The Asian American adoptee experience is an experience shared by thousands of voices of those I wished I had the opportunity of interviewing. Similar to narratives of mixed Asian Americans, narratives of Asian American adoptees need to be heard more. Luckily for this Podcast, I was able to speak with two of my amazing friends, Laurelin Haas and Andrea MacGown. The reason why I invited them specifically on this episode is to showcase the stark contrast between their responses to my questions regarding their life journey and changing self-perception, proving that once again, there is no such thing as a "standard Asian American adoptee experience." As the host of Project Voice, one of the biggest challenges I've faced is ensuring that I am not creating a spectacle out of my interviewees and it's especially tricky when one of main jobs is asking them questions. Tune in to listen to what they have to say about my concerns and much more!
Laurelin Haas is a recent graduate of Iowa State University. She is an adoptee from China, and she has three younger sisters (all also adopted from China). Laurelin was raised in the Midwest and has connected to her Chinese roots by studying the language and studying abroad in Shanghai.
Andrea MacGown is a junior majoring in philosophy and minoring in logic at Smith College. Her passions are social justice for black lives matter, Asian rights, sexuality, and women's rights. In her free time, she watches movies and anime. She is interested in learning different languages such as Mandarin and French. Andrea loves streetwear, Korean skincare, boba tea, and fighting the system.
TRANSCRIBED BY THOA HOANG
[SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC]
NGUYEN: Hi! Welcome to Project Voice. This is Jess, and thank you for listening in. Season two! Whoo, whoo! Actually, I should have said this earlier, but, yeah, it's season two, guys! Anyway, I'm saying this because this is being recorded at the end of season one, but you'll probably be halfway into season two or something like that. So, today I have two very special guests, both of them are awesome friends of mine, who I got to know at different phases in my life, different stages in my life. So, first, I [would like to introduce] Laurelin. She's a, she's not from Smith actually, but she's a friend I met and I got to be very close with during my time studying abroad. We were both in Shanghai in the Alliance for Global Education [program] and yeah, that's how we- that's how our friendship got started. And then I also have Andrea. So we, she's actually a fellow Smithie friend of mine. A year younger than me, and we met through VSA. She started getting involved in the Vietnamese Students Association (VSA), an organization I was Co-Pres of. Yeah, I'm really excited to have her on board. We are all in the same age group, age range, and I'm excited to have them both on this episode. So, today we're going to be talking about the Asian American adoptee experience. So, before we dive into this topic, I'm going to have my two friends introduce themselves. Again, like sharing who they are, what they do, where they are at in life now.
ANDREA MACGOWN, INTERVIEWEE, Okay! I got the wave for me to start first. I’m Andrea Lee MacGown. I'm 20 years old, I'm a Junior at Smith College. I studied philosophy. I'm a philosophy major, logic minor. Let's see, I'm part of VSA at Smith, ASA, and I'm trying to join the Chinese International Students Association. My interests are, hmm... watching movies, T.V., talking friends, going out to eat. I care a lot about learning about different languages. I studied Vietnamese for a year, last year. I’m learning Mandarin right now, and I've spoken French since I was six years old. I think that ever since coming to Smith, I've become, I've totally become an activist. Like it's become even more, it's an ever growing part of my life. And I'm interested more so in Asian, like a lot of different Asian countries’ politics, around those. I was born in Guangzhou Guangdong, in China, adopted when I was six months old, and now I currently live with my mom in a north Boston suburb, very White neighborhood. And I have another adoptive sister who is 14 years old, so a lot younger than me. And yeah, I don't think I've left anything else.
NGUYEN: Cool, yeah! Thanks for sharing!
LAURELIN HAAS, INTERVIEWEE: Hi everybody, my name is Laurelin. I am a recent college graduate. I’m 22 years old. I was adopted when I was 11 months old from Nanquanshi and I since moved to Iowa. I was born and raised - well, was raised in the Midwest. And I have three younger adopted siblings, so all three are girls adopted from China, but we're not biologically related. And… I guess we can start in on the questions now?
