Jennifer Schupp

Name: Jennifer SchuppAge: 36Gender: FemaleIdentify as: Asian American, Korean American, Korean, Adopted, etc. Have you always felt comfortable in your skin?: No, but I don’t know many who have. I assume my experience is similar to other non-white adoptees who grew up in small-ish towns peopled mostly by Caucasians with small-town mentalities. In short, I stood out when I didn’t always want to. In addition, I don’t have the lean-hipped, birdlike frame and diminutive stature of many Korean women, so I felt I didn’t fit that mold either. I remember being in Korea when I was a teenager and towering...

Jenny Kelly of Asian Adult Adoptees of Washington (AAAW)

Washington state adoptees are privileged to have an amazing local resource and support community through the Asian Adult Adoptees of Washington (AAAW). Unlike many other adoption support groups that usually separate according to ethnicity, AAAW opens its doors to Asian and Pacific Islander adoptees of any kind. Founded in 1996, AAAW seeks to provide a place for camaraderie between adult adoptees through cultural programs, events, and a soon-to-be-launched youth mentoring program. The latter will be the first adoptee mentoring program in Washington state, pairing kids between the ages of 8 and 18 with a cluster of adult adoptees. The program...

Jeff Leinaweaver

Jeff Leinaweaver is a professional storyteller, so it makes total sense that when he told me his personal adoptee story, I was interested from the get-go. Originally born in Colombia, South America, Jeff was adopted in the 1960s by an American man who himself was adopted. Imagine being an adoptee in an era when international adoption was hardly a hot topic, and being raised by an adoptee. Altogether, it was a positive experience that Jeff was grateful for, but at the same time, he recalls his youth as being a time when he often felt like the “only aardvark at...

I’m articulate, and no that does not mean I’m White

My love affair began in second grade. This relationship started with playful cuddling on comfy chairs during reading time in Mrs. Brown’s classroom. By my teenage years, we spent time late into the night together in my room. Since my days as a bright eyed elementary school boy, books and I enjoyed an intimate relationship. Books blessed me with the opportunity to learn diverse and beautiful words in English. My parents labored to ensure my bilingual upbringing did not compromise my ability to speak both English and Spanish effectively. People often call me articulate because I speak well. Most people,...

It’s hard out here for a WLW

When I think of WLWs (White Liberal Women) in the context of adoption, it is hard not to think of my Birth Mother, my Biological Grandmother, the WLWs I sling gluten-free beers and pinot grigio to on the regular with their families looking more like Brangelina’s than the typical Midwestern portrait of fair-hair and skinned Scandinavian Idolatry. I think of how those WLWs look at me like, “Oh, what a dream she is? With her nice hair, slamming bod, and her generally smiley disposition. Or so I imagine as I receive a smile filled with the smug gratitude, “Thank you...

I Hope You Dance

Four Last Names At a recent trip to the Social Security Administration to check out my retirement options, I received a two-page profile of my life as seen through the eyes of the government. Among the various data and employment history, I read with interest four last names that identified me: birth name, adoptive name, “failed” adoption and subsequent second adoptive name, married name. The journey through those various names began in an orphanage after my birth mother’s death when I was two, followed by an adoption arranged by my birth father (the adoption disrupted when I was 16), a...

Hello, My name is Kurt Rosenwinkel

We step into the Village Vanguard on a Tuesday night: my first night in New York City. The intensely humid, hot air from the city manages to slink with us down the stairs, but it is halted abruptly at the door. Air conditioning. It is a dark and brilliant thing to be within the Vanguard’s walls. This is what going to church must be like for the most pious of believers. Tonight: Paul Motian, Enrico Pierunanzi, and Marc Johnson play in trio. Enrico is an old Italian and so, I’m familiar with his ways. My adoptive mother’s family is Italian....

Guest Post By Eva Song Margolis

For Mothers Who Share Their Sons After DeathBy Eva Song Margolis After the inconceivable phone call,viewing what broken pieces remain of her child,after the burialthe lawyers & the advocatesa mother, still mourning her son,speaks to insane-made-normal lies. They told her:Trayvon Martin armed himself with concreteOscar Grant deserved to be “tasered”Vincent Chin could have died by striking his head on the concreteFong Lee would have lived a short life anyways ‘cause he was in a gangKenneth Chamberlain should have opened his doorAmadou Diallo looked suspect on his stoop They told her:othersrandidn’t belongor belonged too muchdidn’t pull over, put down, hush, kneel,...

Going “Home”

It’s been 38 years since I left Korea. I was 4 then. I returned this past summer for my first time, and I was really apprehensive and a bit scared to go back. I’ve heard mixed reviews regarding the experiences of adoptees that return to Korea. The “insensitive” depiction of adoptees in the Korean media has been the topic of discussion on this site and others. I have also spoken to adoptee friends who have returned, and their accounts have ranged from wonderful to horrible. Research on the topic of returning Korean adoptees presents a similar mixed bag of experiences....

Grateful Adoptee

The last love letter he wrote me was a thank you card. In every possible action, our love and gratitude was inextricable, despite the societal sicknesses that divided us by race, gender, and landscape. Ross, who I described as my anti-racist white boyfriend, did his best to love me for the three years in which I purchased three one-way tickets to Korea. Each time, he drove me to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport, carried my baggage, and kissed me farewell on my journey into adoptee activism. One year ago, we finally tired of the ritual, and parted ways in love and...