You have come to the right place if you are looking for the best adoption quotes from the transracial adoptee’s perspective. This article shares 100 Heartfelt Transracial Adoptee Quotes that Honor’s the Truth of Adoption from the transracial adult adoptee perspective. As we end 2022, I decided to call my fellow adoptees to help collaborate and share quotes from the heart, reflecting the voices almost always overlooked in the adoption constellation. So, 100 transracial adoptees came together to capture some of the feelings and experiences that transracial adoptees go through during their lifetimes.
While you read these quotes, we ask you to remain with an open heart and mind and enter the possibility that we all have a lot to learn from one another. We must recognize that adopted children grow up, reach adulthood, and consume the rollercoaster journey that adoption brings. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, cousins, doctors, nurses, teachers, public speakers, advocates, writers, authors, D.J’s, lawyers, homemakers, students, etc. As transracial adoptees grow up, they host lifelong experiences, and every experience holds value to their lives and stories.
By sharing 100 Transracial Adoptee Quotes with the world, we hope that a new level of awareness will arise that there is so much more to transracial adoption than what society recognizes. Maybe perhaps love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff? Perhaps we should start talking about relinquishment trauma as soon as possible? Maybe adoption hurts more than we would ever know?
Again, we ask for open hearts and open minds.
Thank you to each transracial adoptee who shared their heart here. While you read this article, you will receive validation that you are not alone. We’re in this together, and our voices are valuable and worthy.
We are stronger together.
100 Transracial Adoptee Quotes
- “My fundamental outlook on human relationships is: if the person who brought me into this world can abandon me, anyone can. I have inadvertently become an island, trusting no one, grounded by no significant human connections. The word ‘love’ is meaningless to me because it was conflated with abandonment and abuse. I should not know these feelings.” – B. Birch
- “The way I see it, transracial adoption is human trafficking and the theft of children from the people the world sees as unworthy of raising their own children. I was not adopted, I was stolen.“ – Elli Mariyama Manneh
- “As a transracial adoptee, your experiences with racism, self-identity, grief, etc., are all unique to yourself, which creates an immense sense of loneliness. Parents of transracial adoptees must know that their child will go through many obstacles they will NOT understand. But it is important to recognize this and always support the best you can!” – Miguel Jones
- “I used to pray every night that I’d wake up and be white so I looked like I belonged with the family I was with.” – C.C.
- “As a TRA, it feels like I culturally appropriate my very own culture whenever I wear or use original clothes, jewelry, accessories, and products from my people. I feel like a total fraud, an imposter that doesn’t belong anywhere.” — Jennifer Elise Teer, IG @PiecieLove
- “I am a Korean adoptee, brought to Oklahoma in 1982. Becoming a mother changed everything for me. I am convinced, now more than ever, that regardless of the circumstances surrounding my relinquishment, my birth mother still thinks of me from time to time after all these years. There’s no way she does not find herself wondering about the woman I’ve become.” – Jennifer H-P
- “Dear Adopters, The only reason you were able to adopt me is because society failed my mother and forced her to make a decision she shouldn’t have had to make in the first place. Not yours truly.” – Kris
- “Being a transracial adoptee feels like I was set on fire, and everyone around me was ok with the fire because it kept them warm. They all got what they wanted while they watched me burn. The worst part is they expect me to be grateful for burning.” – Amanda B.
- “I grew up thinking I was white.” – Omaira Avila
- “Mirrors are a strange companion when no one else reflects you. People and family make it clear, so all you can do is look back at yourself.” – Nikolay Arthur
- “Learning in my late 40’s about my Peruvian ancestry, I have referred to myself as a ‘reluctant latina.’ I honestly have no idea what an ‘authentic Latina feels like, nor have I ever experienced the culture of my father’s people.” – Lynn Grubb
- “Growing up, I wondered who my birth parents were for many reasons. I wanted to know where my physical features came from but also what kind of people they were. I believed if they were good, loving, and smart, that would mean I was. I didn’t believe I could identify who I was until I knew where I came from.” – Jen Capeless
- “Love is colorblind, or so they said! Adoption into a colour not your own is beautiful…on the surface for the White Saviour who rescues you. When you find your biology, you truly understand being Black on the outside yet white on the inside. As a transracial adoptee, it’s like straddling two cultures yet fitting wholly in neither.” – blacksheep1969
- “It’s illegal to change the identifiable information on your car. Individuals can be fined $10,000 or jailed for up to 5 years for changing the VIN, and nobody bats an eye when the name and date of birth is changed on a birth certificate for an adoptee.”
