Australian PM Senior Adviser Meeting

ICAV Meeting with the Prime Minister’s Senior Advisers

Top L: SueYen, Sharna, Rupali Bottom L: Lynelle, HeeRa, Dominic

Date: Monday 27 April, 2015
Time: 11am – 1pm

Thank you for the opportunity!

Senior Advisers Introduce themselves and outline their roles & responsibilities and experience in ICA to date.

Our Aim for this meeting : bring to PM attention that the children who’s best interests are at the centre of ICA policy, are us! We do grow up and many of us have been working amongst the wider ICA community for years to raise awareness of what this journey means. We think critically about adoption and would like Govt to include us in Policy discussions, as a group to be consulted, with the goal of improving ICA outcomes and experiences for all involved, but particularly for adoptees like us.

What we appreciate about the current Govt is :

Tony Abbott has raised Intercountry adoption to National focus and in many ways this has subsequently created much needed debate within the adoption community and challenged us to think about how we can impact and create the change needed that we believe in. We appreciate and applaud that the Govt has maintained control of Adoption by not privatising it. We certainly support a more consistent and better funded model across the country that supports all involved for the lifetime of the adoption journey.

The format of meeting: Lynelle will introduce each adoptee speaker who will share a 5-10 min segment comprising a brief bit about their own adoption journey followed by 1-2 issues raised in relation to challenges experienced.

Following each segment, we will allow 5min of discussion if this is required.


Federal Govt Attendees: Lucinda Barry (absent), Adoption Policy Senior Adviser to the PM; Leonie McGregor, Senior Adviser on Policy to the PM Cabinet; and Paula Gelo, Adviser to Minister Scott Morrison (responsible for the new 1800 National hotline for Intercountry adoption)

IC Adoptee Attendees (6):

Sue-Yen Bylund: Vietnamese Adoptee residing in WA, WA Member of NICAAG providing advice to the former AGD on ICA, CoFounder of International Adoptee Community, and former ICASN WA Rep.

Dominic Golding: Vietnamese Adoptee residing in VIC, member of VANISH, Social Worker and Masters in Social Work, Playwright/Actor, CoFounder of International Adoptee Community.

Rupali Karvouniaris: Indian Adoptee residing in SA, adopted at age 12 and trafficked to Australia via ICA, reunited with her bio mum late 2014.

Sharna Ciotti: Korean Adoptee residing in SA, Social Worker, Adoptee educator for prospective adoptive parent seminars with the SA Dept of ICA, volunteer worker with young InterCountry adoptees.

HeeRa Heaser: Korean adoptee residing in NSW, Researcher and PhD candidate in Social Sciences on Korean Australian Intercountry Adoption and Social Media at UNSW, Founding member of Korean Adoptees in Australian Network group, reunited with Korean family 2004.

Lynelle Long: Vietnamese Adoptee residing in NSW, Adoptee Representative on NICAAG advising former AGD on ICA, Founder/Director of ICAV (formerly ICASN), United Adoptees International agent, member of NSW Committee on Adoption & Permanent Care.

Each Adoptee presented a 5-10min segment outlining: their own experience, and then how this relates to 1-2 main points put forward to the Federal Govt to consider.A summary of main issues raised:

Dominic Golding: additional needs and later discovery of additional needs; requirement for full medical information to be retained long term by Sending Country; requirement for comprehensive and ongoing education to Australian Professionals e.g. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers

Sue-Yen: need to create and maintain ongoing sending country to receiving country post adoption services via Central Authorities, facilitated also through Embassy and authorised services eg social worker, translation services, etc, access to birth communities and ongoing support for birth families during and post search. Need for a National standard of Post Adoption Supports for adoptees who are now Australian citizens based on specific outcomes from Australian research eg Research initiated by the AGD and Aust Central Authorities during NICAAG’s results.

Rupali: as a young adopted person who’s adoption broke down and left to fend for herself after having to move out of adoptive family, there was inadequate support for Rupali. She tells of the impact of living the trafficked life and the need for support during Reunion and Beyond eg translation, financial, cultural, emotional, travel

Sharna: need for better representation of adoptees for consultation by Govt in policy and for Govt to be aware of language used so not to commodify us; media releases and its impact on Support for Adoptees.

HeeRa: need for Research led decisions eg Korean adoptions are the largest and oldest program and how the Korean adoptions are inconsistent with UNCRC and the implications to non-Hague sending countries; importance of Sending Countries having accurate name and birth info; adult adoptees views on Transparency within ICA.

Lynelle: need for maintaining long term data on how adoptions work out and act early to prevent ReHoming, Deportation, Adoption Breakdowns eg issues exacerbated by lack of education, privatisation of adoption which perpetuates adoptions for financial gain; adoptee view of the decline in ICA; increasing number of adult IC adoptees are pushing for Govts to acknowledge their fundamental rights as enshrined by the UNCRC; The Hague on ICA has its flaws and implications that we live, hence the need for robust policy translated into realistic practices that leave a legacy of morally and ethically healthy adoptions into the future.


      Paula Gelo

  • clarify with Minister Scott Morrison the scope of the 1800 hotline – it appears to only be for Prospective Adoptive Parents but the AGD Website scope seems unclear and possible that it could also service Adoptees, Adoptive Families, Birth Families making contact from countries like Korea looking for their child. (COMPLETED)
  • clarify how/when Adult Intercountry Adoptees can be included in collaborative approach to Federal ICA Policy in future e.g. consultative forums and how we could be invited. (COMPLETED)
  • provide Lynelle with contact details of Flora Carapellucci, head of Dept Social Services who has Federal responsibility of InterCountry Adoption Policy. (COMPLETED) Leonie McGregor
  • apologised on PMs behalf for offensive language used in media releases to date – they will certainly be more aware going forward to try and be sensitive to all parties.
  • review why the Jenny Degling report on ICA is not openly released by AGD and investigate what can be done to release to wider public

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