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Adoptee's Struggle Between Finding Herself and Fitting In

'm an Asian European. My mother is Danish and my father is an American. I've grown up in both places but have moved home to Denmark and am staying here because I feel this is my true home.

Both my Danish and my American family are white, all my friends here in Denmark are white and I've almost lost contact to all of my Asian friends in the U.S. because they mistakenly think that I want to be white, my husband is white (I chose him because of who he is and not what he is), and my two sons are often mistaken for being white. So whether I like it or not-and I actually don't- I've developed a white identity.

When I look in the mirror I'm actually surprised to see an Asian woman and I honestly don't know how to feel about the woman I see. I actually expect to see a white woman with rosy skin, blond hair and blue eyes. Not because that's I want to look like that at all but because here in Denmark most women have blond hair and blue eyes.

Even my Asian friends in the U.S. were South Asians so I never really had any...what should we say? Mongolid Asians to compare myself to and therefore I have no idea whether I'm ugly, average, or beautiful. It's a very strange feeling.

I have to admit that my family's feeling about Asians and non whites haven't helped me to become a proud Asian either. They've always made it clear that it was probably a mistake to adopt me. I was never allowed to call my parents mom and dad but was told to call them by first name. The family has said things like "you're not really like them (other Asians), so you don't have to mix with them". They went hysterical whenever I was with non white friends or boyfriends and they nearly threw me out in the cold when I tried to discover the Asian in me.

I was actually disappointed when I fell in love with my husband. I thought, now they're going to have their way. Oh, aren't they just going to be thrilled that I'm marrying a white man and to make it all worse for me (better for them) he has blond hair and blue eyes like most Danes.

It doesn't help the situation that my husband has said that he always imagined that his wife and children would be fair and have blond hair. I get so hurt when people say "you're sons could be mistaken for white, you can't even tell that they're half Asian". Said in a tone of relief or pride.

I know it's a lenghty message but I hope that after having read it the reader understands why I'm not exactly a proud Asian and that it's easier for me to try to blend into the white community and culture that I live in because this is the only place I feel at home. I am Danish; I'm Danish-Asian.
Danish-Asian    Friday, October 19, 2001 at 11:05:17 (PDT)

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I am currently 48 yoa and, according to newspaper clippings given to me as a child, the first Korean adoptee in Wisconsin. I have read some of the comments on this website and they have awakened feelings that I have kept buried for years. I struggle on a daily basis because I feel I have no culture that I can truly identify with. I have met and visited my birth mother who is now living in the the U.S. as well as my half-sisters. This has given me great joy and some sense of fulfillment. However, I can't help but look at other cultures that are able to celibrate their heritage with envy and sadness. This is especially tough because I live in NE Wisconsin where there isn't a Korean population to speak of. However, I have not let this stop me from telling people what my heritage is and also having a great deal of pride in my roots.
Tony Bovee (Chung Sik Lim) Sunday, August 04, 2002 at 23:18:39 (PDT)
hey i am a korean adoptee married to a Hapa. he is half korean and white. He is so sexy and hot and that's one of the many reasons why I am married to him. As a wife being married to a Hapa, It has been challenging. WE were both adoped from Korea and I never knew how sensitive he was with what he is. He feels that his mother hgave him up in Korea because he was half white. He also hates the white GI, who screwed his mother and left her, and that's how he came into this world. It is all a theory and we really don't have a clue what his real story is, but I wish there was a way I can help him. I am a full Korean and am clueless just how I can be more sensitive in this issue. It is a always a sore subject for him. How he can't feel like he can fit into either side. Truly white or truly Korean. He battles with it alot. We have a two year old son, and is happy our child looks more korean. He looks just like him. Since he doen't have any other biological sibs, he is extremely happy that he is married to a full Korean and our child is more korean. well 75% korean and eventually he wants our son to marry a korean woman. I agree to a certain extent but someday I know this is going to be a major issue.
Any input in this story, I guess i am curious what other hapas feel!!!
KAD married to HAPA
Wednesday, May 01, 2002 at 11:39:06 (PDT)
To: Now proud to have been an Asian woman,

Thank you so much for your story. It is truly an inspiration to see an Asian woman who is now proud of her ancestry. As an Asian American I know that many Asians hate their eyes and want to look more white even though they won't admit it. I was once ashamed of my Asian features until one day in high school when someone said, "You look really pretty for an Asian." And I was actually flattered by this and took it as a compliment! Immediately after I smiled at this "compliment" I felt ashamed. I realized that this person was basically saying that Asian people were ugly and I was buying into his racist perceptions of me and other Asians. My mother has been encouraging me to "fix" my eyelid which is very sad. I am glad that you will not subject your own daughter to this. I love my mother very much but I resent her for hating my Asian features and in essence she is also hating herself. Thanks for telling your story. You are beautiful. We Asians need to be proud of our natural beauty and love ourselves.
Beautiful Asian American woman and proud of it Wednesday, May 01, 2002 at 09:32:03 (PDT)
Just found after great difficulty an article on FEER (Far Eastern Economic Review) - you have to register for a free two-week trial of the stupid search engine which is very hard to access - I had read a couple years ago about Korean adoptees.

