A Norwegian Soul in a Chinese Body? Ethnic Identity and Chinese Adoptees in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSocieties. 2022, 12 (4), 117. 10.3390/soc12040117
The ethnic identity of international adoptees has been a transdisciplinary field of inquiry over the past decades. Taking China-born adopted Norwegian citizens as research subjects, this study uses a mixed-method approach to explore how they perceive their ethnic identity and origin in the host society of Norway. We find that Chinese adoptees mainly identify as racially Chinese but culturally Norwegian, and their Chineseness lies primarily in their appearance. They generally feel secure about their ethnic background despite the challenges and paradoxes caused by their Chinese looks. Most adoptees have no attachment to their birth country, and their interests in China and Chinese culture are usually instrumental and individual-based. Three main socio-cultural factors shape the ethnic identity of China-born adopted children: (1) the negligible impact of their pre-adoptive history upon them, (2) a supportive family environment acknowledging their differences, and (3) an inclusive socio-cultural environment that respects ethnic diversities. No clear tendency towards constructing or enacting double identities among the adoptees was found. Finally, our respondents reported fewer racist experiences than suggested by recent literature on migrants and international adoptees in current literature. This aspect needs further research, also in reference to other cohorts of adoptees.