November is National Adoption Month and we wanted to highlight API Middle Tennessee Board Member, Erin Jung. Erin joined the Board at the start of this year! Check out the interview below to learn more about her.
Hi, Erin! Could you tell us about yourself?
I'm a transracial Korean adoptee. I was adopted as an infant. I grew up in Nebraska but have lived in Middle Tennessee for 20 years now, so it feels like home. I work in risk and compliance for a mortgage company and am a mom, avid reader, puzzler, and love to travel when I can.
Why did you want to serve on API Middle Tennessee's board?
My journey to embracing my Korean roots has been long and a bit complex. Growing up in an area where no one looks like you and not learning anything about my culture of origin created an environment where I really shied away from anything Korean or Asian related. Beginning in 2018 I joined a Tennessee Korean adoptee group and really started exploring what being Korean and Asian meant to me and as I've grown with that and am really proud of being Korean now, I wanted to find a community to promote that, as well as an avenue to give back to the community.
What do you want people to know about transracial adoption/adoptees?
I can only speak for my experience but will say that each adoptees' experience is different and unique. What I think is really frustrating for me personally is that so many people still view adoption as being "saved" and that adoptees need to just be quiet and be grateful for that. In reality, adoptees, especially transracial adoptees have a lot of complex emotions and feelings to deal with. Listening to adoptee voices is so important; allowing adoptees to be seen and heard and not seen as a commodity is integral. Identity is somewhat of a labyrinth, because for transracial adoptees, we often grow up where no one looks like us, yet if we go to our country of origin, we might be surrounded by people who look like us, but we don't know the language or the culture. For me, finding belonging was really challenging until the last few years and I've found a community of people who are in the same situation and understand without any explanation.
What would you like to see for Middle Tennessee's API community in the future? Growth! I would love to get the word out to more people in the area and see more community involvement from people of all walks of life to learn more about what we do and who we are. Forming releationships in the community helps to break down barriers and create bridges. I am excited and honored to be a part of that with API Middle Tennessee.
API Middle Tennessee strives to have a Board of Directors that represents the diverse array of identities within the API community and we are grateful for Erin's voice and leadership.