Many in adoption circles and the wider public incorrectly assume if an orphaned and relinquished child could be adopted via intercountry adoption into a family of same race – the issues of racial identity, feelings of belonging, and cultural understandings wouldn’t be as difficult to deal with growing up.
I recently interviewed Prema, an intercountry adoptee, adopted into a same race family, who has experienced just as many difficulties as those of us, like myself, adopted into an adoptive family of differing racial background. This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to an adoptee expressing this. I guess it’s similar to the experience domestic adoptees have in-country, adopted into same race families, where some of them have expressed to me that at least for us intercountry adoptees of differing race to our adoptive families! “People can’t help but notice” the difference whereas for those in same race families, its harder for those complexities to be visible and therefore, harder for adoptees to receive much needed validation of their experiences.
For any same race adoptee, strangers don’t have the confronting skin and physical appearances to make them think about and ask questions – welcomed or not.
Here is Prema’s story so she can tell you for herself, that intercountry adoption is fraught with just as many complexities when adopted into an adoptive family of the same race.
Adoption is a kaleidoscope of experiences – we must honour and validate all of these stories and experiences to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts to those it affects.