This is the second of three conversations featuring male Vietnamese adoptees. First up was Jared Rehberg. This time its Adam Larson, Queensryche’s number one fan. Seriously. Seek Adam out if you get the chance. The guy is hilarious.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: So, what line of work are you in and what career decisions did you make to get there?
Adam: I guess I’m one of the few people I know who does exactly what I went to school to do. I have an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems, and am currently the IT Director for a large non-profit based out of the Twin Cities. I have actually spent my entire career in IT, and done everything from PC Support up through systems and network administration, engineering, and ultimately management.
I have found that a good mix of education, certification, experience and personality is what it takes to be successful in IT. You can be a brilliant technology professional. However, if you can’t communicate with the people around you, you will ultimately fail.
One skill that I have found invaluable in my career has been my fondness for learning. I have never stopped seeking out and learning new technical and non-technical skills, and I feel that this has kept my career moving forward.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: I’m a little surprised by your choice in music. What’s up with your love for Queensryche? I can understand Rush, but Queensryche??
Adam: Why not? Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s I was your typical long hair metal fan from Minnesota. I had a wardrobe that consisted of black t-shirts from all the current bands and wore them daily. Apparently others couldn’t tell the difference between an Alice Cooper shirt and a Dream Theater shirt as I believe that they thought I dressed in the same clothes every day.
Anyway, a friend gave me a copy of Operation: Mindcrime and I was hooked. The song writing was amazing, the dual guitar work, the incredible singing, etc. The band was just impressive from start to finish. I went to all of their concerts that I could make it to, joined the fan clubs, message boards, newsgroups, etc. After hanging around for so long, they eventually gave in and let me do some work with their fan clubs and street teams. I also help out on some web/online projects and get to write interviews with members of the fan club.
The best part about my role with Queensrych is that I still get to be a fan. I also get to hang out with and help out the band that has given me so much over the years. (FYI. New album came out 6/28 called Dedicated to Chaos. I recommend buying it).
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Rock on (but I’ll pass on Dedicated to Chaos…) When I initially approached you to do this interview, you said: “I could be interviewed, but I’m not sure. I have never done (nor had any interest in doing) a search. I have also never sought out post-adoption services. I just kind of am.” Could you elaborate?
Adam: In reading your typical interviews and meeting/talking with several other adoptees in the area, I really seem to have a different experience. I grew up in a large school (2200+ students in the school and more than 850 in my graduating class alone). I hung out in multiple groups of friends, including church youth group, sports teams, long haired hippies, etc. I wouldn’t say that I was a popular kid, but I wasn’t unpopular either. In my mind it was really hard not to fit into at least some social circles.
The fact that I was one of only a handful of Asians in my school never really occurred to me. From a young age I knew that my sister (Korean adoptee) and I were adopted. My parents told us all about it. I have always had access to pictures and news articles of my adoption, but, to be honest, I never took an interest in learning more about any of it. I was (and am) a very content Scandinavian boy.
I was born in Saigon during the Vietnam War and was flown out as part of Operation Babylift near the end of the war. While I have never had any desire to do a birth parent search and learn anything about my birth parents, I have taken an interest in learning more about Vietnam and the babylift. My wife and I took a trip over to Vietnam in 2006, and I got to learn a lot about the culture, meet the people, visit the hospital where I was born, etc. It was an amazing trip. The best part of the trip was seeing the Vietnamese people look at me as though they were thinking, “He looks Vietnamese, but he doesn’t look Vietnamese.”
When we returned, I started reading about my adoption and the babylift project to learn more about my roots. I have been enjoying learning more about Vietnam and what my life could have been had I been left behind. Beyond a history lesson, however, I really haven’t done anything more. I really love the life I was given and have never dwelled on what could have been. Plus, I like being the only Asian at the Sons of Norway Meatball dinners.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Word…