Buscando a mi familia en Colombia

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Búsqueda en Adopción Internacional series. These individual stories are being shared from our Papel de perspectiva that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

por Jose Taborda, born in Colombia, raised in the USA

First journal entry by my adoptive mother

In the spring of 1978, I was born in Medellin, Colombia. Separated from my first family by adoption, I was brought by my adoptive parents to New Jersey and grew up with my younger adoptive sister in a Northern New Jersey suburb just outside of New York City.

I was lucky as an adoptee because my adoptive parents made a conscious decision to talk to me about my adoption from an early age. They attended a couple of workshops about adopting a child offered by an adoption agency prior to my adoption where they had been counselled to inform me as soon as possible about my adoption so as to normalise it for me. This advice informed their approach in terms of collecting information and artefacts of my adoption. This included stories of my adoption in Colombia in the form of journal entries written by my adoptive mother, a photograph of my first mother, and my adoption records containing identifying information about my first mother. 

Upon refection, it wasn’t just luck and good advice, my parents were compassionate people who made the decision to share what they knew about my origins with me throughout my life. They had the right instincts that led them not only to send me a dossier containing every artefact about my adoption while I was in college and I first expressed an interest in searching, but also to support my search when I began. 

 When I moved to New York City in my mid-twenties, I started searching. At the time, I had a Yahoo! Email account and noticed that it offered searchable interest groups. There was a group called Colombian Adoptee Search and Support (CASAS), which gathered many people like me: twenty-something Colombian adoptees who grew up around New York City and living in the area! I was shocked to find hundreds of people who were sharing resources about searching, so I started making connections and attending meetups and dinners in Brooklyn and Manhattan where we enjoyed sharing stories and Latino fare. 

Through these meetups, I had gotten the contact information of a private investigator in Medellin with whom I started to interact about my search. Because I had identifying information about my first mother, it took him two weeks to find her. A couple weeks after that, I had my first phone call with her. As one can imagine, finding my first mother within a month of beginning my search was all a whirlwind and very overwhelming. My excitement got the best of me, and I dove right into making plans for a reunion. Well, all of this came as a shock to my adoptive mother and sister, who weren’t as excited as me. They felt threatened by my news. I remember spending a lot of time convincing them that I wasn’t trying to replace them, but rather, it would be an opportunity to learn about my origins. They were not convinced that it was so simple. Searching for first family by adoptees may bring up many past trauma wounds for all members of the adoption constellation. I have heard stories of adoptees shying away from doing any searching while their adoptive parents are still alive due to the raw emotions around adoption that are very rarely acknowledged and dealt with during an adoptive family’s time living together. And when the possibility of a reunion arises, adoptees may find themselves having to reckon with these complicated emotions. This reckoning is not our responsibility as adoptees, but it may be an unanticipated and unwelcome reality that adoptees must face when searching and reuniting with first family.

Coincidentally, the film “Las Hijas” was going to be screened. It was timely that Maria Quiroga, a local filmmaker, was releasing the film profiling three female Colombian adoptees and their reunions with first family.  So I invited my mother and sister to join me. It was an interesting experience because the filmmaker handled the subject matter responsibly in presenting the reality of how complicated reunions between adoptees and first family can be. It helped to see this objective perspective on the emotionally charged situation that was playing out for us. It provided a context for our sensitive conversations, and it helped us to understand that we were not the only ones experiencing the feelings we were. Despite all of that, we continued to have conversations that required my soothing their frayed feelings around my upcoming reunion. 

One thing that stands out for me now sixteen years later as I reflect on my reunion as a young man, is that I did not pursue any mental health support to guide me on that complicated endeavour. In my local adoptee community, the discussion was more centred on the topic of search and reunion in my memory and not as much on adoption mental health issues. However, I acknowledge there is a high likelihood my antenna wasn’t tuned to that particular signal, so to speak. More recently, I have read a lot of highly-respected literature about adoption and mental health including La herida primordial by Nancy Verrier and Viaje del yo adoptado by Betty Jean Lifton to name a couple of outstanding examples. I am a regular listener to adoptee podcasts including Adoptados en with host Haley Radke and Adaptado with host Kaomi Lee among others. I have met many adoptees and I am lucky to live close to an adoptee organization called Also Known As, Inc. that hosts meet ups for transracial, intercountry adoptees. Wise adoptees and adoption professionals these days counsel adoptees who are engaged in reunion to set some boundaries that include having a third-party present during reunion meetings, not staying with first family right away, and pursuing therapy before, during, and after reunion. I did none of those things. 

All of this gathering of resources and self-education on the intersection of adoption and mental health has demonstrated to me that I took a very impetuous, uninformed, and quite risky path on my reunion journey. I stayed with my first mother and her family for three weeks at their home in an outlying municipality of Medellin. I do have very positive memories from my first visit in 2006 that led me to return in the two subsequent years. However, somewhere down the line some members of my first family started to develop expectations that involved money. It was not much at first, but, with time, their boldness grew. This expectation made me uncomfortable because I didn’t want to have to explain to any of them that I am a professional in a field that is not very highly-compensated. To them, I was just the more fortunate one who was able to escape their humble circumstances. No matter how difficult my personal situation was, they are right that I had many more opportunities in the U.S. than they did in Colombia, but I did not feel that it was my responsibility to have to provide for them. I wanted to just get to know them knowing that it would take time to develop a family bond. Truly, I faced hard feelings when they asked for money and that made things very confusing for me. While I know that my experience is not unique, I wished that it wasn’t part of my reunion story. At some point, I stopped contacting them because it all became too much for me. This is where an intervention such as adoption-focused therapy would have been helpful. 

