The raising of Asians by Caucasians has been less controversial since nearly all Asian adoptees come from other countries, and there are no vocal groups in the United States questioning the practice. It is mostly because of poverty as well as culture that Asians do not adopt. Today, the number one country from which U.S. citizens and Canadians are adopting is China. Guatemala and South Korea are also countries that place a great number of children in the United States, and most of these children will become part of multiracial/ethnic families.
What we have learned about racism as it relates to Asian adoptees is primarily from adult adoptees from Korea. The adult adoptees from Korea have provided a wealth of information on what it is like to grow up in a Caucasian home. The first generation of these Korean adoptees are now approaching fifty, since Korean adoptions to the United States began in 1956. Asian children tended to view themselves as Caucasian while growing up, and then as adults tend to view themselves as Korean-Americans or Vietnamese-Americans, depending on their country of origin.
The adult adoptees expressed that they wished their parents understood more of what it was like to experience discrimination, and they wished that they could have had more exposure to their culture. In addition, these adults wished their parents interacted with the culture so that all members saw themselves as a multiracial family. Looking back, these adult adoptees wanted their parents and other siblings to be part of this racial integration-not just the Asian child being exposed to white and Asian culture.
The attitudes of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s may have changed, but children still experience isolation if they are the only Asian child in their community and still face teasing and discrimination.
The materials for this course have been reprinted with permission from the book The Complete Adoption Book, Third Edition, Copyright © 2005, 2000, 1997, by Laura Beauvais-Godwin and Raymond W. Godwin. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Media, Inc. Co. All rights reserved. The complete book is available at bookstores on and offline.