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Transnational Adoptee Oral History Project, October 2017
792 Gigabytes (36 digital files)
Collection number: CA.MS.01124

Abstract:

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

Some of the oral histories in this series have restrictions on access to the full interview. Please see the notes attached to an individual interview for information about specific restrictions that apply.

Restrictions on use:

Several of the narrators or interviewers have retained copyright to their interview. Please see the notes attached to the individual interview for specific information about use.

Smith College Archives

Content Description

The Transnational Adoptee Oral History Project documents the experiences of transnationally and transracially adopted students at Smith College. The project consists of eight oral histories (video recordings and transcripts) conducted during October 2017 by Rebecca York and Leigh Johnston, both members of Smith Class of 2018.

These interviews are the first step in building a community of transnational, transracial adoptees at Smith. The interviews represent a chance to push back on the single-story surrounding traditional narratives of transnational and transracial adoptions, and begin to complicate the themes of "family" and "belonging" that many transnational/transracial adoptees have heard so much growing up. These interviews document a wealth of experience and knowledge that has gone undocumented thus far.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

Some of the oral histories in this series have restrictions on access to the full interview. Please see the notes attached to an individual interview for information about specific restrictions that apply.

Restrictions on use:

Several of the narrators or interviewers have retained copyright to their interview. Please see the notes attached to the individual interview for specific information about use.

Preferred Citation

Transnational Adoptee Oral History Project, College Archives, MS 01124, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

The Transnational Adoptee Oral History Project was donated by Rebecca York and Leigh Johnston in 2017. The donation was facilitated by Kelly Anderson.

Processing Information

The digital files in this collections were transferred from portable hard drives to networked storage for preservation and access.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English

Contents List
Julia Ing interviewed by Leigh Johnston
2017 October 23
1 oral histories(video and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Smith College.

Biographical note:

parents at fourteen months. She grew up in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota before coming to Smith College in the fall of 2015. At Smith, Julia is majoring in Economics with a minor in Ethics. She has been very involved on campus, on the varsity track team for a year, a Residence Life leader in Morris House, and a member of MISC (Multi-ethnic Interracial Smith College). Following graduation, Ing hopes to enter a business related career, specifically in start-ups.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Julia Ing describes growing up in Minnesota in her interracial, divorced family. Her father is German and her mother is second-generation Chinese-American, and they divorced when she was five. Ing discusses the racial experience of having female-Asian representation in her family growing up, and how it complicated her identity with adoption and influenced her process of coming to better understand race and her relationship with the label "person of color." She also talks about the process of coming out as bisexual during her time at Smith, and how she sees her identity as a Chinese adoptee intersecting with her identity as bisexual. Ing's story provides insight into adoptee narratives of interracial families, understanding adoptees experiences with class and privilege, and seeing how the college experience shapes understanding about race.

Video interview of Julia Ing



Transcript of interview of Julia Ing



Leigh Johnston interviewed by Rebecca York
2017 October 13
1 oral histories(Video and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use with following restrictions on access: may not be placed on internet.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Rebecca York for her lifetime; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

In this interview, Leigh Johnston (b. 1995) talks about her life as a transnational adoptee from China. Johnston is a current senior at Smith College, pursuing a Sociology major. On top of this, Johnston works at Smith College's Office of Admission and is House President of Martha Wilson House. Both at Admissions and in her house, Johnston is working to promote the creation of safe spaces for students of color on campus. Johnston is the co-producer of the Transnational Adoptee Oral History Project. Post-graduation, Johnston is looking forward to a future in advertising.

Scope and content:

This oral history focuses on Johnston's ever-evolving understanding of race and culture as a transnational adoptee. Johnston talks about her childhood spent between Massachusetts and Hawaii, and how she found her way back to Northampton. She discusses the differences in how race is talked about in Hawaii versus Northampton, and how this has shaped her understanding of racial identity. Johnston discusses her work in Smith's Office of Admission, her four-year involvement in Wilson House leadership, and her introduction to the study of Mandarin. Johnston's oral history sheds light on the ways that identity formation for transnational, transracial adoptees differs from that of other people of color born to biological parents.

