Amber Halverson, Eugene, OR. “Oh good! He doesn’t look like he has any white in him at all!” My first real encounter with my own race that I can remember was when I was in middle school. My white godparents had just adopted a black baby. They “kept his black name”, DiMario, as his middle […]
Annabell Standford, Louisville, KY.
Diane Graves, San Antonio, TX. My husband and I (both Anglo) were driving our adopted daughter (born in El Salvador, adopted as an infant, a U.S. citizen since she was 11 months old) to a guest ranch in Colorado. It was 2004; our daughter was 11 years old. Late on Sunday morning, we stopped to […]
Jasmine Perry, Cleveland, OH. When it comes to race I honestly don’t know what I am. My families backdrop is kind of patchy, no one in my family knows, my grandma recently found out she was adopted she found out that she wasn’t related to anybody she grew up with. Which means the only clue […]
Jack Montgomery, Washington, DC. My husband and I got married and adopted three beautiful children on the same day last summer. Happy times! I have learned more since these kids have arrived than I ever new possible. A same-sex parent family with trans racial kids draws a lot of attention both in the big city […]
Kaller, Portland, OR. Native American grandfather, Quaker grandmother, their child was my mother. Black stepfather, biracial brother, adopted Latina child, all Chinese grade school, segregation, race riots, the battle for Civil Rights…who are “my people?”
Bonni Hamilton, Eliot, ME. I grew up with two Native American siblings who my parents adopted when we were very small. When he was young, my Lakota brother always wanted to be the cowboy in Cowboys and Indians. He knew from personal experience the Indians always lost. The memory still breaks my heart.
Stephanie McCleery, Portland, OR. Adopted at birth, assumed white, found out 1/4 Cherokee at age 40 when found by birth mother.
Judy Goffena Boogman Billings, MT When I was young there was a girl adopted possibly by a couple in my small hometown in Montana. She was Native American and her “parents” were not. Matter of fact the whole town was not. She seemed angry and out of place. One day I was waiting on the […]
Rick Kraske Las Vegas, NV We adopted our son Joshua as an infant. His mom, also white and I, later divorced. He is now 12 and his understanding of race in America is now growing at a rapid pace as he is reminded of the manner in which he is treated with us and away […]
Tanya, Manakin Sabot, VA. My (adopted) son is biracial, his bio-father is unknown. I will never be able to connect him with his biological African American family. There is a void that I will never be able to fill for him . This breaks my heart as his mama.
Kasey Nichols, Clemmons, NC. I’ve known I’ve been adopted since I can remember and never questioned my ethnicity until I reached middle school age because we had to fill out cards with “check yes if Latino, African American, white or other.” Biologically I’m Mexican and Italian, but I was raised white with my dad being […]
John Mitchell MS As of July 1, our trans-racially adopted twins are one year old. I sometimes forget that they are adopted and not white like me. As my favorite blogger Carlos Whittaker said in a similar dialogue, “I think that’s kinda the point.”
Aubrie B., Moscow, ID. I am an 18 year old adopted Chinese girl. For years, I’ve endured the disgusted looks of onlookers whenever I go out in public with my adoptive father in the most harmless places; the grocery store or a restaurant. Even when my adoptive mother is there, many still glare at me. […]
Anonymous, Des Moiones, IA. Drake University This is what my mom was told in 1954 when social services came into her home and removed her and all of her siblings from her mom. At that time they were truly poor and were having a hard time finding enough food to eat. Her mother had a […]
WilmaS, Seattle, WA. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if my sons were adopted…It’s happened a lot. A complete stranger approaches my family, usually in a grocery store or some other public location, and compliments me on my family. “Your sons are so handsome,” the person will say, and by […]
Denee, USA. #thatadoptedlife
Steve Pederson , Submitted via Twitter: @stevped
Ernest Fabrizio Garcia New Fairfield, CT Neither of us are African-American, but our children are. There seems to be a conception that doing black hair well is partially genetic.