NGUYEN: Yeah, let's get started! Cool, thanks for sharing you two. I'm, let's just say, I'm excited. But I keep saying that, but okay. Yeah, so I do have questions for both of you. And since I am not an adoptee, I feel like I really want to share a platform for different communities within the Asian/Asian American community, especially… I think it's very important to be mindful of the diversity in the communities within our community. I've been, I've been using the word community a lot, but basically, that's the point behind this series. It's sharing all the different kinds of voices. And so, to start off, I want to ask you to share your journey, of your background because I know that every Asian, Asian American, Asian American adoptee has their own unique narrative and what's interesting is that Project Voice is a podcast series that's meant to give space for Asian women. And if you look at the number of adoptees, this more often than not, adoptees are female. That's actually interesting, I just realized. Anyway, so what was it like for you growing up as an Asian American adoptee? This is a very general question, but something that I'll give you a lot of room to navigate around.
HAAS: Yup, well like I said, I grew up in a Midwestern town. It's pretty small about 20,000 people. And I, growing up I could count on one hand how many other Asian people that I knew and most of those are my sisters. So, it was a very homogeneous environment. Mostly White people. And so growing up, or well now, I like to tell people that I was sort of, I look Asian, but I was raised White. So, there's a lot of parts of Asian culture that I feel like Asian Americans who are raised by Asian parents are connected to, that I may be not as connected to with my background, but... even though I lived in a very non-diverse environment, I never felt like that was strange because it was the only thing that I'd ever known growing up. It wasn't until college that I really started to appreciate how diverse the community was and really start to make connections of people [who] look different than the people that I was used to growing up.
MACGOWN: Yeah, I'd say my early memories, like three or four, preschool age, I would remember going to Chinese school and there would be, it would be like a community of also other adoptee girls. And then along with that, we would have the parents talk with one another about this because we all had that thing in common. So, there's Chinese school, which I only took for a few months. I was, I remember being really little and I just wanted to stop. And I asked my mom, why I stopped, and she was like, Andrea you were saying, “Oh, like I'm having trouble learning English like I enough trouble reading. I don't want to learn Chinese,” and she just let me leave. But there's also another big thing in my area that connected a lot of Chinese adoptees to one another and it would hold events once a year but I would remember really hating those because everyone was really, they weren't very nice to each other and so I stopped wanting to go to those events, too. And so what I'm noticing is that my mom tried to, as a White woman tried to incorporate Asian culture into my life, but even as a little kid, I just noticed that it felt really [disingenuous] and inauthentic, so yeah. Also, at school, people thought that I, I mean, it was obvious I was adopted, but people thought that I was like an expert on China and they kept asking me questions about China and I just, I just started to hate that part of myself because like I was, I was just as American as they are. If not, almost like you know exactly the same. So, I grew up a lot of the time just navigating that part of my identity, basically, until college. The same narrative is true then. I came to college and then, I connected with Asian culture. I made lots of Asian friends but that also helped me really reflect on what my childhood was like. The amount of racism I experienced, the amount of- the lack of diversity in my hometown was shocking and the things that I put up with. I never once thought before college, like when I was walking around with my parents that people thought it looks like any different, like I didn't feel that way. But now in college, it's like very, very, different. And I'm like, almost overdosing on Asian culture now that I overcompensate for what I didn't have. Like I don't have, like first-generation Asian American speak the same language that their parents speak, it's very strange for them to not so that's why I'm learning Chinese and yeah, basically that sums it up.
NGUYEN: Mm-hmm. I think it's interesting that although both of you have, clearly have very different narratives, very different experiences growing up, both of you have also shared this chapter where you start exploring your ethnic identity, your ethnic background. And I think that's partially because well, when we get older, we want, we just want to learn more about ourselves and the different possibilities of who we can be as individuals and where we begin to connect our past to our present and future. So, yeah. Interesting that despite the difference in backgrounds in this episode, both you just have this bond towards wanting to be closer to your cultural heritage instead of averting yourself from your ethnic background because I know that there are adoptees out there who do that, who have chosen not to explore their Asian heritage as one or have chosen not to ,who have yet, really look into their Asian side? Ha. So both of you have briefly mentioned, touch this before, but what's your relationship to your parents like growing up as an adopted child of, as an adoptee child in the US? Has it changed? Has it remained the same?
