When I was growing up, I was one of the only adoptees (and the only Korean) I knew. As an adult, I’ve been fortunate to get to meet and talk with a number of adoptees, including adoptees of color who, like me, were raised by white parents. Given that many of us think and talk about adoption year-round, it can be jarring to witness the burst of attention given to adoption during November, which is National Adoption Month (also known as National Adoption Awareness Month). The annual observance was established in 1995 to encourage more adoptions from foster care. But many adoptees I know today feel conflicted at best about this month, in part because the narratives leveraged to celebrate and promote adoption have not always left space for discussing its complexity, let alone a wide range of adoption and foster-care experiences.

I believe that adoptees should be leading critical conversations about adoption at all times, so I asked my fellow adoptee Tony Hynes—a Ph.D. candidate studying social connectedness among adult adoptees, the author of the book The Son With Two Moms, and a training specialist in adoption—to chat with me for the newsletter. We spoke about National Adoption Awareness Month, harmful salvation narratives in adoption, the present threat to the Indian Child Welfare Act, why adoptive families need to talk about race, and our own experiences as adoptees of color.

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