Legal Solutions for APA Transracial Adoptees

43 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2014 Last revised: 5 Dec 2014

See all articles by Kim H. Pearson

Kim H. Pearson

Gonzaga University - School of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2013


Rarely has the legal world considered how and where adult adoptees fit in the dialogue about transracial adoption. Researchers and adoptive parents have dominated the field with their own agendas about the children who are treated simultaneously as consumer goods and children. Often the question has been how to stop international adoption or how to continue it more ethically. As children grow up and have to wrestle with questions of belonging and race, racial identity becomes increasingly salient and can results in higher rates of depression, eating disorders, and low self-esteem for transracial adoptees. Despite studies showing the detrimental effects of poor racial identity development for Asian adoptees, there are haphazard legal solutions for this critical developmental process. It is time for the legal world and the Asian American community to grapple with the question of racial identity development, whether we truly value racial identity as a healing possibility for transracial adoptees, and how effective the legal tools available are in delivering racial identity development resources. In imagining how a legal solution could be crafted to take into account the social and cultural nuances of racial identity development, I look to LGBT youth raised by heterosexual parents and white LGBT families who adopt Asian children. Although race and orientation are not fungible, there are similarities in the groups’ experiences that suggest the intersection of LGBT and Asian adoptees may be a model in building understanding of adoptees’ desire for a valued racial identity.

Keywords: adoption, children, APA, transracial, LGBT youth

Suggested Citation

Pearson, Kim H., Legal Solutions for APA Transracial Adoptees (December 1, 2013). 3 UC Irvine L. Rev. 1179 (2013); Gonzaga University School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-9. Available at SSRN:

Kim H. Pearson (Contact Author)

Gonzaga University - School of Law ( email )

721 N. Cincinnati Street
Spokane, WA 99220-3528
United States

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