Erin Morris, Tempe, AZ. My husband and I have two sons adopted from S. Korea. When people feel compelled to mention our race difference or the obvious fact that our children are adopted, it is often along the lines of what “good people” we are, or how “lucky” our children are to have been adopted […]
i, Lulu, San Antonio, TX. I was 52 when I confirmed what I had long dodged: I was adopted — more like appropriated — at birth. Back then and in my part of the world (Texas), those things happened. My adoptive parents are on my birth certificate as the birth parents. Whatya gonna do, right? […]
Barbara Lewis Madison, AL It has been said that one thing that makes this country great is that any child can grow up to be president. This is not true for my daughters. Because of the “natural-born” clause in our constitution, my daughters, who were born in China but legally adopted into the US by […]
Kristi Boehm, Spring, TX. Every year on my birthday I give thanks to the woman who loved me enough to give me up for adoption. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother and father, and my family life was nothing but ordinary. As an aging adult, with no idea of whether I’m Swedish, German, […]
Deb Kruse Tucson, AZ Yes, I am “from” somewhere. Born in Korea – adopted as an infant (3 weeks old to be exact). Yes, most of my family is white. Yes, I grew up on a farm in Iowa and have driven a tractor and a combine. Yes, I’m adopted. Yes I like Asian food […]
Susan Kosior, Fredericksburg, VA.
Debbie Justice, Washington, UT. I adopted my son in 1987
Sandra Oldfield, Canada. I’ve gotten used to answering this question about my daughter who is adopted from the US
Samuel P. Wilcock, Mechanicsburg, PA. Messiah College, Faculty. Just look at race by census track. The “West Shore” is over 90% white pretty much all over the place, while the “East Shore” is much more diverse and white is the minority in Harrisburg. We lived in Lemoyne, right across the river from the city, and […]
Kent & Laurie Runge Morris, MN
Bonnie Jerome-D’Emilia, Haddonfield, NJ. These are my three children. We had never discussed the derogatory use of the word yellow to connote Asian, until we were forced to. My daughter was shocked.
Sharee Meeks Laidlaw, Murray, UT. Our family is a mix of many races. Some of the members are adopted but I forget which ones.
Amanda McClendon, Houston, TX. For starters, I’m Korean, so no, no Chinese for me beyond “ni hao” and “xie xie”, which I learned from TV travel shows. Secondly, I was adopted as a baby by parents I like to refer to as American Euro-mutts–English, Irish, German, French, and a touch of Choctaw, and that’s just […]
Kelly C, Los Angeles, CA. My husband is Japanese and I look “white” though I don’t really know what I “am” because my father was adopted. Our kids are wonderful, beautiful, happy pre-teens. Growing up in a diverse and inclusive place, they have friends from a variety of ethnicities, religions, and social classes. But in […]
Antonio “Tono” Cruz Sablan, Tacoma, WA. Immediately when I was born in 1996, I was adopted by two very loving individuals. My parents, Antonio “Tony” and Brenda Sablan, have provided me with years of unconditional love; the Chamorro community, however, was not always the same. My father is a Chamorro, native to the island of […]
Andrew, Tacoma, WA. We adopted our son when he was two weeks old. He’s seven now. My naivete about race has only gotten clearer and clearer these last 7 years.
Julie Taeko, San Francisco, CA. Writing a book called “Good Morning, Mixed-Race America!” to highlight the stories of 12 mixed-race individuals who are part-Asian, millenials and loving life! Checking All the Boxes & Embracing Our Own Unique Multi-Cultural Identity.
Mari Pollack Los Angeles, CA Joy was adopted at the age of 11 from an abusive home in Korea into a loving family in California. Now a rebellious alcoholic in her 20s, she is homesick for a home that doesn’t want her and unable to feel truly a part of her adoptive family. She returns […]
Tom DiMartino, Boston, MA. I had the immense pleasure of listening to Michele speak today in Boston, and the topic of adoption touched me personally. I am a white man with two adopted black sons who mean more to me than anything in this world. The topic is touchy and Michele’s comments on it were […]
Alessa Abruzzo Philadelphia, PA Biologically I’m Korean. Ethnically I’m Irish-German-Italian. I was adopted at 4.5 months old, at which point I flew from South Korea to the USA and into the loving arms of my parents who happen to be white. To put it plainly, I was raised by white people – My entire immediate […]
Phyllis Kedl, Little Canada, MN. Ours is a multi-ethnic family. We have fourteen grandkids, only five of whom are ethnically related to us. The rest? Two African American, three Hispanic and four Chinese. We are anything but vanilla, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your project, Michele, may offer our country’s first — […]
Sarah Lindahl, Manchester, CT. Thanks so much for coming to UConn as part of our HuskyWOW welcome to the Class of 2019!