Some years passed and I turned the page on my adoption by quite literally ceasing to think about my adoption and pausing all the actions I had taken to learn about my origins during my twenties. I turned thirty, I got married and became a new father, and I wanted to focus on my new family in Brooklyn. I was also in graduate school, so juggling responsibilities was the theme starting in 2010. Since that time, a lot has changed.

Nowadays, I am divorced, I am co-parenting a budding teenager, and I have settled into a career as a college educator. As I moved into middle-age, I became more introspective, and I found myself interrogating some difficult feelings that felt like depression and anxiety. When I realised that I did not have easy answers to that line of inquiry, I began searching for ways to remove barriers to happiness that had started showing up. It started to dawn on me that my adoption may be the cause of some of my bad decisions in life and the source of a feeling of malaise that crept in every now and again. I remember once sitting on a beach in the Rockaways with my best friend and confidant of many years and reflecting out loud that I should look into therapy for adoption to try to answer some nagging questions. 

About six months after that conversation in 2021, I got around to doing some basic internet searching and was amazed by what I found. There was so much work that had been done in the intervening years since I started my search. As I previously mentioned, I went down a path of self-education, I engaged in some adoption-focused group therapy, and I have been attending online and in-person support groups made up of adoptees since that discovery. I have learned so much about myself and adoption since I started to reconnect to my adopted-self. Some of it has been difficult, but I am very happy to have opened myself up to feel, meditate, inquire, grieve, and build community. It is cliche, but I wish I knew during my reunion and prior what I know now. 

In short, I hope that adoptees who are on the bold path of searching and reuniting with first family will take careful, well-informed steps. I know from my experience that there are no easy answers, and reunion may be when many hard questions rise to the surface. However, that search for the discovery and recovery of self and identity is worth it all because even if one does not find first family, there is so much to learn about oneself along the way. 

I hope that adoptees take the time to explore all of the particular intersections of adoption and mental health including, but not limited to, the Primal Wound theory, the post-traumatic stress implications of adoption, ambiguous loss, and the Adoptee Consciousness Model. Most definitely read the two books by Verrier and Lifton previously mentioned. Check out Damon Davis’ podcast Who Am I Really?, and the two others previously mentioned. Read JaeRan Kim’s brilliant blog Mono de Harlow. If looking for a therapist in the U.S., check out Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker’s adoptee therapist directory curated on her website Grow Beyond Words. If one does not have the money to pursue therapy, there are plenty of books, podcasts, and support groups that could provide information and resources helpful in informing decisions around searching, finding, and reunion with first family. Just start checking out all of the amazing resources on Lynelle Long’s comprehensive treasure of a website Voces de los adoptados entre países. Search on Facebook for a group you can join that holds online support groups, or, even better, search for a local group in your area to meet up in person with adoptees. A great place to search for a local group in the USA is on Pamela A. Karanova’s website Adoptees Connect

The above is just a cursory glance at some of the most salient resources I have found that have nourished my soul as I step into more consciousness about my adoption on my journey of self-discovery. My greatest hope is that someone reading these words may find something in them to hold onto. 

Coming Next: Searching for my family in China


Búsqueda y Reunión en Adopción Internacional

Abby Forero-Hilty en la Comisión Especial de La Haya

por Abby Forero-Hilty, adopted from Colombia to the USA; Co-founder of Colombian Raíces; author of Decodificando nuestros orígenes
Speech for Day 3, Session 1: Introductory Post Adoption Matters Panel

Artwork by Renée S. Gutiérrez, co-author of Decoding Our Origins

Top 3 Areas of Concern based on the Post-Adoption Services Discussion Paper with excerpts in italics.

1. (2.4.2. Raising awareness of post-adoption services)

Points to Consider:

The best way to ensure that adopted people are receiving relevant, targeted, and high-quality post-adoption services is by having trauma- and adoption-informed adult intercountry adoptees working with the adoptee community to compile a list of such services. These adult adoptees would be PAID for their services. Intercountry adoptees, especially those who are trauma- and adoption-informed, are the only true experts in the needs of intercountry adoptees. Their expertise must be recognised, financially compensated, and required in the provision of any and all post-adoption services. We recognise the paucity in the number of trained, licensed, and qualified intercountry adoptee providers and therefore acknowledge that qualified non-intercountry adoptee providers can also be beneficial (with significant trauma- and adoption-informed training).


  • All post-adoption services should be provided free of charge to the adopted person (and family of birth) throughout their lifetime, recognising that each adopted person is different and that some individuals may request/require support starting early in life, while others might only start on this journey decades after their adoption.
  • Adoptive families should be assigned a trained, trauma and adoption-informed intercountry adoptee who can serve as a single point of contact for the adopted person, to ensure they have confidential access to these services when they need them.
    – The State should ensure that the adopted person knows how to – and is able to – access this person
  • Access to full birth records and identifying information on the adopted person’s mother and father
    – Birth records must be easy and confidential for the adopted person to access at any point in their lifetime
  • Assistance in translating and understanding the birth records and other associated adoption paperwork (as each country is different, this must be country-specific assistance)
  • Preparation and education on race and racism (in cases of transracial adoption, the White adoptive parents cannot equitably provide the necessary social and cultural preparedness to adopted children of colour as they are not members of the adopted child’s racial and cultural community. White adoptive parents in White dominated spaces do not have lived experiences of being targets of micro-aggressions and racism.
  • Reculturation, or the process by which intercountry adoptees reclaim their original cultural heritage, should be supported through education and immersive experiences such as birth country trips to their country of origin.
  • DNA testing and databases are models of adoptee support in several countries with problematic adoption practices. DNA testing and country sponsored databases should be promoted, supported, and maintained at no cost to adoptees or first family members.
  • Citizenship (country of birth) re-acquisition support and processes should be offered to adoptees who desire to become dual or full citizens of their countries of birth.

