Searching for my family in South Korea

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Ricerca in adozione internazionale series. These individual stories are being shared from our Carta di prospettiva that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

di Samara James, born in South Korea, raised in Australia

artwork by Samara

When I first moved to South Korea back in 2008, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to locate my birth family. How do you know whether you want to unlock the biggest mysteries of your life? How do you know if you are ready for it? For me, it was a curiosity, but for my Korean friends, they seemed determined to make the reunion a reality with an almost feverish determination. This is what really propelled the search for my birth family, and despite not really understanding what that would mean or preparing for what may happen, I agreed to do the search. Ann Babe, breaks down the attitudes toward gyopos into three types. She described the first as, “A person that’s older who is sort of angry about you being a Korean but not being fully Korean.” There are the “people who seem flummoxed and simply incapable of grasping your background” but then there are also those who are “very friendly and helpful” but sometimes “overbearing when they try to convert you or reform you” (Wiggin, 2010). My Korean friend (who was also my boss) was this third type. As an older sister figure to me in Korea (or unnie) she took me under her wing and introduced me to Korean life; eventually the reunion between myself and my birth family became her personal mission. My adoptive parents were concerned about me locating my birth family. I knew they didn’t really want me to do it. My mother used to watch movies about adoptees reuniting with their birth families and choosing to stay and live with them, as if they were horror movies, “You would never do that would you?” she used to ask me. I had always promised I wouldn’t but when I asked for my adoption paperwork, I knew in a way I was betraying them. 

My paperwork was scarce to say the least, a piece of paper with my parents’ names dates of birth, the name I was issued by the adoption agency, and the province I was born in, translated into English that only led to dead-ends and we exhausted most of my options quickly. Leanne Lieth, founder of Korean Adoptees for Fair Records Access, explains, “Access to our Korean records is dependent upon whether the adoptee knows that there are duplicate or original records in Korea, that those records may have additional information… and that the adoptee has the will and tenacity to investigate across continents and languages with the often uncooperative and hostile Korean international adoption agencies. This process is arbitrary, inconsistent, and can drag out for years” (Dobbs, 2011). According to Dobbs (2011), “There are no laws sealing or regulating adoption files, which are technically agency private property. The agencies could burn the records if they wanted.” Eventually, my friend convinced me to go on a Korean reality TV show where adoptees can make a public plea for any information that may help to locate their families. Say your Korean name into the camera, she said. I had never used my Korean name before. “My name is Kim Soo-Im. If you have any information about my biological family”… the rest was a blur. Before I knew it, we had found them. 

After declining to film the reunion on air, we drove to meet my birth family. I had no idea what I was walking into, or even where we were. I didn’t expect to have family, I thought I was an orphan but when I walked in the door, I was taken aback to see almost 20 relatives – mother, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents who were all crying inconsolably. I didn’t understand. My friend was so excited and I was completely at a loss for how to react. I didn’t have any questions prepared, I think I was still in a state of shock. All I could think was, why couldn’t I have stayed here? Why are they crying when they abandoned me? 

My friend did the introductions in Korean, and it was only then I realised, she wouldn’t be able to bridge the linguistic and cultural gaps between us. I struggled to understand most of what was said, but a few things came through. I looked like my father who had died a few years earlier. I guessed by my mother’s age, that he may have been in his 40’s at the time. They couldn’t explain to me how he died exactly, but I inferred by their hand signals it was something to do with the chest – I hope it isn’t hereditary. I was told that I have two siblings (who were also put up for adoption) and I was the last of the three children to reunite with the family. My brother who was there, didn’t say anything to me that day. Apparently, he could speak English, but I guess chose not to. I have no idea what he was thinking or what his story was. My sister wasn’t there, when I asked where she was, the reply was “she’s gone”. I couldn’t figure out what ‘gone’ meant. Was she missing? Was she dead? 

My birth mother plead with my friend to tell me that she regretted putting me up for adoption and that she tried everything to undo it. She didn’t know I was sent overseas. My friend looked so overjoyed, but I wasn’t sure what to say, I couldn’t understand. I thought she didn’t want me, I was told I had been abandoned after birth. I was prepared for rejection but regret, despair, shame, longing I didn’t know what to do with. I sat there silently for what felt like hours, then the family asked if I was staying to re-join the family and asked if I would help take care of my ageing mother. Everyone was looking at me expectantly. It was at this point I felt something shutdown inside me, and I told them that I was going to go back to Australia. My birth mother asked if I would sleep over that night and let her hold me. I declined. I wanted to enter that world, but I didn’t know how. It’s something that still haunts me. This part of my life had been closed for over 20 years, and for those moments when I opened it again, I didn’t know what to do. I had never felt so useless, so I closed it again as quickly as possible and I haven’t spoken to them again. This was 15 years ago. 

Behar (1996) who talks about ‘roots’ and ‘routes’, asks how do you return to a home that is lost? How do you reckon with what you uncover? What are you really returning to? What does it offer? Digging through old paintings, I find a self-portrait from when I was a teenager. Half human and half tree, floating above a dark ocean. My roots are exposed and I’m crying the sea of tears that I’m floating above. If I was trying to replant my roots, I was experiencing transplant shock. I didn’t know how to process what had happened. Returning to my office after our reunion, I found a large box of dried squid on my desk. “It’s from your family, they really must love you” my friend exclaimed. I am still at a loss to what that means. What a cruel irony, I had spent my life trying to blend in with my peers in Australia, trying to belong as an Australian. It was all I ever wanted. But in those moments, I wish I could have been Korean. Korean enough to understand what my family was saying and the meaning and context behind it. Now I’m so Australian that it feels like I’ve locked myself out of that world. 

