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Transracial East Asian Adoptees: Navigating Identity as Cultural Frankensteins

Project by Polygence alum Julia

Transracial East Asian Adoptees: Navigating Identity as Cultural Frankensteins

Project's result

I will be presenting at the Spring 2023 Symposium of Rising Scholars!

They started it from zero. Are you ready to level up with us?


Transracial adoption, which is commonly understood as the adoption of a child of a different race than their adopted parents, has been researched thoroughly in the context of international adoption, but little research has been conducted to investigate transracial adoptees’ experiences with their adoptive families. To understand more about transracial adoptees’ identity formation and create more ways to assess the adoption adjustment process, it is important to explore the factors that cause possible struggles in forming transracial adoptees’ identities. Using two films– Abandoned Adopted Here and Approved for Adoption – which center around the lived experiences of East Asian transracial adoptees, I explored the potential consequences on identity formation that transracial adoptees pose. This paper examines themes of “cultural frankensteins,” and the formation of cultural identity. In addition, this paper expands current understandings of the transracial adoptees’ experiences and potential struggles many transracial adoptees may face in everyday life regarding identity.



Polygence mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate


Psychology, Social Science


Sociology, Education, Social Psychology




Hello! My name is Julia Harfenist. I chose to pursue a research project on transracial adoption and the process's impact on transracial adoptees identity formation/mental health. As a transracial adoptee myself, I wanted to become more knowledgeable on this subject.


Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart

Graduation Year


Project review

“I liked the different support networks available.”