Not speaking from a personal perspective here, but it must be pretty tough to find out you were adopted. There must be many questions going through your mind, that I suppose can be hard to answer from either side. What would compound that is when you are a transracial adoptee. For those of you who don’t know (or can’t guess), a transracial adoptee is a child of one race that is adopted into a family of another. Not only do you have do deal with any possible prejudice, but you don’t have anyone who can really relate to it either.
So what’s it about?
Dionne Draper is a professional singer, actress and writer. She’s also a transracial adoptee (from now on abbreviated to TRA). This podcast sheds light on the problems she encountered being a black child not only growing up in a white family, but in an almost exclusively white area. The title (pronounced “darta”) takes its name from the one woman musical she wrote based on her life.
She is joined by poet, singer and long time friend (also a TRA) Lisa Marie Simmons. Together they discuss the problems growing up in this situation, and how it has affected them not only culturally, but psychologically too.
They interview other TRAs to get their (sometimes unique) perspectives and also therapists, charity organisers, and religious leaders. They give advice on the struggles of not only growing up separated from their culture, but going through adulthood living as a TRA. A lot of the time situations get normalised and the adoptee is unaware that they are psychologically affected. This is known as “The Fog”.
Is it any good?
I always like to learn about people’s experiences that differ from my own. This podcast is absolutely one way to do that. To say it is eye opening is an understatement. There are things discussed here that would never have crossed my mind. Why would they? I’m not being ignorant when I say that. A situation like that is beyond my comprehension. Ultimately, it is as funny as it is heartbreaking. Even the sadder parts of their life stories are met with humour and strength. These are two strong women who won’t let life experiences get them down.
If I’m being overly critical, occasionally some of the audio quality is rather poor, but from the sounds of it, the interviews are held via Zoom, which would explain that. As I have mentioned in other podcasts, I suspect that this one is also on YouTube. For some reason you don’t tend to notice stuff like that so much if you have the visual aspect too. This is my only criticism though, of an otherwise outstanding podcast.
As I said earlier, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a TRA, and I really can’t, not entirely. I can have some idea where Dionne is coming from though. You see, she is my cousin. I remember family holidays as a kid and being the youngest of my three cousins, she was always on hand to keep us entertained (including influencing my music and film tastes to this day!)
Hearing how she felt growing up was uneasy listening for me. I never knew any of this, I was only really a part of their lives for a few weeks a year. Also, being a kid, I suspect there would have been stuff that wasn’t discussed when my brother and I were around.
Interspersed through each episode are clips of her musical, the eponymous “Dawta”. I will say that her depiction of “Jean” was pretty spot on. She had the turn of phrase perfect, and I could imagine “Jean” saying all those things (for better or worse).
You can get Dawta here: