The empty circle: honoring and validating our complex identities

I am posting the following article written by adoptee, Amy Mihyang Ginther, who orginally posted on, another blog that I follow. I could relate to what she writes about honoring and validating our complex identities as adoptees in many, many ways. It’s difficult to convey the kind of emotions and feelings that are at the very center of your story, but I think Amy has gotten to the very core of it. I felt validated upon reading Amy’s article and recognize that even at the age of 47, I’m still wrestling with a few things and perhaps always will be in some sense. Sometimes I wish that I could just be done with it, but I guess that it’s just part of the fabric of who I am. I hope that Amy’s article will resonate with other adoptees and that we can as Amy expressed, “validate and support our intersected identity locations, whether it’s race, language, gender, sexuality, class, religion, nationality, or politics.” Thank you, Amy and Daniel of Transracial Eyes, for allowing me to repost this article. Please read on…


****This is my first post with TRE and I would like to share my gratitude to Daniel and the other contributors for this space. And for you, readers.

I have this memory from 3rd grade.

On the surface, it’s a fairly mundane image; I am staring at a piece of paper with a large circle drawn on it. The circle is empty. The assignment was to utilize our newly learned pie chart making skills and create a graph that represents our family ancestry. I just sat there, doing nothing, as my classmates excitedly talked about their percentages and colored them into the large circle on their papers.  50% Irish. 25% French. 1/16th Cherokee. I just sat there, paralyzed in confusion, shame, and futility. My circle was blank. I didn’t know what I should do.

When I was completing my MA in Voice Studies, I met a fellow voice coach who…

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