Negotiating Sense of Belonging and Sense of Exclusion in Korean Transracial Adoptees



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Transracial adoptees (TRAs) may lack a sense of belonging to their adoptive family and community due to racial differences (Brodzinsky, 2011). Paradoxically, they may also feel excluded from their birth group due to a lack of cultural knowledge (Kim, Suyemoto, & Turner, 2010). Research has suggested that this dual dissimilarity might make TRAs feel like outsiders in both communities (Ramsey & Mika, 2011). This mixed-method study explored belonging and exclusion specifically in Korean adoptees (KADs). For the survey portion, 144 KADs were recruited from online adoptee groups. The survey inquired about: internal attributes (i.e., personality traits, hardiness, dispositional optimism, and self-consciousness), social contexts (i.e., community and adoptive family), external experiences (i.e., cultural exploration and peer discrimination), and ethnic identity (i.e., Korean and White-European identity). Furthermore, three respondents participated in semi-structured interviews that explored how individual KADs negotiate belonging, exclusion, and identity. The purpose of this paper was to discover factors that facilitate feelings of belonging in KADs, and to understand how KADs make meaning of their experiences.



Transracial adoption, Belonging, Exclusion, Korean adoptees