Dec 28 2006

Outsiders Within: Transracial Adoption

Feature Stories | Published 28 Dec 2006, 9:37 am | Comments Off on Outsiders Within: Transracial Adoption -

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Outsiders WithinGUESTS: Sun Yung Shin, editor of “Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption,” Shannon Gibney, adoptee and one of the authors in “Outsiders Within”

What do Hollywood movie stars Angelina Jolie, Julie Andrews, Meg Ryan, Ewan McGregor, and pop icon Madonna have in common? They are all the parents of adopted children of races other than their own. Because healthy white infants have become hard to locate and expensive to adopt, many people have turned to interracial and intercountry adoption, with the idea that while growing their families, they’re saving children from destitution. But according to a new book called “Outsiders Within,” while transracial adoption is a practice traditionally considered benevolent, it often exacts a heavy emotional, cultural, and even economic toll. Through compelling essays, fiction, poetry, and art, the contributors to this landmark publication carefully explore what they call, the most intimate aspect of globalization.

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Sun Yung Shin was born in Seoul in 1974, 21 years after the Korean War Armistice. According to the Holt Agency, she was abandoned at the Shinkyo Police Station. She lived at an orphanage and then a foster home before being adopted in 1975 by a white American couple that had already adopted a white American male newborn. In 1978 she became a naturalized U.S. citizen and her name and photograph were featured in a high school social studies textbook under “Immigration”. She is the author of Skirt Full of Black, a book of poems, and Cooper’s Lesson , an illustrated children’s book in Korean and English. Shin has returned to Korea twice. Currently she lives in Minneapolis where she teaches literature and writing.

Shannon Gibney is a thirty-one-year-old mixed race Black woman adopted domestically by a white family in the United States. A 2005 Bush Artist Fellow, her short story “When They Came to See the Castle” won the 2002 Hurston Wright Award. Gibney’s fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals. A graduate of Indiana University’s MFA program in fiction, she edited Indiana Review. Most recently, Gibney was editor of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, where she continues to publish numerous news and features stories, as well as reviews. She is currently at work on her novel “Hank Aaron’s Daughter”.

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