Outsiders Within (the book)

Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption is a definite must-read for all who are concerned about transracial adoption and international adoption.

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Check out the contents of this rich and evocative anthology, which are truly impressive in their scope and depth:

Introduction Jane Jeong Trenka, Julia Chinyere Oparah, and Sun Yung Shin

PART ONE: WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM? GLOBAL MIGRATIONS, COLONIAL IMAGINATIONS

Garlic and Salt Soo Na
Love is Colorblind: Reflections of a Mixed Girl Jeni C. Wright
Power of the Periphery Kim Diehl
Finding the Universal: Reflections on a Multi-Prismed Identity Mark Hagland

PART TWO: HOW DID YOU GET HERE?

Economic Miracles Sun Yung Shin
Adoption Myths and Racial Realities in the United States Dorothy Roberts
The Finer Meaning Kimberly Fardy
Parents in Prison, Children in Crisis Ellen Barry
Orphaning the Children of Welfare: “Crack Babies,” Race, and Adoption Reform Laura Briggs
Shopping for Children in the International Marketplace Kim Park Nelson
Disappeared Children and the Adoptee as Immigrant Patrick McDermott

PART THREE: COLONIAL IMAGINATIONS, GLOBAL MIGRATIONS

If I Pull Away Shandra Spears
Flying the Coop: ICWA and the Welfare of Indian Children Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark & Kekek Jason Todd Stark
From Orphan Trains to Babylifts: Colonial Trafficking, Empire Building, and Social Engineering Tobias Hubinette
Scattered Seeds: The Christian Influence on Korean Adoption Jae Ran Kim

PART FOUR: GROWING THROUGH THE PAIN

Hunger Shannon Gibney
Korean Psych 101: Concepts of Hwa-Byung in Relation to Korean Adoption Beth Kyong Lo
Evolve Bryan Thao Worra
Lifelong Impact, Enduring Need John Raible
From Victim to Survivor Ron M.
Tending Denial Heidi Adelsman
Performing Childhood Rachel Quy Collier

PART FIVE: JOURNEYS HOME?

What Lies Beneath: Reframing “Daughter from Danang” Catherine Ceniza Choy & Greg Choy
Proud To Be Me Ami Inja Nafzger
Praise Song for Ala Julia Chinyere Oparah

PART SIX: SPEAKING FOR OURSELVES

Researching Adoption: Whose Perspective and What Issues? Kirsten Sloth
Beyond the Vietnam War Adoptions: RePresenting Our Transracial Lives Indigo Williams Willing
No Longer Alone in This Grief: Service-User Support for Transracially Adopted People Perlita Harris
The Making of KAD Nation Sunny Jo
Generation After Generation, We Are Coming Home Sandy White Hawk

Also of note: Shannon Gibney brilliantly interviewed two of the 3 editors of Outsiders Within. Get the story behind the stories… These Transracial Adoptee women are really smart! Read it here.

Outsiders Within is challenging reading, because it stirs up many emotions and calls into question many preconceptions about adoption that readers undoubtedly bring to the issue. As you can see from the contents (above), Outsiders Within is not the kind of anthology you can breeze through, say, lying on the beach while on vacation.

I suggest reading one or two chapters a day in the privacy of your own home, with a box of tissues within reach! You really need time to contemplate each writer’s message, and allow each one to penetrate your consciousness. One good thing is that each author’s voice is unique, so the experience of reading various perspectives on and approaches to the topic provides a richly textured reading experience.

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John, Jae Ran, and Kim at the NYC book signing, October 2006.

Add to that the evocative poetry selections and photographs, and the book packs a hell of an emotional punch. But it’s not all tears and sniffles, by any means. Some of the pieces are scholarly and very stimulating to the mind as well as the heart. My advice is to savor the reading experience offered by this anthology. Cherish it, then share it with others. Outsiders Within is a groundbreaking collection that is a real gift to all who participate in the grand social experiment known as transracial and international adoption.

Lastly: Here’s the final paragraph of another review. You can read the entire review by Juliana Hu Pegues at “the blog about the book.”

“Outsiders Within is not an easy read, nor should it be. These authors dare to say that one has lived through, possibly even benefited from, a broken system. It will have an uncomfortable and meaningful impact on adoptive parents and those involved in the world of transracial adoption. As someone outside this world, as a mixed race writer with no children, Outsiders Within makes me rethink my own assumptions—about family, about nation, about race, about belonging. Ultimately, this anthology provides the breathtaking power of artful politics and the breath-giving possibility for change.”