중국에서 가족 찾기

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Searching in Intercountry Adoption series. These individual stories are being shared from our 원근법 종이 that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

~에 의해 셸리 로텐버그, born in China, raised in Canada, www.shelleyrottenberg.ca

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: Searching for my family in Vietnam


국제 입양에서의 탐색과 재결합

입양인 전문가 웨비나에 의한 해외 입양 검색

On 23 April 2023, ICAV ran a panel webinar to bring you the expertise of our Search professionals around the world, sharing their best words of wisdom for what to consider when undergoing searching in intercountry adoption. They directly represented adoptee organisations from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sth Korea, Haiti, Colombia and Greece.

Watch the webinar here:
참고: Chrome에서 보는 경우 동영상을 보려면 자세히 알아보기 버튼을 클릭하세요.


For those who are time poor and want to skip to the sections that are relevant, here is a timecode to assist:

00:20 Intro, Welcome, Purpose
04:30 Intro of panelists
04:39 Marcia Engel
06:48 Rebecca Payot
09:29 Jonas Desír
10:25 Linda Carol Trotter
12:55 Kayla Curtis
15:22 Hilbrand Westra
17:44 Benoît Vermeerbergen
21:00 Celin Fässler

Questions / Answers

23:28 What does the general search process involve? – Kayla
27:30 What should adoptees to do prepare? – Linda, Marcia
35:51 What are some of the outcomes? – Jonas, Kayla, Linda
46:50 Some possible barriers to expect? – Rebecca, Linda
56:51 What ethics to consider? – Marcia, Kayla
1:06:40 What should a search cost? – Rebecca, Linda, Celin
1:11:46 Who to trust? Hilbrand, Jonas
1:16:16 What issues to consider in DNA testing? – Benoît
1:19:18 What outcomes can result with DNA testing? – Benoît
1:20:40 What DNA tests do you recommend? Benoït, Marcia
1:23:51 What are the advantages of using an adoptee led search org? – Celin, Marcia
1:28:28 What was involved in becoming a trusted Government funded search org? – Celin
1:30:36 What is needed most from Governments to help adoptees in our searching? – Hilbrand, Marcia

Summary of Key Messages

딸깍 하는 소리 여기 for a pdf of our Key Messages from each panelist


Huge thanks to the 26 adoptees who wanted to share their experiences of searching so that others can gain a deeper understanding. They represent experiences of 13 birth countries (China, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam), sent to 9 adoptive countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, UK, USA).

ICAVs newest Perspective Paper on Searching in Intercountry Adoption

For more resources, see our Searching & Reunion page

불법 및 불법 해외 입양에 대해 이야기합시다.

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 1993년 헤이그 협약 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 (네덜란드, 벨기에, 노르웨이, 스위스, 스웨덴, 프랑스) eventually investigates and recognises the wrongs done historically in intercountry adoption. 독일, 덴마크 그리고 호주 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 webinar 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 ~ 할 수 있었다 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 입양인 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.

다인종 입양인과 부모를 위한 반인종주의 온라인 워크숍

Last year, I ran a webinar on the experiences intercountry and transracial adoptees have with racism to help raise awareness and give voice to these common experiences as a community. To further address the lack of resources to our community in this area, I have utilised the funding via the 관계 호주 Small Grants & Bursaries program to hire Hue, a lived experience company who specialises in anti-racism workshops. Together, Hue and ICAV are offering a much needed space (separately for transracial adoptees; and another for adoptive parents), to discuss, raise awareness, and process some of these issues involved in race, racism, and intercountry / transracial adoption.

Our workshops are free and will be provided as a three part series, as an anti-racism program tailored specifically to Australian intercountry and transracial adoptees, and their parents. Adoptees and parents from other countries are welcome to join, understanding that the program is being delivered from an Australian perspective (but still relevant to other countries) and in an Australian timezone. Each workshop is capped at 35 to ensure maximum benefit for participants.

Both programs in their first workshop will cover an introduction to race and racism, developing our understanding and critical thinking around systemic racism and injustice. The second workshop will explore whiteness or white dominant culture, and the ways that our attitudes, and ways of life are impacted by these cultural systems, particularly in an intercountry adoption context. Adoptees will finish with a program that explores ways of unlearning and challenging the harmful beliefs that we internalise in a white dominant culture, tools for collective liberation and solidarity, and tools for self and community care. Adoptive parents will complete their series with a workshop on allyship, developing skills for challenging racism when they see it, and supporting their adoptive children through their experiences.

