In this section, you will find resources for adoptees interested in exploring identity. Included are resources primarily for transnational adoptees from Asia but many of these resources are also helpful to adoptees of any origin interested in who they are and what it means to be an adoptee. For more information about reunion trips and genealogical research, we recommend you check out those specific sections of this guide.
This podcast explores the personal experiences and adoption journeys of Korean adoptees. Each episode features a different adoptee, sharing their story and how they came to be who they are now.
Adapted podcast logo from Adapted podcast official twitter
This podcast features stories and conversations from different adoptees that touch on topics such as identity, belonging, and many more. This podcast is created and produced by an adoptee for adoptees struggling with understanding who they are and where they belong.
Adoptees On logo from Adoptees On official website
Gene Demby, N.P.R.
This episode of Code Switch includes the perspectives of several adoptees who were adopted into households of different racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds than themselves, and the experiences these adoptees had when forming their own identities and connecting to their birth cultures are discussed. The adoptees share that most of their adoptive parents lacked the training and awareness necessary to help them form their own racial identity in childhood.
Code Switch logo from NPR Code Switch official website
Mei Kelly (Producer)
Mei, a Chinese adoptee and ETHS alumni, created this documentary out of a passion to help other adoptees process, develop, and understand their own identities. As an adoptee herself, Mei was always interested in how other adoptees relate to themselves and navigate their lives. Twelve adoptees are interviewed in this documentary, and their diverse stories provide different perspectives on the intersection of adoption and identity.
Deborah C. Hoard
In this 20-minute documentary, the lives and experiences of transracial adoptees are explored. Complex issues such as confronting stereotypes, feeling alienated from your culture of origin, and learning to define one's self are discussed through personal lenses.
Reshma McClintock (Producer/Subject), Michael Hirtzel (Producer/Director/Editor)
This documentary features the story of a transracial adoptee (McClintock) and her return journey to the country of her birth. Captured in this documentary is McClintock's struggle to bridge the divide between her American upbringing and her Indian roots, as well as the struggle to reconcile the family she loves with the birth family she may never know.
Maureen Marovitch (Director/Co-Prodcuer), David Finch (Co-Producer)
This documentary follows 15-year old adoptee Vivian Lum's journey from Canada to China, the country of her birth. Lum returns to the orphanage she was adopted from and reconnects with a fellow adoptee who was adopted locally. The story explores Lum's journey and discoveries, as well as explores the ripple effect of China's One Child Policy.
Note: Unlike the other video on this page, these films are not necessarily available to stream online for free.
China's Children International (CCI)
A collection of blogs created by transnational/transracial adoptees. The majority of these blogs focus on Chinese and Korean adoptee experiences as they navigate life and self. These blogs provide a personal window into the experiences, struggles, and the overall question of what it is like to be a transnational/transracial adoptee.
This blog began as a way for Woolston to document her search for her birth family. After her reunion with her birth family, Woolston changes the focus of this blog towards activism and social justice for adoptees. It is now a platform for adoptees to express themselves, their voices, and their concerns. Older blog posts are archived on the site and accessible.
This vlog documents the experiences and adoption journey of Alex Brennan, a Chinese-Canadian adoptee. Identity, self-discovery, and self-image are issues explored through deeply personal and intimate video confessionals and interviews.
In this vlog, Naomi documents and explores her life as an East Asian adoptee now living in Britain. Through this vlog, Naomi not only explores her own identity as a transnational adoptee but also promotes the voices of other East Asian voices in British media.
Center for Adoption Support and Education
An anthology of personal stories written by teen and young adult adoptees about their adoption journeys. Included are engaging exercises for readers to explore their own journeys.
Robert L. Ballard (Editor)
ISBN: 9780972624442 0972624449
An anthology of 100 personal transnational/transracial adoptee pieces, including voices from people aged 11 to 63. Poems, stories, art, and more are included in this collection. Through different experiences, perspectives, and mediums, adoptees share what it means to be who they are.
If you are looking for resources for adoptees exploring identity from specific countries or locations of origin, we provide a small selections below. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It is representative of only a small selection of many works for adoptees interested in exploring identity. Further reading is provided in the Media section of this guide.
ISBN: 1911590308 9781911590309
In this memoir, Chung explores her identity as a transracial adoptee from Korea taken in by a White family in Oregon, USA. Chung writes about identity, race, family, motherhood, and her journey to uncover her true self.
Ying Ying Fry, Amy Klatzkin, Brian Boyd, Terry M. Fry
ISBN: 0963847260 9780963847263
This first-person POV book tells the story of Fry's adoption from China, detailing her complex and personal feelings about the process as well as her struggles to understand who she is and reconcile that with where she came from and the caregivers she left behind.
ISBN: 1524684104 9781524684105
This memoir tells the story of Marijane, a transnational adoptee born in Taipei, Taiwan but raised to believe she was Vietnamese and Japanese. She was adopted by an American military family and raised in the deep South, where she was often the only Asian face in a crowd. This story details Marijane's discovery of her true racial identity and her journey to reconnect with her birth family as she discovers more about her Taiwanese heritage and culture.