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All You Can Ever Know

This book came onto my radar because I listened to Nicole Chung on NPR a few years back. This is her memoir of growing up as a transracial adoptee and her search for her birth family as she grows her own. Her birth parents are Korean and her adoptive family is white. I am not a transracial adoptee so I can’t speak to that experience, but I did grow up in a “colorblind” house where discussions of race were absent.

Nicole Chung’s book is a superb memoir and one I enjoyed reading immensely. It is an excellent exploration around what it is to be family and how people develop their own racial identity over time.

I did not truly begin to explore who I was racially until I was much older, heck I am still doing that work. And it’s complicated because race was never discussed in my house, which I now see to be the reason for so much of my confusion. Growing up with a Filipina mother and a Texan-Puerto Rican father you would think we would talk about it here and there, but I can honestly say it never came up and that’s probably because my parents were confused about their identities as well. My mother from colonized island with its own host of questions, my father with his feet in two worlds as well. As I grow older I can see that now and no longer feel the resentment I once did.

One of my greatest takeaways from this book is that you must discuss these issues and so many others openly with children. Of course it will be uncomfortable but not speaking about anything is so much worse. Throughout her memoir all I could keep repeating to myself is that no matter what I will always try to be as honest and open with my child as I possibly can even if it makes me uncomfortable. Honesty and the truth are so hard sometimes, but they can also open the pathway to such deep love and respect that the bond becomes unbreakable. Thank you again Nicole Chung, this will stay with me forever. Go read this. It will move you.

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