HAAS: Well, I was raised by a single mom. And to be honest this question is a little bit difficult to answer because I don't know the experience of anyone else. I can only relate from my own experience so for me, I don't know what it's like to have grown up with two parents or even to grow up with biological parents, so for me this feels totally normal, like this is you know,
it's obvious that my parents, my experience with parents are different than other people's, but I- you know, I can't imagine that our relationship is different than any other mother and daughter.
NGUYEN: Have you been, like growing up has you.. ah, this sounds so weird coming from cause... Okay, so for me, I feel self-conscious asking these questions because I don't want to seem like I'm trying to lead you to certain answers or responses that I want to hear.
MACGOWAN: Just say it.
NGUYEN: Oh no...
MACGOWAN: Just say it, Jess!
NGUYEN: I also don't want you to, what your experiences have been like growing up, and like what questions you have been bombarded with and so I think I talked with Laurelin about this about you know, whether these questions bother you or not? Because I know that you know, oftentimes, it can get really tiring really quickly. But anyway, back to what my questions. [I] just wanted to know the dynamics between your parents, like I know that there have been struggles where, are there have been relationships are rocky because you know there's as you grow you start realizing things start, perceiving you, yourself differently, perceiving your parents differently? Or it could be the opposite, you can be close with your parents growing up like from the moment you remembered, from your first memory as a child to now, like you know, your relation hasn't changed and it's been very emotionally stable and supportive so we have both dichotomies happening in place for not just of course, adoptees’ households but Asian families in general. But I think this is a, I think, yeah, like your focus on your relationship with parents; it's definitely something to talk about for this topic, for this community. Like the role that your parents playa huge part on your life, I would assume. So, my question is yeah, what is your relationship like with your parent like? So I know that Laurelin has answered but feel free to add in, Andrea.
MACGOWAN: Yeah, so I have a mom and a dad. But my mom did almost all the adopted processing and all the, pretty much all the important/significant… She took care of like raising me basically. My dad was there but he wasn't very helpful but I still love him. In terms of my Asian American identity, again it's not something I had to face or talked about with them until I went to college. Once I went to college and got more involved in social justice, I started asking them things about what they thought about certain racial things and as, as White people. Some of the things I asked, took they took it the right way, and some of the things I told them like, “Oh like as an Asian person, I get treated like this,” or like, “blah blah blah,” or I start to talk about racism. For example I've had a really difficult conversation with my mom about reverse racism and which obviously, does not exist and that's a whole other topic but she, as a White woman just you can get it. And I realized that she... she's a White feminist like, in a lot of ways or at least she used to be; she championed women's rights without taking into account race or other things. So, I had to argue with her about that. I kept pushing and pushing and pushing and she's learning a lot better now. But, I think my relationship has changed because they can't, they both hear about me talking about race issues a lot more than they did in the past. And that has caused some problems, but we are working on them and my parents for the most part, my mom at least is doing a lot to change, like the way she is. Like, for example my cousin, who's White, she posted this video on Facebook of this guy pulling like, a really racist prank. My goodness Chinese people, against Chinese speaking people, and my mom, my mom called her out and that was really good of her. When she called her out and explain the whole thing, “can't do that thing,” so my mom has definitely learned a lot from me in that respect. But from our newer generation to our parents, especially our White parents, it's important to keep them informed, I think.
NGUYEN: Mm-hmm definitely. I also think it's important to keep, yeah, definitely, White parents but also, we don’t see this as much or we don't hear as much but, Asian children being adopted by Asian parents, probably parents from different ethnic identity but yeah. So, that is interesting there. And I forgot there was someone who I read about, she was Korean and then she was adopted by Chinese parents. And I don't know, it makes me wonder like what was her life like like? I mean, probably growing up just being exposed to whatever culture you’re in. But anyway, how has your perception of yourself changed over time?