- “For every highlighted war hero, there are a thousand more that suffer in silence with the traumas of war. PTSD is the hidden scars of war. Adoption is very similar to the military, where only the positive narratives are highlighted as many more suffer from guilt (being adopted as others are not), suffer from shame (unable to share their abuse), and fear (as they deal with separation anxiety).”
- “It’s incomprehensible to me how it’s illegal to sell human organs for profit, but the wholesale of the entire person through adoption is justified by our society.”
- “If adoption were a drug, then the evidence of its efficacy would have pulled it off the shelf many decades ago.”
- “Adoptions vary like the weather. For every sunny outcome, there is an equal negative, destructive tornado of an outcome that has destroyed either a child, biological mother and/or adoptive family. Therefore, we need to honor all adoption narratives, both positive and bad.”
- “It’s estimated that nearly 60,000 intercountry adoptees reside in America without citizenship, and roughly 60-70% of domestic adoptions have open records. Adoption laws have made great strides in recent years but so much more needs to be done for every adoptee to have the same rights as a non-adoptee. Of the nearly Seven million adoptions in the United States, it affects almost 1/3 or 100 million Americans face adoption in their immediate family (includes adopting, placing a child for adoption or being adopted.” – Jayme K. Hansen
- “As a transracial adoptee, I lost my first family, my first culture, my first language—all gone before I even knew I had it. The journey to reclaim them has been long and arduous, and I might never get the answers I want or need. But I will carry on, both for myself and this community.” – Patrick Armstrong
- “Having to justify my experiences and realities to the most familiar strangers, fighting to be seen and heard, to two different worlds that I seamlessly exist in, is the most exhausting experience to navigate.” – Vanessa Pacheco
- “My parents did an amazing job for the ’80s, and I was always connected with my bio family. I had a healthy racial identity as black, but you still miss out on some aspects of your culture. However, you learn that no matter how aware your adoptive family is with transracial adoption, they simply can’t grasp living firsthand with racism. At times, they can even use microaggressions without being aware – being an overall positive experience doesn’t negate the challenges. When it comes to transracial adoption, you’re at the mercy of people around you. “Where’d you get them colored kids?” Being “othered” in a space that’s still your own family, it’s a weird complexity. Hair insecurity, trying to find a seat at a table, I’m tolerated but not actually included.” – Silver
- “I grew up thinking that if I denied my culture and sounded white, people would accept me more.” – Marta Aranda
- “Being nonwhite, raised by a white family in a white community, has given me a near pervasive feeling of triblessness. It is communicated in various ways that you are not white but also that you are not of our racial background, especially if you are from a relatively segregated place. Identity is a constant question. One of the advantages though is that we get to create our own identities and stories, which is both a privilege and burden that few except us can know.” – Andrew Glynn
- “The truth of the matter is that my parents were told that my race was not a factor in how I was to be raised, but race does matter when you are one of the only people of color in your community. Race does matter when you get racially profiled at a store, when someone at work is micro-aggressive, and when kids at school tell you that your skin is ugly and dirty and that you matter less because of it. I struggle to claim my identity as a Latinx person to this day, and I never learned the tools of how to cope with my racially based hate from my family. I used unhealthy coping mechanisms to “stay alive” barely, but luckily, thanks to the online adoptee community, sobriety, and therapy, I am learning how to love myself, brown skin and all.” – Joe Toolan
- “Being adopted into a transracial family did not protect me from racism or micro-aggression or being fetishized. I’ve learned that Adoptees might get to experience their birth culture, but they will always experience people’s perceptions of their race and culture.” – Cosette Eisenhauer
- “It has taken me years to allow myself to feel angry about my experience as a transracial adoptee raised by a white parent. I want to tell my younger self that my feelings are valid and my circumstances are nuanced. I encourage them (my younger self) to seek those who will provide space to be your full self. You are not too much.” – Anica Falcone – Juengert
- “I never feel as invisible as when someone asks me “Do YOU experience racism here?” – Hasina Helena, A transracial adoptee who is from India but resides in Sweden.
