new report details the struggles of korean adoptees

The New York Times has a story on a new report looking at the lives of adopted children from Korea. The study, issued by a nonprofit adoption research and policy group, is apparently one of the largest studies of transracial adoptions. It was released today: Adopted From Korea and in Search of Identity.

The report, which focuses on the first generation of children adopted from South Korea, found that 78 percent of those who responded had considered themselves to be white or had wanted to be white when they were children.

Sixty percent indicated their racial identity had become important by the time they were in middle school, and, as adults, nearly 61 percent said they had traveled to Korea both to learn more about the culture and to find their birth parents.

Most Korean adoptees were raised in predominantly white neighborhoods and saw few, if any, people who looked like them. The report also found that the children were teased and experienced racial discrimination, often from teachers. And only a minority of the respondents said they felt welcomed by members of their own ethnic group.

As a result, many of them have had trouble coming to terms with their racial and ethnic identities. While I think I have much to learn about the experiences Asian American adoptees, I don't think these findings are particularly surprising. I think they illustrate what we've known, at least anecdotally, for a very long time.

South Korea was the first country from which Americans adopted in significant numbers. They currently make up the largest group of transracial adoptees in the United States and, by some estimates, are 10 percent of the nation's Korean population.

Some of the experiences described in the article, about adoptees feeling alienated and rejecting their own ethnic identity, are just heartbreaking. I just hope that a study like this is helpful to the transracial parents and adoptees who are growing up and grappling with these issues right now.

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