Rewriting History

Adoptee Documentaries as a Site of Truth-Telling

Authored by: Kimberly D. McKee

The Routledge Companion to Asian American Media

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138846012
eBook ISBN: 9781315727745
Adobe ISBN: 9781317540847


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Transnational adoption of Asian children profoundly impacted the American landscape. The face of Asian America radically changed as the majority of adoptees entered White families. From the earliest adoptions of children from Hong Kong and Japan in the 1940s and 1950s to the adoption boom sparked by the Korean War, Americans embraced Asian children with open arms. South Korea maintains the longest-running adoption relationship with the United States from the post-Korean War period to the present day, and with an estimated 130,000 Korean adoptees in the United States, they are the largest population of adoptees from Asia. No longer can we assume Asian Americans are raised in households by biological/social parents of Asian descent. As these adoptees enter adulthood, their cultural productions (documentaries, literature, theater, art) provide a new avenue to understand the Asian American experience. They redefine what it means to be Asian American (McKee 2016a).

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