15 years later, looking back from a point in my life where I realise the gravity of what I dug into and how it lingers in my subconscious as an unresolved part of my life. Now that I understand a little more about Korean culture, the adoption system, and the impossible choices my birth mother would have faced, I have finally come to a point where I want to try and reconnect with them again. I realise now that the birth family search is not about guaranteeing a fairy-tale ending, but it’s about opening yourself to something. This time I’ll go in with a completely open mind and heart, no expectations and an adoption specialising translator. I just hope my birth mother’s still alive so I can properly meet her this time.

Samara James (Kim Soo Im)


Behar, R., 1996. Anthropology that breaks your heart. The Vulnerable Observer. 

Dobbs, J.K., 2011. Ending South Korea’s Child Export Shame. [Online]. Foreign Policy in Focus. Last Updated: 23 June 2011. Available at: 

Wiggin, T., 2010. South Korea’s complicated embrace of gyopo. Los Angeles Times. [Online]. 14 February 2010. Available at 

Coming Next: Searching for my family in Romania


Ricerca e Riunione nell'adozione internazionale

Alla ricerca della mia famiglia in Vietnam

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Ricerca in adozione internazionale series. These individual stories are being shared from our Carta di prospettiva that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

di Huyen Friedlander, born in Vietnam, raised in the USA

On Sunday, I learned that my birthfather had died. I’m still sifting through how that feels, a unique kind of loss of a parent. Even though we reunited over 20 years ago, there was still a lot left unspoken, and maybe a lot that we didn’t know or understand about each other. We met in-person twice. The first time was shortly after 9/11. I had his contact information for almost a year, but I wasn’t ready to reach out. Knowing that he lived in New Jersey, so close to NYC where the towers fell, I felt a sense of urgency that I shouldn’t waste any more time. I called on a Friday night. I left a voicemail that my name was Huyen and that I thought he had been a friend of my family in Viet Nam. The next morning, he returned my call. 

In the first few seconds of our conversation, I said my name again, said who my birthmother was and said, “I think you may be my birthfather.” Immediately, without any hesitation, he said, “I think I am, too.” That was an enormous gift to me. No denial. No defensiveness. “I thought you and your mother had died.” 

He had been told by an army connection that my mother had died trying to make it to Thailand, and that I had died in the Babylift crash. He said he had wanted to marry my birthmother, but wasn’t allowed to because her family had originally been from the North. 

It felt so surreal to finally have this information, a little window into what had happened. Within a few weeks, I was headed to the East Coast with my adoptive father, my husband and my 17-month-old son in tow. I was about two months pregnant with my daughter at the time. My birthfather and his wife greeted us at a restaurant, with a hug and flowers in hand. After dinner, they were gracious and invited us home for cannoli and a chance to visit more. 

At the house, I was excited to meet my half-sister, who was also the mother of a young son. My birthfather brought out a photograph of me, probably at about 2 years old, a pristine copy of a tattered photo that my birthmother’s sister had held on to for 20 years in Viet Nam. We never did DNA testing; this picture that they had both saved was proof enough. My birthfather also gave me a gold cross that my birthmother had given to him before he left Viet Nam, to protect him on his way home. Similarly, when my birthmother took me to the Friends of the Children of Viet Nam in Saigon to relinquish me, she had put a St. Christopher’s medallion on a string and tied it tight around my neck, to protect me in my new life. Giving me the photograph and the cross felt generous and thoughtful. 

Over the next decade, we checked in periodically by letters or telephone. By the time we would meet in person again, I was widowed, a single mother of two young adolescent children. Having lost my husband, I again felt some urgency in making sure that my kids would meet their biological grandfather. And again, my birthfather was gracious in saying yes to my request. Our visit was sweet and the kids thought he and his wife were fun and kind. Before we left, my birthfather gifted us with an ornate serving set that he had brought back with him from Viet Nam. 

Following that visit, much of our communication happened through Facebook, with occasional comments on each other’s posts. Facebook allowed us to see aspects of each other’s lives in a very natural way. I got a tiny idea of his sense of humour, his love of fishing and model trains. Facebook also happens to be the primary way that I maintain contact with my birthmother; we FaceTime and she sees my posts and photographs.

I didn’t want to post anything about my birthfather’s death on Facebook until I had the opportunity to FaceTime my birthmother in Viet Nam to let her know. During that initial visit with my birthfather in 2001, he told my dad that my birthmother had been his first love. This was a gift to hear, even knowing the sad outcome for them, because in some way it validated my birthmother’s faith that he would come back for us. She waited for eight years. 

In my reunion video with my birthmother (five years before I found my birthfather), we are sitting at my grandparents’ dining room table. She is beaming at me, with an arm around me, and laughing, she says, “Beaucoup love made you! Yeah, beaucoup love made you.” When she looked at me, she saw him. She’d point to my features and say, “Same! Same!” It seemed to bring her joy, to see him in my face. 

I was nervous to call her tonight to tell her the news. I asked my dear friend Suzie to join the call to help translate. I spoke in English, “My birthfather has died. X died. I am so sorry.” And immediately, she let out a mournful cry. Even though my birthmother eventually married and had five more children—the foundation and joy of her life—my birthfather held a special place in her heart as her first love. For a year in their young lives, they had loved each other a lot. 

Suzie helped to translate the details that I’ve heard before. It was wartime. There was nothing they could do to be together. 50 years later, my birthfather’s passing is a loss to my birthmother. As a devout Catholic, she is praying for him now. There was a lot I didn’t know about my birthfather, and I would still like to know more, but I can also be at peace with what I know. 

For now, I’m staying grounded in the gratitude that I feel for having found him, gratitude that he recognised me, and gratitude for the opportunities that I had to connect with him and his family. I’m saying a prayer for his wife and family as they navigate this loss.

