I am a Colombian-Amercian. Born to a Colombian family in the 70’s and adopted and raised by a white American, Jewish family. Whew. That is a mouth full. And its never been easy for me to label myself because I have never felt like I fit into one box. It’s taken me a very long time to put Colombian, in front of American.
Being raised in a white family, I identified as white. I always knew about my adoption and the culture I was born into. But I often felt in authentic as a Colombian, because of my lack of exposure to Colombian culture growing up.
I am also a light skinned Colombian, which was very confusing for me growing up. I didn’t feel like I looked “spanish enough” and I desperately wanted to. But I also couldn’t ignore all the comments and intrusive questions I had to endure from strangers “what are you” “you look like ______” “what country are you from”, “your features are so ______” So I felt very much neither/both.
My family here in MN did a good job advocating for me as an adoptee, but the one piece they didn’t know how to help me with (and in hind sight wish they had) was the complications of being Trans cultural.
I am going back to Colombia (for the first time since my adoption as an infant), this year. And I will be meeting my Colombian family for the first time as well. I am sure my identity will expand and contract like it always does, with each major turn in my life.
Thank you for listening!!