by TESS NACELEWICZ, Staff Writer
When you’re of one race and your adoptive parents are of a different one, just walking down the street with your family can feel like the whole world knows you’re adopted.
That’s one of the things that a group of adopted teens talked about recently when they gathered at a Portland adoption agency to eat pizza, do artwork, and share their thoughts and feelings.
“It’s just the odd looks, like when you’re out in public, but you learn to ignore them after a while,” said 14-year-old Tess Kupel of Scarborough, who was born in Vietnam but whose adoptive parents are white.
But Tess and the other teens laughed about how the experience can also have an up side. “It’s great because when your parents are being very embarrassing, you can just walk away,” Tess said. “It’s like, ‘No, I don’t know you.”‘
Most teenagers struggle with such questions as “Who am I?” and “How do I fit in — at school, with my family, the world?”
For teens who are adopted, however, those difficult questions can take on additional layers of complexity as they wonder about their birth parents and place of origin. That can be particularly true for teens who are members of transracial families, in which they and their adoptive parents are of different races.
I’m wondering when I’ll stop getting weepy every time I read about how proactive the younger generation of TRAs are. I guess I’m filled with part envy, part pride and much hope as I see them doing things I would never have dreamed, like actually talking about adoption.
Hat tip to Gang Shik. She does us proud. 😉