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Monday, January 13, 2014

NPR & Exclusion from the Transracial Adoption Experience Discourse: the Wisdom we Could Have Gleaned

Do Trans-racial Adoptees Know Anything About Trans-racial Adoption?

  By Angela Tucker, cross-posted from Angela's blog.  NPR contacted me and asked me to be a part of the Sunday Conversation that aired yesterday morning. I spoke in depth about my story, my upbringing, the challenges and joys of my experience being raised by Caucasian parents, only to receive an email the next day stating that they had chosen to go another route. I responded kindly by stating “I sure hope you’ve chosen to include an adoptees perspective for your segment.” I was stunned to wake up and hear the one-sided, tired, age old perspective that we’ve heard so many times before. A loving, Caucasian adoptive parent of three African American children was the only person aired. While her voice is valid and valuable, it should not have been the only voice featured on this segment. NPR’s tagline for this show is, “Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.” When the Senior Editor of the show contacted me, she stated that in light of the recent comments about Romney’s grandchild they wanted to expand on the topic of transracial adoption. I was glad for this opportunity; hopeful that NPR would do it justice by interviewing not just adoptive parents, but adoptees themselves, and birthparents as well. I was disappointed upon learning of the parent-centric and staid approach they took.

I wonder why NPR didn’t want to air my story. What part of my truth wasn't worthy of telling? What were they trying to shield your listeners from hearing? Are the powers that be afraid that the adoptee voice will disrupt the current narrative of trans-racial adoption? Is it safe to assume that you don’t feel your listeners can understand that I, a transracial adoptee, had both a wonderful upbringing and some exposure to African-American heritage while living in a predominately white city, yet also had a need to find my roots and search for my birth parents? Is it too hard to understand that I can be both glad for life opportunities afforded to me only through adoption, yet also wonder about what the plight of my life would've been had I not been adopted? Is it too hard to grapple with the notion that while transracial adoption is a necessary solution at  this juncture in time, it’s also a solution that comes with a lot of complexity, and may not be easily “fixed” by hiring a black mentor or teaching your child about Rosa Parks?