Psychological, emotional, and mental health support via psychotherapy and counselling modality/modalities as chosen by the adopted person and offered by trauma and adoption-informed providers.

2. The right of the adoptee to obtain information about their origins is well established in international law, in particular in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, Arts 7 and 8) as well as in the 1993 Adoption Convention (Art. 30).


  • How is the collection of true and accurate information on the identities of the natural mother and father ensured?
  • When and by whom is that information checked and confirmed in both the sending and receiving countries?
  • What procedure is in place to absolutely ensure that that information is preserved and can be given directly to the adopted person – without having to go through the adoptive parents?


  • There should be no barriers in place (such as minimum age requirement, consent of birth and/or adoptive parents, etc.) in order for the adopted person to easily and confidentially access their own familial information.
    – Some central authorities require adoptees to provide a psychological referral and proof of ongoing counselling (presumably paid for by the adoptee) when the adoptee contacts the central authority for birth family information and search. This practice is unfair and must end.
  • The desire for confidentiality on the identity of the birth parents, either by the birth family or adoptive family, should never be a reason to deny the adopted person their identity. They have the right to their identity. That right should supersede any other party’s desire for secrecy. The secrecy in adoption must end.
  • Central Authority websites must have a clearly marked section for adoptees of all ages to access information on birth family search and reunion:
    – There must be a transparent and simple procedure for accessing this information that is clearly presented on the website;
    – This information must be presented not only in the language of the country of origin, which most transnational adoptees will not be able to read and understand, but also in a language the adoptees themselves can read and understand, e.g., English or German;
    – This information must be made accessible to adoptees with vision and/or hearing impairments
  • What is truly in the “best interest” of the adopted person must be prioritized.
    – Denying someone the truth of their identity is never in anyone’s best interest.

3. Regarding the professionals involved in the post-adoption services, some States arrange for the same professionals to prepare prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) and provide post-adoption services, 30 while in other States the professionals are different ones. 31 For other States, the professionals involved depend on the region and / or the case at hand


  • What qualifications do “professionals” have?
  • Who determines who a “professional” is?
  • There is a major conflict of interest when the “professional” is “preparing” the Prospective Adoptive Parents AND providing post-adoption services to those displaced by adoption.
    – How can the “professional” who is responsible for facilitation adoptions also be providing adoptees with post-adoption services? There is substantial mistrust in the adoptee community of “adoption professionals” who facilitate adoptions – and rightfully so.


  • In some instances, professionals who both facilitate adoptions and also provide post adoption services may be engaged in dual roles with adoptees and their adoptive families, creating an ethical dilemma. Hence post-adoption services should be provided by separate parties and entities than the adoption service providers.
  • Intercountry adoptees, who are often transracial as well, who have undergone training in the social service field and or are licensed mental health providers, are poised to be in the best position to lead and guide post-adoption services given their lived experiences and extensive training. Ideally, post adoption service providers will represent a broad array of birth/first countries to better serve adoptees from various sending countries.
  • Although we strongly recommend that qualified intercountry adoptees are at the frontlines of facilitating and providing direct post-adoption services, we recognise the need for quality post-adoption services exceeds the potential numbers of professionally trained intercountry adoptees available. Therefore, we would be supportive of non-intercountry adoptee post-adoption service providers if they are licensed mental health providers, have evidence of adoption-informed training to include significant education and understanding of culturally responsive strategies as they apply to intercountry adoptees.

Read our previous post: Adoptados en la Comisión Especial de La Haya

Colin Cadier en la Comisión Especial de La Haya

por colin cadier, adoptado de Brasil a Francia, Presidente de La Voix des Adoptés
Presentación en la Sesión 1, Día 1: Panel de voces de adoptados

Mesdames et messieurs les représentants des Etats signataires, les délégués et représentants d'associations, d'autorités nationales ou internationales,

Je salue cette espace d'expression ouvert aux acteurs de la société civile, et notamment nous Personnes Adoptées, concernés directement par le sujet qui nous mobil aujourd'hui et les jours à venir. Je tiens à remercie particulièrement Lynelle LONG (InterCountry Adoptees Voices) pour avoir invité La Voix des Adoptés à se joindre à sa délégation, et également le Bureau Permanent, en la personne de Laura MARTINEZ avec qui j'ai eu l'occasion d'échanger de nombreuses fois, notamment ces dernières semaines pour nous aider à préparer ce panel.

Je m'appelle Colin CADIER, je suis né en 1980 à Recife (Brésil), adopté à 15 jours par un couple Français dits “expatriés”, je réside aujourd'hui à Marseille (Francia) où je travaille dans l'administration territoriale en lien avec l'international… Je suis binational (franco-brésilien), tricullturel (franco-sudamericain) et quadrilingue (si je me permets de compter l'anglais). 

Depuis 2019, je suis le Président de La Voix Des Adoptés, une Association de droit français, existante depuis 2005 qui agit sur tout le territoire (avec des antennes à Paris, Lille, Lyon, Tour, Marseille) en lien avec de nombreux pays ( Brésil, Colombie, Guatemala, Roumanie, Vietnam, Bulgarie ) qui participe aux réunions collégiales d'un organe consultatif traitant particulièrement des sujets liés à l'adoption internationale (aux côtés d'autres asociaciones) et intervient par les témoignages de ses bénévoles auprès d 'associations partenaires qui acompagnent notamment les fathers/familles candidatos à l'adoption. Outre les Groupes de Paroles, et les événements culturels ou conviviaux organisés par la quarantaine de bénévoles investis, nous animons une WebRadio, développons un Jeu pédagogique sur l'adoption et nous travaillons conjointement avec notre Autorité Centrale qui a participé à notre récent séminaire annuel de formación de nos bénévoles, l'Association Racines Coréennes (de 10 ans notre aînée), le SSI France, l'AFA, la Fédération EFA et bien d'autres association nationales ou locales, en France ou à l'étranger.

