In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, MTV News asked readers: What does adoption look like in 2015?
Were you adopted as an infant or as a teen? Are you an interracial adoptee? Do you have a relationship with your birth parents? What are the biggest misconceptions people have about adoption? What do you wish they knew? Share your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Josh Call, 20
I want to start off by immediately saying that having parents that don’t look like you is no different than having parents of the color of your own skin. I am adopted and I am an Asian-American. I was born in South Korea and came over to the United States when I was three months old. My parents are both white and I also have a younger brother from South Korea.
A good starting point for me that I’m comfortable talking about is how my family is really into sports. We follow a lot of different teams. It’s an important part of our life together as a family and has become an important part of who I am. We enjoy watching NFL football and MLB baseball games together. We have a large collection of baseball memorabilia. When I was just a toddler, my parents took me to Cooperstown to see the Los Angeles Dodgers play. Chan Ho Park was the first Korean to play Major League Baseball and I got to high-five him and get his autograph. I have no recollection of that day, but the autograph hangs with our baseball memorabilia.
I’m a big fan of the Yankees. My parents have taken Jesse and me to several Yankees games over the years. This season, Rob Refsnyder made his major league debut with the Yankees. Although he has spent most of the year with Scranton at the AAA level, he had a few games in the majors and therefore he had some extra publicity since he’s a top prospect. Rob was born in South Korea and was also adopted when he was just an infant.
When a typical person looks at Chan Ho Park and Rob Refsnyder, they might just see two Korean-American baseball players. But for me, they are very different. Chan Ho was raised in Korea and identifies with his Korean heritage. Rob has a more similar experience to me and I think we also have a similar approach to our adoption. We don’t really think about it a lot. He said he’s never had a real major talk with his parents about being adopted because he never felt like he needed to. I haven’t really either.
When his mom asked if he wanted to look for his birthmother someday, he laughed and answered, “Sorry, mom, you’re stuck with me." When my mom asked me if I wanted to visit Korea someday, I told her I feel American, not Korean. I heard in an interview once with Refsnyder that his mom would keep score at every game he played in. She even still does it now that he’s in the MLB. My mom does that too. She has small notebooks of all my games from high school and college. That little detail is a reminder for me that like Rob, our mothers really are our mothers because they’re the ones who were there at every game.
I guess I would identify as white even though my physical appearance tells that I’m Asian. I say this because I was raised in a white background and in white culture. The majority of my friends are white, too. When people look at me, they probably think my parents are also Asian and that I practice Asian traditions you learn about in history class. I don’t talk or dress the same way a person living in Korea would. That’s because I’ve been in a white environment my entire life (well, except for three months). What I’m trying to get at is that I feel like any other white individual would feel because I basically live a white lifestyle. I really don’t know if that made any sense, but I hope you get the general tone.
Since I am a racial minority, I’ve learned to respect everyone for who they are and have developed the understanding that every single person is different in their own way. I know not to immediately judge someone on their physical appearance such as skin color, hair color, height or weight. Judgement of a person should be by their character and the way they treat you and everyone else. I know that everyone is different in their own way and should not be ridiculed for it. I have accepted this throughout my life.
Even though my parents aren’t my birth parents and they’re a different race than me, I don’t treat them any differently. Our relationship isn’t much different than any other family. When I was a child I didn’t really know what being adopted meant. I remember that when my parents told me that they weren’t my birth parents it took me awhile to fully grasp what they meant. I didn’t even recognize the fact that I was a different race than them. When I finally understood what my parents told me, I knew it didn’t matter that we were different races. My parents have always loved me and treated me as their son just like real birth parents would.
I’ve applied this into my own life by showing that I won’t treat someone a certain way just because of their skin color, or any other differences. I interact with everyone without thinking of their race. I look at races as if they don't matter -- much like my parents look at me like their real son and I look at them as my real parents.