Things to NOT say to this transracial adoptee

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The day I became an American citizen!
All views are my own. Each transracial adoptee (click for definition) is different. However, after moving around a time or 2 or 10, One of two things inevitably happens.
  • You get to know me well enough you see photos of my family and realize, biologically, we look very different
  • You are getting to know me and when I say I am from South Dakota and you say, no where are you really from? (Which is a whole different post for a different reason, but wanted to address one side here)
Which usually leads to me telling people I am adopted and my parents are white and I was adopted from South Korea because otherwise other conclusions have been made:
  • My Mom cheated on my Dad with a Korean man
  • They try and force a biological connection by saying ..”I mean you so look like your Dad’…Really? My Dad is German? But my Dad is 60 and has plenty of hair and looks mid-50's, so okay I am going to take that as a compliment ;)
SO. Over the years, here are some phrases to at least avoid saying to this transracial adoptee. Of course this depends on context too. If I know you, I’m willing to explain more, if you’re doing it because you’re looking for information, not because you’re interested in being my friend…This is a whole different type of reaction. The type of reaction that led to the backbone to write this post.

3 common themes, phrases, and the like, to not say to transracial adoptees, or at least this one, if we are not homies. Please note that responses are highly saturated in sarcasm:

Did you know your real parents/Do you want to meet your REAL parents?
OH you mean the people that raised me for 18 years?! Yes, I call them Mom and Dad or you might know them as D and J. Yes, I even LIVED with my REAL parents!!! How crazy is that?! It’s so weird when you are adopted and you know, a couple raises you for 18 yrs (let’s be real, they’re still raising me at 27) and they are your REAL Mom and Dad!!!! Just like I have REAL friends, not my adopted friends. OR I had my REAL teachers, not my adopted teachers. Crazy right?! Just like I am their REAL daughter, not they have 1 son and their adopted daughter.

Where are you REALLY from? But you’re not REALLY from South Dakota…Are you REALLY American?
I know…I mean…I realized I wasn’t a naturalized citizen until I was 4, but from the time I was 4 months old – 22 years old, I must not REALLY be from South Dakota. Just like I wasn’t educated, raised, or lived in the same area for most of my life. I MUST BE FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! I may have been born on foreign land, but I am an American and it’s the only nationality I’ve ever truly known. So, yes, I am “originally” from South Dakota. Yes, I am an American. 

*This was just recently on a date a guy told me, "Yeah, but you're not really from here"...YEAH AND YOU'RE ABOUT TO NOT REALLY BE SITTING PASSENGER AFTER I MAKE YOU TUCK AND ROLL...That didn't really happen, I just thought that in my head.

When I leave my medical history blank…and someone says,”Sometimes it’s just better you don’t know!”…
Says the person who knows their family medical history…family history…and typically entire ancestry…We will just leave it there and give my keyboard some oxygen.

I know, I know. Salty. And the rebuttles or ignorant comments to ensue in my inbox...or phone...

What about grace? Christian's give grace, right? Some people just don't know better! What about multiracial people, they have to explain themselves too!...

All valid points. I wrestle with this when I get upset, but this is my narrative and I am always happy to chat grace, patience, and those who also feel the need to explain themselves because of their identities, but that is not my focus right now. 

Believe transracial adoptees the first time they tell their story. We may have been Korean, growing up in South Dakota with our REAL parents.

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