Liza Stone is the host of the podcast, “I’m Adopted, Now What?” “As you may gather from the name, it is all about adoption, adoptees, the adoptee experience, and how the multiculturalism that adoptees live day-to-day builds one’s identity.” Liza was adopted from China at 6 months old and grew up in New Jersey with her mother and father.
After moving into a new apartment, Liza’s close friends talked her into attending one of the Black Lives Matter protests in her area.
“That night totally changed my life, [. . .] it is why I started the podcast!”
Because the next day, after I came home, I woke up and for the first time in my life I remember really consciously I was like really in my bones physically like tingling with the awareness that I wasn’t actually white like I thought all along, and ‘Wow, if I wasn’t white? Then what was I?’”
This realization made Liza deep dive into figuring out her identity. She described how her entire life, she wanted to be white but then felt a sense of shame around that yearning.
“I was just immersed with white American culture. I had full access to white privilege through my family. And, it occurred to me literally like last week that like, ‘Holy shit, I spent all those years not even considering that like my mom and I were a different race because I just felt so white.’”
All these realizations are what have now become the content for her podcast.
What is the Podcast?
Liza hopes that her podcast is a place where adoptees can come to no matter where they are on their identity journey to use as a tool and find a sense of community. Liza also thinks that it can also be a resource for non-adoptees or people looking into adoption.
“Instead of making assumptions, I hope this is like an educational tool where you just come from a place of more understanding and sympathy.”
It is also a great tool for people looking to adopt. Liza’s podcast has even helped her own mom understand more about Liza’s intersecting identities.
“She [her mom] said to me she was like, ‘Liza, you know something I’m learning from listening to your podcast is, for me, you were adopted [. . .], and then you were my daughter. What I’m realizing is, for you, your adoption is an ongoing experience.’”
Before COVID, Liza didn’t actively seek out predominantly Asian spaces but had been doing it since she was a child subconsciously.
“When I was younger, and I would go to summer camp, I would always go by myself [. . .], so I also had to make friends. And whenever I was looking around for people to make friends with, I always would end up making friends with Asian groups of people. But at the same time, I never wanted to be associated with myself being Asian.”
But after COVID-19 and the rise in AAPI hate crimes, she feels safer in environments with other Asian people, because she doesn’t worry about her, “[. . . .] bothering anybody by being Asian.” Liza described being much more aware of how much she sticks out in an all-white space now.
However, she simultaneously does not feel 100 percent comfortable and accepted in all Asian spaces. Being adopted, she knows very little about Chinese culture, which can make it hard to participate in conversations surrounding Asian culture.
“I feel like we have to break down these ideas of—this is what it means to be a Chinese person, this is what it means to be a Japanese person. Those are too rigid; we have to make them be more fluid.”
Liza Mei Stone is adopted, super liberal, grew up in the suburbs of central New Jersey, went to public school, and was raised by two white parents—one American, one British—both Jewish. She had never stopped to think about that identity or question the whiteness of which I grew up being a part of. But then the pandemic came, and BLM began, and she could no longer hold on with clenched fists to that white, American girl that she thought she was. So, on June 1st, 2020, she embarked on a lifelong journey to discover what it meant to truly be her—a liberal, nonreligious, nature-loving, confident girl, adopted from China. Now, she’s continuing to process and make progress, primarily through my podcast, “I’m Adopted Now What?” where she discusses all things race, culture, and identity one chat at a time. As my adventure unfolds, she can’t help but feel excited and eager for what’s next!
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
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