Episode 5: Transracial Adoption

Salvator Rosa, "Three Figures Around a Globe," 1615–73.

We continue our episode 3 discussion on mixed-race families by digging into transracial adoption. Nicole Zelniker—whose book, Mixed, was the focus of that episode—joins me to interview Leah Whetten-Goldstein about her experience being adopted from China into a white, Jewish family in North Carolina.

We discuss side-effects, critiques, misunderstandings, and assumptions surrounding transracial adoption, as well as the beauty of being in a mixed-race family. We get a glimpse into Whetten-Goldstein’s struggle to find an identity growing up in a predominantly white community as an adoptee, and she shares the wisdom she’s gathered along the way.

The Nasiona Podcast shares stories that explore the spectrum of human experience and glimpse into foreign worlds. We focus on stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.

Our theme song is “Into the West,” courtesy of Tan Vampires.

You can also find our podcast episodes on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Mixed, by Nicole Zelniker, is available in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.

“While race has no biological basis, in the US it is culturally real. Combining personal stories and research, Nicole Zelniker sensitively explores that reality as it relates to identity struggles in a variety of multi-race family structures. Mixed is a valuable resource for biological offspring of biracial couples; for adoptees from racial/ethnic traditions different from their adoptive parents; and for biracial couples, both gay and straight, considering parenthood. Teachers and relatives whose lives these families touch are sure to gain valuable insight as well.”
—Nancy Werking Poling, author of Before It Was Legal: A Black-White Marriage (1945-1987)

“At a time when US society is being ripped asunder by division, we are more inclined than ever to retreat to our tribes, where we believe we are more likely to find safety and understanding. But what happens when you belong to more than one tribe, when your identity doesn’t neatly slide into a particular slot? In Mixed, Nicole Zelniker deftly explores the fascinating conflicts and confusion that often course through the daily lives of people sitting on the bubble between two communities, two different worlds. These are existences that our society desperately needs to understand, to welcome, to celebrate—for this is the American future.”
—Nick Chiles, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling co-author of The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership

Mixed will be a tremendous resource for those trying to understand why race still matters in the 21st century US. The interviews offer depth and richness in expressing the lived experience of racially mixed families and their children in the age of Trump. Zelniker’s work exposes the myth of colorblindness that many white residents of the US still cling to, but must relinquish when they love someone of color. To love someone is to understand at least something about how they live, and Mixed presents in collage a portrait of mixed-race families and the confusion, frustration, love, and deep communication that exists in real relationships across the color line.”
—Lisa McLeod, Professor of Philosophy and co-lead of the Understanding Racism Workshop at Guilford College.

 “There is always scope to learn more about what it means to be mixed. This book makes an important contribution to this burgeoning literature, with its insight and portrayals of the many different mixed experiences that have yet to come to light.”
—Miri Song, Professor of Sociology and author of Multiracial Parents: Mixed Families, Generational Change, and the Future of Race

“Through the stories of a deeply diverse array of people, we learn more than we could imagine about what it means to be multiracial. This beautifully-crafted book unites these stories so that we peel them back, layer after layer to find delight, shame, joy, confusion, acceptance, prejudice, pain, optimism, and so many more life experiences. Mixed is a necessary work that adds nuance to the national discourse about race in the United States.” 
—Amina Chaudhri, author of Multiracial Identity in Children’s Literature: Reading Diversity in the Classroom

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