Just over a month ago, I met up with two other queer adoptees of color to talk about adoption. Mariama Lockington is a queer black transracial adoptee and So Yung Kim is a queer korean adoptee, both of whom have done writing and work around adoption. (We had over an hour and a half’s worth of footage, so it took awhile to whittle it down and pull out some of the highlights and pieces from what was shared.)
As with my last video*, whenever I get to hear queer adoptee of color stories, I am entranced. I crave adoptees of color that want to talk about adoption, what it was like for us growing up and how we are still being impacted by adoption—and always will be. I crave time and experiences with other adoptees of color that is not mitigated through, by white people, white parents and non-adoptees. It is so rare that I get to hear queer adoptees of color talking about our lived experiences.
I love hearing our words (all of them, in whatever way they come tumbling out) and feel ever-so appreciative, especially knowing how long I went without ever hearing any of our voices tell our own stories and stumble through sharing and asking and loving.
As adoptees, it is so important for us to tell our stories and to leave evidence for each other. We are often isolated, individualized or discouraged from connecting our stories with each other. There may be adoptees who will watch this in secrecy, who have never met another adoptee, who never talk about being an adoptee with anyone in their life or don’t think about how adoption impacts them. It is not easy.
Our stories are all so different and complex and they all have value–we have value.
We will not be polarized, made one-dimensional and pitted against each other. I don’t want to be used by non-adoptees to prove, justify, and support arguments about adoption that don’t include us, profit off of us or don’t speak to our whole, full and various lived experiences. There is no “good adoptee” or “bad adoptee,” as many of us may have come to understand. We are complicated, our lives are complicated, our histories are complicated; our identities are complicated. And as adoptees of color, all of us have the lived experience of being people of color who were adopted, and that thread connects us all.
Immense love and gratitude to Mariama and So Yung for sharing some of your story, knowing that it’s not all of your story. Thank you for your honesty and humor. And most importantly, love and gratitude for being visible (as adoptees), for being recognizable to me and for recognizing me.
(*This is the second video in a series of videos I am making for Leaving Evidence. They are video snap shots of some of the brilliance and deep complexities that we hold individually and collectively, as a people. We must leave evidence for each other.)