2/2022: Transracial Adoption and Identity


**This is a recording of our We the Experts event held on February 12, 2022.**

Identities are ever changing. For transracial adoptees, race and adoption add a complex layer to our experiences. This panel will explore how transracial adoptees met the challenge of forming their racial identities:

  • In the absence of racial mirrors
  • With parents who did not know how to guide them in the complexities of race
  • Without meaningful connections to their communities of origin
  • Lacking allyship from their families both immediate and extended.

Amanda McKinstry (she/her) is a transracial adoptee. She was adopted in 1984 from the Bronx, NY to a family who lived about an hour away on Long Island. Amanda is a lifestyle coach, educator, and adoptee advocate. She provides adoptees with support and parents tools that will help their children develop strong racial identities. You can find Amanda on instagram @blackgirlwhitefamily or go to her website www.blackgirlwhitefamily.com to see the services she offers. Amanda is excited to be a part of this panel to talk more about transracial adoptee identity and the challenges she faced growing up in an Italian/Irish American home.

Amanda Baden (she/her) was adopted by White parents from Hong Kong in 1969. She is a Full Professor and Doctoral Program Director in the graduate Counseling Program at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ and a licensed psychologist with a clinical practice in New York City. She focuses her research and clinical practice on adoption triad members, transracial/international adoption issues, racial and cultural identity, and multicultural counseling. Amanda is a Fellow for Division 17 of the American Psychological Association, Board Member of the New York State Board of Psychology, Advisory Board Member for the Rudd Adoption Research Program at the UMAss-Amherst, Board Member of Creating a Family, and co-chair of the Adoption Initiative Biennial Conferences. One of the primary reasons Amanda joined this panel is because of the great work Astrid Castro does and has done for many years in the adoption field. Amanda also joined this panel because her work in adoption has spanned over 25 years and she is always interested in meeting other adoptees.

Yineth Sutton (she/her) is a transracial adoptee born in Colombia. She was raised in New York City, Costa Rica, and Colorado. She now goes to college in Minnesota. Yineth is very passionate about adoption and raising awareness. She has spoken on several panels and is looking forward to sharing more of her story about her identity as an adoptee, her struggles with racial assimilation, and also navigating and learning about who she is apart from adoption.

Patrick Armstrong (he/him) is a transracial adoptee, born in Seoul in March 1990 and adopted the same year to a family in Indiana. He is one of the co-hosts of The Janchi Show, a podcast that explores and celebrates the experiences and stories of Korean adoptees everywhere. He shares his journey and advocacy work prominently on social media (@patrickintheworld) , and is currently working on a number of projects in the adoptee community. He is excited to explore the idea of identity with his fellow panelists.

Alternate Panelist: Kayla Zheng (she/her) is an adoptee from China who was raised by a white family in the USA. Raised in a predominately white environment with limited connection to her Chinese identity or culture, she learned to navigate the complexities of her conservative white family. Through her own experiences, connecting with other adoptees, and studying different institutions of power, she has dived into the work of advocating for adoptee rights. Kayla is a proud representative of ICAV, hosts monthly meet-ups, and organizes cultural events. She aims to authentically tell her story and leverage education to dismantle institutions and cycles of exploitation in the realm of adoption. Kayla is excited to be on this panel because by naming the taboos, it empowers adoptees to take the power and direct the narratives of our own lives.


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