Coming Next: Searching for my family in South Korea


Ricerca e Riunione nell'adozione internazionale

Alla ricerca della mia famiglia in Cina

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Ricerca in adozione internazionale series. These individual stories are being shared from our Carta di prospettiva that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

di Shelley Rottenberg, born in China, raised in Canada,

I was adopted from Zhejiang, China to Ontario, Canada in 1996 when I was 8 months old. In one of my adoption documents, it says, “Our institution has looked for her parents and relatives by all means, but no trace can be found.” To this day, I still know nothing about my biological family. 

About 5 years ago I decided to act on my growing curiosity about my birth family. While I know the odds of finding them are very slim, especially because I don’t have any information to go on, I couldn’t help but at least try. The first step was a 23andMe DNA ancestry kit, gifted to me by my mom as a Christmas present. I carefully read the instructions in the box to make sure I did everything correctly, then sent off my saliva sample. My sister, who is also an adoptee from China, did one too. And then we waited. 

I remember being eager to get the results back because of the hope of having a DNA match with someone else in their database. At the time, the waiting period was about 6-8 weeks. Though after 2 months, instead of my results, I got an email with the subject line, “Your 23andMe Analysis was unsuccessful.” I was told that “the concentration of DNA was insufficient to produce genotyping results.” Luckily, I was sent a replacement kit and got a second chance to submit another saliva sample. Having followed the instructions correctly the first time, and without any further guidance on how to do things differently, I repeated the same steps and sent my sample once again. 

After another long 2-month wait, my heart sank as I read the same email subject line as the last one. Except for this time, they would not be sending me another replacement kit. The email explained that because of “the second low DNA failure” and there being “no additional steps that would increase the chance of success,” a full refund would be available to me. I was shocked and saddened by the news and confused too. I had done the exact same thing as my sister, yet she received her results back after the first attempt.

When I told a friend about the situation, she suggested I lightly chew my inner cheeks before spitting into the tube because buccal cells have a higher concentration of DNA. Determined to give it one last shot, I purchased another 23andMe ancestry kit with the refund they gave me and followed my friend’s advice. The saying, “third time’s a charm” held true in these circumstances because, after another 2 months, my third sample was a success!

All this waiting only heightened my anticipation, which probably contributed to my slight disappointment when I saw that I had no close relative DNA matches. It’s been 5 years now, and while I have over 900 distant relatives, all with less than 1% DNA shared, the number of close relatives is still zero. I have also since uploaded my raw data to GEDmatch and still no luck. 

Another search method I’ve tried is adding my information to a birth family search poster specific to the province I was adopted from. I did this 3 years ago through International Child Search Alliance (ICSA), a volunteer group of adoptees and adoptive parents. Their province search posters are shared widely on Chinese social media and in the past, they partnered with Zhejiang Family Seeking Conference and ZuyuanDNA for an in-person event. 

Getting my information added to the poster took about 3 months, partly because of the time it took me to make a WeChat account, gather the necessary information, and translate some of my adoption paperwork. The other reason for the timing was that ICSA’s update schedule for province search posters is three times a year.

Through the WeChat group for my province, I was able to connect with a woman from Zhejiang who wanted to help overseas adoptees. With great thanks to her, I was able to get my information on Baobei Huijia (Baby Come Home), a Chinese site run by volunteers to help find missing children. 

I learned of GEDmatch, ICSA and Baobei Huijia through the online adoptee/adoption community, which I discovered across various Facebook groups in 2018. Connecting with other adoptees and adoptive parents who are further along and more experienced in the birth family search journey has been extremely helpful. 

My mom has also been a huge help in her own efforts of searching for resources and information about birth family searching. Though most of all, her complete support for me throughout this process is what matters most. She hopes that I can find my biological family and relatives because she knows how important it is to me. 

We have discussed taking the next step of hiring a root finder or searcher. Though once I began to seriously consider this method, it didn’t seem like the right time. One searcher that my mom had reached out to in 2020 said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, foot traffic was not as high as it used to be, and therefore paying for physical posters to be distributed in my city or province in China may have even lower chances of bringing about any success.

Also, the process of hiring a searcher or organisation seemed quite daunting to me because it is hard to know whom to go with and which services to pay for. Packages greatly differ in terms of how in-depth the search process is and prices can easily be hundreds of dollars. And at the end of the day, the odds of finding my birth family, even with professional help, are very low.

I do plan to go back to China one day for a heritage trip and would incorporate searching for birth family into that. While my active search efforts are paused for now, this is a lifelong journey, so I can pick back up whenever I want to. It’s nice to know that through my other initial search methods, the opportunity for a match is always possible, even without me doing anything. 

However, I do worry that by waiting to pursue additional active search methods, I might be making the process more difficult the longer time goes on. I don’t know if my orphanage has any adoption paperwork other than what I currently have and would hate for those documents to be destroyed. I also fear the possibility of birth family members dying, especially biological parents and grandparents. This thought crossed my mind when COVID-19 cases and deaths were high in China. 

On the other hand, I don’t know if I’m emotionally prepared for the can of worms that can come with more intensive searching and then a possible reunion. I know of adoptees who contacted their birth families, only to be rejected. Then there are others who have very complicated reunions and relationships. Though even considering the endless possibilities and the fact that I might never fully be ready, I still think searching and finding something unexpected is better than knowing nothing at all. 

My advice to other adoptees who are considering searching for their birth family is to make sure you have a solid support system to lean on during this process. I also recommend personally reflecting on your motivations for searching and what you want to get out of it. Lastly, do your research on search options and leverage the existing resources and lived experiences of others who are already familiar with this. I recommend joining the CCI Birth Parent Searching and Reunion Group on Facebook for any Chinese adoptees looking to start this journey.

