Today, Chad Goller-Sojourner talked with NPR host Rachel Martin about the experience of being transracially adopted. Born in 1971, he was raised in Tacoma, Washington. It wasn’t until college, Chad says, that he underwent a “descent into blackness and out of whiteness. He describes it as a journey, giving up the privileges he claimed as the child of white parents and learning to accept his identity independent of them,” according to NPR’s website.
The NPR show, called “Growing Up ‘White,’ Transracial Adoptee Learned to Be Black,” is available here. You can listen to the show, read NPR’s description, and submit a comment.
Two weeks ago, NPR’s Sunday Conversation on Weekend Edition featured the white adoptive mom of 3 black preschoolers. NPR says that conversation “drew a lot of responses.” Indeed–well over 200 comments on their website, most of them criticizing, not complimenting, the show. Many people in the adoption community (including me) took to Twitter and blog posting, frustrated and disappointed by the show, especially because it did not include the real-life experience of someone most affected by transracial adoption: the adopted person.
I’m glad NPR listened to the concerns, and took seriously the call to broaden the perspective on transracial adoption by not further marginalizing adult adoptees. Chad Goller-Sojourner’s experience will no doubt resonate with many transracially adapted persons. Little children grow up. Adoption is a lifetime of revisiting love and loss. As Chad reflects on the show, figuring out one’s identity is complex, and sometimes painful. We adoptive parents, and anyone involved with adoption, need to listen carefully to Chad’s insights.
Chad is an award-winning solo performer, based in Seattle. According to Artist Trust, Chad’s show Riding in Cars with Black People & Other Dangerous Acts: Memoirs of a Post Honorary White Childhood “seeks to explore the dangers, complexities and occasional hilarities associated with navigating black adult maleness in America, when your only compass is eighteen years of honorary white citizenship and suburban privilege.” Read further here.
Learn more about Chad’s work: Riding in Cars With Black People, and his earlier show, Sitting in Circles With Rich White Girls: Memoirs of a Bulimic Black Boy.
So glad they decided to include the voices of adult adoptees. Even with the greatest parents on earth, transracial adoptees do have issues. Mostly. I have met a few who have had no issues. One niece that my husband has, did not know until she was 50 that she was Native American. Even though her birth mother told the doctor that she was Native and the father was Native. The doctor told the parents she was “Italian”. Than, she grew up in a part of ALaska where many Native people resided, so they just assumed she was also. It wasn’t until she was in her late 30’s and moved to Seattle that people started asking her what nationality she was. But that’s unusual, I think.