Video interview of Leigh Johnston



Transcript of interview of Leigh Johnston



Kathryn Maurer interviewed by Rebecca York
2017 October 27
1 oral histories(Video and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Rebecca York for her lifetime; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Kathryn Maurer (b. 1995) is a transnational adoptee from South Korea. Maurer is a current senior at Smith College, pursuing a Sociology major. Maurer also serves as Gardiner House's President where she focuses on building a safe, accepting community.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Maurer emphasizes the role of mental health in her experience as a transnational adoptee from South Korea. Maurer's narrative documents not only her experiences with adoption, but also that of her three brothers, also adopted from South Korea. Her interview discusses the unique ways that transracial, transnational adoptees learn about and understand race. Maurer also discusses the importance of mental health awareness both in her personal life and in her role as House President at Smith. Maurer's oral history illuminates the importance of family, mental health awareness, and the role that Smith played in heightening her consciousness of the role that race and racism plays in shaping the transnational adoptee experience.

Video interview of Kathryn Maurer



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Transcript of interview of Kathryn Maurer



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Lily Pearl interviewed by Leigh Johnston
2017 October 20
1 oral histories(Video and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Smith College.

Biographical note:

Lily Pearl (b. 1996) was born in Hefei, China, where she lived for a year and a half before being adopted by her parents, Shelagh and Daniel Pearl. She grew up in Southborough, Massachusetts where she lived until she came to Smith College in 2014. A current senior at Smith, Lily is studying Women and Gender and Sociology. She is very involved in the community, as Gardiner House's Vice President, a two-time Bridge Leader, a four-year Rugby player, and a mail-services worker. Following graduation, Lily would like to return to the Boston area and work to make institutions more inclusive for people with marginalized identities.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Lily Pearl describes growing up in Southborough, Massachusetts after being adopted from Hefei, China. In Southborough, Pearl was one of the only non-white kids in her community. She talks about the challenges she faced in school with her dyslexia, as a racial minority, and also the only out gay student in her school. At Smith, Pearl has found belonging through various organizations including Rugby, Bridge, and House Council, and talks about her evolution with identifying as a person of color. Pearl's story provides insight into adoptee narratives and how we process the intersections of transnational adoption, transracial families, sexuality, gender, and ability.

bb6f5ea29e226052f3f85367d3dd30bc. Video interview of Lily Pearl



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Transcript of interview of Lily Pearl



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Sarah Price interviewed by Rebecca York
2017 October 23
1 oral histories(Video and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Rebecca York for her lifetime; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Sarah Price (b. 1995) is a transnational adoptee from China. Price is a senior at Smith College, pursuing an Engineering major, specializing in environmental engineering.

Scope and content:

This oral history focuses on Sarah Price's experiences as a transnational, transracial adoptee. Price begins by telling how she was connected to the Transnational Adoptee Oral History Project. She talks about growing up the only child of a single mother in Ohio. Price discusses her relationship with race, and the intricacies of being an Asian person raised by a white parent. Price discusses her experiences with Study Abroad, her time on the Smith College lacrosse team, and her multiple trips back to China.

Video interview of Sarah Price



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Transcript of interview of Sarah Price



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Annina Van Riper interviewed by Rebecca York
2017 October 18
1 oral histories(Video and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is closed until January 1, 2023

Restrictions on use:
Biographical note:

Annina Van Riper (b. 1997) is about her life as a transnational adoptee from China. Van Riper is a junior at Smith College, pursuing a Linguistics major and Philosophy minor. A life-long athlete, Van Riper has seriously perused a number of sports, including gymnastics, softball, and competitive diving.

