An #importedAsians POV: Amee Finigan of 'The Monolid Diaries'
Amee Finigan is an adoptee. She is a Korean-American adoptee (KAD), who currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Amee is the host of "The Monolid Diaries"—a podcast that shares and highlights the experiences of other transracial adoptees and encourages individuals to find their voice through her platform. "The Monolid Diaries" is available to listen on all podcasting streaming services, and you can follow her on Instagram.
Born in South Korea in 1985, Amee was sent to a foster home shortly after she was born, until she was adopted into the Finigan family at four months old. It’s a day that Amee and her family remember fondly, as she was adopted on St Patrick’s Day, which ties in nicely with the Finigan’s Irish roots. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, she shared: “It took me a long time to come into my own and be comfortable in my own skin and my identity as a Korean American.” She was labeled as quiet and shy and “people actually called me mute,” she revealed, “But now you can’t get me to shut up!”
Now, she hopes to raise the voices of other transracial adoptees through her latest podcast, "The Monolid Diaries." The name of the series originates from wanting to highlight the beauty of Asian features and feeling a need to share her experiences as a KAD. “I really wanted to highlight the beauty and uniqueness of Asian features because it’s something that I was never proud of. The ‘Diaries’ part is just me opening up my heart and soul and just really getting into the nitty gritty,” Amee explained.
Noticing a lack of representation of KADs and international adoptees, Amee uses her unique storytelling technique to open up about not only her experiences growing up, but the stories of other adoptees too. She’s spoken to the likes of Kevin Kreider, star of Netflix’s "Bling Empire" and saxophonist Jordan VanHemert, and plans to speak to many more adoptees soon. She hopes that by sharing her own experiences, it will help other adoptees to share theirs too, which she dubs as her passion project and life mission now. “There’s a whole generation of adoptees that I feel like are coming forward right now and really sharing space and letting their voices be heard like never before,” she said.
It seems her work has inspired others to find their own voices. “I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’re thinking about starting their own podcasts about transracial adoption,” she said. “Anyone that has a voice can get on there and tell their story, and so I just think it’s so cool that if I have any influence at all, then I think it’s great whoever is able to get their voice out there.”
For many of Amee’s listeners, her stories have resonated with them. She shared, “The response has been incredible. I’ve gotten so many DMs from people. I’ve also created so many meaningful and wonderful relationships with every single person that I’ve interviewed… So, it’s been an incredible experience, and the support I’ve received from other transracial adoptees has been amazing.”
While Amee understands the importance of sharing adoptee experiences, she also wanted to celebrate the joys of adoptee life too. This sparked the idea for “Adoptee Joy,” her newest monthly live series on Instagram where Amee chats with friends to showcase the joyful side of adoptees. “A lot of times, it’s about the sadness or trauma, and so I definitely wanted to highlight [the joys] with this series,” she explained.
She’s also using her platform to ensure that the next generation of adoptees have resources, like her podcast, to refer to and resonate with. This stems from growing up as one of only a few adoptees in her area. Amee felt that support for adoptees and adoptive parents wasn’t present: “What was most challenging growing up was my parents not having any resources to do anything. So, basically [they were] going into it blind and also [were] not getting the best advice from the adoption agencies.”
Through her own social media presence, she hopes to provide and increase resources, so that other adoptees and parents have people to look up to and speak to for advice. She believes that there “needs to be more educational resources, especially for transracial adoptive parents” and recommends therapy, saying, "I think family therapy is super important," noticing the value of it for herself and her family.
Initially, it wasn’t easy for Amee to find her voice, which is something you wouldn’t be able to tell from meeting her, given her confident, bubbly personality. For her, it took exposure therapy to really build up her own confidence.
But, what advice does she have for others who want to find their voice and let their story be heard?
“Try and step outside of your comfort zone, outside of the bubble that you’re used to,” she advised. “You never know what could come of it.”
Be sure to watch out for Amee’s other ventures too! She has a new podcast in the pipelines: "KAD Confessionals with co-host Maddie O’Brien." The uncensored, R-rated podcast will delve into the stories of female adoptees and their stories as Asian-American women.