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Girl Power!

What happens when a group of young, smart, cute, Asian adoptees get together?

Katy Robinson was adopted from Korea at age seven and grew up in Salt Lake City in the 1970s. During her childhood and into her teen years, Robinson didnít know other adoptees and saw few Asian faces like her own around town. So when Robinson moved to Boise, Idaho, in 1994, she decided to join with Idaho Families with Children from Asia (IFCA), hoping she could be of help to young adoptees.

Four years ago, Robinson and a cluster of nine- and 10-year-olds created an informal social group called SCAA (Smart, Cute, Asian Adoptees). "The girls were reaching an age where they wanted some activities that werenít parent-driven," says Robinson, author of A Single Square Picture: A Korean Adopteeís Search for Her Roots (Berkley Books). "They were a lot more willing to share their feelings about being adopted and being Asian without adults listening in." Recently, a few members of SCAA shared their thoughts with AF. Hereís what they had to say.

AF: Tell us a little about SCAA. How did you all meet?

Jade: SCAA is a group of preteen and teenage girls who were adopted from Asia. Our families all live in Boise and are members of IFCA, so many of us have basically grown up together.

AF: How did you come up with the name for your group?

Lila: At our first meeting, Katy joked that we were all "smart, cute, Asian adoptees," and the name sort of stuck.

AF: What do you girls do when you get together?

Jade: Our meetings are pretty informal. We either go somewhere to eat or get together at someoneís house. Katy, our mentor, is the only adult in the group, and we talk about lots of different thingsóschool, friends, boys, fashion, and hair. Sometimes we talk about our feelings about being adopted or being Asian.

AF: Do you ever talk about your birth families in Asia?

Jade: Sometimes we imagine what characteristics we have that come from our birthparents. We can share whatever we feel likeóso if someone is struggling with something, she can bring it up with the group. No one makes fun of anyone else.

AF: So itís pretty comfortable to be with one another?

Lila: Yes. Itís great to be able to share secrets and things we keep inside us. It feels good to know there are other people out there like you.

AF: Whatís it like living in Boise? Are there many Asians around?

Jade: Boise is great. Itís a smaller city with lots of fun activities.

Micaela: There arenít many Asian people here, but that doesnít bother me so much. I like living here.

Lila: Me too. Itís kind of cool to be Asian because you stand out.

AF: Do people ever say annoying things to you about being Asian or being adopted?

Camille: People say things like, "You must be really smart!" or "Do you eat rice at home? Can you use chopsticks?"

Tresa: Whenever Iím with another Asian girl, people always ask if weíre sisters. Weíre not. Iím an only child! Or if Iím with my mom or dad, someone just has to come up and ask if I was adopted. Itís not a bad thingóit just gets a little annoying sometimes.

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