Just register for free, or let me clip it in below (sorry for flooding - it's quite long).

On another side note, I visited Korea that summer and my friend there was organizing an adoptee returnee visit, they had a lot of great fun meeting adoptees from Canada, US, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, UK, France, Belgium, and Austria, among other places. The Korean host students were planning on going to Europe to visit their new friends the following summer, and a few of them met their birth parents during the visit and others made some inroads with their searches, but echoed the sentiments expressed by the subjects in the article about being Korean in background only.

Heartache And Hope
Overseas adoptions in South Korea are on the rise as a result of the country's economic crisis. At the same time, adoptees returning to find their roots are facing homecomings they didn't quite expect.

By Song Jung A in Seoul
Issue cover-dated October 21, 1999

Ami Nafzger, a petite young woman with dark brown eyes and black hair, was the only Asian child in a white neighbourhood of 500 people in Minong, Wisconsin.
self-deprecating (Canadian of Chinese descent)
Monday, April 29, 2002 at 12:36:29 (PDT)
To all the Korean adoptees that have found your birth parents, I am a Korean adoptee and I am in the process of looking for my biological mom. Tell me honestly, IS IT worth it??? I am scared and nervous and very curous..
comments, suggestions?
nervous KAD
yun sook
Sunday, April 28, 2002 at 11:47:17 (PDT)
to the Danish adoptee, I am so sorry you were adopted into such a racist, white superiority, piece of crap for a family. OOH IT makes my blood boil when I hear stories like yours. How dare your family to even get a chance to adopt a person who is of a color.There is definitely a glitch in the adoption service when it comes to screening the proper families to adopt internationally. When I hear stories like yours it makes me sad, angry and can't help thinking that there has to be way to solve these problems.I can only begin to understand how much pain you have gone through and trying your whole life to make sense of what is that you have gone through. Let me tell you you aren't alone in this world. I am married to a korean adopee and he did't have the best adoptive parents either. I am also a Korean adoptee and being married to an adoptee, it is extremely complicated and trying at times. Our adoption and how we were both raised comes out in our marriage alot. We have a little two year old son and it's even more complicated. I can definitely say that however your adoptive family raised you can affect you tremendously without you realizing it. I have many issues and so does my husband. We try not to get our differences in the way of being more KOREAN. I never realized just how important my Koreaness was until I had my son. You have to make so many decisions for your child. After all they are your reflections of you. It made me really think about what I had to do to incorporate my Korean culture and the american culture and trying to find the happy medium. I am still searching as he grows up each day. My solution is to learn some Korean cooking since food can be very much a part of Korean culture. I have learned alot and it is really fun. I also sought after a Korean church and it is extremely rewarding to meet other korean adoptees that have families and we can relate to them.I try to belong to certain korean adoptee organizations and that's very helpful. Ther are many ways to get in touch with other adoptees. The best way is to always do alot of networking with other adoptees. you can learn so much and there are so many adoptees that feel the way you do but they break out of their comfort zone and just go for it. It's fun to find out that we all have the same issues even though we really know nothing about eachother. It will be rewarding for you to meet and seek these potential friends for life.I have to say I am lucky to be in Minnesota. There are so many adopted Koreans in Minnesota and there are many ways for people like us to connect. I love the KOREAN QUATRLY newspaper. anyone heard of it ????Call these people to get a hold of the newspaper. Box 6789, ST.Paul, Mn 55106 phone number (651-771-8164)or
I love reading it because it is a place where adoptees can truly vent your ideas and it is very awesome that a newspaper like this exists. for all those adoptees who have not heard of it, have fun!!!!! I belive that we the Korean adoptees are very special people indeed. We are unique blend of poeple in this society and in order to have our voices heard, we need to keep in touch and have a network of support. We need to understand that there is nothing to be ashmamed of being us and encourage every adoptee to find your happy medium in your lives. It makes all of us stand out then, and contribute even better into this society that yeah, WE ARE REALLY SPECIAL and don't let anyone tell you different!!! any comments, Please E-mail me I would love to litsen!!
I am a proud korean Adoptee,mother, wife,and love to inspire all my fellow adopted korean brothers and sisters Thursday, April 25, 2002 at 11:50:33 (PDT)