- “As an International Adoptee, my journey is not exactly the same as that of Transracial Adoptees; however, there are a few intersections. It is from that perspective that I share this feedback. As an Afro-German child growing up in a family that was rife with racial microaggressions was difficult. Clearly, the only way for me to be comfortable in the midst of these conversations was to consistently deny my bio mom’s ethnicity and the European part of my own. There was absolutely no inclusion, exposure, or discussion of German culture. There were 25 years between the year that I learned I was adopted and the year that I finally met relatives that looked just like me. Having no familial mirror was very difficult for me. I was expected to sink or swim prior to that moment. Upon my reunion with my first family, my adoptive parents admitted that they knew my biological family all along. WTF!? It changed everything for me and my connection to them. However unconscionable, it was also the defining moment that made me choose to be the one to not spoon-feed generational trauma to my own children.” – Jacquelin Taybron
- “In my experience as a TRA, I was often shamed for wanting to know more about my birth family. When I did ask about them, I was told I was selfish, and I was dismissed about wanting to learn more about my culture. I was once told that I can be black but not too black.” – IG @thespeckledadoptee
- “Being a transracial adoptee, it’s living with the fear your physical features could condition the way others will treat you.” – Maria Daozheng
- “We, as the transracial, as the mixed, as the adopted, exist beyond the outer bounds of language, where your words have no meaning, where we laugh at your categories and borders and contradictions. Beyond the safety of your understanding, beyond the limits of your imagination. What power we must hold, then, as to exist beyond this imagination is to know that a better world beyond this one exists, not only in the future but here and now. And that what we create, becomes.” – Yohanyy Torres | Andrew Drinkwater
- “Being a transracial adoptee makes us a double minority – both racially and biologically. The world is seen through a lens that is very different than most people. Patience, a sense of empathy, and listening from people who understand we think differently are essential to an adoptee’s ability to thrive. We need this to embrace that we matter; that different is good and that we deserve to be heard, even though we know most cannot and will not ever truly understand from our perspective.” – Maria Gatz
- “Adoptees don’t always know exactly what they’re going through. They not only need patience from others but also with themselves. If you are close with an adoptee, be patient with them and learn from them. You never know what is adoption-related trauma and what is part of being human.” – Zoe Seymore
- “Adoption did give me a very different life for which I am extremely grateful. In retrospect, there was still a good deal missing. Discovering the transracial element of my pre-adoption life has added immensely to the richness of my life. It’s really unfortunate in so many ways that it had to be kept secret. I just wish I had found out sooner.” – Jack Rocco
- “I’ve never felt as a TRA that there was a space for me since I knew my birth parents, but I felt so much of the distance from them that I might as well have not. Maybe there is so much vastness and space and language that is not yet created by us and for us as adoptees to claim for ourselves since so many decisions were made for us. After all, our experiences are our own.” – Oumou Cisse
- “My parents say that they just see me as ‘their kid’ while still letting friends of the family and/or relatives say some pretty racist stuff to me when I was growing up. I’m 26 now, and I just realize how not okay that all was.” – Grace R.
- “I constantly felt like I was sticking out among family & friends, I forgot how comforting it can be to have friends that look like you. Being a transracial adoptee is such a unique experience, so unique that at times it feels almost isolating.” – Julie M.
- “Growing up Asian in predominantly white communities, I didn’t understand the importance of representation until I saw myself being represented. With that comes questions, confusion, and pain surrounding racial and cultural belonging.” – Phoebe M.
- “I feel like I don’t fit. Anywhere. Not in my current family…they’re too white. Not in my first family…they’re a world away. I’ve accepted that I’ll never fit. Anywhere.” – Sara G.
- “Alienation. Wherever I turned, I was constantly reminded that I did not fit the society around me. I am a Latina, but I have no connection to that culture. I grew up white, but I absolutely do not look like it. Alienation wherever I looked.” – Carmen C.
