For those of us who were not adopted, we can only begin to imagine what it would be like to be raised in a culture completely different from the one we were born into, but this may give us some insight: a new study by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute finds that among first-generation adopted South Koreans, 78% of respondents considered themselves white or wanted to be white when they were children. The study was based on the responses of 179 SK adoptees with two white parents.
South Koreans make up the largest group of transracial adoptees in the U.S., and they comprise an estimated 10% of the total South Korean population here. The first generations of adoptive parents were told to assimilate the children into American culture without regard for the children’s native culture; as a result, older South Korean adoptees tended to have the mindset of being white or wanting to be white.
Nowadays, adoptive parents are encouraged to maintain ties to their adopted children’s native background. They send their kids to “culture camps” to learn more about where they came from. They take the kids on a family trip to their native country. They enroll them in classes to learn their native language. The adoption mindset definitely shifted in the right direction by encouraging kids to learn more about where they came from — instead of avoiding it.