Mixed Bag Monologue: Toward a Kinder State of “Wokeness”

A chance encounter with a Moroccan politician showed me the importance of being humble and curious, two traits sorely missing in society. As transracial adoptive parents, especially, we need to be an example of what that looks like. If this strikes a chord–or makes you curious, check out some of the below resources.

Also, I’d love to get your feedback on the podcast, so I can do a better job next season. Please answer six quick questions using this link to Survey Monkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K8DH8ZJ

Cultural Humility vs. Cultural Competence

Reflections on Cultural Humility

Black Like Me

The Conscious Kid

“A Young Peoples’ History of the United States”, by Howard Zinn

“A People’s History of the United States”, by Howard Zinn

A Native American’s Perspective on Transracial Adoption

Along with being part Irish, Corey Greaves is a descendant of the Blackfeet and Klickitat tribes. He’s founder and president of Mending Wings, a ministry with the goal of helping Native American youth rediscover their culture, and experience relational and spiritual healing.

Elton Morrison is a Native American who grew up in the foster care system and went through Mending Wings in his teens. Today, he works there as a volunteer.

During this episode, Corey and Elton tell their stories, and their perspectives on nurturing Native American culture.

Show Notes:

Mending Wings

One Church, Many Tribes


Episode 7-Our Adoption Journey

Taking a break from the usual Q&A format to talk a bit more about my family’s story and some of the changes we’ve made to blend our childrens’ ethnic background into our lives. One resource that was especially helpful was the Refresh Conference.

Refresh Seattle, March 15- 16, 2019

Refresh Kansas City, March 29- 30, 2019

Refresh Chicago, Oct 24- 26, 2019


Episode 6: Raising a Child who Breaks the Mold and Forms their Own Identity

Steadfast. It’s not a word you hear often, but it’s a fitting description for Sasha Johnson, a twenty-something who was adopted when only 7 days old. Today she’s a single mom with two businesses and a strong sense of who she is, but getting there wasn’t easy. Hear the story of how she, and her parents, persevered.

Episode 5: The Culture of the Black Barbershop

Does darkening the door of a black barbershop seem like an act of desecration to you? Pastor Michael Thomas talks about the black barbershop experience and provides encouragement for adoptive parents who want to do right by their African American son.

Articles and essays about the black barbershop:

5 black barbers on why barbershops are sacred spaces,” The Fader, October 23, 2017

The power and politics of the black barbershop,” The Fader, October 11, 2017

10 things you need to know about the black barbershop,” September 08, 2015

Barbershop study trimmed black mens’ hair and blood pressure,” Associated Press, March 12, 2018


Ep 4: Gas in the Tank—Giving Your Kids the Drive to Succeed

Like it or not, our lives are shaped by the expectations of others—both positively and negatively. Just ask Dr. Jessica Chandler Growing up in rural Mississippi, she was the daughter of a single mom, and had many obstacles to overcome. But the values and beliefs of family gave this African American woman the inner drive and conviction to persevere. Now let’s listen to her story.

Ep 3: Finding comfort in one’s skin—A South Korean adoptee’s journey to accepting her ethnicity

We each have a story of who we are and where we came from. For thirty-something Mattea Dibble it’s been more of a choose-your-own-adventure. Mattea was adopted from a South Korean orphanage at around 6 months of age and grew up in a small town in Washington State that was the next best thing to Mayberry. A recent trip to South Korea helped Mattea in coming to terms with her ethnicity and “her people”, but it’s also cemented her identity as Korean American.

Show Notes:

Korean American Adoptees (KAD) – Very active closed group for Korean American Adoptees 18+:

  • Main topics: social/culture experiences, DNA testing, birth family Searches, Korea reunion trips/tours, travel buddy spreadsheet, adoptee-related legislation in Korea/America, local chapters of groups.
  • NOTE: Adoptees are not “automatically” U.S. citizens. Some adoptees have been deported, so naturalization paperwork must be submitted.

Koreans Reunited and Empowered Speak (KORES) – Closed group for KADs who have met biological family (or are going to shortly)

Discussion for DNA tested Korean Adoptees, Korean War Veterans and their children

Local KAD groups

International Korean Adoptee Association (IKAA)

Korean Adoption Services (KAS)

Global Overseas Adoptees Link (GOAL)

International Korean Adoptee Service (inKAS)

Park in South Korea dedicated to adoptees (scheduled to open in September 2018)

Contact info if searching for birth family (The major Korean adoptee agencies sometimes have their own services and events)  

Twinsters (Netflix documentary about Identical twins adopted from Korea to different families)


Episode 2: The Culturally Competent Adoptive Parent

Seventeen years ago, Professor and licensed clinical social worker, Betsy Vonk, created a list of 39 recommendations for how adoptive parents could improve racial awareness, help their adoptive children connect with their culture, and develop survival skills for themselves and their children. Professor Vonk and I discussed her research, whether she would add anything to her list today, and what resources she recommends, especially for adoptive parents of children from Asian descent. Below are links to some of her recommendations:

REPORT: Cultural Competence for Transracial Adoptive Parents: http://mha.ohio.gov/Portals/0/assets/Learning/CulturalCompetence/Subgroups/Transracial%20Adoptive%20Parents/Full%20Articles/CC.transracial.adoptive.parents.pdf

Cultural Korean American Adoptive Family Network: http://www.kaanet.org/
John Raible Online—Exploring adoption, race & social justice: https://johnraible.wordpress.com/
Gazillion Voices: https://gazillionvoices.com/
W.I.S.E. Up! PowerBook: http://adoptionsupport.org/store/wise-up-sm-powerbook/
Pact—An Adoption Alliance: http://www.pactadopt.org/app/servlet/HomePage
North American Council on Adoptable Children: https://www.nacac.org/

Episode 1: DNA, Adoption and Identity

Professors Anita Foeman and Bessie Lawton discuss the DNA Discussion Project and their work helping people discover who they truly are.

Show Notes:

The DNA Discussion Project at West Chester University

The National Geographic, “There’s No Scientific Basis for Race—It’s a Made-up Label”, April 2018

My GenCove: Take control of your own DNA data