- “For me, trans-racial adoption feels like a constant journey through an identity crisis- a never-ending cycle of grieving, shedding, discovering, losing, gaining, analyzing, & understanding.” – Lauren Castillo
- “Being a transracial adoptee means living a life of being misunderstood while also being surrounded by assumptions made by others of your own life. It also means never fitting in anywhere, except for maybe the home you make yourself.” – Alexis Bartlett
- “My white adoptive mom once told me that she believed in nurture over nature until I started exploring my black identity and “acting culturally black.” I still live with the fact that my mom adopted me with the belief that she could love the black out of me. It continues to break my heart, more than thirty years later.” – Dr. Abby Hasberry
- “You are stronger than your shadows. Sure there has been major upheaval in our life. I was 26 when I was half told I was even trafficked or adopted. All a bit shady, but I know who I am because I spent my life being me and built myself up one day at a time. Hard days? Yes. Gamut of terrible feelings? Of course, racist attacks, obviously from within my family and not, BUT only if you allow externalities define you does it transform you. Do it yourself, you’ll be happier and less upset. Ciao. Iranian adoptee to an Italian family, raised in Canada.” – Flavia Nasrin Testa
- “I grew up thinking I was a fraud. Not enough of anything, but always too much. I was told I was no different, so what I was feeling could not be true. There is a hollowness to my sense of self that will always be there.” – I Used to Be Sam
- “As a transracial adoptee adult, who was raised with the “colorblind” worldview, I was dangerously unprepared for college, city life, and the world. Leaving for college, I vividly remember being convinced racism was not real. As an adult, navigating Blackness, Whiteness, racism, and discrimination for the first time without the “cloak of (white) privilege” life was devastating and demoralizing for me. I felt bamboozled in college, after college, and in many instances in life still to this day.” – Molly E. McLaurin
- “I felt Swedish, I breathed Swedish, and I lived Swedish – everything I did growing up other white Swedes did as well – but of course, as soon as anything negative happened in school as a kid or teen, it was all blamed on me, and my sister – the psychiatry got involved as is the practice here and only the two adopted kids got labeled, after which we got our rights removed as young adults – the practice is such that whenever an adopted kid/teen is involved in any trouble the psychiatry will label you, we’re sacrificed as scapegoats by the psychiatry and they don’t give a fuck about context, we’re treated like foreigners – not like citizens by them – the statistics tell of adopted kids being four times more common in the psychiatry, and in the suicides for a reason.” – Victor Fernando Nygren
- “Growing up, my white adoptive parents forced me to believe they were my only family. Because of this, I’m unable to connect with my Indian culture. To the point where I don’t feel Indian. Sometimes it even feels like an Indian woman didn’t give birth to me.” – Winnie
- “I always felt as though I wasn’t “Latina enough” or fitted in anywhere being a Transracial Adoptee. And being torn from my ethnic culture was not my choice as a child. However, reclaiming my roots and my power as an adult on my terms has been my choice, and I am grateful for it because now I realize that HOME has been inside of me all this time.” – Sarita Buer, Latina TRA – @saritawellness
- “Being a TRA has wreaked havoc on my mental and emotional health. Referring to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, my sense of security, belonging, and esteem was neglected when I had no racial mirrors during the formative first 19 years of my life. At the age of 55, I still have no sense of belonging, my self-esteem is in the trash, and I struggle forming lasting intimate relationships. I wouldn’t wish this internal battle on anyone.” – Karen Elliott
- “I think people often think that being adopted is a glamorous experience and a fairytale ending, and I’m here to say that yes, it was an experience I had, but the fairytale ending does not exist. I have been navigating the intersections of my identity as a transracial international adoptee from South America, growing up in a predominantly white community, along with several other adopted siblings. These experiences, while unique to my story, are very common, and I have realized how much of my mental health has been impacted by these many layers of my identity. I hope people understand that being an adoptee is complicated and not as easy or wonderful as some people may think.” – Ana Felicia, Colombian Transracial International Adoptee
- “This is what no one told me about being adopted…No one told me that I would find out that I was out of the loop when the most crucial moments in my life were set in motion. No one told me how misplaced I would feel — how I would grow up knowing that I am different, with my origins erased. That I would struggle with buried trauma, racial identity as never-ending grief, because I’ve lost something that I can neither recover nor just “get over.” – Eun Kyung Chee
- “Biological connection means nothing and everything at the same time. You’re told blood doesn’t make a family, and love is a choice. But if love is a choice, then why is it so hard to choose to love yourself? Not knowing your true roots and being reminded of that harsh reality every time you look in the mirror, at your adoptive family’s faces, or at everyone around you who doesn’t resemble you at all makes self-love difficult. And being adopted, being biologically different certainly wasn’t my choice.” – Kelly Hrank
- “Growing up, my experiences as a transracial transnational adoptee had been narrated and carefully curated by my white adoptive parents. As a child, the only feelings I was allowed to access were gratitude and happiness, and my own adoption story didn’t even belong to me. Coming out of the Fog freed me to embrace the anger, loss, and grief I had also been feeling my entire life. And to eventually meet a worldwide community of adoptees and witness others who felt exactly or similarly to me was validating and necessary for my adoption trauma healing.” – Maze Felix (They/Them)
- “Being a multiracial transracial adoptee is a constant search for identity. It is a constant navigation between belonging and not. I feel roots that I don’t know how to access and, at times, explore without feeling like an imposter. It is a constant practice of coming back to myself in acknowledgment that I am enough by just existing.” – Tisa A.