Au Respect des nombreuses demandes que nous recevons des personnes adoptées faisant des recherches sur leurs origines, force est de constater qu'en l'absence d'un référentiel mondial reconnu par les autorités des Etats concernés, un Certain nombre de personnes nées dans Certain pays puis recueillies dans des foyers d'un autre pays – au cours des dernières décennies du siècle passé, rencontrent des differentés à accéder aux informations sur leur famille de naissance, ou sur les circonstances de leur naissance jusqu'à leur arrivée dans leur nouveau foyer… Rédiger et adopter ce nouveau texte en 1994 qui a été ratifié progresivamente par un très grand nombre d'Etats soucieux d'établir un cadre structuré sur les condition spécifiques pour “donner une famille à un enfant” (tout en veillant à respecter le meilleur intérêt de l'enfant), a constitué une avancée majeure. Quant aux modalités d'application dudit texte, chaque Etat signataire en la responsabilité au respect de sa législation et de ses politiques publiques en matière de protection de l'enfance… acteurs publics ou privés, impliqués, démontrent qu'il demeure encore des points à améliorer.

La convención de La Haye prévoit bien des dispositions concernant les informations détenues par les autorités sur les origines de l'enfant et leur accès avec des conseils appropriés (artículos 30 y 31), mais un Certain nombre de personnes adoptées devenues adultes recherchent des informations sur leur origine et se heurtent à des fins de non recevoir. Les motifs peuvent être très variés, selon la date, le lieu de naissance et les conditions dans lesquelles la procédure d'adoption s'est déroulée, il existe souvent un écart voire un fossé between les informations available et celles recherchées par les personnes adoptées dans leur enfance.

C'est pour cette raison que nous, association d'adoptés et EFA (asociación de padres adoptivos/adoptivos), avons adressé un courrier aux trois ministres de tutelle de l'autorité centrale française pour demander la mise en place d'une mission d 'experts indépendants dans le but d'éclairer sur des pratiques qui malheureusement laissent AUJOURD'HUI des personnes sans réponses à leurs questionnements. Et pourtant, ces adoptés n'ont d'autre choix que de se tourner vers les autorités compétentes (les autorités centrales et celles intervenant dans la protection de l'enfance) pour tenter d'obtenir des clarifications ou des explications.

Il est vrai que dans le cadre de la récente réforme engagée par le gouvernement français concernant les structure en charge des politiques publiques de protection de l'enfance, notre association a été invitée à prendre part aux instances de gouvernance de la nouvelle entité en cours d 'instalación. Nous sommes très reconnaissants de cette place qui nous est accordée d'autant plus que nous comptons apporter notre savoir “expérienciel” sur les questiones liées à la Recherche des Origines et la mise en place de dispositifs d'accompagnement (administratif, socio-psychologique) ou d'assistance juridique pour les personnes adoptées, et idéalement avec des mécanismes (ou instruments) de coopération avec les autorités compétentes (centrales) des pays dits de naissance.

Nous espérons voir la nueva estructura se doter des moyens nécessaires pour pouvoir répondre à la demande des personnes adoptées. Il est à noter que de nombreuses personnes adoptées (aujourd'hui adultes, majeures révolues) corresponsal à des adopciones qui ont eu lieu avant 1993, comme en témoignent les statistiques (puisque le nombre d'enfants nées et adoptées à l'étranger a diminué de façon progresivo mais plutôt significativo au fil des années jusqu'à nos jours – passant de plusieurs milliers par an à quelques centaines). Même si pour la plupart des adoptions qui ont eu lieu à partir des années 2000, les données sont available et accesibles, il n'en demeure pas moins un besoin d'accompagnement au moment notamment où la personne adoptées exprime son souhait éventuel de retrouver les miembros de sa famille de naissance… Ciertas autorités centrales se proponen de faire le nécessaire, d'autres sont démunies ou ne disposent pas des moyens légaux, humains, matériels ou financiers nécessaires… Enfin le paysage des structure privées lucratives ou non lucratives n'en n'est pas moins varié : des personnes peu scrupuleuses ou malveillantes, aux bénévoles dévoués mais pas forcément “préparées” ou outillées pour faire face à des situaciones humanas complexes voire dramatiques, sans oublier la barrière de la langue… Tout cela nous conduit aujourd' hui à attirer votretention Mesdames et Messieurs sur cette réalité: Comment orientons nous les personnes adoptées qui sont notamment plus âgées que vos respectifs o rganismes (créés à partir des années 2000), ou celles qui rencontrent encore, dans Certains cas, des differentés à trouver les informations sur leurs origines ? 
Dialoguer, coopérer et proponer des actions conjointes, constituyen un moyen possible et positif pour permettre d'avancer, de répondre aux besoins des personnes adoptées ou des asociaciones qui comptent sur le pouvoir d'intervention des autorités compétentes.

Je Vous remercie pour votre écoute et vous souhaite des échanges riches au cours au cours des prochains jours.

Traducción en inglés

Señoras y señores, representantes de los Estados signatarios, delegados y representantes de asociaciones, autoridades nacionales o internacionales,

Acojo con beneplácito este espacio de expresión abierto a los actores de la sociedad civil, y en particular a nosotros, los Adoptados, directamente afectados por el tema que nos moviliza hoy y en los días venideros. Quisiera agradecer en particular a Lynelle Long (InterCountry Adoptees Voices) por invitar a La Voix des Adoptes a unirse a su delegación, y también a la Oficina Permanente, en la persona de Laura Martinez con quien he tenido la oportunidad de intercambiar muchas veces, especialmente en las últimas semanas para ayudarnos a preparar este panel.

