Choosing Ethnicity, Negotiating Race
Korean Adoptees in America
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Title Page, Copyright
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About the Authors
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Chapter 1: Korean Adoptees in America
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To hear Caleb Littell recount the story, life was good growing up during the 1980s.1 Adopted as an infant from South Korea, Caleb joined a loving family consisting of his parents and, a few years later, a sister, Holly, also adopted from Korea. John and Deborah Littell raised their children in the predominantly...
Chapter 2: Historicizing Korean Adoption
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Before turning to the interviews, we believe it is important to situate Korean adoption within the context of U.S. race relations. The history of the practice coincides with momentous social, political, and cultural changes in the United States that have had significant bearing on the lives of Korean adoptees. The first...
Chapter 3: Family Life and Childhood Experiences
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Emily Stewart was raised in a small, predominantly Dutch community in the state of Washington. In the mid-1970s, “it was a ‘closed on Sundays’ type of community, mostly white, blond-haired, blue-eyed Dutch kids.” With her dark hair and Asian features, Emily was anything but the norm in her community...
Chapter 4: Ethnic Explorations in Early Adulthood
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Early adulthood is an important time for Korean adoptees to pursue ethnic exploration. Far more than adolescence, this life stage initiates a higher level of personal independence and exposure to ethnic status, racial stereotypes, and opportunities for experimentation. From their childhoods, adoptees learned...
Chapter 5: Ethnic Explorations in Later Adulthood
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In chapter 4, we showed that ethnic exploration occurs not only during adolescence but also in early adulthood, when most Korean adoptees become independent from their adoptive families. If we were to stop our examination there, we might assume that those explorations established adoptees on particular...
Chapter 6: The Ethnic Identities of Adult Adoptees
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When asked about his current identification, Brandon Luebke, a twenty-eight-year- old river-rafting guide, stated without any hesitation, “American.” Despite engaging in cultural exploration in early adulthood through college coursework and study abroad, he did not consider himself knowledgeable enough to...
Chapter 7: Choosing Ethnicity, Negotiating Race
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In this concluding chapter, we take a step back from examining the “ground-level” experiences of Korean adoptees to reflect upon the larger significance of our findings. An assumption we have made throughout this study is that identity exploration is important for Korean adoptees to pursue. Many scholars have...
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011