The Executive Summary is only 8 pages and it can be read entirely here:
2009_11_ExSum_BeyondCultureCamp.pdf (application/pdf Object)
For the ‘really busy’ reader or those ‘time challenged’, and some who are just plain lazy, a Summary of the Summary is provided by the astute commentary of the Korean War Baby. Please read the eight pages for yourself and determine your own conclusions after considering how it fits in Your Life. To each individual in “This Thing of Ours-Adoption” the report and summary may/could/should have different levels of application to your own situation, whether you are an Adoptee, Adoptive Parent/family, Natural/Birth Mother/family, government social worker, Adoption Agency staff, etc.
Transracial adoption is a reality of contemporary American life. Since 1971, parents in this country have adopted nearly a half-million children from other countries, the vast majority of them from orphanages throughout Asia, South America and, most recently, Africa. Additional tens of thousands of multiracial families have been formed during this period with boys and girls adopted from foster care, with the rate of such adoptions from the domestic system growing from 10.8 percent in Fiscal Year 1995, when there were about 20,000 total adoptions, to 15 percent in 2001, when there were over 50,000. In the vast majority of these cases –domestic and international – children of color have been adopted by Caucasian parents.
As you may have realized by now the KWB uses colorful text highlights to bring attention to important phrases or words. He has chosen to use the color Brown to represent HIS OWN comments. Brown just seemed to fit the color scheme of the background TAN, though some may feel that it means his words suggest a big pile of manure…
How do they develop a sense of racial identity when raised by White parents, most often in predominately White communities? How do they incorporate an understanding of both being adopted and of having parents who are of a different race or ethnicity than themselves? How do they learn to cope with racism and stereotyping? What experiences are beneficial to them in developing a positive sense of self? This ground-breaking study by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute constitutes the broadest, most extensive examination to date of identity development in adopted adults. It does so not only by reviewing decades of research but also, most importantly, by asking the experts – adult adoptees – about the experiences and strategies that promote positive identity development.
1 TRANSRACIAL Adoption (TRA) is defined as the adoption of a child of one race by one or two parents of a different race (domestic or international). In this study, TRA adoption is limited to the adoption of a racial minority child by two Caucasian parents.
TRANSCULTURAL (TRC) in this paper is defined as the adoption of a child (either domestically or internationally) who may be racially similar but ethnically different from the parents (i.e. an Ethiopian child adopted by African-American parents).
INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION (ICA), INTERNATIONAL or TRANSNATIONAL ADOPTION (TRN) in this study is defined as the adoption of a child born abroad. An intercountry adoption may be transracial, in which case it is almost always also transcultural (a Chinese child adopted by Irish-Americans) or may only be transcultural (a Russian child adopted by European-Americans).
Very important questions that perhaps most Korean adoptee have faced, whether of MultiEthnic and full-blood Korean Adoptees, but can also be applied in some ways to Koreans immigrants of all generations. Two groups were compared- “this paper concentrates on the 179 respondents born in South Korea and adopted by two White parents, and the 156 Caucasian respondents born in the U.S. and adopted by two White parents.” One may wonder why Caucasian children adopted by Caucasian Parents…It is the 'control group' that explores the issues of adoption without racial factors.
Through this study we sought to learn about identity development in adopted persons generally, but also about the impact of racial/ethnic difference from one’s parents.
Like many other studies of adoption, this one involves a self-selected sample of
respondents, so we cannot know to what extent they are representative of all adoptees. We title this study Beyond Culture Camp because we recognize that parents adopting across race and culture, and the professionals who guide them, have developed strategies such as camps and festivals to introduce or strengthen children’s connection to their cultures and countries of origin. Yet, as this study found, such activities – while important – are insufficient in helping children adopted across racial and national boundaries develop a healthy, positive sense of self.
Please, take twenty minutes to read the 8 page Executive Summary for yourself. The Findings and Recommendations are especially useful in understanding for all involved, beyond just adoptees themselves.
Yes, for many other adoptees the journey of self-identity can go beyond these steps. Learning about Korean language, culture, food, history, etc. can be done through many resources, for those who seek it. The internet has given us huge amounts of information, perhaps how you may be reading this now. Korean adoptee groups sprang up especially in certain states with huge numbers of Korean adoptees. Adoptive Parents have also grown in knowledge that it is a good thing to help discover the cultural heritage of their adopted children. “Times have changed for the better” with Adoption Professionals, websites of Adoptive Parents, blogs, etc all extolling the discovery of one’s roots.
For most Korean women to reveal that “Oh, by the way, your wife/mother once gave up a child for adoption” is very, very difficult. Korean society continues to keep even 95% of Domestic adoption completely secret, hidden even from the child in most cases. This is due to the stigma against having a NON-Related child adopted into a family. Prejudice is still very high against a child who is adopted. This compares with the WHITE children that had WHITE Adoptive Parents.
This is NOT proper, for the Loss/Abandonment that effects all children separated from their biological mother varies in intensity as Dr. Joe Soll brings out in his book "Adoption Healing: A Pathway to Recovery". Dr. Soll has an excellent website "Adoption Crossroads" that is full of resource materials.
The next level perhaps would be those who have come to live and work here. Hundreds have lived here for a period of time in Korea, many teaching language, some moving on to private businesses. The KWB came back on his first visit in 1994, three trips in 1995 and since Oct. 1995 continually has worked and lived here.
This Is Korean (TIK) label on the left column has many stories that show how REAL Koreans think about even Koreans who have studied or lived abroad more than 2 or 3 years! Kyopos or Korean emigrants to other countries are welcomed since 1999 because the country wanted to encourage money and expertise to come back. Those Koreans living in China, Japan, Russia, and other countries were NOT on the list and still have difficulty entering the country. North Korean refugees have many difficulties in living in with their Southern brethren. Even the coming Dual Citizenship has exceptions. Not all Koreans are equal. This is just the way it is, T.I.K.- This Is Korea.
Our understanding of Korean culture and identity grows yet is limited by many factors. Korean people have different levels of acceptance towards even any ‘Real Korean’ who has left the country. At the present time only a small percentage of people have open arms, hearts and minds towards Korean adoptees. It is improving but will take much more time. Those Korean Adoptees living here ARE influencing and bringing awareness to the motherland and are bringing more and more understanding.
So where are YOU? Where are you on the journey beyond culture camp? It is up to you to decide if you want more…the resources are here. Take the next step after reading and learning from those who have walked before you. Good luck and God Bless!