HAAS: I think when I was first growing up race was never anything that I ever thought about but as I got a bit older, I slowly realized I didn't look like all the other people in my classroom, although I looked like my sister. And you know, that never really bothered me at all. It was something to make me a little bit special, a little bit different from everyone else, but I never saw it as a negative thing. And then I first started really thinking of myself as an adoptee when I went to an adopted kids camp in high school, which is basically, a very short summer program where a lot of other adoptees get together and you do camp activities, but you also talk about race and identity and that was when I first started to realize what being an adoptee meant and especially with an international adoptee in a very, very White [background] and so that really drove me to learn more about my Chinese background and so I studied abroad while I was in college and learned Chinese throughout high school. And once I got to China and started being able to really speak the language with some degree of fluency. I finally got to a point where I it seemed like the two parts of myself, the Chinese and the American started to come together at once, where I could exist in China, as both a Chinese national and also a Chinese American and so getting to that point took a really long time but I feel like it was really worth it.
NGUYEN: Yes, it was because you met me!!!
HAAS: Yeah, along the way, that’s true too!
NGUYEN: Yeah that. Shanghai. Yeah, was… studying abroad, I have to say, is definitely a life-changing experience. I think anybody who's in college should do it, if they have room under schedule. Just removing yourself from day-to-day academic environment that you grew up, you spent years in and then going out of the country living on your own, indulging yourself or diving into a whole new culture, or indulging yourself all the good food there, ha… And… China was great like I could definitely see how just studying abroad just… I think, it just removes yourself from that comfort zone and allowing you that space to think and reflect on who you are as a person. And yeah, people, go out and travel!
HAAS: Yeah, but I really think it has a very… I mean, going abroad for anyone is a really great experience but for adoptees especially, when especially, when you go back to your home country or for me it wasn't even just coming back to China when I went to places like Taiwan or Korea, I felt it, too, where all of a sudden you're not a minority; you are part of the majority. It's a very eye-opening experience. It was for me the first time I went back to China as as a high schooler, it was just like realizing that feeling like you're unique or feeling like you never quite fit in. That's not something that everyone goes through and so... when I first got to China and was able to totally blend in as long as I [didn’t] open my mouth and speak my terrible Chinese. It was [a] completely different experience. I think just for the fact that you realize that… like growing up, that's not the only way that people live.
NGUYEN: Good point, very good point.
MACGOWAN: My turn. Um, I think my perception of myself has, oh my god, my world has been turned upside down. Like, you go from thinking that you're no different than anyone else and that they're not looking at you weird, when in fact, sometimes you and like you look in the mirror like when you're at school, like in high school and then everyone else is White and you look at yourself and you see yourself but you don't see yourself as different but you kind of are. Um, I think when I came to college, and the first thing I realized as a result of me getting my identity more solidified, the more I saw injustice and the more I thought that even though it kind of sucks. I have a responsibility to do something to change it. My perception of myself is that of someone who, how do I put this I just..I feel like I can't do nothing about things... It's gotten me, it's pushed me out of my comfort zone because I'm really not a leader by nature but I have this mentality these days like if I don't do something about racism, about Asian American social justice then there aren't enough people doing it in their spare time. Like you, Jess, you do are doing this in your spare time, huh? But um, but yeah, I just feel like more of a responsibility to take a more formative role in the institution, not in just like educating myself yeah… institutional change.
NGUYEN: Yeah, definitely! I feel you right there, haha. That is true words from a Smithie.
MACGOWAN: So I think it’s the system. It’s all about fighting system.
NGUYEN: Yeah, I guess, I shouldn't criticize school as something that you should get away from but going to Smith College, going to, you know, an institution as screwed up as it can be, you learned! We reap benefits from the privilege of having a liberal arts education or experiencing a unique type of education that many other students don't get to receive and it opens your eyes. Academia opens your eyes to a new world and I think that's definitely happened. Coming to Smith, coming to a school like Smith, because it's not just the classes you take but also the people, that these classes attract or the academic realm has attracted people who want to learn and just want to gain a vocabulary to empower themselves. Knowledge and vocabulary to empower themselves and other people along the way in their community. And so, yeah, so there are many different ways on how one can explore self identity and how you, your perception of yourself has changed, like... but I'll leave it at that. And so, ha-ha. What are some important moments in your life that have helped you better understand your background or who you are as a person again?
