Week 10 Context Presentation: Asian-American children in the Foster Care System.

In The Leavers by Lisa Ko, Deming Guo is the son of Polly who immigrated from China. Growing up in New York City, Deming faces the challenges that many children of immigrants face: feeling ostracized by peers in school, overcoming a language barrier, and assimilating to American classrooms. After being adopted by a White couple, Deming now Daniel Wilkinson, struggles to adjust to his new life and family. He has trouble communicating with his adoptive parents and he is treated poorly by the students and principal at his school, in addition to being the only Asian child in their community. His adoptive parents also are concerned that they do not know how to communicate with him, and this makes them initially question their choice to adopt Daniel. In the book Daniel, thinks of himself as an alien because his environment makes him feel distant from his fellow peers, illustrating the lack of diversity and lack of awareness in his community.

Daniels’s experience is shared by many Asian-American children in the foster care system. Even though the percentage of Asian foster children is lower compared to other demographics, there are still not enough Asian-American foster families to take in children. Since the majority of Asian-American kids in the foster system are children of immigrants, placing them in non-Asian foster homes can be traumatic and cause them to feel like an outcast in their own home, due to language and cultural differences. In order to prevent the potential harmful outcomes that come from a traumatic foster care experience, it is necessary that children are placed in homes where they are understood and can feel apart of the family. For Asian-American children in the foster care system, this means taking efforts to increase the number of Asian-American foster families in the system.


Ko, Lisa. The Leavers. Chapel Hill, 2017.

Luhar, Monica. “Nonprofits Search for Asian-American Foster Parents to Fill Culture, Language Needs.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 24 July 2017, www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/nonprofits-search-asian-american-foster-parents-fill-culture-language-needs-n785036.

4 thoughts on “Week 10 Context Presentation: Asian-American children in the Foster Care System.

  1. I’m not sure I agree with your assessment that children-especially children from other cultural backgrounds-should necessarily be excluded or separated from born Americans. I think one of the characteristics of America which separates itself from other nations is not only its emphasis on freedom and personal liberty, but its commitment to the combination of multiple cultures to form a so-called “melting pot.” Being an American in this sense does not require one to have been born in this nation; rather, being an American is more akin to valuing liberty and American values. One needs not to abandon his or her culture, but being separated removes the ability for one to gain valuable social experience despite the occasional discomfort of being in an unfamiliar environment.

  2. Although it seems ideal to have foster children go with families of the same background, sadly, this would be almost impossible. Like the response above, I do not agree with the thought that non American foster children should be separated from American foster children. An idea would be to have foster parents take a cultural sensitivity class or if it is known that they are receiving a child from another culture then have them take some education classes and of course foster children need to be in some type of counselling.

    • maynard.248 I agree with your comment 1000%, I believe separating children based on different cultural background should not be a thing in the foster care system. I believe the educational classes on culture background would be a great idea and also a very good learning lesson for families involved, great work on your comment!

  3. I understand where both @mason.1009 and @maynard.248 are coming from, and I partially agree with everything that has been discussed so far. I also find it difficult to grasp that many Asian-American children are often placed with families of different cultural backgrounds, but it is not realistic to separate non American children from American children in the foster care system. I can see where situations that involve a non American child fostered by an American family can sever the connection the child has to his/her culture or ethnic background. However, I can also see that in some cases, these children are exposed to multiple cultures which can allow them to familiarize and identify as part of these cultures while gaining social skills. Like @maynard.248 says, a cultural sensitivity class would be extremely beneficial to the foster kids and the foster families as well, so that there would be minimal margin for discomfort and trauma. Because there aren’t as many Asian-American foster families registered in the foster care system, a class like that plus extra counseling would definitely allow for foster children to enter into a more comfortable environment regardless of the home they are placed in, and make the foster families’ connections to foster children much easier.

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