International and Transracial Adoptees: Experiences of Racism and Racial Discrimination and Personal Coping Styles
By Marijane Hsiao-ling Nguyen, MSW
To access full dissertation at ProQuest, click here.
International adoption in the U.S. remains a viable option for families who wish to build or expand their families; however, it has not been without controversy. Past research has sought to understand the initial and long-term psychological adjustment and racial/ethnic identity development of international and transracial adoptees. Research shows that pre-adoption adversity may be linked to the development of behavior and emotional problems, and opponents assert that international adoption strips children of their culture. Emerging research has focused on cultural socialization practices and how international and transracial adoptive families acknowledge or reject ethnic and racial differences within the family. An area less understood is how international and transracial adoptees cope with racism, prejudice, racial discrimination, and stereotyping. This study explores, using qualitative methods, the ways in which international and transracial adoptees experience and cope with racism, prejudice, racial discrimination and/or stereotyping. The personal stories of ten adult Korean adoptees are highlighted with particular attention to how interactions with adoptive family members and peers influence adoptees’ identity development, how adoptees resolve conflicts in terms of “fitting in,” and how parental/familial influence mitigates the effects of racism and racial discrimination. The study concludes with a discussion on implications for social work practice.