| Adoptees and identity: Answering "Who Am I?" can be a long, complicated journey|
By Marc Ramirez
Seattle Times staff reporter
Growing up in Port Orchard, Christina Johnson was your typical all-American girl. Except that she wasn't. Adopted from Korea, she identified with her white adoptive parents and didn't think much about race, even when kids pulled their eyes back in mimicry or when store clerks asked where her mother was even though she was standing right there.
Then, at 16, Johnson left her Kitsap County home for a summer youth program in Seattle's International District. The program was a leadership training session that attracted a diverse group of teens. "It was the first time I'd been around so many Asians," the 20-year-old University of Washington sophomore says. She worried about not being cool enough, not being Asian enough. Normally outgoing, she shut down.
It was one step on a difficult journey toward finding identity as an Asian adoptee, one filled with questions that came from within as much as from others: Why don't you look like your family? Why do you look Asian but act "white"? Who are you, really?
The range of Asian adoptee experiences are the subject of "Asian & Pacific Islander Adoptees: A Journey Through Identity," an exhibit running through Sept. 4 at Seattle's Wing Luke Asian Museum.
The exhibit features mementos such as clothes worn by adoptees upon their U.S. arrival and snapshots of adoptees' return visits to their birth countries. There are journals, video footage and photos of adoptive parents such as Seattle's Diane Robbins and Vickie Wallen, who adopted 3-year-old Sam from Vietnam when he was 4 months old...................
The whole article and pictures: