the need to write
By Flokoulnater on January 28, 2013
I'm taking to the blogesphere to jump start my thinking. I feel as though I've been in a thought desert for some time now, and I'm dying of thirst. Just writing could perhaps be the liquid I need to re-start my engines.
Specifically, I need to think about where I'm headed with my adoption research. I would like to add to the field of multicultural education by bringing to bear issues of transcultural and transracial adoptees as part of the discourse that has been neglected. It is precarious, however, because there are so many good liberals within the multicultural field who consider themselves enlightened saviors of babies and children of color. You know the ones, the moms who wear native garb or take their children on international trips to their host countries and otherwise. They believe that by being aware they are doing exactly what's needed for their children. But what's missing are the children's wishes.
I want to come from the perspective of a latina adoptee specifically, since there are already others out there speaking on behalf of Asian and African American adoptees. But little still exists about the particularities of latino/a adoptees.
I enjoyed reading Harris O'Connor et al's paper from December 2012 on transracial adoptee identity development. They overlay a typical developmental model with 5 strands with Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework, which considers socio/historical context, or essentially supports the idea that these identities can be changing within a person depending on their life changes (neighborhoods, careers, family changes, new laws, etc.). The 5 areas that Sue and her colleagues describe in the the paper are 1) gentic racial identity, or the identity that makes up who we are through our biological parents, 2) imposed racial identity, which they describe as the identity given to you by the hospital, for example, on your birth certificate, which in Sue's case is full AA given her birth in the early 60's, 3) cognitive racial identity is that which you believe to be as a result of your surroundings, 4) visual racial identity, or that which you see in the mirror, or which others bestow on you based on your markers, and 5) feeling racial identity, or the identity to which you most closely align, again, mostly based on your experiences (i.e., you feel Irish though you might be Korean, because of your adoptive families' closeness with their Irish heritage). Again, this 5 point framework is juxtaposed with the ecological framework, that gives credence to changes that occur throughout one's life such as, for Latino/as, the uptick in the "Hispanic" population in the US, that also corresponds with increased racism through heated discussions over immigration. Or, perhaps we can also consider the ecological perspective when thinking about adoptees who transition from their adoptive families to careers and their own families, which may be strikingly different.
So, with this as motivation, where can I pursue my line of thinking when it comes to trying to broaden multiculturalism to include consideration for these more complicated identities. Perhaps I need to do a thorough literature review of the major multicultural literature to see in fact that they have ignored transracial and transcultural adoptees as I suspect. Then, if I am affirmed in this belief, I should proceed with the above framework, using Latino/a adoptees as a specific case, and show how it can and should be integrated within more robust discussions of multicultural education.