- “For me, my adoption is the “fairy tale” version, the one people think they’d be getting out of the whole experience. But just because the princess is happy now doesn’t mean her trauma is gone or no longer hurts her. She’s stuck in an endless loop of ‘what if it didn’t happen’ or ‘who was I supposed to be’ and feeling like an imposter at all times because she’s been playing a part she didn’t ask for. Yet, she wouldn’t change a thing because she loves herself for her strength and understanding adoption has given her.” – Supposed to be Selena
- “My closed transracial adoption was full of lies and deception regarding my ethnicity. This led to a lifetime of confusion, searching for clues to my racial identity. I never fit in and had no “tribe” or culture to claim as my own.” – Signed, T. Adams
- “Here’s an inside scoop to understanding an Adoptee’s Grief: No matter the explanation for why they were given away, babies do not understand logic and babies do not understand politics, but instead, all they know is that they were abandoned. Babies, instead, should feel safe, secure, wanted, and loved, but that is all lost in the process of relinquishment and adoption. Their baby self has learned the message that they are unwanted and unloved, and so the only way for Adoptees to heal is through self-love.” – Haley Hudler, Chinese American Adoptee, adopted in 1997.
- “Who I was before the fog was a version of me wearing a mask which was chosen for me. An identity handpicked. Now, here I am after the fog. Maskless. Identity reclaimed anew.” – Harley Place, Indian Adoptee
- “I know what it feels like to hold a piece of myself that will never have a true sense of belonging to one culture or family, and that piece of me will always feel lost and stranded. I know what it feels like to grow up being racially isolated and wishing I were white, wishing I looked like my parents. I know what it feels like to be loved by my parents and to have the knowledge that their first preference was to have a biological child.” – Amanda Fallon, Korean American Adoptee, Adopted in 1982.
- “I may have been adopted from India by white people, but that doesn’t give me white privilege. Ever since 9/11, I receive far more uncomfortable looks from people at the airport.” – Nandeeta Ramsey
- “Adoption is my roaring broken heart beneath the expectations of love-starved strangers. It is the daring, lonely, and unending pursuit of finding doors and the skeletons they hide. The idea itself of embracing arms, of belonging, is the only home I’ll ever know.” – “Amanda” Wild
- “Like many transracial adoptees, I’ve always felt like a part of many worlds but more like a visiting tourist. My twist is that my adoptive mom was Mexican, and I’m white, so I grew up around relatives speaking Spanish and eating tamales at holidays, but since my mom didn’t make an effort to raise me as bilingual, I’m unable to access her/our full community. Now I send my little white kids to Spanish immersion school to [re]connect with our Mexican roots (that don’t actually feel rooted to my whole identity), which also gives me cultural appropriation vibes, but it truly was and is a big chunk of my multi-layered culture. So I’m in yet another space where I feel like I don’t belong- transracial adoptee communities that are seemingly all people of color.” – Mari Triplett
- “My proximity to Whiteness as a result of being raised in a White household didn’t shield me from experiencing racism. It deprived me of learning how to exist as a POC and instead taught me how to erase my sense of identity, culture, and self.” – Dong Mee
- “As a Chinese transracial adoptee who was raised by my Jewish mother in a predominantly white area, I experienced a lot of confusion surrounding my cultural, ethnic, and racial identity. I spent a lot of time feeling like I wasn’t Asian enough or Jewish enough, no matter how much I tried to fit into those two labels. Since finding the adoptee community, I finally feel like I’ve found a place where I truly belong and can just be my authentic self.” – Shelley Rottenberg | IG: @shelleyrottenberg
- “I feel impostor syndrome follows me throughout all of the cultures I’ve grown to be a part of, especially my own. I feel an openness to other races that is not reciprocated by anyone I know, as I don’t know any other trans-racially adopted people. I feel proud to be celebrating my culture as I learn it, whereas others who have grown up with this culture may leave it behind or take it for granted.” – Soni
- “I feel blessed that a family wanted me because upon finding my birth mother, she didn’t want anything to do with me after our first initial meet-up. When I think of transracial adoption. I realize the blessing lies in being able to identify with more than one ethnicity, and this trait allows my future work as a social worker to be impacted positively when it comes to the skill of tuning into the client, intellectually and effectively!” – IG @stay_driven05
- “I never know which culture I belong to. My Bulgarian Romani or my American that I was adopted into. I feel like I don’t belong in either, and when I do, I feel like an imposter.” – Maria
