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Navigating 2 Worlds: The Experiences of Asian American Transracial Adoptees

May 23 @ 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM PDT

Educating the public about transnational and multiracial Asian American adoptees through their own personal journeys

Join NAAAP in the celebration of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2024 (APIHM) on May 23rd at 4pm PST / 7pm EST to celebrate and bring awareness to the value and respect of the complex adoptee experience.

The internal narrative of transnational and multiracial adoptee’s creates unique stories illustrating the internal struggles of being a minority within a minority. However the traditional understanding of adoption and an adoptee’s identities are seen as single monolithic with a stigmatized ideal overlooking the true complexity of an adoptee’s experience. This embodies the internal conflict of identity and cultural struggles that leads to a lifelong journey of navigating two worlds that epitomizes the eternal feeling of “living in a hyphen”. This adoptee identity crisis of living at two crossroads often leads to the frustrated and isolated feeling of not having your perspectives and experiences feel truly “valid” and “enough”. It is time for Asian American Transracial Adoptees to take action and channel this negative emotion into an educational movement by exploring the joy and contention of the diverse gray scale that lies within the adoptee’s unique identity based on their environments, social circles and personal experiences. Our panel will discuss the importance of navigating two worlds through the discovery of high and low experiences to educate and inspire the public about the internal narrative of transnational and multiracial adoptee’s lifelong discovery of identity and true self.

Due to the generous donation from our Corporate Sponsor DOW, we are delighted to confirm that tickets are complimentary for this online event. In your confirmation email you will receive a ZOOM link to join the event online.

If you have any additional questions, please reach out directly to our Director of Heritage, Culture and Education Mike Quan via email at [email protected].


Name: Shane Carlin

Title: Korean Adoptee

Pronouns: He/him

Biography: Shane Carlin is the founder, President, and CEO of Asian Student Achievement. He is a Korean American adoptee who grew up in northern Kentucky. Carlin earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, and his Master in Higher Education Administration at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His professional career has spanned Student Affairs and Fundraising from the following organizations: Northwestern, Miami, and Capital Universities, as well as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army.

Personal Quote: “My overall adoption experience has been like “living in the hyphen”, as you are sometimes not supported by the white communities due to what you look like or the Asian American communities due to the way you were raised”


Name: Cosette Epp

Title: Chinese Adoptee

Pronouns: She/Her

Biography: Co-founder of @navigating_adoption

Cosette (Eisenhauer) Epp is a master’s program student at the University of Texas at Arlington in her final year. She is getting her Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community and Administrative Practice. She received a Bachelor of Social Work from UT Arlington. She is hoping to work with families and children, advocate for adoption, change policies/go into legislation, or pursue sports social work. She is the co-founder of Navigating Adoption, which can be found on Instagram, a page that strives to help people understand the struggles that adoptees might face daily and provide a space for adoptees to share their stories with adoption. Being adopted into a transracial family has fueled her passion for advocacy, and a passion for sharing her story started at a young age. Cosette has been featured by Today.com and KERA and has been on several podcasts. She is also a part of many different Asian-advocacy groups, including being on the core team of Sisters of China.

LinkTree: https://linktr.ee/navigatingadoption

Personal Quote: ”Adoption to me will forever be a part of my identity. Being an adoptee has allowed me to grow within myself and acknowledge at a young age that just because I was different, doesn’t mean anything was wrong with me. Being adopted means I also have a life I don’t know about before I was adopted and that is one of the curiosities I have in life.”

Name: Kris Rao

Title: Indian Late Discovery Adoptee

Pronouns: He/him

Biography: For 34 years Kris has navigated the complexities of being bi-racial. Then, a 2019 DNA test unravelled a truth that reshaped his world: “I was 100% Indian”. This revelation unlocked hidden explanations –his past, his experiences, even a nagging sense of “otherness.” But the deepest shock stemmed from a harsher reality – he was adopted, a fact kept secret for 34 years.

Grief and anger surged as his identity crumbled. This unexpected journey, marked by deception, has transformed his life. Now, he embarks on a quest to discover my true roots, grappling with questions and emotions, fueled by a determination to rebuild myself on a foundation of truth.

Personal Quote: “Adoption is me being in a constant state of conflicting emotions. Every reason I have to experience joy is also a reminder to grieve the things taken away from. So, while I can appreciate some of the things adoption has done for me, I also despise everything it has done to me.”

Name: Riley Woods

Title: Vietnamese Adoptee

Pronouns: she/her

Biography: Riley is a product development innovation specialist in the food industry working from manufacturing to leading smaller companies. She is currently the Senior Director of the Adoptee Unity Committee founded in NAAAP Boston in 2023. Being an AANHPI adoptee she has been navigating life through work and hobbies which include cooking and Irish stepdancing. She is a firm believer that what makes us different is what makes us, us, and that we should all be celebrated for it.

Personal Quote:

My adoption journey has not been easy but it has been fulfilling, growing up in a small town in northern Maine I faced many challenges to get where I am today. Today I am continuing to work on myself and the world around me to be a better person and to be whole again.


Online Event