising My Black Son

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-22 21:56Z by Steven

Raising My Black Son

Brian, Child: the magazine for thinking mothers

Suanne Schafer

Twenty years ago, I adopted an interracial child—I’ll call him M—thinking a mother’s love could overcome all barriers, even racial ones. Twenty years later, I’m not sure I did my son any favors. I’m a white mom trying to figure out how to raise a black child in a hostile—and potentially lethal—environment.

M came up for adoption during my fourth year of medical school, the unwanted love child of a sixteen-year-old white mother and a black seventeen-year-old father. Unable to take her mixed-race baby home to her blue-collar family, the young woman kept her pregnancy secret from everyone except her mother then gave the baby up for adoption.

My family was tickled to have a grandchild, whatever his color…

Read the entire article here.

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How White Parents of Black and Multiracial Transracially Adopted Children Approach Racial Exposure and Neighborhood Choice

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-08-09 18:49Z by Steven

How White Parents of Black and Multiracial Transracially Adopted Children Approach Racial Exposure and Neighborhood Choice

Sociology of Race & Ethnicity
Published online before print 2016-08-02
DOI: 10.1177/2332649216661851

Kathryn A. Sweeney, Associate Professor of Sociology
Purdue University Northwest, Hammond, Indiana

Although past research on racial socialization tends to concentrate on providing cultural knowledge and pride, this paper focuses on exposure to environments as a means of understanding preparation for racial discrimination, specifically in regard to transracial adoption. This article looks at how 19 white adoptive parents of black and multiracial adopted children perceive their neighborhood choice and decisions of where to send their kids to school and whom to befriend in order to understand how they approach racial socialization. Analysis of data from in-depth interviews illustrates how those who adopted transracially both domestically and internationally stressed that they did not want their children to be in environments where they would be the only person of color because they were concerned about their child experiencing racism and feeling isolated. Even so, they tended to live in white neighborhoods and send their children to predominantly white schools. Parents expressed being conflicted by what they saw as opposing measures and perceptions of school quality and racial-ethnic diversity. The parents in this study said that they sought out social support through organizations and friendships to expand their social networks for themselves and their children. Findings are not meant to challenge or support transracial adoption but rather to gain insight into perceptions of racial diversity, neighborhood and school choices, and friendship networks as a way to understand aspects of racial socialization associated with environmental exposure and preparation for racism.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Planning for German Children of Mixed Racial Background

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Work on 2016-07-30 19:58Z by Steven

Planning for German Children of Mixed Racial Background1

Social Service Review
Volume 30, Number 1 (March 1956)
pages 33-37
DOI: 10.1086/639959

Hans Pfaffenberger (1922-2012), Professor of Psychology
University of Trier, Trier, Germany

Translated by Susanne Schulze

On January 1, 1955, there were approximately four thousand mischlingskinder2 in the West German Republic. This number is still increasing by 250 to 350 a year. More than 70 per cent of the children are living with their mothers, and about 5 per cent with other relatives—grandparents, aunts, etc. About 12 per cent are in institutions, about 10 per cent in foster homes. The remaining children have been adopted, either by American families or, in a few cases, by German families, or they have emigrated to the United States with their mothers, who have married. According to the social agencies responsible for them, 90 per cent of the children remaining in Germany are well cared for. In 10 per cent of the cases, special services have been found necessary, but these have been general services—better housing, convalescent care, etc.—unrelated to the special situation of these children as children of mixed racial background.

The approximately four thousand children of mixed racial background pose many problems for child welfare agencies, and it is good to know that many attempts are being made to find solutions and to suggest remedies. Not all of these suggestions, of course, are equally acceptable, and it seems that the time is ripe to examine some of them in relation to the situation of these children, as it is known through reliable reports, and in the light of some basic considerations.


