Whatever Next? On Adult Adoptive Identities

Whatever Next? started in January 2021, by founders Addie, Hannah and Jo in Edinburgh. They were brought together by their shared experiences growing up as Chinese adoptees in the West. Whatever Next? won the Sunday Mail Young Scot Award for Equality and Diversity in 2022, and will be releasing a book called "Whatever Next? On Adult Adoptive Identities" in August 2022.

Read on to see how Whatever Next? met, how the project has grown and more on their upcoming book.

Hi!

We’re Whatever Next? – a multi-media project which we started in January 2021 to expand on some of the conversations we had found ourselves having about interracial adoption and identity.

We are Addie, Hannah and Jo – all of us are Chinese adoptees who have grown up in the West. Addie was brought up in Kansas City, Missouri and now is studying Population Health. Hannah was brought up in Dorset and has just completed her undergraduate degree in Linguistics and Social Anthropology. Jo was brought up in London and currently works for Intercultural Youth Scotland (Bill, Jo’s sausage dog is the fourth honorary member of Whatever Next?). We met via a Facebook group for Chinese adoptees living in the UK. We started talking in winter of 2019 and haven’t really stopped since!

It has been an incredibly rewarding project and has allowed us to connect with adoptees across the globe as well as giving us time to reflect on our own identities and adoptions with the support of friends and family.

We were lucky enough to win a Creative Edinburgh Student Award in 2021 and a Young Scot Award for Equality and Diversity in 2022. We have appeared on BBC Radio Scotland, LBC and led a discussion talk with the British Government.

We are in the process of publishing a book with 404ink, which looks at adoptive narratives in the media and how these have been harmful to the community at large. This comes out on the 25th August 2022 and we can’t wait!

Through talking to each other, we found that we had similar experiences growing up and our experiences interacting with adoptees portrayed in the media. This not only affected the way in which we saw ourselves, but also in the ways in which other people saw us. A large part of what we aim to do with our project is open the door to new conversations around adoption which focus on the nuances of the matter.

We identified three main strands of narrative, the ‘lucky’ adopted child, the ‘broken’ child and the ‘heroic’ child – all seen repetitively in franchises such as Marvel and Disney. With our book, we aim to look at these narratives constructively and explore how these have been damaging to adoptees who feel they ought to live up to impossible standards.

We are very proud to share the book with you and hope it will start the ball rolling on a few conversations of your own about adoption…

More information

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Young Scot supports young people to share their own voices, views and opinions and works with partner organisations and professionals who are experts in different topics. The views expressed in this blog are those of the young people, organisations and/or individuals who have taken part in the blog, not necessarily the views of Young Scot.