- “I never felt like I fit in, I lost my roots and my culture. I remember never knowing what I was ethnically when I was asked and telling my white friends they should be in my family photos instead because they looked more like everyone else.” – Chelle Cook
- “In grade school, I was one of the only Asian people in my predominantly white community and was heavily bullied for it. I didn’t even understand that I was being bullied at the time, so I never told anyone about the constant racist comments from my classmates. This, combined with having a white adoptive family, ultimately led to a big identity crisis, and it’s taken me a long time to start healing. Surrounding myself with people who accept me and exploring the adoptee community has helped me so much in my healing journey, and I hope other adoptees struggling can find loving communities just as I have!” – Kaeli Walker
- “The system of adoption has hurt both my biological parents and me and simultaneously makes it impossible for us to heal together. It has pitted us against each other, but we are not adversaries. We share collective pain.” – Julie Emra
- “Anytime I experienced racism or someone questioning my race or ethnicity my adoptive mom would always answer, “but you’re Italian too. Did you tell them that? I found out later I’m not even Italian.” – Rhiannon
- “Transracial adoption feels like having a house but never a home. Knowing that something/someone is missing, but not knowing how to fill that void. Perpetually isolated even when surrounded by your circle of love.” – B
- “Strangers constantly pointed at me, asking my parents, “Is THAT your daughter?” My parents tried to pass me off as some exotic European, so I learned my true ethnicity by way of a schoolmate’s racial slur. My mom said I looked like a racially derogatory term when I braided my hair. I stood no chance of forming a healthy sense of self and will forever feel alien and disconnected.” – L. Calder IG: @ragged.wild.lines
- “My mental picture of myself was so whitewashed that I couldn’t even recognize my own reflection. How do I reconcile my brownness with a culture that was taken from me?” – A. Kumari
- “I wasn’t adopted to take a pill. When I act out, I’m heartbroken, not mentally ill.” – River Riika
- “My birth mother did not write that my father was Puerto Rican on the birth certificate, fearing I would be adopted by a Spanish family. I spent my whole life thinking I was Irish and English. My adoptive family was in total disbelief that I am half Hispanic.” – Terri
- “As a transracial adoptee in a white country: “Family-seems to always end up being something I have to prove myself belonging to and worthy of” – Hasina
- “As a community, we often connect over our trauma and pain. What would it mean to build radical joy, love, and abundance? I have found that joy outside of the adoptee community by connecting with other movements where I can share new perspectives as an adopted person. What would it mean for our adoptee community to join broader movements for social change and add our voices to them?” – m. Seol
- “I am a queer, trans, non-binary, neurodivergent, autistic, ADHD, PTSD, Asian-Chinese transracial + transnational (self-estranged) adoptee, survivor, artist, and human. I feel like I was just an object that was purchased and sold overseas as a ‘simple’ solution to a privileged white, cis, het couple’s infertility struggles, to fulfill their dream of having a baby and raising a family, except that each time that I strayed further from their idea of who I should be/who they wanted me to be for them, I got into trouble and made things worse for myself by exploring and expressing who I was. The greatest disservice of my transracial/transnational adoption experience was growing up and being treated like just another white member of the white family I was sold to because there were never conversations about race, I had to figure out on my own how to deal with racism and racist remarks directed towards me or in media, I never developed any early sense of comfortability with being Asian-Chinese, and they never allowed me to go outside of the child they wanted me to be, even when me trying to meet their unrealistic expectations almost killed me and lead me to several mental health struggles and life-long trauma. I AM NOT A SOLUTION, I AM A HUMAN/AN INDIVIDUAL, AND IT IS A DISSERVICE TO TRANSRACIAL ADOPTEES for adoptive parents to NOT embrace the child(ren)’s culture, language, food, history, and everything there is to know for the rest of their lives because THIS IS ABOUT SUPPORTING THE ADOPTEE AND THEIR LIFE; ADOPTION IS TRAUMA.” — IG: @ohheyyits_aj (they/them)
- “Adoption has brought me the most pain, privilege, loss, and love I could have ever imagined. I want people to know that the act of adoption is traumatic; losing your biological family, heritage, culture, language, and much more is trauma. I want people to know that I don’t think all adoption is bad, but I DO think people who consider adoption should heavily do their research. And lastly, I want people to know that I am enough, I am Asian enough, and I belong in both Asian and American spaces.” – Lori Scoby