Mi nombre es Colin CADIER, nací en 1980 en Recife (Brasil), adoptado a los 15 días por una pareja de franceses llamados “expatriados”, actualmente resido en Marsella (Francia) donde trabajo en la administración territorial internacional. Soy binacional (franco-brasileña), tricultural (franco-sudamericana) y cuatrilingüe (si me permito contar el inglés).

Desde 2019, soy el presidente de La Voix Des Adoptés, una asociación de derecho francés, existente desde 2005, que actúa en todo el territorio (con sucursales en París, Lille, Lyon, Tour, Marsella) en conexión con muchos países (Brasil , Colombia, Guatemala, Rumanía, Vietnam, Bulgaria), que participa en las reuniones colegiadas de un órgano consultivo que trata especialmente temas relacionados con la adopción internacional (junto con otras asociaciones) e interviene a través de los testimonios de sus voluntarios con asociaciones socias que acompañan en particular padres/familias que solicitan la adopción. Además de los grupos de discusión y los eventos culturales o sociales organizados por los aproximadamente cuarenta voluntarios involucrados, llevamos a cabo una WebRadio, desarrollamos un juego educativo sobre la adopción y trabajamos conjuntamente con nuestra Autoridad Central, que participó en nuestro reciente seminario anual de formación para nuestros voluntarios, la Korean Roots Association (10 años mayor que nosotros), ISS France, AFA, la EFA Federation y muchas otras asociaciones nacionales o locales, en Francia y en el extranjero.

En vista de las numerosas solicitudes que recibimos de personas adoptadas que investigan sus orígenes, es evidente que, en ausencia de un sistema de referencia mundial reconocido por las autoridades de los Estados en cuestión, un cierto número de personas nacidas en determinados países y luego acogidas en otro país -durante las últimas décadas del siglo pasado- encuentran dificultades para acceder a la información sobre su familia biológica, o sobre las circunstancias de su nacimiento hasta su llegada a su nuevo hogar. La redacción y adopción de este nuevo texto en 1994, que ha sido progresivamente ratificado por un número muy elevado de Estados deseosos de establecer un marco estructurado sobre las condiciones específicas para “dar una familia a un niño” (teniendo cuidado de respetar las mejores interés del niño), constituyó un gran avance. En cuanto a las modalidades de aplicación de dicho texto, cada Estado signatario es responsable de su propia legislación y políticas públicas en materia de protección de la niñez. La diversidad de las situaciones sociopolíticas y económicas de los Estados, y del papel de los diferentes actores públicos o privados involucrados, muestran que aún quedan puntos por mejorar.
El Convenio de La Haya prevé disposiciones relativas a la información en poder de las autoridades sobre los orígenes del niño y su acceso con el debido asesoramiento (artículos 30 y 31), pero cierto número de personas adoptadas que han llegado a la edad adulta buscan información sobre sus orígenes y se les niega. Las razones pueden ser muy variadas, dependiendo de la fecha y lugar de nacimiento y de las condiciones en que se desarrolló el procedimiento de adopción, suele existir un desfase o incluso un abismo entre la información disponible y la buscada por las personas adoptadas en su infancia.

Es por ello que nosotros, la asociación de adoptados y EFA (asociación de padres adoptivos), hemos enviado una carta a los tres ministros a cargo de la autoridad central francesa para solicitar la creación de una comisión de expertos independientes con la objetivo de arrojar luz sobre prácticas que lamentablemente dejan a las personas sin respuestas a sus preguntas. Y, sin embargo, estos adoptados no tienen más remedio que acudir a las autoridades competentes (las autoridades centrales y las que intervienen en la protección de menores) para intentar obtener aclaraciones o explicaciones.

Es cierto que en el marco de la reciente reforma acometida por el gobierno francés sobre las estructuras encargadas de las políticas públicas de protección de la infancia, nuestra asociación ha sido invitada a participar en los órganos de gobierno de la nueva entidad que se está constituyendo. . Estamos muy agradecidos por este lugar que nos ha sido concedido, sobre todo porque pretendemos aportar nuestro conocimiento “experiencial” en temas relacionados con la Búsqueda de los Orígenes y la puesta en marcha de mecanismos de apoyo (administrativo, socio-psicológico) o de asistencia jurídica. para las personas adoptadas, e idealmente con mecanismos (o instrumentos) de cooperación con las autoridades competentes (centrales) de los llamados países de nacimiento.

Esperamos que la nueva estructura esté dotada de los medios necesarios para poder responder a la demanda de las personas adoptadas. Cabe señalar que muchas personas adoptadas (ahora adultas, mayores de edad) corresponden a adopciones realizadas antes de 1993, como muestran las estadísticas (ya que el número de niños nacidos y adoptados en el extranjero ha disminuido paulatina pero bastante significativamente a lo largo de los años). hasta hoy, de varios miles por año a unos pocos cientos). Si bien para la mayoría de las adopciones que tuvieron lugar a partir de la década de 2000, los datos están disponibles y son accesibles, aún existe la necesidad de apoyo, especialmente cuando la persona adoptada expresa su posible deseo de reunirse con los miembros de su familia. su familia biológica. Algunas autoridades centrales se proponen hacer lo necesario, otras se ven privadas o no cuentan con los medios legales, humanos, materiales o económicos necesarios. Finalmente, el panorama de las estructuras privadas lucrativas o no lucrativas no es menos variado: desde personas sin escrúpulos o malintencionadas, hasta voluntarios dedicados pero no necesariamente “preparados” o equipados para hacer frente a situaciones humanas complejas o incluso dramáticas, sin olvidar la barrera del lenguaje. Todo esto nos lleva hoy a llamar su atención, señoras y señores, sobre esta realidad: ¿Cómo orientamos a las personas adoptadas que son notablemente más antiguas que sus respectivas organizaciones (creadas a partir de la década de 2000), o aquellas que aún encuentran, en algunos casos, dificultades? en la búsqueda de información sobre sus orígenes?