Thanks for reading and best of luck to my fellow searching adoptees!

Coming Next: Alla ricerca della mia famiglia in Vietnam


Ricerca e Riunione nell'adozione internazionale

Cerco la mia famiglia in Colombia

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Ricerca in adozione internazionale series. These individual stories are being shared from our Carta di prospettiva that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

di 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 ferita primordiale by Nancy Verrier and Viaggio del Sé Adottato by Betty Jean Lifton to name a couple of outstanding examples. I am a regular listener to adoptee podcasts including Adozioni attivate with host Haley Radke and adattato 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 La scimmia di 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 Voci degli adottati internazionali. 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: Alla ricerca della mia famiglia in Cina


Ricerca e Riunione nell'adozione internazionale

Ricerca nel webinar sull'adozione internazionale da parte di esperti adottati

Il 23 aprile 2023, l'ICAV ha tenuto un webinar di gruppo per offrirti l'esperienza dei nostri professionisti della ricerca in tutto il mondo, condividendo le loro migliori parole di saggezza su cosa considerare durante la ricerca nell'adozione internazionale. Rappresentavano direttamente organizzazioni di adottati di Sri Lanka, Etiopia, Sud Corea, Haiti, Colombia e Grecia.

Guarda il webinar qui:
Nota: se visualizzi in Chrome, fai clic sul pulsante Ulteriori informazioni per guardare il video

Codice temporale

Per coloro che hanno poco tempo e vogliono saltare alle sezioni rilevanti, ecco un timecode per assistere:

00:20 Introduzione, Benvenuto, Scopo
04:30 Introduzione dei relatori
04:39 Marcia Engel
06:48 Rebecca Payot
09:29 Jonas Desir
10:25 Linda Carol Trotter
12:55 Kayla Curtis
15:22 Hilbrand Westra
17:44 Benoît Vermeerbergen
21:00 Celin Fassler

Domande e risposte

23:28 Cosa comporta il processo di ricerca generale? – Kayla
27:30 Cosa devono preparare gli adottati? – Linda, Marzia
35:51 Quali sono alcuni dei risultati? – Jonas, Kayla, Linda
46:50 Qualche possibile barriera da aspettarsi? –Rebecca, Linda
56:51 Quale etica considerare? – Marzia, Kayla
1:06:40 Quanto dovrebbe costare una ricerca? –Rebecca, Linda, Celin
1:11:46 Di chi fidarsi? Hilbrand, Jonas
1:16:16 Quali aspetti considerare nel test del DNA? – Benoît
1:19:18 Quali risultati si possono ottenere con il test del DNA? – Benoît
1:20:40 Quali test del DNA consigliate? Benoït, Marcia
1:23:51 Quali sono i vantaggi dell'utilizzo di un'organizzazione di ricerca guidata da adottati? – Celin, Marcia
1:28:28 Cosa significava diventare un'organizzazione di ricerca finanziata dal governo? – Celino
1:30:36 Cosa serve di più ai Governi per aiutare gli adottati nella nostra ricerca? – Hilbrand, Marzia

Riepilogo dei messaggi chiave

Clic qui per un pdf del nostro Messaggi chiave da ciascun relatore


Un enorme grazie ai 26 adottati che hanno voluto condividere le loro esperienze di ricerca in modo che altri possano ottenere una comprensione più profonda. Rappresentano esperienze di 13 paesi di nascita (Cina, Colombia, India, Malesia, Marocco, Perù, Filippine, Romania, Russia, Corea del Sud, Sri Lanka, Tailandia, Vietnam), inviate a 9 paesi di adozione (Australia, Belgio, Canada, Francia , Germania, Scozia, Svezia, Regno Unito, Stati Uniti).

L'ultimo documento prospettico di ICAV su Ricerca in adozione internazionale

Per ulteriori risorse, vedere il nostro Ricerca e riunione pagina

I miei sentimenti riguardo alla mia prima mamma

di Maria Diemar, nato in Cile e adottato in Svezia; Fondatore di

Hai mai provato a tornare indietro (nei tuoi pensieri) e ad ascoltare te stesso, quello che hai provato veramente crescendo da adottato?

Quando provo a tornare indietro nel tempo in quel modo, mi rendo conto di avere così tanti sentimenti e pensieri che non ho mai osato esprimere. Porto ancora dentro di me quei sentimenti.

In qualità di adottato transrazziale e internazionale cresciuto in Svezia tra il 1970 e il 1980, sento di aver fatto parte di un esperimento. I bambini provenienti da paesi di tutto il mondo sono stati inseriti in famiglie svedesi e noi dovevamo essere come una "tabula rasa", come se le nostre storie di vita fossero iniziate all'aeroporto in Svezia.

Il mio background non è mai stato un segreto e mi è stato permesso di leggere i miei documenti dal Cile. Ma non ho mai sentito di poter parlare dei miei sentimenti e pensieri sulla mia prima mamma. Ho tenuto così tanto dentro e non mi è mai stato chiesto di esprimere nulla riguardo ai miei sentimenti o pensieri. Non riuscivo a capire perché ero in Svezia, perché non ero con mia madre e la mia gente in Cile. Mi sentivo così indesiderato e non amato.

Ho scritto una lettera a mia madre come se avessi 7 anni. Non so perché l'ho fatto, ma ho scritto la lettera in spagnolo.

Mi è stato consigliato di scrivere la lettera usando la mano sinistra, anche se sono destrorso.

Parliamo di Adozioni Internazionali Illecite e Illecite

There’s a resounding silence around the world from the majority of adoptive parents when adult intercountry adoptees start to talk about whether our adoptions are illegal or illicit. Why is that? Let’s begin the conversation and unpack it a little.