HAAS: For me, I think one of the biggest moments that I remember related to my adoption childhood was when we got a foreign exchange student from China. When I was in second grade, a foreign exchange student came to live with us for an entire year and she was from Hainan, China and so she came speaking not very much English, but we were still really young so the language barrier with kids is so different than the language barrier with adults. Because you can still play with kids even if you don't speak the language and so living with her was I would say a formative experience; iit made me really… because before we, before she came to live in our house, we've done things like celebrate Chinese New Year and there's just little things that never went too in-depth in the Chinese culture, but having her there was like having and just this wonderful window into China 24/7. So, she would teach us phrases and songs and we listened to her talk on the phone with her parents in Chinese and not understand the word of it but still think it was really cool. And she came to our schools to help explain Chinese New Year to everyone. I think that was some of some of the most memorable moments of my childhood related to China and adoption. So, never really talked about adoption much with her because we were still so young. But looking back on it now, it was... I think one of the big reasons why I eventually wanted to go back to China and also why I felt pretty comfortable with the whole idea of China, just growing up.
MACGOWAN: Yeah, a key thing in my life that has helped nudge along my journey or start my journey as an Asian American actually doesn't have anything to do with China at all. It actually has to do with my first ever relationship. When I first got to college I… I went, how do I say this without sounding like, oh...yeah, when I first got to college a month in or something I decided that I want to explore dating [and] my sexuality and so I decided to make a Tinder and then I had this guy over one night and then we kept seeing each other a couple more times and then after like a couple weeks, we miraculously found each other, found ourselves like in a relationship, sort of. So he was, he's actually Vietnamese American, Vietnamese. I would go to his house a lot he would show me lots of food that wasn't just generic Vietnamese food like pho. Like, all these other types of food like banh xeo, bun bo hue, and all these things and then I would talk to his mom about her time in Vietnam and her life. And I was like, “Hmm. I should learn Vietnamese,” You know, like, maybe, maybe that. And this is this is like right out of high school this happened. So, yeah. He was like my first introduction; he was like the first person to like start talking to me about… He once said these harsh words to me once that I haven't really gotten over, but it dug deep because it had some truth to it. He said I was like a banana that I was yellow on the outside and white on the inside. And that's hurtful because I mean I'm not White, but at the same time I grew up around White people I was raised by White people. I know nothing; I knew nothing else before then. And that's why I like started to think about who I was more. So after that relationship I ended things. I decided to be single for a while and I was seeing a bunch of different guys, still from Tinder and they were all Asian. Yeah they're all Asian like some one way or another. My preference towards Asian men probably stems from my desire to fully immerse myself in Asian culture and like, all aspects. Like, the attraction so if I ever met up with anyone I would ask, “Oh, what languages do you speak? Because I'm interested in language. Like, what ethnicity are you or like or your roots?” And also it was like also kind of a thing ‘cause in high school, school being being primarily White, since I don't fit into the standard, a racial standard, I felt like a lot of people were romantically interested in me, or anything or like there's something like this. And then when I got to college, I started dating or whatever; I really started realizing you know nothing's wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with the way I look or whatever, not that it's like I'm placing all my my importance on how men judge me, but my standards for dating didn't have to depend on race just as much like on Whiteness. I think what I'm trying to say is that, dating and sexuality taught me a lot about race. Since I primarily or exclusively sought Asian men, and it was another part of my life that was filled with Asian culture, and… it proved to me that just because I wasn't White, it doesn't mean that I'm not beautiful or whatever or I can't be seen as that.
MACGOWAN: I remember in high school, like all the people were dating each other were like, really White and really, you know, typical, like Italian or like Irish American whatever. And then I stuck out like a sore thumb. And I was like, oh, like am I not dating material? You know but it’s not really like that when in reality there’s nothing wrong with me you know.
NGUYEN: Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with you. Mmm, mmm, mmm. There's something wrong with them, but not nothing wrong with you. I am curious to know what your reaction are to my questions. I know people have asked me these questions before or however you take down even this question itself I find it, again weird to like I do want to dedicate an episode on this, unique experience or this community, but at the same time it's, it's difficult as someone who's not an adoptee to ask such question because I sometimes feel like I'm not in the right place to do so. Not feeling like I'm in the right place to ask such questions but I still ask because it's a point behind, like I have to do it because it's an interview. So… yeah, like what are your reactions to questions when people ask you about your upbringing, your identity, so on and so forth? ‘Cause I know, you know, again, being an adoptee is one part of your identity. I think that's something that some people like to stress, like you're more than that. But I don't know. Ha.