Scope and content:

This oral history centers Annina Van Riper's experiences as a transnational, transracial adoptee. The interview begins with discussing Van Riper's life and career at Smith College, including their experiences with the college's unique housing system, and what it's like playing sports at a historically women's college. Van Riper talks about the importance of learning her birth language, and what it was like visiting China and her former orphanage. Van Riper describes her process for coming to terms with her adoption, and the role that competitive sports played in easing these realizations. In this interview, Van Riper also talks about the role that transnational/ transracial adoption has played in shaping her relationships, and how she aims to build connections that center honesty and healing. Van Riper's oral history sheds light on the ways that transnational, transracial adoptees construct their racial identity, and how this formation is complicated when one holds multiple marginalized identities.

Video interview of Annina Van Riper



Restrictions on access:

Interview closed until January 1, 2023

Transcript of interview of Annina Van Riper



Restrictions on access:

Interview closed until January 1, 2023

Ali (psedonym) interviewed by Leigh Johnston
2017 October 18
1 oral histories(Audio and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

The narrator has requested that portions of her interview be closed and a pseudonym be used. The audio recording and original transcript are closed. A redacted version of the transcript is available for research use. This interview may not be placed on the internet.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Smith College.

Biographical note:

Ali [pseudonym] (b. 1997) was born in Jiangxi Province where she lived until she was adopted by her mother. She grew up in Wethersfield, Connecticut until graduation from Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, Connecticut. Following graduation, she took a gap year in France, and then started at Macalester College the fall of 2016 before transferring to Smith in the fall of 2017. At Smith, Ali is pursuing studies in the East Asian Studies Department with a concentration in Translation studies. Following graduation, she hopes to work in some context in which she can bring in her passion for languages and bridging cultures together.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Ali describes growing up in Wethersfield, Connecticut with her culturally Polish mother. She talks about the importance academics played in her life, especially learning the languages French and Chinese from a young age. She discusses how a gap year in France was transformative for her, especially in understanding perceptions of her own race and nationality as an American. Ali's story provides insight into how adoptees process learning the language of the country they were adopted from. Her story also adds to narratives surrounding mental health and adoption.

Transcript of interview of Ali (pseudonym)



Restrictions on access:

Original transcript of interview is closed. A redacted transcript is available.

Rebecca York interviewed by Leigh Johnston
2017 October 11
1 oral histories(Audio and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Rebecca York for her lifetime; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Rebecca York (b. 1996) was born Kunming, China where she lived for a year before being adopted by her parents and moving to Takoma Park, MD. She arrived at Smith College in the fall of 2014 and is a current senior at Smith, majoring in the Study of Women and Gender. She is involved on campus as a musician, artist, the House President of Hubbard, and an activist an organizer, especially in queer and people of color oriented spaces. Following graduation, Rebecca would like to put her organizing work to action and seek a career helping to facilitate activist spaces, specifically around issues of education.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Rebecca York describes growing up in Takoma Park, MD with her parents, after being adopted at one-year-old from an orphanage Kunming, China. Although Takoma Park is primarily white, York discusses the significance of having three best friends growing up, all Chinese adoptees, and how together they navigated growing up in white families and schools. This oral history explores York's experience growing up in a radical household, and how her upbringing influenced York to want to help make the world more socially just through advocacy, organizing, and facilitation. York's story provides insight into adoptee narratives involving queer identity, coming out, and activist spaces for adoptees.

Video interview of Rebecca York



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Transcript of interview of Rebecca York




Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Adopted children -- United States -- Biography
  • Ali (psedonym)
  • Anderson, Kelly
  • Anderson, Kelly
  • Ing, Julia, 1996-
  • Ing, Julia, 1996-
  • Intercountry adoption -- Interviews
  • Interracial adoption -- Interviews
  • Johnston, Leigh
  • Johnston, Leigh
  • Johnston, Leigh
  • Johnston, Leigh
  • Maurer, Kathryn
  • Maurer, Kathryn
  • Pearl, Lily, 1996-
  • Pearl, Lily, 1996-
  • Price, Sarah
  • Price, Sarah
  • Smith College--Students--History--Sources
  • Van Riper, Annina
  • Van Riper, Annina
  • York, Rebecca
  • York, Rebecca
  • York, Rebecca

Genre terms
  • Electronic records


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