Aurlyn Ellyse Wygle, Lewisville, TX. My husband and I are both caucasian. We have decided to make adoption our “plan A” and have a particular heart for children from hard places. This led us to become foster parents. As we parent these precious, beautiful brown babies we have noticed a trend. African American adults are […]
Adam Conner Washington, DC My sister and I are both adopted from South Korea. Our parents are white. One of my memories from childhood is being at the grocery store and constantly having people ask my mom “Are they yours?” point to my sister and me. I remember one time someone then adding “Are you […]
Georgianna Wong, Topeka, KS. When my son, George Wong was playing baseball, I had a woman tell me how handsome my son was and then asked, “How long have you had him?” It always hurt me when people would think I adopted him even though my last name was Wong. Then I had a good […]
Alicia Barnes, Starkville, MS. Shared race is not a qualifier of being a mother to a child. Some of us birth kids who don’t look like us, and it’s hurtful for people to question our status. When I saw people trying to figure out if a white mother with brown daughters had adopted them, I […]
Karen Sulmonetti Falls Church, VA My son was born in Guatemala and is very brown with beautiful dark brown, circle eyes and dark brown hair. As an adopted child, he has grown up with white parents and enjoys life in America. Even though we educate him on his birth country, he is all-American because of […]
Lauren Juanita Hines, Alexandria, VA. I am the American melting pot personified: born to a Mexican father and Caucasian (white, mostly Irish) mother, raised by a Lebanese mother and a German-Irish father. I remember weddings as a child where we all danced the Middle Easter dabke. Cousins on the other side of the family won […]
Anonymous Kennewick, WA Being Latina, with a white name, but in knowledge of my Latino surname. I try to be supportive of my friends with their biracial and transracial adoptions, but it is so hard. I have suffered and struggled so much with my identity. People have such good intentions, but the children suffer. Then, […]
Terry Savage Kailua, HI This was my standard response when “insignificant others” inquired about our then very young adopted son’s origins.
Dan Ellerman, Baltimore, MD. I was adopted from S. Korea at the age of 3 by a German/Irish couple. I grew up in a white household and neighborhood and went to predominantly African American schools in Baltimore city. The words I chose were told to me by my family and friends with the best intentions […]
Jennifer Luberecki Hagerstown, MD Being Korean-born and adopted at 3 by Caucasian parents, I grew up with my adopted parents culture (which is Polish and Scottish) and feel thoroughly American. Which is why it feels like a shock, and sometimes a slap in the face, when other people make assumptions about who I am. The […]
Colin McKearnan, Missoula, MT. A question that my 8-year old son (Ephrem) asked me on the way to school. We are white and my wife and I adopted Ephrem and his brother from Ethiopia seven years ago. We also have two birth children.
Fiona Hinkulow, Renton, WA. and I’m not adopted!!!
Katelyn Crombie, CA. I never cared about race until I was in college. Before then, I was adopted from China and grew up in a family that taught me to love everyone, regardless of appearances. I was also blessed with attending a high school that was racially diverse, despite our predominately white neighborhood, and these […]
Barney Rush, Chevy Chase, MD. Ours is an adopted family: my wife and I have two daughters, both of whom are Caucasian, as we are. We adopted them through agencies, the older when we lived in New York; the younger when we lived in Florida. After living six years in Europe, we returned to the […]
Alyssa Perry, CA. As a Korean American adoptee, I bridge two cultures- physically and culturally. I will never be white enough as I was brought up as a white family. My monolid eyes and yellow skin dictate otherwise. I can never be Korean enough. I can barely speak my mother tongue nor truly what is […]
Ericka Danko, Santa Monica,CA. This is my son, Ziggy. He is adopted from birth and he is biracial. He has told me that he wishes his eyes were the same color as mine.
Dougherty, Outside USA. I was adopted. My Dad is Irish, raised in Texas and then California. Mom is a retired nurse. I was raised around Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Jews. My friends in elementary school were white. Race was never an issue. Or if it was, I have long since forgot about it. I even […]
Ryan Harrell, Holland, MI. Our adoptive son, Tagg, clearly is not a biological member of our family. In his two years with us we have encountered the entire range of reactions from loving acceptance to ignorant comments to outright disgust and disdain. But through it all, the fact is that we represent the new reality […]
Jamie Bishop, Florence, MA. I am a bastard child conceived in the back seat of a Chevrolet in 1965. When I was born, I was sent to an orphanage. I don’t know what all happened, but my grandfather, (Daddy, or Mr. Bishop) had strong feelings about family duty, and five days later, against my grandmother’s […]
Diana Gonzalez, Franklin Square, NY. I am an adopted person. I’ve been searching for my past all my life. I’m 60 now. One of my adopted parents was Austrian and one was Italian. I was raised to think of myself as Italian. In the early 1970’s I searched and found out I was born in […]
Tesha Post, Holland, MI. I was adopted from Korea when I was six months old and grew up living in the U.S. with my White parents. As a result, I do not speak Korean or know how to cook Korean foods. People are often surprised to hear this– they may react with disappointment, confusion, or […]
Gaby Segalla, Washington, DC. I’ve been adopted…twice. I was raised in a diverse community and I attend Georgetown Day School which is a very accepting school. I’m Vietnamese but I’ve been raised in America by a white family. When I am with my family and a friend who is white to other people I’m the […]
Jonny Cecka, Richmond, VA. I have always had progressive attitudes about equality and so-called “race,” but visiting the Lincoln Memorial with my adopted 13-year-old son, Ace, was profoundly moving and made me understand the sacrifices of Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless others in a deep, personal way.