MACGOWAN :I think your questions are fine because you're not part of this identity, so you're asking questions that you don't know and also a lot of other people that are not part of our
identity do not know. So, you're doing your job as an interviewer to reveal a lot of stuff. I think it is interesting you asked about the parents thing, which is a good idea. I think that, parents... it can be really difficult. Like, college has opened my eyes in a lot of ways but with the parents thing, I think it’s made my life really really difficult. And I think it's a huge part of growing up and discovering things as an Asian American adoptee with different parents of different ethnicities ‘cause sooner or later you're going to encounter some pretty big problems and it's going to hurt but, you know.
NGUYEN: Hmmm… yes.
HAAS: For me, I think your questions are fine because you have our consent to ask them.
HAAS: We open up as we feel comfortable and you're coming from a place of genuine curiosity and humbleness. I think every adoptee is different and their level of comfort with different types of questions is going to be different so for anyone with the adopted friend I wouldn't say you know, just jump in and ask about anything that you're curious about. You kind of have to talk to them and find out what types of questions they're comfortable with because for some people, their identities are out of bounds but anything else is game or you know ,it's different every person. Like, you sat down and you asked us. Can we talk about this? I'm gonna ask you these types of questions, so I think that's totally fine. And if worse comes to worst, if you’re talking to an adoptee and you ask them the question, they can always just not respond and that's totally fine.
NGUYEN: That's true. Thank you, that was, that was what I needed. (LAUGHS) Okay, so what do you think is important for parents of adoptees to know?
MACGOWAN: Number one most important things for parents of Asian adoptees to know read a lot about basic levels or social justice. Talk about, talking about intersectional feminism, talking about race, and then you go further. You talk about Asian American identities and then you go even further and then ask a lot of questions. Check yourself for your parents, check themselves and their privilege and umm, hmmm… I think parents need to do a lot of listening don't do the whole I know better than you because they're not unless, they are adopted themselves. If they're parents that adopted their kids, they don't know better than them. And you need to listen to their feelings. That goes along with being a parent so.. .but in this case, especially because um, it's really something that really permeates into your identity because it's so different. There's history in this; there's history in adoption, history in Chinese, like, Asian adoption and it's not just a thing that you do and get to forget about it happens- it stays your whole life you just need to see how it goes.
NGUYEN: So true! Preach! Preach! Education! Educate your parents! That's the number one thing you can do as soon as you are aware of it yourself. Oh, as soon as you have gained vocabulary to educate others.
HAAS: Now that's a good question. Like I said before, every adoptee is gonna be different. But in my experience, one thing that I think helps me form an identity of myself growing up was just
being very open about adoption from a very young age. Like it was never something that was a secret in our house, you know; if it was very obvious. Whenever I had questions I can ask about it and they were answered and now, it just seems such an everyday part of life that don't get brought up much. But I wouldn't say that that's necessarily but all parents should do because every circumstance is different. But in my experience, I think that's what I'm really glad that my mom did, at least for me.
NGUYEN: Mm-hmm yes, that was awesome! Awesome feedback for parents there! So, next question, what are the key takeaways that you hope our listeners will gain from listening to this episode?
HAAS: I hope that people take away that every adoptee’s story is different. And every adoptee’s experience is definitely going to be very, very different from one another’s. I mean, just growing up even in the same house with three other adoptees, I know that we all have very different experiences ourselves. And we all come from with a similar background, so definitely no surprise that people who grew up in totally different environment have very, very different experiences so I think that’s the main takeaway for me, at least.
