8 thoughts on “What does “adoptee” mean to you?

  1. On the Macintosh, anytime I type the word “adoptee” into anything with a spell check, the word is highlighted. It doesn’t exist in the computer’s dictionary, although the word has been around since 1892 (says Merriam–Webster’s 11th).

    There’s a great web site (though seemingly dormant now) called Transracial Abductees ( http://www.transracialabductees.org/ ). I always liked their redefinition of adoptee to abductee because, as they say:

    “Adoption” conceals the unequal power between abductors and abductees, and in the abduction industry in general.

    Now that I have Webster’s out, under the definition of the suffix –ee, there is only one meaning that can apply:

    a recipient or beneficiary of (a specified action) <appointee> <grantee>

    Adoptee to me means being the direct object of a (very heinous) literally transitive verb.

  2. The first time I heard that someone was adopted, it was in Korean, my mother tongue. I don’t know the Korean word equivalent to the word “adopted”, I don’t even know if such word even exists in that language, as I lost Korean few years later. However, I remember what I heard and what I thought as if it had happened in French, the language I speak now. After hearing that my neighbour friend was adopted, my thought was that both her real parents were dead, so other parents took her in to look after her.
    I’ve learned that parents don’t need to be dead to be adopted after I became an adoptee myself.

    Adoptee to me means being sold and exported to a foreign country by my own people, bought and imported by strangers of that country, and recycled to become a “pure laine Quebecer” and the daughter of the buyers.

    Well recycled, as I am a francophone Quebecer, I speak English with a Quebec accent, I live and think like a “pure laine Quebecer”, I don’t speak Korean, I’m culturally not Korean and the Koreans don’t recognize me as being their.

    Badly recycled, as I still have the yellow skin and the slanted eyes preventing me from being a pure laine Quebecer and I have memories of my previous life when I was the daughter of a Korean couple.

    Being both well recycled and badly recycled in other words means racially isolated here, culturally islated there, and my identity always questioned.

  3. It is interesting to read the Quebec expression pure laine (literally, pure wool), since it seems to be the racial equivalent of “all-American”, and refers to bloodline purity, and relation to the original settlers, similar to the Daughters of the American Revolution (my adoptive mother’s side of the family), or “visible minorities”, as used by Anglo Canadians.

    It sets an impossibly high bar. I came across another expression, perhaps the one that logically follows this isolation we are mentioning here in multiple posts, in an article about demanding Chinese mothers (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) which referred to this isolation as regards the immigrant population: “The bamboo ceiling”, meaning, the point beyond which you can’t go or grow because of your (always perceived) race.

    This sets up a triple bind for the adoptee, acculturated to be “pure wool”, but with no access to the supportive ethnic community, and bound by the strictures of perceived-race racism in the society.

  4. I like to think about it similar to any word with the -ee suffix – (employ-ee, trust-ee, train-ee, address-ee) – someone who the verb is done to or is expected to have done to…. Notice that each of these -ee nouns suggest a person who does the verb to them…

    So, in other words, not only is an adoptee someone who was adopted, but also someone who is expected to adopt culture, adopt identity, adopt whatever another person/group/entity requires to be taken on by the adoptee. There is very little sense of empowerment in any of these words.

    In fact, it has that underlying tone of a position that is granted to you…doesn’t it? Maybe I am stretching the idea too much….

    Anyway, it is just a term to me. I never really call myself an adoptee, but I do use it to describe our group of people since we struggle with the issues I tried to connect above. 😐

Adoptees, what do you think? We welcome your replies!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s