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Currently, I am a Fellow for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program (Future of Audio Entertainment Challenge) at The DO School. I am a media professional, social entrepreneur and storyteller who experiments with media and art to document life, and I have worked with nonprofits, governments and campaigns internationally. I have an M.Sc. in Social & Cultural Anthropology from the London School of Economics & Political Science.
On this episode of NPR's Code Switch, a podcast that "looks at race and identity in America", the focus is on adoptees—especially those who have been raised by parents who are coming from a racial and cultural background completely different from their own.
MERAJI: How do you identify when you're a kid of color who was adopted into a white family? Most adoptive parents in the U.S. are white. And a lot of them are adopting children who aren't. That's according to the Institute on Family Studies, which found that in 2011, nearly 8 in 10 adoptive parents of kindergartners were white. Six in 10 adopted kindergartners, though, were kids of color. So if you're adopted and you're a child of color, you're likely being raised in a transracial family here in the U.S.
DEMBY: And transracial adoption overlaps a lot with transnational adoption. In the past 18 years, more than 270,000 children have been adopted from other countries, usually Russia and China, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Guatemala and South Korea. And just as an aside, more than 60 percent of those adoptees were girls.
As children, our identities are shaped by the communities around us, and the cultures we are exposed to and the first introduction into these spaces are by our parents. Therefore, the role that parents play is paramount to a child's life and their selfhood.
The adoptees interviewed for this podcast describe those feelings of alienation or confusion that came with having no physical connection or common heritage with their parents. However, having families that were sensitive to these issues or being a part of a group with a shared history similar to the adoptee gave them a greater sense of belonging.
Adoption has its challenges, but raising a child connected through the bonds of the heart is just as deep and lasting. For those considering adoption, commit to the lifelong research and for those adoptees as well as for the rest of us, in the end, as the title suggests, our homeland is each other.