As an intercountry adoptee, I was purchased through illicit and illegal means and it has taken me years to come to terms with what this means and how I view my adoption. I’m not alone in this journey and because of what I hear and see amongst my community of adoptees, I believe it’s really important for adoptive parents to grapple with what they’ve participated in. This system of child trafficking in intercountry adoption is widespread! It’s not just a Guatemalan, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan or Russian issue – it impacts every country we are adopted to and from, beginning back in the 1950s enmasse, through to current day adoptions. The Convenzione dell'Aia del 1993 came about because of the vast number of illegal and illicit adoptions. The Hague could possibly blind adoptive parents into believing their adoptions cannot be illegal or illicit because they went through the “approved” process and authority. But while a Hague adoption is less likely than a pre-Hague private or expatriate adoption to have illegal and illicit practices within, it is no guarantee because the Hague lacks mechanisms to enforce and safeguard against child trafficking.

To date, most adoptive countries have also not curbed or stopped private and expatriate adoptions that bypass the Hague processes. This means illegal and illicit adoptions are very much still possible and facilitated through a country’s immigration pathways and usually the only role an adoptive country will play in these adoptions, is to assess visa eligibility. This remains a huge failing of adoptive countries who assume a birth country has all the checks and balances in place to prevent illegal and illicit practices within private and expatriate adoptions.

If you aren’t grappling with what you’ve participated in as an adoptive parent, you can be sure your adoptees are, at some point in their lives. More so these days, as the world around us changes and country after country (Olanda, Belgio, Norvegia, Svizzera, Svezia, Francia) eventually investigates and recognises the wrongs done historically in intercountry adoption. Germania, Danimarca e Australia are countries where adoptees are currently pushing for their governments to investigate. Support comes from the UN who last year, issued their joint statement on illegal intercountry adoptions.

It’s important we have these discussions and be truthful with adoptees about illegal and illicit practices that are our adoptions. In ICAV, we grapple with the reality, especially when it comes to searching for our origins and finding out the truth. Here’s a seminario Web I co-facilitated two years ago on this topic. As you’ll see from the webinar, we are all impacted by these practices – adoptees, adoptive parents, and our original families.

When I first started ICAV in 1998, I didn’t want to discuss the darker sides of adoption. I blindly mimicked what I’d heard – being grateful for my life in Australia and thankful that my life was so much better than if I’d remained in Vietnam. It’s taken me years to educate myself, listening to fellow adoptees around the world who are impacted and advocating for our rights and for the dark side of adoption to be dealt with. I’ve finally come to understand deeply what the adoption industry is and how it operates.

My adoptive parents couldn’t deal with my questions or comments about being paid for in France, or the questions I had about the Vietnamese lawyer who facilitated my adoption. They jumped to his defence. But there is no evidence I am an orphan and my 40+ years of searching for the truth highlights how illegal my adoption is, to date: no relinquishment document, no birth certificate, no adoption papers from the Vietnam side, only a few personal letters written from lawyer to adoptive family and an exchange of money to a French bank account, then the Victorian adoption authority processed my adoption 16 years after I entered Australia with parents who were questionably “assessed and approved”.

I’m a parent of teenaged children and I know what it’s like to have those tough discussions on topics we aren’t comfortable with. I’m sure many adoptive parents must feel doubts and possibly a sense of guilt looking back in hindsight, for not looking into things more, pushing away doubts about the process, the costs, the facilitators, in their zeal to become a parent at all costs. If you feel guilt or remorse as an adoptive parent, at least you’re being honest about the reality of intercountry adoption. Honesty is a good place to start. What’s worse for adoptees is when our parents deny and defend their actions despite data that indicates there were plenty of signals of illicit practices from that country or facilitator. Being honest will help your adoptee start to trust you can take responsibility for your actions and not pass the buck to the “other” stakeholders who also contribute to trafficking practices. 

The difficult part for us all, is that there are rarely any supports or education on this topic from those facilitating adoption or supporting it – either as pre or post adoption organisations. Even less support exists for those who KNOW it was illegal or illicit adoption and no-one guides us as to what we can do about it except our own peer communities. This needs to change! It should not be the responsibility of the impacted community to provide the industry and authorities with education and resources on what it means to be a victim of the process and how to support us.

At ICAV, we have been attempting to fill this gap because the industry continues to fail us in this way. Here is our global paper we compiled of our responses we’d like from governments and authorities. I hope those who feel guilt or remorse will turn that feeling into an action to demand better supports and legislation for impacted people and speaking up to hold governments and agencies accountable. That is how you’ll help us in my humble opinion. The fact that so many parents who participated in trafficking practices are silent is only damning your adoptee to have to fight the system by themselves. 

Thankfully, the work I was involved in, to represent adoptees in the Hague Working Group on Preventing and Addressing Illicit Practices in Intercountry Adoption, has concluded with a published toolkit in which Central Authorities are now provided a template for how they Potevo respond to queries from victims of illegal and illicit adoptions. Sadly, this toolkit, like the 1993 Hague Convention is not enforceable and so, it requires those of us who are impacted to spend much time and energy pushing governments and authorities to respond to us in an appropriate manner.

If you are an Australian and you’d like to support us in our push for an investigation by an independent body into Australia’s history of intercountry adoptions, you can participate in our survey as an adottato or as an adoptive parent. We aim to gather high level data showing the human rights abuse patterns throughout the birth countries and the ongoing lack of adequate responses from the Australian government and authorities. Prior to this, we created a letter with signatures from the community which was sent to every Australian Central Authority, every Minister responsible for Adoption at both State and Federal level, and to our Prime Minister and State Premiers.

For the benefit of many, I felt it important to provide an easy to read document on what an illicit and illegal intercountry adoption is. My heartfelt thanks to Prof David Smolin who did the lion share of creating this easy to read document. I’m honoured to know some incredible adoptive parents like David who spend their lives advocating and working with us to change this global system.

