Adopted Teens Talk about Adoption, Family & Identity

Dawn Davenport


How do Adopted Teens Feel about Adoption

Want to feel good about the future and about your ability to raise healthy well-adjusted adopted kids? Do you want a glimpse into how your kids might feel and how they might identify themselves when they are teens? If you answered yes (and who wouldn’t?!?) then I have just the thing for you.

Mei Kelly, a Chinese adoptee high school student in Chicago, created a documentary on adoption and identity formation–Adoption and Identity Intertwined. She interviewed 12 adopted high school students (black, white, and Asian) on how they viewed their identity and understood their adoption story. The documentary showed clips of these interviews intertwined with video of their childhood.

It is a phenomenal film–not because it is all hearts and rainbows about adoption, but because despite the ups and downs of adoption and transracial adoption, these young people are doing just fine.

The inner strength of these teens and the love of their families shines through. Here are a couple of lines that touched me.

  • [My parents] love me for who I am because I am their son. I was thinking about it the other day—my dad loves me for me because I am his son. It makes me feel great that that’s how he feels. (Said by a big burly black guy about his very white dad.)
  • My friends sometimes make jokes about telling their siblings, “Oh, you were adopted”. That stings a bit. I know they don’t mean it to hurt, but the fact that being adopted is second best or something to be ashamed of or…that’s annoying. (Said by an Chinese adoptee.)
  • My DNA doesn’t have to be my parent’s for them to be my parents. (Said by a Chinese adoptee.)

I smiled and got misty-eyed in equal measure. I can’t recommend this film enough.


P.S. Check out this blog review of the Creating a Family Multimedia e-Guide on Choosing an Adoption Agency or Attorney. It’s not too late to get your very own copy. It’s free—consider it our gift to you.

Licensed2Love: A Great Resource Regarding Adoption. While you are there, check out some of her other blogs. She’s in the process of adopting from foster care, and it’s fun to see the process through her eyes.

22/06/2015 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 5 Comments

5 Responses to Adopted Teens Talk about Adoption, Family & Identity

  1. Avatar Mei Kelly says:

    Thank you for the wonderful comments and feedback. I do have future plans for the adoptees who were willing to continue. I am glad that people have found it educational & inspiring as well because I wanted to create the film to educate and be a conversation starter. There are the full interviews on where my project is hosted if you’d like to know more about the adoptees.
    Thank you again for watching my film.

  2. Avatar TAO says:

    Really enjoyed that. Hopefully everyone takes 20 minutes to hear the voices of the current generation on the cusp of adulthood. I wonder if she’s thought of trying to interview them again in 10 or 20 years…

    What struck me though, is that the ‘was adopted’ which was started to create a mindset where adoption was just an event, is actually ‘am adopted’ for this generation as well. I hope people listening to them can hear that being adopted is part of their identity, and not assume like *some* did to us older adoptees that it is our sole identity. Hopefully that makes sense…I would hate for this generation to be vilified for identifying being adopted as part of who they are…

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      TAO, I really hope people will listen as well. Their voices deserve to be heard. I love the idea of interviewing them again. I hope Mei Kelly considers this.

  3. Avatar mama mia says:

    Thank you for sharing. It was so educational …and inspiring. A phenomenal group of kids.

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