Loving the Whites Who Raised Me

Transracial adoption and the journey to define, access, and practice intentional, healed love in white spaces.

Bree Yoo Sun Jeong, 정유선
ZORA
Published in
12 min readNov 11, 2022

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Continuing the reflection and acknowledgment for National Adoption Month, here is a new essay on love as a transracial adopted person navigating white familial spaces. For my mom and dad, who I love with all my heart.

Love is complicated. Adoption across racial lines forever tethers controversy for existing to those adopted. It politicizes the human experience and creates a land mine in one’s own living spaces.

Can I live?

It is a strange phenomenon to be told to be grateful for something one didn’t choose to begin with. Yet minorities are told this all the time.

The thing I envied about my friends of color who weren’t adopted growing up, and still sometimes do, is that when they experience this dynamic with a white person, they can choose to walk away. They can leave.

Even if the person is their boss, their colleague, their friend. They can literally leave the space at some point and choose whether or not to return and in what capacity.

They can plan an exit. Start looking for another job. Request to be on projects with other colleagues. Put in for a transfer to another department. Find new friends.

But being adopted into a white family, a person doesn’t necessarily have those options. I have written about this type of struggle in the fight to decolonize adoption in the past.

It is strange dichotomy to love someone dysfunctionally yet whole heartedly. It worries me that I have these feelings because I feel guilty. I worry about whether I’ll fall into a deep depression someday if I outlive my adoptive parents. I worry about whether I’ll regret speaking to them about my loneliness as an adopted person. I worry about whether I’ll regret speaking to them about matters of Justice, Black Lives Matter, Indigenous self determination, ICWA, affirmative action … and my experiences with them as their transracial daughter.

Will I wish I had just swept it all under the rug someday and gotten along?

It’s caused them a lot of pain. It’s caused them a lot of stress. It’s caused a lot of rifts in our relationship over the years.

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Bree Yoo Sun Jeong, 정유선
ZORA
Writer for

I was formerly the young mother who leaned into destiny. These days I'm young-ish. I write about race, motherhood, transracial adoption, and hood feminism.