Many people are suggesting general solutions that would supposedly “clean up” with one stroke all of the emerging problems or at least would cover them up; for example, it has been suggested that the problem be solved through adoption abroad, through emigration of the mothers with their children, through emigration of the mischlingskinder, or through segregation of all these children in order to rear them together. Many strong objections to these general solutions may be raised. Recently several welfare organizations, as well as individuals with long years of experience, have warned against adoption abroad, including in the United States, especially when children of mixed racial background are concerned. A most careful investigation of the potential adoptive family seems definitely indicated.3 When we consider the social and economic circumstances of these children, as well as the attitudes of the community toward them, transplanting them to America through adoption or through marriage of the mother…

Read or purchase the article here.

1 From Newes Beginnen (New Beginning [periodical of the Workers’ Welfare Association, published by National Headquarters of the Organization, Bonn]), VIII (August, 1955).

2 Mishlingskinder refers to children of mixed racial background. The children considered in this article are those born to German women and nonwhite soldiers stationed in Germany.

3 See U. Mende, “Adoption deutscher Kinder durch amerikanische Staatsangehörige,” Unsere Jugend, May, 1955, S. 207; E. Hochfeld and M. A. Valk, “Experience in Intercountry Adoptions” (New York: International Social Service, American Branch, 1953).

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Searching for Identity: Race, adoption and awareness in the millennial generation

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-06-09 20:05Z by Steven

Searching for Identity: Race, adoption and awareness in the millennial generation


Dwight Smith

What happens when a black boy is adopted at birth into a white world where race and racism are ghosts of the past and racial identity is a silly thing to waste time thinking about? As a transracial adult adoptee of color, my life journey reveals some insight into this very question.

And what happens when a mostly white millennial generation is raised without an accurate understanding of race, racism or their role in a racialized society? As Slate’s chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie puts it, our generation “think[s] if we ignore skin color, racism will somehow disappear.”

Both questions are connected because I — and many of my millennial peers — came up in similar race-erasing worlds. Both questions are important to me, because my life experiences motivate me to address the racial confusion of the millennial generation.

I lead the Impact Race initiative for a global nonprofit called Net Impact, connecting our 100,000 members with the awareness, language and resources to lead for racial equity in their communities and careers. Members represent hundreds of campuses and companies across a wide variety of industries, including the local tech industry. Aspects of my journey as a transracial adoptee, and the majority white millennial generation experience in the United States, highlight the importance of pushing the conversation toward an honest, reflective look at how to understand racism and lead for racial equity.

Ignorance is bliss, until it isn’t.

I am a mixed-race black male raised in and around whiteness. Race had about as much real significance as the color of one’s shoelaces, and racism was a wrong of years gone by. In this world, to be ‘black’ (this is how I was and am categorized) meant a list of hollow stereotypes such as the expectation of athletic skill. But mostly there was just deafening silence when it came to me being black. Of course, all of this was ‘normal’ to me, in the sense that it was all I ever knew. It was also normal to all the white kids I grew up around. This is, in part, the reason that a ‘raceless’, colorblind worldview is normal to many of my white millennial peers today…

…Simply opening one’s eyes is not enough, we must seek the context to interpret that which we now see. My faith, my current understanding of the factors that influenced my childhood experiences as a transracial adoptee, and my everyday experience as a black man in America, fuel my life’s commitment to education and advocacy…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-Race Korean Adoptees Use DNA to Search For Roots

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2016-03-03 01:51Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Korean Adoptees Use DNA to Search For Roots

NBC News

Young Jin Kim

Sarah Savidakis, 55, lived in South Korea until she was nine years old, at which time she was adopted by a Connecticut family.

For Savidakis, who says she has grappled with the effects of early childhood trauma, memories of her life in Korea — including those of her birth mother — vanished around the time she arrived in the United States in 1970.

“I have some flashbacks here and there,” Savidakis, who lives in Tarpon Springs, Florida, told NBC News. “But to this day, my mother is [like] a ghost or a silhouette.”

Savidakis is among the thousands of mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the Korean War to American or U.N. soldier fathers and Korean mothers — many of whom were adopted into American families.

Seeking information about her birth parents, Savidakis in September tested her DNA through a commercial genealogy service and identified a first cousin, once removed. The relative helped her identify and connect with a half-brother and half-sister. She learned that her father — who was of Scottish and Irish descent — had passed away in 2014…

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