Workshop online contro il razzismo per adottati e genitori transrazziali

L'anno scorso, ho eseguito un seminario Web sulle esperienze che gli adottati internazionali e transrazziali hanno con il razzismo per aiutare a sensibilizzare e dare voce a queste esperienze comuni come comunità. Per affrontare ulteriormente la mancanza di risorse per la nostra comunità in quest'area, ho utilizzato i finanziamenti tramite il Relazioni Australia Programma di piccole sovvenzioni e borse di studio assumere Tinta, una società di esperienza vissuta specializzata in laboratori contro il razzismo. Insieme, Hue e ICAV stanno offrendo uno spazio tanto necessario (separatamente per gli adottati transrazziali e un altro per i genitori adottivi), per discutere, sensibilizzare ed elaborare alcuni di questi problemi coinvolti nella razza, nel razzismo e nell'adozione internazionale / transrazziale.

I nostri seminari sono gratuiti e saranno forniti come una serie in tre parti, come un programma contro il razzismo su misura per gli adottati internazionali e transrazziali australiani e i loro genitori. Gli adottati e i genitori di altri paesi sono invitati a partecipare, comprendendo che il programma viene fornito da una prospettiva australiana (ma comunque rilevante per altri paesi) e in un fuso orario australiano. Ogni workshop è limitato a 35 per garantire il massimo beneficio ai partecipanti.

Entrambi i programmi nel loro primo seminario riguarderanno un'introduzione alla razza e al razzismo, sviluppando la nostra comprensione e il pensiero critico sul razzismo e l'ingiustizia sistemici. Il secondo workshop esplorerà la bianchezza o la cultura dominante bianca e i modi in cui i nostri atteggiamenti e stili di vita sono influenzati da questi sistemi culturali, in particolare in un contesto di adozione internazionale. Gli adottati finiranno con un programma che esplora modi per disimparare e sfidare le convinzioni dannose che interiorizziamo in una cultura dominante bianca, strumenti per la liberazione collettiva e la solidarietà e strumenti per la cura di sé e della comunità. I genitori adottivi completeranno la loro serie con un seminario sull'alleanza, sviluppando abilità per sfidare il razzismo quando lo vedono e sostenendo i loro figli adottivi attraverso le loro esperienze.

Ecco alcune informazioni su Hue e sulla sua facilitatrice, Elsa, con cui ho lavorato per adattare questi workshop alla nostra esperienza comunitaria:

Tinta è un'organizzazione per la giustizia razziale e sociale fondata da due donne di colore che offre una gamma di programmi di formazione accessibili, coinvolgenti e basati sui punti di forza. I loro workshop sono facilitati da persone con esperienza vissuta per fornire esperienze di apprendimento partecipative e sfumate per tutti i livelli di conoscenza. Forniscono inoltre supporto e consulenza continui alle organizzazioni che desiderano implementare cambiamenti significativi nelle loro politiche, processi e cultura del lavoro.

Elsa (lei/lei) è una donna di colore queer, ebrea e cinese. È educatrice, facilitatrice, organizzatrice e performer. È la co-fondatrice di Hue, un'organizzazione contro il razzismo e la giustizia sociale che fornisce formazione e consulenza alle organizzazioni. In precedenza è stata direttrice della formazione presso Democracy in Color e ha servito per due mandati nel consiglio di amministrazione e nel comitato del consiglio QTIBIPOC di Switchboard Victoria. Ha un background in lavoro sociale e psicologia e ha scritto la sua tesi di laurea su come le persone multirazziali provenienti da più patrimoni minoritari interagiscono con le loro identità etniche. Nel 2020 è stata premiata come Out for Australia's 30 under 30, per modelli di ruolo e leader LGBTQIA+ e nel 2022 è stata semifinalista per i 7NEWS Young Achievers Awards for Community Service and Social Impact. È appassionata di platforming dell'esperienza vissuta, costruzione del potere della comunità e guarigione nel processo.

Le date chiave dei workshop per adottati sono: 21 maggio, 4 giugno, 18 giugno a partire dalle 13:00 AEST. Ogni workshop dura 3,5 ore con pause intermedie. L'input e la partecipazione sono incoraggiati tramite breakout in piccoli gruppi. Questo non è un seminario "siediti e ascolta", ma se è quello che ti senti a tuo agio a fare, allora va bene lo stesso.

Se desideri RSVP come adottato internazionale / transrazziale per partecipare al nostro seminario solo per adottati, fai clic sull'immagine gialla RSVP:

Le date principali dei laboratori per genitori adottivi sono: 23 luglio, 6 agosto, 20 agosto a partire dalle 13:00 AEST. Ogni workshop dura 3,5 ore con pause intermedie. L'input e la partecipazione sono incoraggiati tramite breakout in piccoli gruppi. Questo non è un seminario "siediti e ascolta", ma se è quello che ti senti a tuo agio a fare, allora va bene lo stesso.

Se desideri RSVP come genitore adottivo per partecipare al nostro workshop solo per genitori adottivi, fai clic sull'immagine blu RSVP:

Enorme grazie al Governo federale australiano, DSS per averlo reso possibile attraverso il finanziamento attraverso Relationships Australia ICAFSS, Small Grants and Bursaries program.

cari mamma e papà

di Jen Etherington, nato canadese delle Prime Nazioni e adottato da una famiglia australiana

Cari mamma e papà,

Sono passati 34 anni da quando hai lasciato questo pianeta . Quanto ho desiderato per tutta la vita di averti incontrato. Non sono sicuro di quando sia stata l'ultima volta che mi hai visto. Sono sicuro che non pensavi che fosse l'ultima volta che mi avresti mai visto. So che sapevate dove sono finito. So che papà conosceva mio padre che mi ha adottato.

