Stories of transracial adoptees must be heard – even uncomfortable ones

It’s not necessarily the first question I get, but it always comes up. On tour for my book, published in 2018, an audience member asked if I, a Korean American adoptee, am “still close” to my adoptive parents. When I said yes, they followed up, as if in disbelief: “So, you and your family are really OK?”

An interviewer wanted to establish right off the bat that I had “never felt unloved” by my white family “in spite of” my race. Another inquired as to how often we see each other. I’ve had people tell me they were “relieved” – even “pleasantly surprised” – to find that my book is “not angry or bitter”. At a reading, someone wondered if my parents were offended by any of the sentiments I had expressed around my transracial adoption: feelings of racial isolation and confusion, exacerbated by a childhood spent in overwhelmingly white spaces; a suppressed but stubborn curiosity about my birth family; the slow-to-evolve conviction that I needed to find a way to grasp for more knowledge, more truth about my personal history, than my adoptive family could offer me. (Before I could answer, my mother, who was sitting in the front row, piped up heroically: “No, we weren’t offended!”)

Read more: by Nicole Chung Stories of transracial adoptees must be heard Illustration: Sara Wong/The Guardian