Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | November 4, 2011

No, where are you really from?

This article was recently written by our wonderful new adoption specialist, Ruth Lee.  Many of our adoptive families will have the pleasure of meeting Ruth as she ventures out on home visits…
“No, where are you really from?”  This question always seems to irk me.  Although I was born and raised in America, my Korean features and obvious Asian descent seem to invite others to question my right as an American.  I usually take offense and assert that I am from America, and I am American. 
Yet, as I meet with adoptive families as the new Adoption Specialist with ICM, I wonder how the adoptive children we have seen placed with families will answer that question in the future.  Yes, they were born in other countries, and most of them will have been old enough when adopted to remember aspects of their lives in their home countries.  However, as an adoption social worker, I encourage parents to build a sense of entitlement as parents over their adopted child.  I also encourage parents that, though they are not biologically related to their adopted child, it is the sleepless nights caring for them when sick or holding and loving them day after day that makes them their child’s “real” parents. 
So, in that same light, can America become for these internationally adopted children the place that they are “really” from?  Undoubtedly their country of origin will always be a part of their identity.  Likewise, their identity as a part of their adoptive family should never be questioned.  So will there come a day when an adopted child from Haiti or Ethiopia or China will take offense from the question of where they are “really” from, or will they relish their rich personal history and God’s amazing plan for their lives? 


  1. Good questions, Ruth. “will [internationally adopted children] relish their rich personal history and God’s amazing plan for their lives? I think children generally value being liked and respected by others. If they begin to think that their heritage will make others not like them or think they are different and an outsider, many will probably not relish their international roots. I wonder how we (as adoptive parents or just friends/community members) can help children think positively about being different. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks again, Ruth

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