MACGOWAN: Um, for me I think the main takeaway is that once reality hits you in the face and you're, if you ever get taken out of your White environment and put in the new environment, reality, yeah, as I said it's going to hit you in the face but in a good way! It's gonna get you going to slap you in to what's actually going on and when that happens, I just hope people, um, I just want people who are adopted to speak more on their own. Like, there are so many, hmm, like, I remember reading all these magazines and stuff about also other Asian adoptees. I wish there was more like an edgy social justice vibe from it instead of letting adults monitor what the narratives are. Like, I wish people had more groups of adoptees from China, Korea, whatever organized by themselves. I want to see, like that's the kind of content I want to see these days. What else? It’s okay to be angry. Like, retroactive anger is over like, what's happened in your life, because after I realized a lot of things about my identity, I just got like, so angry because of the way I was treated and the way that, like you know, blindfold on and then you go to college or whatever and then you realize you that you shouldn't been treated that way. It’s that person who said that to you but you shouldn't put up with that. So, come to terms with your anger. Anger isn't irrational or useless all the time; channel it towards something else and I really want people to just speak up more.
NGUYEN: Yeah, both of your takeaways are very valuable and I think I'm dedicating only one episode on the Asian American adoptee experience so far and there's so many narratives out there. Again, like Laurelin said it's something we should, that you know, we should be more aware of. This episode isn't meant to represent the whole Asian American adoptee about the population of course, just like how this podcast series isn't meant to represent all the voices in the U.S., all the Asian voices in the U.S. And both of you are Chinese adoptees, and your narratives are different from the narratives of Vietnamese adoptees and Korean adoptees. You know, these huge waves of adoptees coming all the way to the U.S., are [a] result of historical events like what been going on in China. Right. Right? Right!
MACGOWN: One-child policy.
NGUYEN: Yes, one-child policy or wars like the Korean War, the Vietnam War… so you hear a lot of waves of adopted children from China, Korea, Vietnam, other Asian children affected by similar events to this, like wars ,and just whenever a country experiences political or economic turmoil, you see a wave of adoptees. One final question, what are some resources and spaces do you hope our fellow Asian American adoptees and their parents should look in to?
HAAS: I think that's one of the problems. There isn't a great list of resources for adoptees; there's no one central database with the doc and resources and there's no one forum where all adoptees come together to talk about things. So, for me personally, I haven't found any really great adoptee resources to recommend to anyone. But I know that, you know individual adoptee have Youtube channels or they have documentaries or they have their own blogs, things like that. And so maybe there's a list of things like that out there but I haven't found it yet.
NGUYEN: Which is completely fine, which is a completely a valid answer since it does show that there's a lack of, a lack of accessibility for these resources and spaces. There's not really an active... it's there when you take the effort to find it or it's there when you... if you take that extra effort and it can be difficult, really, because it depends where you grew up. And who you are surrounded by and what knowledge we are equipped but anyway, Andrea?
MACGOWAN: Yeah, this is probably the most difficult question of all of your questions. [NGUYEN LAUGHS] Literally because uh, yeah. Also I'm kind of skeptical and a little tired of adoptive organizations by White people talking about this stuff, like parents. I don't really know. I guess the best thing to do is for parents, for people, it's just make sure you have just, just don't be, just don't be around White people all the time. Don't don't have only White friends don't do it that to yourself. You're only hurting yourself. Make Asian friends and maybe seek- I know on Tumblr, it's a really great; there are really great resources on Tumblr that you can just look. There are a lot of blogs there, a lot of people you can talk to. This might be a little, I mean not everyone has the ability to do this, but if anyone is in college, join club, join Asian clubs! Make your own clubs for adopting, for adoptee people. Maybe yeah, this this question was so hard I read it and I was like, there is nothing out there my god! But there needs to be more. I don't know.
NGUYEN: I’m pretty sure that there are organizations and clubs that are led by Asian adoptees. Maybe I'll put it in the show notes, the list of resources that I can find or we can find. It’s funny that you mention Tumblr because I think this is the third time that Tumblr has been mentioned as a resource, haha.
MACGOWAN: I love Tumblr!
NGUYEN: Yeah, same! I didn’t expect it to be so heavily referenced.
NGUYEN: Thank you two so much for joining with me today to share your spin on my questions. It means a lot that you make a point out to do this for you know, not just me, of course but to everyone out there who's listening and I look forward to seeing what others have to say. So, for those listeners out there who are taking all this in, make sure to share us your feedback on firstname.lastname@example.org, on our Facebook or Twitter! And I'll see you all next time! Tune in soon.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)