El diálogo, la cooperación y la propuesta de acciones conjuntas son una forma posible y positiva de avanzar, para dar respuesta a las necesidades de las personas adoptadas o de las asociaciones que cuentan con el poder de intervención de las autoridades competentes.

Les agradezco su atención y les deseo ricos intercambios durante los próximos días.

Lea nuestra publicación anterior: Adoptados en la Comisión Especial de La Haya

Adoptados en la Comisión Especial de La Haya

La próxima semana, del 4 al 8 de julio, los 104 países signatarios del Convenio del 29 de mayo de 1993 sobre la Protección de los Niños y la Cooperación en Materia de Adopción Internacional se reunirán en línea en el reunión de la comisión especial para discutir Posterior a la adopción y Adopción Ilícita / Ilegal asuntos. Es un evento significativo que ocurre generalmente cada 5 años y esto marca la primera vez que habrá amplio representación de los adoptados internacionales que asisten como observadores. Históricamente desde 2005, Asociación Internacional de Adoptados de Corea (IKAA)), la red que representa los intereses de los adoptados coreanos ha sido la solamente organización adoptada para asistir. En 2015, Asunto del bebé de Brasil (BBA) fue la segunda organización dirigida por adoptados en asistir con IKAA. Debido a COVID, esta reunión actual de la Comisión Especial se pospuso y, en los últimos años, puedo decir con orgullo que he ayudado a difundir el conocimiento entre las organizaciones dirigidas por adoptados sobre CÓMO aplicar y alenté a organizaciones de experiencia vivida como KUMFA (la organización de madres coreanas) para representarse a sí mismas. Este año, orgullosamente tenemos 6 organizaciones dirigidas por personas adoptadas que se representan a sí mismas y a sus comunidades. ¡Hemos progresado!

En 2015, escribí el blog titulado ¿Por qué es importante tener voces adoptadas entre países? en este sitio web. Muchas veces a lo largo de los años he defendido la importancia de que nuestras voces se incluyan en los niveles más altos de las discusiones gubernamentales. Así que digo de nuevo, nuestras voces son inmensamente importantes en estos niveles más altos de debates sobre políticas, prácticas y legislación de adopción.

Algunos críticos podrían decir que no cambiamos nada en la adopción internacional al asistir a estas reuniones, sin embargo, me gustaría sugerir que simplemente vernos representar a nosotros mismos como adultos en números ayuda a los gobiernos y autoridades a darse cuenta de algunos puntos clave:

  • ¡Crecemos! No seguimos siendo niños perpetuos.
  • Queremos tener voz y voto en lo que les suceda a futuros niños como nosotros.
  • ¡Los ayudamos a mantenerse enfocados en "quiénes" somos realmente! No somos números y estadísticas sin nombre. Somos personas vivas con sentimientos reales, pensamientos y un sinfín de experiencias. ¡Sus decisiones IMPORTAN y nos impactan para la vida y nuestras futuras generaciones!
  • Los ayudamos a aprender las lecciones del pasado para mejorar las cosas en el futuro y remediar los errores históricos.
  • Somos los expertos en nuestra experiencia vivida y ellos pueden aprovechar nuestros aportes para obtener información para desempeñar mejor sus funciones y mejorar la forma en que se cuida a los niños vulnerables.

Una de las ventajas del marco del Convenio de La Haya es que crea oportunidades como la próxima Comisión Especial donde los adoptados pueden tener visibilidad y acceso a las estructuras de poder y autoridades que definen y crean la adopción internacional. Los adoptados nacionales carecen de este marco a escala global y tienen la desventaja de tener oportunidades que los reúnan para acceder a información y personas que son importantes en el trabajo de incidencia.

Estoy muy orgulloso de nuestro equipo de 8 que representan a ICAV en la reunión de este año. Me he asegurado de cubrir una variedad de países adoptivos y de nacimiento porque es muy importante tener esta diversidad de experiencias. Sí, todavía hay espacio para mejorar, pero me he visto limitado por la disponibilidad de las personas y otros compromisos dado que todos hacemos este trabajo como voluntarios. No se nos paga como el gobierno o la mayoría de los participantes de las ONG en esta próxima reunión. ¡Nos involucramos porque nos apasiona tratar de mejorar las cosas para nuestras comunidades! Dotarnos de conocimientos sobre las estructuras de poder que definen nuestra experiencia es fundamental.

¡Muchas gracias a estos adoptados que están ofreciendo 5 días/noches de su tiempo y esfuerzo para representar a nuestra comunidad global!

  • Abby Forero-Hilty (adoptado en los EE. UU., actualmente en Canadá, nacido en Colombia; autor de la antología de adoptados colombianos) Decodificando nuestros orígenes, Co-fundador de Colombian Raíces; Representante Internacional ICAV)
  • Cherish Asha Bolton (adoptado en los EE. UU., nacido en la India, presidente de Personas por la Reforma de la Adopción Ética PEAR; Representante de ICAV EE. UU.)
  • colin cadier (adoptado en Francia, nacido en Brasil, presidente de La Voix Des Adoptes LVDA)
  • jeannie glienna (adoptado en los EE. UU., nacido en Filipinas, cofundador de Adoptado Kwento Kwento)
  • Judith Alexis Augustine Craig (adoptado en Canadá, nacido en Haití; co-fundador de Red de adultos adoptados de Ontario)
  • Kayla Zheng (adoptado en EE. UU., nacido en China; representante de ICAV EE. UU.)
  • luda merino (adoptado en España, nacido en Rusia)
  • Mí mismo, Lynelle Long (adoptado en Australia, nacido en Vietnam; Fundador de ICAV)

Nos representamos a nosotros mismos junto con nuestros colegas adoptados que representan a sus propias organizaciones dirigidas por adoptados como Observadores:

No espero grandes cambios o acontecimientos monumentales en esta próxima reunión, pero son las conexiones que hacemos las que importan, ya sea entre nosotros como adoptados y/o con las diversas organizaciones gubernamentales y ONG representadas. El cambio en este espacio lleva décadas, pero espero que las pequeñas conexiones que crecen con el tiempo se acumulen y se conviertan en una influencia positiva.