Kerry e Steve (mamma e papà) sono due degli umani più straordinari che potresti mai incontrare. Sono, credo come voi, amati praticamente da tutti quelli che incontrano. Ho avuto un fratellino da Kerry e Steve quando avevo tre anni. Si chiama Josh e andavamo così d'accordo quando eravamo bambini. Abbiamo avuto pochissimi litigi. Mi piace pensare che sia una grande combinazione delle nostre personalità oltre ad essere cresciuto proprio da Kerry e Steve.

Sarai felice di sapere che ho avuto un'infanzia fantastica. Quando avevo 7 anni, abbiamo avuto un altro fratellino di nome Brody. BroBro e io eravamo più simili perché siamo entrambi più socievoli ed estroversi. Josh, Brody e io andavamo molto d'accordo. Kerry e Steve ci hanno cresciuto con grandi valori. Siamo cresciuti e trasferiti vicino al centro di meditazione Theravada sulla costa orientale dell'Australia. Lì ho incontrato dei bambini meravigliosi che considero cugini. Ho pensato che se fossi stato adottato avrei potuto adottare anche la mia famiglia.

Ho avuto alcune difficoltà durante l'infanzia, incluso il bullismo spietato per il razzismo e l'oggettivazione. È sempre stato un ragazzo di nome "Johnno", indipendentemente da dove andassi . Sono stato fortunato ad avere amici forti intorno a me che mi hanno aiutato a non lasciare che distruggesse la mia personalità.

Siamo cresciuti trascorrendo quasi tutte le vacanze con tutta la famiglia perché per loro era importante trascorrere molto tempo in famiglia. Abbiamo trascorso delle vacanze meravigliose in campeggio, soggiornando nei parchi per roulotte sulla spiaggia, siamo andati a fiere importanti come l'expo 88 con la famiglia e abbiamo alloggiato in una casa incantevole. Siamo andati in Canada per molte vacanze perché la mamma di Steve viveva a Victoria. So che il sogno di Kerry per me era incontrarti quando fossi stato pronto. So che aveva il cuore spezzato quando ha sentito la notizia della tua morte. Ero confuso. Sapevo di essere stato adottato fin dall'inizio perché avevo un aspetto diverso da Kerry, Steve, Josh e Brody. Quando mi è stato chiesto se volevo andare al tuo funerale avevo 9 anni e non ero sicuro di come elaborarlo e ora mi pento di non esserci arrivato.

Ho avuto un'esperienza scolastica piuttosto buona a parte il bullismo e gli abusi sessuali. Mi dicono che sono intelligente come papà. Raramente mi sforzo di usare l'intelligenza. Non sono sicuro che sia autoconservazione non distinguersi più di me.

C'era una terza persona che mi ha cresciuto ed è stata fantastica. Era mia zia, Nanette. L'ho amata così tanto ed era una persona incredibile. Anche prima dell'identificazione del chiamante sui telefoni, sapevo sempre quando stava chiamando. Anche Nanette mi ha tradito al mio matrimonio. Il mio matrimonio è stato 20 anni fa due giorni fa. L'uomo che ho sposato non era una brava persona. Ho subito molti abusi da lui. Per fortuna ci siamo separati 10 anni dopo esserci conosciuti. Non ho avuto figli e ho fatto terapia per 12 mesi. Ho lottato per stare bene se avessi mai avuto figli. Non riesco a immaginare come sia stato per te perdermi ed ero così preoccupato di rivivere quell'esperienza e come è stato per te.

Non sono sicuro da dove provenga la mia empatia, ma è una benedizione e una maledizione. Ho avuto due aborti spontanei e solo il secondo ho sentito il battito del cuore. Questa è una mia foto di ieri al lavoro. Hanno organizzato il giorno dell'armonia e hanno messo il nostro totem.

Ho così tante cose che volevo chiederti e dirti. Vi voglio bene mamma e papà. Adesso ho una famiglia meravigliosa: mia madre e mio padre (Kerry e Steve), i miei fratelli, i miei nipoti e il mio compagno James. Mia zia è tristemente morta, ma sono così grata di aver passato del tempo con lei.

Leggi il blog precedente di Jen: I soldi non compensano mai quello che ho perso come canadese delle Prime Nazioni


Prime Nazioni in Canada

Oltre 200 bambini delle Prime Nazioni rubati trovati in una tomba anonima canadese

The Stolen Generations – Canada e Australia: l'eredità dell'assimilazione

Ricerca nell'adozione internazionale da parte di esperti di adottati

On April 23, ICAV will be providing a webinar on some of the complex issues involved in searching in various birth countries, but with specific knowledge of Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Greece, Korea, and Sri Lanka.

Our webinar will be unique in that we are not only bringing our lived experience as individuals, but also presenting as a global resource, highlighting the adoptee led organisations who provide a formal search and support services. Our panelists hold the dual role of knowing intuitively how complex searching is as individuals having done their own searching and also having decades of experience in providing formal search and support services to the community.

ICAV knows intuitively what the latest ricerca (p231) conducted within the Korean adoptee community shows – i.e.,, that intercountry adoptees find their peers and adoptee led organisations to be the most helpful in their searches. There’s nothing better than those who live it knowing intuitively how to best provide the services we need as a community.

If you’d like to be part of our audience, click here to RSVP.

Our 8 panelists are:

Marcia Engel

Marcia is the creator and operator of Piano Angelo, a nonprofit human rights foundation currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Her organization has a powerful mission: helping Colombian families find their children who were lost to child trafficking and adoption.

