Welcome everyone!

I’m Mirella. I am an adult, transracial adoptee. I am also a transnational adoptee, born and raised in Bulgaria until the age of 5, when I was adopted and raised by an American family living in Seattle, Washington. I grew up in a White family, and a White community, and for most of my life called myself White. I am ethnically Bulgarian and Iraqi. I identify as a Person of Color. I am twice adopted and a second-generation adoptee. And I am not the only one.

It’s complicated, but not unique in its complexity.

Me, and many others like me, face feelings of difference as they navigate a world where they do not fit neatly into categories of race, ethnicity, or even national origin. Many others, like me, face feelings of incongruity as they negotiate identities that may, or may not, fit neatly into the families they belong to – identities that are uniquely theirs and no one else’s.

This blog is a collection of my own thoughts and feelings around my own transracial, transnational adoption journey. A shoutout to adoptees or fosters everywhere – young and old – to say you are not alone, and what I can only hope will be a resource for the families, friends, and communities that support us.

Some of what I post will be anecdotal. Most of what I post will be anecdotal. From time to time though, I might also post my own or others’ research and writing from school and other ventures, as well as links to articles and resources that I think might be useful for anyone wanting to know more.

Does it matter? Doesn’t it?

Whether you’re an adoptee, a foster, or a friend, relative, or professional supporting one of the latter, I hope you’ll join me and be part of the conversation.

I look forward to seeing where this takes us.


About mirellawarren

social work consultant, transracial adoptee, adoptee rights advocate, writer
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4 Responses to introductions

  1. Hi Mirella, I’m interested to learn why you consider yourself biracial if you’re of Bulgarian and Iraqi ethnicity by birth. Just curious as my own family is transracial because my husband and I are white and our children are Asian.

    • Luanne, thanks so much for your question. I identify as biracial because, while Bulgarian and Iraqi are two ethnic identities, Bulgarians are considered racially White in the United States. Historically, Arabs have also been identified as White. However, in recent years, scholarly literature has begun to validate that Arabs in the United States walk a different path than others belonging to the same racial category. Even though I might be identified as White on a Census or an Equal Employment Opportunity form, my lived experience is that of a Person of Color. I therefore identify as biracial – owning also the privilege I have as a light-skinned Person of Color in the United States. If you’re interested in learning more, there is a documentary called “Not Quite White” that you may want to check out – or if you haven’t already, you can also check out my posts “transracial placements and the colorblind mentality” as well as “origins of a blog and some thoughts about privilege”. I hope that clarifies things, and look forward to continuing the conversation.

      • Fascinating information. When I was a grad student and teaching I used to be very interested in theories of race. It feels like a long time ago now, but the subject still grabs me. I haven’t really heard of Arabs being identified as any race other than white. I do wonder how people of the usual nonwhite categories feel about the idea of someone who looks white and whose background is from ethnic groups considered Caucasian claiming biracial or nonwhite identity. Is that something that has come up?

  2. Thanks Luanne. It sounds like this brought up a lot for you. When I read your comment, I’m reminded that Whiteness and Blackness have, historically, in the United States, been defined by White people in power for political purposes, and that standards of race (a social construction) have changed many times over throughout the course of history. For this reason, I think it’s important to contextualize race to the historical and geographic landscape in which these conversations are happening.

    My experience as a Person of Color in the United States is one of lived racial difference marked by a degree of visible Blackness (my kinky-curly hair, tan skin, and racial ambiguity – I am quite frequently mistaken as a mix of African American and White, though you may not see it in one Gravitar). As both a light-skinned Person of Color, and a transracial adoptee raised in a White family, I have certain privileges, and recognize that between “nonwhite” categories there still exists a spectrum of experiences that I have not known or experienced. But as someone who has done a great deal of thinking and personal work around my own racial identity, I think it’s critical for me to state that some of the most important and supportive individuals in that process have been People of Color, due simply to mutual understanding of the experience of racial visibility.

    I think you bring up an excellent point, about who gets to identify race, and for what purposes. I’ll continue to think about your comments, and see whether I might be able to address them from my perspective as a transracial adoptee in a future post.

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