Las próximas publicaciones compartirán algunos de los mensajes clave que algunos miembros de nuestro equipo elaboraron en preparación para esta reunión de la Comisión Especial de La Haya sobre Apoyo Posterior a la Adopción y lo que la comunidad a través de estos líderes desea compartir. ¡Manténganse al tanto!

Sue-Yen Bylund sobre el racismo

El 3 de abril de 2022, un grupo de 19 adoptados internacionales australianos participó en una consulta de ICAV para la Comisión Australiana de Derechos Humanos (AHRC) que ha desarrollado un Papel de conceptos para Marco Nacional Antirracismo. Creemos que los adoptados interpaíses/transraciales están subrepresentados en las discusiones raciales en casi todos los países adoptivos y queríamos asegurarnos de que tuviéramos algo que decir. Los próximos blogs serán una selección de los aportes de los adoptados que participaron para brindar una visión más matizada de nuestra experiencia vivida del racismo y nuestros pensamientos sobre lo que se debe hacer para apoyarnos mejor.

por Sue-Yen Bylund, adopted from Vietnam to Australia, ICAV VIC Representative

Racism is here to stay. It is enmeshed in the very fabric of society, at every level. It manifests within us as individuals, at a systemic level pervading our policies and practices, reflected in our interpersonal behaviours and is accumulated and compounded in the base structures of our history, culture and ideology.

In order to mitigate the harm caused by racism we must be actively anti-racist. It is not enough to merely be “not racist”, as this, often results in a passive racism, which is as equally toxic as overt racism. Tolerance is a poor substitute for acceptance. Tolerance offers tokenism and indifference. Acceptance offers a place for all voices, a public validation as individuals and a genuine place at the table to self-determination.

Every person carries their racial biases differently. Acknowledgment of these biases on a personal individual level is important, however being open to listening, validating and accepting the experiences of others takes courage. 

My expectation within this forum, is to offer to an opportunity to broaden the discussion of anti-racism to embrace all forms and manifestations of racism within Australian society today. To offer encouragement to address the complex “grey” zones of racism. Through this broadening a more mature collective and inclusive voice will evolve, which I believe Australia is ready to share with the world.

The foundations of my identity lie amongst the chaos of war time Vietnam 1974. Within the first 3 weeks of my life, I experienced my initiation into the full audio and aromatic reality of war, surrounded by screaming and traumatised children and adults. Racial identity did not protect any of us from the horrors, what we all absorbed would remain forever with us as visceral burdens to tame. War and terror are the greatest levellers in stripping even the bravest to the very foundations of humanity. And then in one swift spin of the planet I would find myself a world away in the eerie quiet and calmness of Perth, Western Australia. This journey would also mark the beginning of a life’s self-education of racial fluidity. Being one heart and soul, but a chameleon of racial identities. Born of one culture, raised in another, looking as though I belong to one group, but in at my core, I belong to another, the duplicity and fluidity is complex and exhausting.

The need to feel safe, accepted, understood and validated seems to be a naturally human pursuit. As an intercountry adoptee the journey is complex and confusing. We slip into the cracks of racial stereotypes offering up apologetically a reason for inclusion or explanation for exclusion. Either way no matter where we are in our communities we are an anomaly. We are constantly offered up as a reminder that a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover and if you care to listen carefully, you will hear the simple request for safety and acceptance.

My childhood cultural identity was shaped through the lens of middle class suburban 1970’s Australia. It was fortunate that the primary school I went to attracted a good proportion of Asian immigrant families. This enabled me, at a young age to observe the “other” type of Asian. The Asian person who spoke the language, ate the food, complied with the Asian cultural norms, while they themselves were carving out the unique existence in post “White Australia Policy” era. It was clear to me from the very beginning that I was an “Asian variant”. I was to experience racial prejudice from all sides. My immediate family comprised of a white Australian adoptive mother, a white Dutch (first generation migrant) adoptive father and their two biological white sons. Straddling my home and school environments I began to acknowledge the fragmented racial identity which was uniquely mine.

I would learn to instinctively navigate the pros and cons of racial profiling expressed by adults and classmates. At times it afforded me a shield to hide behind, at other times it just bewildered me at how ignorant and entitled people could be. 

Teachers would regard me with the marginalising stereotype of female Asian student, this meant that no matter what I did, or didn’t do, I was considered polite, conscientious and studious. This enabled me to glide through my studies relatively smoothly. Where this backfired was when I would be herded together with all the Asian “look-a-likes” to be given special instructions in Chinese/Cambodian/Vietnamese. There were always a few of us that would simply shrug our shoulders, knowing it was too hard to explain to the teachers that English was in fact our only language. 