For fifteen years now, Plan Angel has grown a strong community with over 1,000 families in Colombia. The foundation helps these families search for their missing adopted children all over the world, hoping to one day reconnect them with each other. Marcia and her foundation have reunited hundreds of families and continue to support them after their reunion.

Linda Carol Forrest Trottatore

Linda is a Greek-born adoptee, adopted by American parents and found her biological family in Greece five and a half years ago. She is the founder and president of Il progetto Eftychia, a nonprofit organization that assists and supports, free of charge, Greek-born adoptees searching for their roots and Greek families searching for their children lost to adoption.

In addition to its Search and Reunion program, the Eftychia Project, in collaboration with the MyHeritage DNA company, distributes DNA kits for free to adoptees and Greek families. To date, The Eftychia Project has facilitated the reconnections of 19 adoptees with their Greek families.

The Eftychia Project also actively advocates on behalf of all Greek-born adoptees with the Greek government for their birth and identity rights, including transparency about their adoptions, unfettered access to their birth, orphanage and adoption records, and the restoration of their Greek citizenship.

Kayla Curtis

Kayla is born in South Korea and adopted to South Australia. Kayla has been searching for her Korean birth family for over twenty years. She returned to Korea to do ‘on the ground’ searching using posters, newspapers, local police, and adoptee search organisations. In the absence of having a reunion with birth family, she has built a meaningful relationship with her birth country and Korean culture and proudly identifies as Korean-Australian.  

In her professional life, Kayla works as a Senior Counsellor for the Servizio di sostegno all'adozione internazionale e alle famiglie (ICAFSS) at Relationships Australia.  

Kayla is a qualified Therapeutic Life Story Worker and has a Master’s in Social Work as well as extensive experience working in the area of adoption both in government and non-government, providing counselling, education and training, community development and post adoption support.  In this role, Kayla supports intercountry adoptees with searching and navigating this uncertain and complex process between countries, as well as offering therapeutic support to adoptees, on this journey. 

Jonas Desir


Jonas is a Haitian adoptee raised in Australia who has spent many years assisting his fellow Haitian adoptees to search for their families in Haiti. He was adopted from Haiti at 6 years old and eventually was able to find his mother in Haiti. Today he is happily married with children and works a lot to help mentor other younger adoptees and help adoptive families.

Benoît Vermeerbergen

Benoît was born in Villers-Semeuse, France under “Sous X”. This means that his parents and especially his mother did not want to be known or found. His birth certificate literally only shows X’s as parents’ names. Growing up Benoît had a lot of questions trying to understand all of this. After his studies, he purposely began working for the ‘Population Services’ in the hope of discovering more information about his birth mother. 

During this process and the years that followed, Benoît helped so many other people in their search (for example, trying to find their biological birth parents), that he made genealogical research his main source of income. It has always been and will always be his greatest passion in life! 

Genealogy and adoption therefore are his field of specialisation. In the past couple of years he has also started working in the field of ‘DNA’. In 2019, he found his biological mother through this method. Today, he cooperates with a lot of genealogical and adoption related authorities and helps to invent and build many adoption related platforms. Although Belgium is his home country, he also has experience in doing research abroad, i.e. Australia, Mexico, and The Netherlands.

Rebecca Payot

Rebecca is the founder of the association Racines Naissent des Ailes and co-founder of Emmaye Adoptee’s Family Reunion. Adopted in Ethiopia at the age of 5, Rebecca is a graduate in early childhood psychology specialising in adolescents in identity crisis. She has worked for 20 years in international adoption in France as a consultant and speaker on quest of origins. She is the author of her first book entitled “The Quest of Origins, a Miracle Remedy for the ills of the adopted?”

Hilbrand Westra

Hilbrand is a Korean adoptee raised in the Netherlands and has the longest track record, working with and for adoptees in the Netherlands since 1989. Internationally, his name is well known and disputed at the same time by the first generation of intercountry adoptees because he dared to oppose the Disney fairytale of adoption. He is also the first adoptee in the world to receive an official Royal decoration by the King of the Netherlands in 2015 and is Knighted in the Order of Orange Nassau for outstanding work for adoptees and in the field of adoption.

In daily life, Hilbrand runs his own school in systemic work ed è un rinomato insegnante e formatore a livello nazionale e il suo lavoro ha suscitato grande interesse nel Regno Unito. Trascorre del tempo collegando il lavoro in questo campo tra i Paesi Bassi e il Regno Unito. Hilbrand è un confidente ed executive coach per leader e direttori nei Paesi Bassi e lavora anche in parte con il Ministero della Difesa e il Ministero dell'Istruzione, della Cultura e della Scienza.

Celin Fassler

Celin è stato adottato dallo Sri Lanka in Svizzera ed è responsabile delle comunicazioni e membro del consiglio di amministrazione di Ritorno alle origini. Back to the Roots è una ONG svizzera fondata nel 2018 da adottati dello Sri Lanka. Il suo obiettivo principale è quello di sensibilizzare alla complessa ricerca delle origini e di supportare gli adottati nel loro processo di ricerca. Da maggio 2022, Back to the Roots è finanziato dal governo svizzero e dai distretti regionali per fornire supporto professionale agli adottati dallo Sri Lanka alla Svizzera.

Sarah Ramani Ineichen

Sarah è stata adottata dallo Sri Lanka alla Svizzera ed è la presidente di Back to the Roots e potrebbe presentare insieme a Celin in questo webinar.

Il webinar sarà registrato e reso disponibile sul sito web dell'ICAV.

Se hai domande che vorresti vedere affrontate nel nostro webinar, aggiungi i tuoi commenti a questo blog o contatto noi.

Enorme grazie al Governo australiano, DSS per aver finanziato questo evento tramite il nostro Relationships Australia, Programma di piccole sovvenzioni e borse di studio.

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