- “There has been a great struggle in my life to fit in. Like trying to make a square peg fit a round hole. So, it felt like being forced to whittle pieces of myself away even though I could never truly be like everyone around me. White.” – Hanna Lee
- “Being a transracial adoptee has always made me feel alone, unworthy and unwanted because I was “different.” “Didn’t have real parents who loved me” and never fit in with the ‘cool kids.’ Recently though, I learned that family is not always blood and true friends never judge you and love you for who you truly are. Being labeled as ‘adopted’ can be challenging to accept, but I’m learning to be proud of my label instead of embarrassed or ashamed. Because I’m adopted, I’ve found a loving and supportive community online and in real life, and I’m extremely grateful for my growth and who I’m becoming.” – Allyson Ware
- “I have had to fight my entire life to get back a fraction of what was taken from me, my language, my people, my country, my culture, my roots. I have fought so hard only to feel at times like it’s still not enough. I should never have had to fight for something that was my birthright.” – Marcella Moslow
- “There’s a difference between having a home and feeling at home. As a transracial adoptee, I’ve never experienced the latter, even though I grew up in a supportive, loving home. I currently live in a home and have built a life that’s overflowing with love, support, and empathy. Yet there remains a deep, innate void that permeates my soul, and I believe it will only be fulfilled when I return home to Korea.” – Tory Bae
- “My parents raised me with the “color blind” mentality that I was no different to anyone in the sea of white people I grew up around while simultaneously using my Asianness as a virtue signal in their saviorist narrative for adopting me. Since I was the first Asian person many people met, I was treated like I was the purveyor of all Asian culture & knowledge even though I was a child. I wish more people become aware of how patronizing it is to live with the belief that white people/the West are deemed better suited to adopt than the people of the same race/ethnicity of the children.” – Katie L.
- “Abused, neglected, orphan adopted changes for families and nations to their delight, yet then is 4x more likely to suicide. Thank you for shifting the way you think and act about adoption to change that STAT.” – Kristina Lisa
- “As a transcultural adoptee, I struggled for a long time to define my identity and what true belonging means to me￼—Until I discovered the concept of the third space. Here, I can liberate myself from external expectations and labels￼ and be firm yet fluid in my self-understanding.￼ I am Korean, I am German, and I am everything in between and beyond—I am simply Sun Mee.” – SUN MEE MARTIN
- “While my feelings about being adopted and being Korean-American are complicated, and they change often, I’m beyond thankful for adoption and the family it’s given me – my family is one of the clearest pictures of God’s goodness in my life. But it’s also really hard – being adopted is hard, and being Korean-American is hard, so having both of those experiences intersect can be confusing and painful at times. For me, having the safe space to process both my grief and gratitude has been so sweet. I’m thankful for the friends and family I have who have shown me Jesus through asking questions, listening to me ramble and reflect, and just being present for me in my pain and doubts this year.” – Kim G Instagram/Twitter – @kg_hyunmee
- “Quantum Leap Living, where life situations suddenly move me from one continent or situation to another- shedding and acquiring cultures, language, and even my own new/old names, has left me struggling my entire life with realizing I deserve a choice and say in my life. I’ve had to learn this through many emotionally and physically abusive relationships- I simply did not realize I had a choice. I thought “things” and people just happened to me, and I learned to endure.” – IG – @lalasunmi
- “My recent journey has been to recover/reclaim my Colombian culture and to reconnect it to my identity. All this with the hopes of integrating these aspects of myself that were lost to adoption. It’s also about remembering who we are behind all the social programming of family and society expects of us” – Elena Di Giovanna Serrato
- “Just because an adoptee is a certain race or was adopted from another country does not mean they have an obligation to learn the language, be interested in the culture, etc., of their birthplace. While there are many who wish for this, there are many who do not. This is part of an adoptee story. It shows the range and depth of our interpretations of personal experiences and should be validated.” – Emily IG – @languagetraveladoptee
- “Sometimes there’s a small feeling of envy for seeing others and families where the kids look like their parents. It’s not necessarily skin color but specific features. As a transracial adoptee, we sometimes feel more connected to others who are from the country we are born in and, as an extension of the culture. But really, we are culturally never going to be them, and our features will remain uniquely ours in families that brought us here, and that’s one thing not to envy.” – Tara S.
