Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

So, there’s this white woman (or family but mostly it is the mother) on the ‘Gram who, in my humble opinion (which is wholly entitled to speak about such an issue), is simply the worst. She and her white (doctor) husband adopted two black, twin girls through an adoption where the birth mother and white woman met.

DISCLAIMER—I am (as the aforementioned white woman defines) a transracial adoptee. I am of Asian descent, and my parents are two white people. They adopted me decades ago, long before the internet, long before social media, and you know what, they do not perceive themselves as heroes or some fanciful influencers who can and will make adoption #trending. They’re just my parents. I’m their child. They did everything they could to make my life as a former orphan totally normal (my older brother was essential in making my life seem normal). This writing is not really about them, but they are the greatest parents in the world. I’m not biased at all—END DISCLAIMER.

And so, this is the place from where I have come, and this is the impetus for my disdain for said white woman. It’s one thing to do good; it’s an entirely other thing when you want to share, through self-promotion, all of the good you are doing. Of course, I do not know the circumstances of why this white couple chose to adopt not-white kids. I also do not know why it is that they chose to adopt at all. Perhaps they have shared their story, but it is hardly the story about which they want to talk, and oddly enough, it’s really the only story they are entitled to tell. I would take no issue with this white woman spewing her whiteness and lamenting, remembering and rejoicing in the sadness of her motherhood story about how these girls have changed everything, from her perspective. But this is not the messaging of this white woman; instead, she opts for seeking praise for how great of a white woman she is to two black girls. I have many friends who are interracial couples, who (inevitably) have interracial children, and who are in families where nobody looks like anybody else.

The issue is not that this white woman adopted two black girls. The issue is that two orphaned children (no matter their race) were abandoned by the woman who conceived them, and now, they are being raised by two strangers. Yes, race will play a part at some point in their lives, but the issue, at this stage in their lives, is not about race—it’s about adoption. They will forever feel abandoned. They will forever know they were unwanted. They will forever face the challenges that come with being an orphaned child. Whatever this white woman does will not control or change the fact that she is not their birth mother. Someone who was supposed to love them unconditionally, forever, gave them up. The issue with adoption is about adoption, not race.

I grew up not seeing any other people who looked like me, aside from my brother and one other kid my brother’s age who was also adopted from the same country, around the same time (all during the span of a few decades, hundreds of thousands of children were adopted out of this particular country, and essentially, created enough economic activity to jump-start the country from which they were adopted into the modern ages, and nobody talks about this, and yet, here we are, a massive population of Korean adoptees who were shipped to These United States but who are wholly American [leave out the Asian, please]).

Of course, my identity is important. It’s important to know the answers to questions that are obvious, like “Why don’t you look like your parents.” The reason why I do not look like my parents is because I was adopted, not because I am Asian; I just happen to be Asian. My parents went out of their way to make sure that they knew about the country of our birth, our homeland. They went out of their way to educate themselves about our homeland. We traveled to go to a camp that was tailored specifically for adoptees from this country. We traveled to the country to visit and see where we were from, but none of my issues about adoption revolves around my race. Of course, I cannot speak for the girls as they are black, and so, their lives will inevitably acknowledge their race in a way that I cannot relate to. Nevertheless, right now, as children, their adoption issues are about their adoption. People will see them as black kids with white parents, but they will not see themselves as such. They will just see themselves, and then they will look at their parents, and they will not think to themselves, “Oh, there’s my white mom.” Instead, this white woman, as she frets about things I cannot believe she frets about, will be perceived by her twins as their mother. Just mom. No race. And so, the race issues that this white woman frets about now are all about her, not about the actual people who will have to deal with the issues of race…her daughters. It’s almost like she sits and thinks about what the world thinks about her when they see that she has two black girls, like she sits and thinks about her girls’ blackness. And it’s like all of these thoughts make her feel sad, bad, worried about a future that is already making her feel uncomfortable.

I know that I look Asian, but I am not Asian. I know that I definitely do not look white, but I am very white. I did not need to grow up to be everything. I can be Asian-looking because the woman who gave birth to me is Asian. But I can also be fully white on the inside because the two people who saved me are white. All of these people instilled within me an amalgamation of a new identity, me. This happens to everyone. Thus, all of this emphasis on adoption being so strange and different is meaningless and somewhat harmful. Not that adoption should be ignored and dismissed, but the emphasis could change. If this white woman continues to emphasize the race and adoption part, she will forever make her girls feel like adoption is not normal. People within biological families are adopted by biological relatives! This white woman was not chosen so much as as she was willing and available, and so, her emphasis on her being chosen over the idea that she saved two people’s lives makes me sick.

Sure, they can share the tips and tricks of the adoption process, help those who would rather or who have no other option but to adopt, but this particular couple rubs me so wrong because the white woman basically spews every single little thought she has about how (essentially) great, blessed, amazed, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, she is to be able to be these girls’ mother, how “incredibly blown away I am that their mother chose me.” The fact that she shares at all for capital earnings and superficial gains pisses me off. Exploitation much? The fact that the entirety of social media highlights those who already brag about themselves, those who are already predisposed to bragging about the nothingness of their accomplishments pisses me off, I suppose, if I’m being honest. There are so many people out in the world doing good and not shining a light on themselves.

