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She's everything — even an adoptive parent!

The "Coming Home Barbie"

By: Téa Tamburo

During the peak of international, Chinese adoptions, The White Swan Hotel was the main hotel where families stayed while waiting for their childs' Visas to come home. When my family stayed there in 2005, after adopting me, the hotel gave us a Barbie holding a Chinese baby. This Barbie is known as the Coming Home Barbie and was only given to adoptees at this hotel.


To this day, I still have that Barbie — never opened — as a keepsake from my journey coming home.


This Barbie was the product of a partnership between the hotel and Mattel (the company who owns Barbie) and was intended to be a souvenir for the adoptee. However, to some, this Coming Home Barbie is now seen as a symbol of white saviorism in adoption. It's crucial to acknowledge Chinese, transracial adoptees' might see this Barbie as a representation of their adoption experiences (either positive, negative or neutral). Now that we're older, we have the power and right to praise, critique or show this Barbie to help tell our own stories.


 

Sources:

A souvenir slammed as 'white savior Barbie' has some Chinese adoptees reconnecting, NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/souvenir-slammed-white-savior-barbie-chinese-adoptees-reconnecting-rcna96692.

Barbie logo: Free use under Wikimedia Commons.


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[Descriptions:

Featured photo:

A pale pink background with a large photo of a white Barbie holding an Asian baby. The Barbie is inside a clear box and has a sign on the box saying "coming home." To the side is another photo of the message on the back of the box that's inside a cartoon house. Large text says "Barbie." Smaller text says "She's EVERYTHING. Including an adoptive parent." Under the photos is small text saying "2005 Coming Home Barbie."

The Coming Home Barbie:

A white Barbie in a blue dress and bucket hat holds an Asian baby. The box has a sign saying "coming home" printed on it.

Back of the Barbie box text:

"This souvenir is presented by Mattel (HK) LTD to adopting parents of Chinese orphan children staying at the White Swan Hotel, Guangzhou, China."

This Barbie is...: A blue background with a cutout of Téa. There’s a pink border on the photo. Large text says “Barbie” in the center and small text at the top says “This Barbie is adopted from Hunan, China."]

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