- “Being an adoptee is like being an elephant in a family of lambs. The environment that the elephant grows up in will affect its mind and heart. Don’t think it won’t, you’d be lying to yourself.” – Megha
- “Being a Chinese adoptee in America has had its ups and downs. I have struggled with feeling like I don’t always fit in and like I’m not good enough. Growing up, it was a constant battle trying to figure out and accept my identity. But even through the struggles I’ve faced, being a transracial adoptee has made me the strong woman I am today, and now I can proudly say I am a Chinese Adoptee.” – Olivia L.
- “Though I am a Haitian raised by a non-BIPOC mother, I am not “transracial.” Trans means to erase, transition or transfer. There was nothing left behind, nor did I forget any part of myself. I only had to awaken to this truth: Nothing was left behind, and even my ancestors came with me.” –Lanise Antoine Shelley
- “Adoption took not only my identity but my existence itself. Rootless, I felt the string that tied me to this world was broken. Faceless. Bodyless. Like if I didn’t exist until I found where I come from and who I am. How could I exist if there was no beginning? Now, I know.” – Andrea Maldonado
- “Culture that runs through the blood but doesn’t reach past the tongue.” – Savannah Quinn
- “Parents of transracial adoptees need to step in and advocate for them when they experience racism. It’s hard to self-advocate as a kid when you barely understand you’re a target of racism. The love of family is not a force field for racism-you need to be a vocal activist too.” – Sara W.
- “The lines you created were an illusion. I know this because I crossed every one of them. When I didn’t fit into your box, you got scared. I got abandoned.” – Shaka Firefly IG – @shakafirefly
- “My biological mother didn’t know or didn’t care to identify my biological father. She went so far as to have the wrong man sign away parental rights to me. I later learned she did know who my true father was and hid a huge part of my identity in the process. I was raised my whole life to believe I was white until I found and reunited with my Puerto Rican biological father.” – Luna Ashley IG: @thelunaashley
- “I have always known I was adopted and that I was Chinese. My adoptive mom made sure of that. That piece of my identity is why I am here, at the University of Minnesota, studying social work with dreams of working with transracial adoptees like me. I was privileged to grow up being proud of my race and ethnicity. I’m here because I want others to have the experience I did and not live in shame or sadness for not being White.” – Ariana Meidan
- “Hearing a deep sense of calling from your unconscious ancestral being within but unable to unlock the secrets or hear its song.” – Jade
- “I’m so curious how come adoption has yet to solve the historic – current problem of leaving behind young – elder person, place, thing blamed, shamed, scapegoated, trashed that I began seeking and sharing solutions.” – Tina B.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read quotes from 100 transracial adoptees. Please share this article in your online communities. Our hope is that we raise a brighter light around adoptee voices and bring the truth to light, one story, quote, and click at a time.
If you are an adoptee, what quotes spoke to you the most? Could you relate to any of your fellow transracial adoptee’s quotes?
Maybe you are an adoptee and missed the call to be included in this 100, we still want to hear from you! If you are an transracial adoptee who has a quote to share, please drop them in the comment section below.
If you are not an adoptee, but you have been impacted by this article in some way, we would love to hear your thoughts as well.
Once again, a special thank you to all 100 transracial adoptees who took the time to share your quote with me, and in return collaborated with one of the most important articles we can share. 100 transracial adoptees coming TOGETHER to share your truth is a powerful initiative.
Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!
*The views and opinions expressed in this article, memoir, and podcast are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova and 100 Transracial Adoptees around the world. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova. Please do NOT COPY any parts of the content in this article, but sharing the entire article, linking to the original source is acceptable.