In this vein, my parents adopted children to save lives, not to brag about whatever accomplishment they felt as though they achieved by being “chosen” to be parents for children who are orphaned. Sure, you can argue that perhaps my mother is not as clever or resourceful in turning her knowledge and experience into a half-assed business/IG post. Or you could argue that my mother not only had enough knowledge and experience to adopt children, internationally, before the internet did everything for you, but also, my mother spent all of her time raising me and my brother (also adopted from the same country, but no, we are not related by blood), used all of her energy and resources to give us the greatest life possible. My mother did not spend all of her time “sharing” and promoting the greatness of the works she endeavored to pursue. No. My mother spent all of that time doing it, and we’re both fully grown, self-sufficient adults. She succeeded (They both did, I am intentionally leaving out my father at this time, using my mother as a comparison to the white woman in question).

So, while it’s nice that the white woman in question (who exists as the impetus of this writing) wants or desires to “share her story,” she embodies everything that is essentially wrong with white women in America, these days. White women in America are capable of turning something like being a black adoptee in America into something that’s all about them. The good news is that all of this white-woman attention might actually be able to bring more issues about race to light, but don’t hold your breath. A white woman will not risk her position. Nevertheless, the issue remains. Whether or not this white woman succeeds will not be known until her girls are both able to tell her and prove to the rest of us that their mother raised decent, self-sufficient people.

Dance, ‘Ant-Man’!

Dance, ‘Ant-Man’!

She had never really thought about it before, except under the specific circumstance of riding in Economy Plus on the night flight from Auckland, Auckland, NZ to Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. For it was on this flight that she watched, for the third or fourth time, Ant-Man and the Wasp. The first time, of course, is the most notable version of this movie-going experience.

She and her partner had decided that they were going to leave Seoul, South Korea—their current home—the year before, and now, the date of their departure only stood a mere month away. Having been seeped all spring and summer in celebratory senioritis, they were winding down their fundays in order to focus on the final tasks that all had to be accomplished during that final departure month.

The grand finale had to be big, and it had to be awesome. This only left one option: The late-night showing of Ant-Man and the Wasp in IMAX 3D at the newly reconstructed Yongsan IPARK on opening weekend. For those who don’t know, Seoul is the greatest city on Earth, but don’t take her word for it; she left. Anyway, in Seoul, there are movie showtimes at all hours of the night except maybe between 0400 and 0500. Thus, that last showtime they opted for was a showtime at 0140 – 0348. Yes, that’s right; this is a normal showtime in Seoul. The problem, however, is that the subways and buses stop running around (depending on the bus or subway stop) midnight, and they don’t start up again until about 0500 (again, depending on the subway stop or bus). So, what is one to do?

Well, they scheduled a bunch of shit and thought that they would try out the whole “Sextel” experience in Sinchon. If you know, you know. They planned a stay-cation that would begin in Sinchon, work its way through Hongdae, Ewa, Yongsan and Itaewon, whereupon they’d leave their apartment in Nowon at 9 AM on Tuesday morning and not return until whenever the first subway out of Itaewon got them back to Nowon on Friday morning. So, on Tuesday morning, they packed some daypacks with only the stuff they’d need, and off to Sinchon they went where the first thing on their tour was to meet her birth mother.

After an emotional afternoon and evening reconnecting with her birth mother, her man meeting her birth mother for the first time, they found themselves in a sextel over by the Yonsei University campus, and so, they changed clothes for an evening on the town. Wednesday, being unable to use the room during the day (if you know, you know), they checked out and filled the day with eating and finding various places to escape the heat for long periods of time without being weird or having to buy multiple handcrafted beverages throughout their stay and played hand after hand of Hold ‘Em. By 1800, they were checked into a new sextel, and they just kicked it in their room that had a circular bed and large circular jacuzzi all in the same room. They may or may not have run out for some orange diner-type food and bath bubbles.

By the time Thursday rolled around, they were getting a bit worn out, but they charged on. With morning filled with more coffee in establishments that were comfortable enough to spend hours in, they spent the afternoon grazing a pizza buffet and then, began their walk to Yongsan. Again, if you know, you know. The remainder of Thursday remains a blur of walking, walking, trying to find a GS for some liquor fixer, walking, walking, trying to find a bathroom, trying to find somewhere to eat, trying to find a GS for some more liquor fixer, walking, walking and walking. By 2300, she called it quits and threw a fit, which transpired into her lifemate calling a cab and the driver driving, literally, half a mile to their destination. And this was not the first time she lost it within a mile of their desired location(s). But come on, they had been walking all day—and not in a straight line—to Yongsan. Arriving at the theater two hours before the showtime, they felt quite proud of themselves and continued their never-ending Hold ‘Em game.

Obviously, Ant-Man and the Wasp was awesome. They left the theater around 0400 and decided that a cab to Itaewon would be quite cheap at that hour, so they hopped in a cab and grabbed a bite to eat at a 24-hour pizza joint. After the delicious slice, they walked to the next subway stop just to kill some time. As the sun began to create a gentle haze over the calm, cool city, they sat and tried not to fall asleep on a park bench just outside the subway stop that they would inevitably enter at 0530 in order to catch the first train out to Taerung where they would transfer to Line 7 to the Nowon stop where they would catch a bus for a twenty-minute ride to the stop one block from their apartment where they would eventually take a cold shower and pass out.

By the end of August, they were on a plane to New Zealand, where they would stay for a few months only to quickly learn that NZ was not the place for them. And so, onward they went back the USA via a short, tropical vacation in Hawaii. It was this first experience of Ant-Man that instilled the knowledge within her that Paul Rudd would indeed dance when she tapped on the in-flight screen and selected to watch Ant-Man and the Wasp to pass the time as they flew over the Pacific at night. And of course, it was on this flight that she realized that she very muchly enjoyed watching Paul Rudd dance. Of course, she had always known this, intellectually, but now, she became curious about it interpersonally.