As the second part of our ICAV Webinar series on Recherche et Retrouvailles en Adoption Internationale, on 29 July (Europe / USA timezone) / 30 July (Australia timezone) we will be presenting to you our next webinar, La Réunion et au-delà.
Here’s an introduction to our amazing panelists:
Ervenotte is a 46 year old adoptee from Haiti sent to a French family in 1985. She currently works and lives in the UK, having built her own life with a husband and two children. She is a very creative person who loves art, music, languages, and travelling.
Ervenotte reunited with her Haitian family in 2010 and they are still in great connection regularly.
Born in Romania, adopted to Germany and living most of his life in New Zealand, Alexander has been involved with je suis adopté in New Zealand as a Board Director since it was established in 2015. Within this role at I’m Adopted, he provides resources, raises topics, creates events and gives support for those in the adoptee community. He’s also been involved with ICAV partnering together in 2021 for the documentary screening and discussion of Compte avec la blessure primordiale held in Germany.
As a Romanian adoptee, communities like je suis adopté et ICAV are important not just for adoptees who have been adopted internationally but adopted from everywhere. A highlight was sharing his adoption journey in a Conférence TEDx and co-presenting adoption research at ICAR6 with Dr.Scherman in Canada in 2018.
Professionally, Alexander is a sustainability strategy consultant and he enjoys meeting new people, traveling and having adventures with a highlight being a 134m bungy jump.
Maria was born in Patras, Greece in 1953. At 3 years of age she was adopted by a family in San Diego, CA., USA. Her childhood was challenging with a wonderful, loving mother but an unstable father who agreed to adoption to save his marriage.
Maria began a 31-year teaching career and traveled to Greece for the first time in 1984. Through sheer serendipity she found her orphanage and then her birth mother, a woman with many secrets. It took 10 years before her birth mother would tell about the rest of the extended family. They spent the next 34 years gathering as a family as often as possible.
In a story that reads more like fiction than fact, Maria chronicled the unlikely tale of her mother-and-child reunion in the book, Au-delà de la troisième porte : basé sur une histoire vraie.
Maria travels to Greece, enjoys playing pickleball with friends, and spending time outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Sam Roxas Chau 姚 (Yao)
Roxas Chua 姚 (Yao) was born in Manila, Philippines. He is a foundling and was adopted by a second generation Chinese family living in the Philippines. He found out he was adopted at age 12 and sadly, his family had no intention of telling him.
Roxas-Chua 姚 is also a student of poetry, visual and sound arts. He is the author of Fawn Language, Dire son nom trois fois sous l'eau, Echolalia in Script, et Cher quelqu'un quelque part, an adopted-person’s audio podcast journal. His poetry and calligraphy works have appeared in various local, national, and international journals. His art and writing intersects with various disciplines and has led him to speak at universities as a visiting author.
Roxas-Chua 姚 recently completed an Artist-in-Residence program at the Portland Chinatown Museum and he is currently creating musical scores for independent film.
Renate Ae Ra Van Geel
Renate Ae Ra Van Geel was born in South Korea but moved to Belgium in order to be adopted. She is 38 years old and is married with two children.
She found her Korean parents, sisters and brother 11 years ago. Only after both her adoptive parents died was she able to come out of the fog and dive into ‘the process’. It has been a valuable but very bumpy ride ever since. She visited Korea 3 times over the last 2 years, including one time with her husband and children.
As a psychological consultant she counsels and coaches mostly adult adoptees and she is also part of Adoptee & Foster Care (AFC) based in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Ben Fossen was adopted from Guatemala at 4 months old in 1990 to a family in the USA. He is an engineer, investor and entrepreneur. He co-founded Adoptés avec des racines guatémaltèques, a global community of people adopted from Guatemala and currently serves as its Board Chairman.
Ben has been back to Guatemala 30+ times and reconnected with his birth family in 2015. He is very close with them and visits multiple times a year and they have welcomed him as a member of the family.
Ben was involved in lobbying the Guatemalan government and President to get services for Guatemalan adoptees that were approved and implemented in 2021.
James was born in Cali, Colombia in 1993 and was separated from his Colombian mother and adopted to an Australian family at the age of 1 year old. Via a long and tumultuous journey of self discovery and unraveling the truths of Colombia’s history of illegal and illicit adoptions, James reached out to the adoptee community on social media in search of his biological family. Not expecting much, he was overwhelmed by the offers of help and assistance within 24 hours of posting his search information. One of the groups, Plan Ange reached out and it was within a very quick timeframe, that his mother had been located and they were speaking together.
In 2021, James was involved in ICAVs Video project for Professionals that developed a much needed resource to educate teachers, doctors, and counsellors about the lived experience of intercountry adoptees.
Outside adoption, James enjoys basketball, music, video games, fishing, travel, history/international relations, music festivals, salsa dancing, reading, a good fiesta, bar hopping, practicing Spanish, cooking and being a snack addicted coach potato.
Raya was born in Ivanovo, Russia in 1989. At the age of 8 she was privately sold by a biological great great aunt to people in Canada and taken into custody by a Russian speaking family. She now consider herself not an adoptee but a displaced person, trafficked from her birth country into another.
Raya is a contributor to Fireside Adoptees and helps with support, graphics, promotion and hosting weekly chats. She has also been involved with Compte avec la blessure primordiale, promoting the documentary and offering resources. In past years, she was in the team from je suis adopté, interviewing adoptees, sharing about her life as an adoptee and connecting with other Russian adoptees.
With all the struggles and trauma many adoptees face, Raya has decided to undergo certification in trauma informed coaching to help adoptees acknowledge their grief and re-teach the brain new ways of thinking which allows adoptees to notice their trauma responses and the ways it affects them in the present. Raya believes we can’t change the past but we can change where we are in the present by diving deeper into ourselves.
This incredible team of panelists and webinar host and ICAV Founder, Lynelle Long, look forward to sharing our lived experience with you at our upcoming webinar. If you wish to attend the webinar La Réunion et au-delà, click on the RSVP button below:
Part 1 of this webinar series, Rechercher dans l'adoption internationale en tant qu'experts des adoptés