Blair White Haddad, Los Angeles, CA. Being the child of an adopted mother, for a long time I only knew half of my genetic make up. After being reunited with my bio grandmother we discovered our Native American/ French background. My whole life I’ve been asked the question- what are you? Instead of identifying myself […]
Madilyn Hays, Holland, MI. Me and my siblings are from all different ethnic backgrounds. I’m blond haired, blue eyed and full white. While my brother and sister are both of African American background, their great grand father was actually Louis Armstrong. And then my last two brothers are Puerto Rican. We all have the same […]
Mary Carroll, Columbia, SC. I am biracial and adopted into a white family. Growing up in a very southern affluent area, people were always asking me if I was paid well to look after the child and if I would work for them. When I would tell them that the child was my sister, generally […]
Daniel Knoll, Saint Louis, MO. Just some ruminations on the issue, as a Local Missourian, and past resident of the town NEXT to Ferguson MO..white, adopted child of full Native American(Cherokee) mother and German-American father…
Melanie Douglas, Peyton, CO. I have transracial adopted kids. They have better hair than I do, they have better skin than I do, it is really something that they got everything I could ever want for them outside of my gene pool, and all I ever want is to be in their gene pool. I […]
Andee Bateman, Noblesville, IN. As an adoptee with flaming red hair, I was asked this question frequently. I found out at 47 that I am not – my biological relatives are from Wales and Norway. In the meantime, I wore the ‘red-headed-step-child’ moniker like a badge. I was loud, round, sassy and nothing like my […]
Heather Ann Lindstrom Buffalo, NY My beautiful son was born to two very different parents. Me, of Swedish and Irish heritage,and his father of Samoan and Chinese heritage. When I would take my son out as a baby, it felt like everyone I met assumed he was adopted and asked “How long have you had […]
Ursula, Oklahoma City, OK. I did not get white privilege until we adopted. I am so sorry. This story terrifies me.
Tara Conforto Sharon, MA I was adopted when I was less than 3 months old and raised in a non-diverse area of NJ. People have always made assumptions about me based on my Asian appearance, such as saying that I’m so respectful because Asian children are taught to respect their elders, asking me for Asian […]
Kayla Eckhoff, Denver, CO. I was just a year old when I was adopted, I was born in India and grew up in a small town in New Hampshire. For the most part I had a normal childhood, especially growing up in an all white community. Went to school, made friends, played school sports. Though […]
Robert Zeboski, Autin, TX. I am born from a Japanese father and an Irish German mother. I was adopted by my Polish step dad years later. All my life, the white kids would tease me by saying things as “Go back to your home land,” or other racially tinged words. The Asian kids would dismiss […]
Daniel Knoll, Saint Louis, MO. These may or may not represent how I feel about race,,,I am in Missouri, and grew up in the town right next to Ferguson..i am a white guy, but the adopted son of a Native American (full Cherokee) mother, and German -American father…not to minimize the legitimacy of the real […]
Kira Henstenburg, Washington, DC. Mixed race Russian-Kazakh. Adopted. I’m not considered “asian enough” to be invited to anime conventions. I’m not comfortable taking a strong stance on race in class discussions because I’m considered white. I’m told I “look a lot like my father.” If I say I was born in Russia, people assume my […]
Stewart Ketcham, South Royalton, VT. Out of the mouth of my five year old adopted African America son. I am white. We were eating chicken and my skin was crispier. Relief at the simplicity of innocence!
Lauren Maldonado, Athens, GA. I’m white, I know that. But, I have no idea what race I am. I can’t include myself in a certain group. I cannot sympathize with a certain group of people and I cannot judge a group of people because I might be the same race as they are. I’m in […]
Riley Redman, Pittsburgh, PA.
