From the Inside Out: NAVIGATING TRANSNATIONAL & TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION

From the Inside Out: NAVIGATING TRANSNATIONAL & TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION

 

 

 

 

From the Inside Out: NAVIGATING TRANSNATIONAL & TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION

 

 

 

 

Project Intro

From the Inside Out: Navigating Transnational and Transracial Adoption is a website I created for my Master’s Thesis in Media Studies at The New School in 2016. This site is rooted in a personal story that looks at international adoption through multiple perspectives. I was born in an Ecuadorian orphanage and adopted when I was a day old by North American missionaries. 

Video intro with author's narration.

I was raised not knowing my culture or the Spanish language, nor did I know any other Latino people. In my experience, conversations surrounding adoption can be difficult for all parties which may include the adoptees, adopted family, and birth family. For adoptees, the question of one’s heritage can be a looming question. As a transnational and transracial adoptee, I have struggled greatly with my identity and feelings of profound loss. This site is intended as a way to begin to normalize the process of deconstructing one’s identity, and as a starting point for dialogues to take place. 

Ecuadorian baby I.D. (cedula)
Personal document: Ecuadorian cedula id card, similar to a U.S. social security card.

In 2005, I traveled back to my birth country of Ecuador. While there I met Martha the North American nurse who started the orphanage El Buen Pastor (the Good Shepherd), where I was born. Martha showed me an album she had created with photos, news clippings, and handwritten notes sent to her by parents that had adopted children from her. I found my page in her book. Her album became the starting point for this project. In the thesis, I highlight Martha, as well as my adopted mother Maryanne, and my birth mother Amable, whom I met for the first time on January 21, 2006. All three women are essential caregivers to my story.

I have struggled at times with the different roles that I’ve needed to undertake as a researcher, media producer, academic, and also participant. But ultimately this work has helped me to start to piece together my past and given me a voice.

Although this is a story about my journey, there are in fact 50 of us that were sent to the U.S. We are intertwined; this is our story.

-Angela Lucía Sharp

 

Orphanage Album Gallery

Below are a few images from Martha’s orphanage album that I digitized in 2009. Fifty Ecuadorian babies from the orphanage, El Buen Pastor, were adopted and emigrated to the U.S. The album pages contain personal archival materials sent to Martha by the adoptive families. What do these photos, articles, and notes say about them? What traces of their early identity formation do you see?

Caregivers

There are three essential caregivers of this story: my adopted mother, birth mother, and the orphanage’s founder. Their lives and mine are intertwined because of transnational adoption. *Click on each person to listen to their story.

 

MARTHA

MARTHA

North American Nurse, Missionary, & Orphanage Founder

In the early 70’s to 80’s Martha ran the orphanage, el Buen Pastor (the Good Shepherd), in Ecuador, South America. She has lived in Ecuador for more than fifty-years and still resides there.

Listen to Martha’s Story

 

 

 

Maryanne

Maryanne

Adopted mother from North America

Maryanne and her husband Joseph, missionaries from the U.S. living in Ecuador, adopted a daughter when she was a day old from the orphanage el Buen Pastor. 

Listen to Maryanne’s Story

 

Amable

Amable

Birth Mother from South America

Amable’s first born child, a daughter, was put up for adoption in Pifo, Ecuador at the orphanage el Buen Pastor.

Listen to Amable’s Story

 

 

Adoptees: Our Stories

Stephanie

Meet Stephanie...

Jon

Meet Jon...

Joelle

Meet Joelle...

Marisa

Meet Marisa...

Digital Art Installation

Research Methodology
Oral history and archival research methods discussed.

Resources
Project presentations, conferences, and useful links.

Biography
If you would like to know more about me and the work I do.

Contact Me






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