Classmate interactions were more complex. While they seemed to want to flex their insecurities through bullying behaviours, I suspect they would often leave these bullying interactions more confused and with increased insecurities about themselves. They would corner me and spit out racial slurs “Ching Chong!”, “Go back to where you came from!”, “Asians out!” with the standard accompanying slanted eye gesture. I learnt very early to lean into the bullying. To not turn away in shame or embarrassment, I summoned the  airs of entitlement I learnt from my white Australian family. It was an educational opportunity. I would not show weakness. So armed with a vocabulary not generally associated with a small Asian female of 11 years I would lean in and say with a perfect Aussie twang, “Get f***ed you immature ignorant bigot!” While they processed the response in stunned silence, I was already half down the hall or across the oval. When I think back to those times, I know in my heart I still hold a deep resentment toward those who racially vilified me. The fact I could still name those individuals today shows how deeply it affected me. I built a wall to protect myself, a tough persona that would later in life be softened with self-depreciating humour. 

Humour has become one of the most powerful tools for disarming awkwardness though it should be noted that humour can only be genuinely offered by me (the vilified) otherwise it can have the effect of adding insult or increasing alienation.

Australian society in general is getting better at navigating racially blended families. However, there have been times where an awkward visual double take or racial slur has been reconsidered once formal introductions have concluded. 

For example, my adoptive mother is the personified “white saviour” heroine and therefore in this narrative, I embody the role of a grateful saved soul. There is no place in this narrative version for reality and it only serves to perpetuate the stereotypes. This distilled classification of our relationship as an adoptive mother and daughter has resulted in a chasm of empathy where my experience of racial prejudice and marginalisation cannot be reconciled with my adoptive mother’s version of my lived experience. She cannot/will not acknowledge that I have/do experience any racial prejudice. It’s unfathomable and therefore remains a taboo subject between us. I would suggest a classic case of “colour blindness” which is the most common manifestation of passive racism. Let me strongly suggest that racial “colour blindness” is not a positive construct to build a relationship in. I don’t advocate for a monochrome world. It cancels out important conversations that need to be had to build empathy and understanding. It bypasses the integral act of individual and collective validation.

A typical interaction in a social setting with my white husband, would start with a few awkward glances while people assessed my proficiency in English. Once the conversation has warmed up a little, the question is always asked “How did you two meet each other?” At this point all newbies begin listening in the hope to hear some spectacular Tinder dating app story with me gaining Australian citizenship when we married. Sad to say the story takes an epic sad tone when it is revealed I was a baby from the Viet Nam war. The conversation moves very quickly from one set of stereotypes to another. The chameleon game is afoot. We have now moved into the Viet Nam war genre and to be honest the racial stereotypes are just as nauseating. As the conversation peters out, I am left with a very uncomfortable feeling that I might be the daughter of a B-Grade war romance story of a soldier and prostitute but on the positive side, I have ruled out that I am a “mail order bride” from Asia desperate to get my claws into a rich white “sugar daddy”. Either way, I always leave these gatherings feeling like I have shared way too much about myself, simply to justify my equal status at the table of white Australians. Needless to say, it’s exhausting and incredibly invasive. At times my inner evil chameleon just wants to re-enforce the stereotypes rather than use my life as an education case study. In the end I see curiosity is better than fear and putting examples forward and building knowledge is a slow continuous but necessary journey.

With regards to my children, I am conscious that they physically are racially ambiguous. They could have genetic origins from various backgrounds, but once I stand next to them then it becomes evident their dark features come from me and they are of Asian origins. My daughter has experienced racial slurs from having an Asian looking mother. It wasn’t until she spent her gap year in Viet Nam that she developed her own understanding of her origins. She has in fact spent more time in Viet Nam than me. 

School parent social groups are an interesting micro society and navigating them is a full-time job. In the private school my children attended I had two very distinct social groups that I interacted with. One was a group of Asian looking mothers where I felt like an honouree member. I learnt Asian cultural things and etiquette that I didn’t get elsewhere. I did a lot of listening. The other group were all Anglo-Saxon looking mothers and I was dubbed the “token” Asian (humorous chameleon!) These girlfriends understood how I saw the world. It’s in these situations that I reflect on the sophistication of my chameleon gift and in a positive moment reflect on the bridges I can construct between the groups just through listening and sharing.

There is a niche and powerful position that intercountry adoptees have in the conversation around racism and prejudice. It’s borne from the hybrid and fluid nature of our self-identities. We exist in the space between cultures and races. The triumphal story of our survival is in fact a narrative of weaving together of cultures, racial identity, tolerance and acceptance. Intercountry adoptees must reconcile the disparity between the physical and internal nature of racial identity, because at every turn we are challenging the stereotypes and presumptions. As an Asian in white Australia, we challenge the mainstream colonial stereotypes, as an Asian in Asia, we find ourselves challenging the long-held stereotypes in our birth culture. We belong to both yet neither wholly. 

If I was to consider the future of racism in context of Australia, I would continue to raise the challenge to government and individuals to embrace the complexity. Find the words, create the platforms, lead with optimism. Systemic racism embedded in the policies and practices by government and institutions needs to be constantly questioned and reviewed to ensure it leads in activating change. Structural racism that unpins mainstream think-tanks needs to be shaken loose. It is an uncomfortable and confronting task, but I believe Australia is mature enough to take this task on. Interpersonal racism is very difficult to navigate as an intercountry adoptee, but the freedom to express an alternate reality from the stereotypes is a good platform to build upon. Internalised racism is insipid and so very damaging. We want to move from passive tolerance to active validation of individuals. 

Ongoing political bi-partisan support for research and consultation is an essential investment to engage in effective societal change. A firm commitment to reviewing and evaluating key milestones is required for accountability and integrity.  Educational resources coupled with public awareness and youth engagement are core to developing a more mature future for all Australians.

For more from Sue-Yen, read her Reflexiones del día de ANZAC, her contribution to ¿Lo que hay en un nombre? and advocacy with Reunión de senadores de Green.


Lea la pequeña colación de ICAV en Daltonismo en adopción