Amy Hueitt Gastonia, NC I am black and white. My children are black and white! Genetics play an important role in how we appear. My son looks Mexican because his dad was Mexican! My daughter looks Mexican white because her dad was white! God truly has a sense of humor and He makes no mistakes, […]
Karen Skillin Rojas San Francisco, CA Adopted from Korea at 4 1/2 months old, I was raised in an entirely Caucasian family and community until I went to college. I often struggle with not identifying with my Asian exterior (yellow), which is how the world around me sees me. I find I identify so much […]
Haley B Grand Rapids, MI My parents are adopted. I am a mutt. Both of my parents are darker complected with strong features that I wish I would have inherited as I am pale, blonde and blue eyed; so I get labeled “white.” When I look at the world around me, I see the variety […]
Suzanne Strathman Alma, MO How many times have I been asked if Marquita is my “real daughter”. My thought is “She looks pretty real to me.”. Marquita is African American and we are white. We adopted her when she was 4 years old.
Nancy Rawn Storrs, CT I have been so proud of my beautiful boy for all of his 20 years. He struggled with so many high school identity issues but it has been especially painful to watch him struggle with the big question of “Who am I?” in this white community and white family. He has […]
Naghmeh Moshtael Portland, OR These are my daughter’s words. We live in a world of different race, culture and heritage. My husband in African American, born in Seattle and raised in Compton, CA. I am originally from Iran, raised in Cameroon (Central Africa) and now living in the US. My daughter is adopted from Ethiopia. […]
Brittany Barnes Reno, NV I am adopted. I was born in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, now known as Western New Guinea. I don’t really tell people where I was born, because I don’t find it necessary in conversations and it never really comes up. People look at me and automatically assume that I am African-American and […]
Melissa Holland, MI I was adopted at three days old and know nothing of my biological heritage. I enjoy feeling as if I’m a mixture of many different ethnicities.
Rebekah Day Vinita, OK As the only brown complected person in my large family, I stand out against the pale white. I am constantly asked if I am adopted, or a “half-sister” in relation to my siblings. I am a woman of mixed heritage of various European and Native American blood, along with the rest […]
Sheena Biggerstaff Atlanta, GA I get this statement/question combo all the time. It’s amazing how many different races I’ve been grouped into by people trying to find an answer. The conversation always ends the same. Sorry, I don’t know, I was adopted.
Suzanne Koch Sunnyvale, CA First and foremost, I’m a mom. Being a mom to a child who doesn’t look the rest of our family is both the simplest thing in the world and the most complicated. Falling in love with my son, who is adopted and has brown skin, was as straight-forward as any Mama/Baby […]
Shoshi Shaw Denver, CO In middle school I saw nothing wrong with being honest about my past so anyone who asked I would tell, I’m adopted. One day in math, I was correcting a classmates work on the whiteboard and on my way back to my seat, I heard the boy say under his breath […]
Gaby Segalla Washington, DC Most people see me and assume I’m Chinese. As an adopted Asian girl most people think “Oh that girl is probably Chinese.” I don’t take offense to that mostly because I have become used to being asked I’m Chinese. I’ve gotten used to people asking me where I am from and […]
Anna Catlin Baker, Seattle, WA. Collected from The Race Card Project, On Location: Seattle Community Colleges I was adopted when I was 1 year(s) old from Southeastern China by a single Caucasian woman. I found out later in life that my birthparents are actually Vietnamese. I was raised “white”, American, but I look Asian. When […]
Melanie Randolph Longview, WA I really knew nothing about my heritage until I was 44 and chose to research my birth family. It’s weird to know nothing at all in a world that is so hung up on where they come from. I look so generic. Brown hair, brown eyes, average height. I assumed Italian […]
Anonymous. Omaha, NE “Excuse me, what’s your nationality?” “I’m from the U.S.” “No,” he chuckled, “like, where are you originally from?” “I was born and raised in the U.S.” “You know what I mean!” “You’re talking about ethnicity…” I offered. “Yeah, whatever. Like, where are you really from?” “I’m Chinese.” “That’s what I thought!” I […]
Tiffanie Luckett Greenbelt, MD I was adopted at nine months of age. My parents are black. My biological parents were Caucasian and black. My parents expected the world to see me as black (or “other than white”), and raised me accordingly. I was raised to see myself as black, and I find it unsettling/strange/uncomfortable when […]
Willie McBride Long Beach, CA I was born in Taiwan to a Chinese mother and African American father. I was orphaned an American serviceman and his wife adopted me; my adopted father just happens to be African American and my mother is Chinese. They also never mentioned that I was adopted and so I grew […]
Barbara Schmidt Metuchen, NJ We are a caucasian couple that adopted our daughter from Southeast Asia. Random people in the supermarket make dumb comments and children have asked where is her real mom. We must carry her adoption paperwork when we travel internationally, since passport control sometimes questions whether she is really our daughter. School […]