Friday, February 6, 2009

Adoption and Real Life

Usually racial things don't bother me. Being a foreign adoptee, I have just grown a thick skin to being different. Whether someone calls me Chinese, Japanese, or Filipino, or even racial slurs like chink, gook, or whatever, never seems to bother me. However what does sting sometimes is when people assume that my parents are Asian. I know this isn't seem logical. Since I am very Korean looking, it is only logical for other people to assume my parents look the same as I do. So I try not to fault them at all, because their thought process is logical.

That doesn't help the pain that I feel every once in a while, when someone does assume my parents are Asian. Its wierd, some days it affects me more than others. I think it has to do with my audience and who I am talking with.

This issue just came up yesterday and for some reason it really hurt. I had just finished playing a hockey game and we were in the locker room. For those of you who have never experienced a "locker room" setting, its pretty much a lot of testosterone and joking and usuall not very poliically correct talking. So the usual banter is going on; which usually consists of off-color jokes (ironic since our team is a melting pot of races, but anything goes in a locker room). Anyways, the Asian jokes don't bother me, however someone made a comment like "It's because you have an Asian mother, and she probably taught you that...". Innocent enough comment. I said "My mother isn't Asian". I got this wierd look, then I decided to let it go. It wasn't worth trying to explain.

Why did that comment hurt so much? I know the person who made the comment was not trying to be mean or hurtful, but for some reason it really pinched me.

Why did I have such a hard time telling them I was adopted? I don't know either. I think maybe because I'm already different enough. In case you don't follow hockey, there are not many Asians in the NHL. There are actually more blacks than Asians in the NHL! Its not like these guys are strangers anymore. I've been playing on the same team, with the same players for over 6 months now. But for some reason I just didn't want to explain to them that I was adopted. I don't usually have any problems telling people I'm adopted, but here was an instance where I didn't speak up. Was I just tired? Was I embarassed? I don't know. I just swallowed the lump in the back of my throat and finished getting changed, and walked out of the locker room.


  1. I hope you don't feel guilty about it and are just reflecting. A long time ago I blogged about my oldest daughter feeling this way. We were at a school assembly where she was being honored as 'student of the month.' I quickly realized that she was avoiding me like the plague. She wouldn't make eye contact or come remotely close to me. She dodged my every move. It stung. It hurt. I told her so. And then, upon reflection, I realized how SELFISH that was of me. I went back to her and apologized and we sat and talked through her feelings about all of the questions that people ask after knowing she was adopted and how she just didn't feel like dealing with it. Honestly, as an AP those intrusive questions sometimes get old for me too.

  2. My son is Korean and also plays hockey. This really made me think. Thank you for sharing something that very well may happen to my son.