Yesterday, a 6 minute segment on NPR created hours’ worth of responses, frustration, blogging, conversations, tweeting, disappointment, and shaking of heads. The Sunday Morning Edition featured Rachel Garlinghouse, a white adoptive mother of 3 very young black children, and the topic of the show was transracial adoption.
NPR–Your Turn to Listen:
Prior to the airing, at least one transracially adopted adult was considered for the segment, then passed over. In my blog yesterday, I wrote about Angela Tucker. Angela has not (yet) written her own book, though she is among those writers featured in the wonderful, compelling anthology Perpetual Child, which I write about further down in this post. Angela is featured in the highly-acclaimed documentary Closure.
I’m very glad she wrote her own thoughts today about the NPR show. Here is the link to her blog. Here are a couple of excerpts from Angela’s post:
“Had my voice been aired on the show, viewers would’ve heard me speak my truth about how I felt when being discriminated against in the town I grew up in. What we heard about discrimination in the NPR piece instead was “…it made my husband and I very uncomfortable, but our kids didn’t notice. They were just coloring and being children…”
“I have allowed my story to be shared in a documentary which is told not just in my voice, but also features the perspectives of my adoptive parents, birth parents, siblings who were adopted, birth siblings who weren’t adopted and my parents’ biological daughter, my husband etc. – all of these voices have a place in the discussion. Closure is a valuable resource, not because my story is the best out of all adoption stories, not because I am an expert on other transracial adoptions – that, I am not. It is a valuable story because there is a shortage of resources where the adoptee’s voice and experience is included.”
We listened to NPR.
Many people wondered why Rachel Garlinghouse–whose children are pre-schoolers–was on the show. There are thousands of white adoptive parents who have raised their transracially adopted children well into adulthood, and learned a lot along the way. I know So Much More now that my children are in their mid-20’s than when they were preschoolers. Parenting is a very humbling experience.
One argument for why Garlinghouse was on is that she’s written a book. That’s an NPR-consistent reason.
NPR–Are you listening? It’s your turn again.
Here are 3 recent books, written by adoptees, that would be the subjects of compelling, innovative shows. None has been featured on NPR, according to their writers/editors.
Perpetual Child: Dismantling the Stereotype. This Adult Adoptee Anthology features a collection of stories, poetry, and essays aimed at confronting the “perpetual child stereotype” faced by adult adoptees. The pieces contained within this anthology will implore readers to look deeply into their own ideas about what it means to be adopted and to empathize with the experience of being viewed as a child into adulthood.” The writers (who include Angela Tucker) are from same race and from transracial adoptions.
Lost Daughters “The Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption From a Place of Empowerment and Peace is edited by Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, Julie Stromberg, Karen Pickell, and Jennifer Anastasi. It features a collection of writings aimed to bring readers the perspectives of adopted women and highlight their strength, resiliency, and wisdom.” Several transracial adoptees are included in this powerful anthology.
Parenting As Adoptees “Through 14 chapters, the authors of Parenting As Adoptees give readers a glimpse into a pivotal phase in life that touches the experiences of many domestic and international adoptees – that of parenting… As (transracial adoptee) Melanie Chung-Sherman, LCSW, LCPAA, PLLC, notes: “Rarely has the experience of parenting as an adopted person been laid to bare so candidly and vividly. The authors provide a provocative, touching and, at times visceral and unyielding, invitation into their lives as they unearth and piece together the magnitude of parenting when it is interwoven with their adoption narrative…Authors in the anthology include (US, transracial, and international adoptees): Bert Ballard, Susan Branco Alvarado, Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter, Lorial Crowder, Shannon Gibney, Astrid Dabbeni, Mark Hagland, Hei Kyong Kim, JaeRan Kim, Jennifer Lauck, Mary Mason, Robert O’Connor, John Raible, and Sandy White Hawk. Edited By Adam Chau and Kevin Ost-Vollmers.”
NPR, if you invited Rachel Garlinghouse yesterday to talk about transracial adoption because she’s written a book, how about inviting the people who are transracial adoptees–and who have written books?
Final note about NPR: If you want to contact NPR and ask them to have a meaningful show about transracial adoption, with the voices of adult adoptees, click here. Yesterday’s show was Sunday Morning Edition, and I wrote about it here.
So well said Maureen.Have you seen anything over there? I really hope they do the right thing.
Thank you, Margie.
Have I seen anything at NPR? No. I don’t feel optimistic about it. My guess is that they were perhaps surprised by the response (200+ comments on their website, many tweets and blog posts), and some producer had a headache and a talking-to. Will they do more? Have Angela on? Have a thoughtful show about transracial adoption? I’d be delighted. And surprised.
Love this! Right on target as usual!
Thank you so much. Let’s see now what NPR does–or doesn’t do–to correct this.