Here is some information about Hue and its facilitator, Elsa, whom I have worked with to tailor these workshops to suit our community experience:

Hue is a racial and social justice organisation founded by two women of colour that delivers a range of training programs that are accessible, engaging and strengths based. Their workshops are facilitated by people with lived experience to provide participatory and nuanced learning experiences for all knowledge levels. They also provide ongoing support and consultation to organisations looking to implement meaningful change into their policies, processes and work culture.

Elsa (she/her) is a queer, Jewish and Chinese woman of colour. She is an educator, facilitator, organiser and performer. She is the co-founder of Hue, an antiracism & social justice organisation that provides training and consulting to organisations. Previously she was the Director of Training at Democracy in Colour and served two terms on the board and QTIBIPOC board committee of Switchboard Victoria. She has a background in Social Work and Psychology, and wrote her honours thesis on how multiracial people from multiple minority heritages engage with their ethnic identities. In 2020 she was awarded one of Out for Australia’s 30 under 30, for LGBTQIA+ role models and leaders and in 2022 she was a semifinalist for the 7NEWS Young Achievers Awards for Community Service and Social Impact. She is passionate about platforming lived experience, building community power, and healing in the process.

The key dates of the workshops for adoptees are: 21 May, 4 June, 18 June starting at 1pm AEST. Each workshop runs for 3.5 hours with breaks in between. Input and participation is encouraged via small group breakouts. This is not a sit and listen workshop but if that’s what you feel comfortable doing, then that’s ok too.

If you would like to RSVP as an intercountry / transracial adoptee to participate in our workshop for adoptees only, please click on the yellow RSVP image:

The key dates of the workshops for adoptive parents are: 23 July, 6 August, 20 August starting at 1pm AEST. Each workshop runs for 3.5 hours with breaks in between. Input and participation is encouraged via small group breakouts. This is not a sit and listen workshop but if that’s what you feel comfortable doing, then that’s ok too.

If you would like to RSVP as an adoptive parent to participate in our workshop for adoptive parents only, please click on the blue RSVP image:

Huge thanks to the Australian Federal Government, DSS for making this possible via the funding through Relationships Australia ICAFSS, Small Grants and Bursaries program.

친애하는 엄마와 아빠

~에 의해 젠 이더링턴, 캐나다 원주민으로 태어나 호주 가정에 입양됨

친애하는 엄마와 아빠,

당신이 이 행성을 떠난 지 34년이 지났습니다. . 당신을 만날 수 있기를 평생 바랐습니다. 당신이 저를 마지막으로 본 게 언제인지 잘 모르겠습니다. 그래도 당신이 나를 본 것이 마지막이라고 생각하지 않았을 거라 확신합니다. 나는 당신들이 내가 어디에서 끝났는지 알고 있다는 것을 압니다. 아빠가 나를 입양한 아빠를 알고 있다는 걸 알아요.

Kerry와 Steve(엄마와 아빠)는 당신이 만날 수 있는 가장 놀라운 두 사람입니다. 나는 당신과 마찬가지로 그들이 만나는 거의 모든 사람들에게 사랑받는다고 믿습니다. 나는 세 살 때 Kerry와 Steve에게서 남동생을 얻었습니다. 그의 이름은 Josh이고 우리는 어렸을 때 아주 잘 지냈습니다. 우리는 싸움이 거의 없었습니다. Kerry와 Steve에 의해 올바르게 양육되었을 뿐만 아니라 우리 성격의 훌륭한 조합이라고 생각하고 싶습니다.

내가 놀라운 어린 시절을 보냈다는 것을 알면 기뻐할 것입니다. 내가 7살이었을 때 Brody라는 또 다른 남동생이 생겼습니다. BroBro와 저는 더 사교적이고 외향적이기 때문에 더 비슷했습니다. Josh, Brody와 저는 아주 잘 지냈습니다. Kerry와 Steve는 훌륭한 가치로 우리를 키웠습니다. 우리는 자라서 호주 동부 해안에 있는 테라바다 명상 센터 근처로 이사했습니다. 나는 그곳에서 내가 사촌이라고 생각하는 이상한 아이들을 만났습니다. 내가 입양되면 내 가족도 입양할 수 있다고 생각했습니다.

어린 시절 인종차별에 대한 무자비한 괴롭힘과 대상화 등 몇 가지 어려움이 있었습니다. 어디를 가도 항상 존노라는 애가 . 나는 그것이 내 성격을 파괴하지 않도록 도와줄 강한 친구들이 내 주위에 있어서 운이 좋았다.

우리는 가족과 함께 많은 시간을 보내는 것이 그들에게 중요했기 때문에 거의 모든 휴일을 온 가족과 함께 보내며 자랐습니다. 우리는 멋진 휴가 캠핑을 갔고, 해변 캐러밴 공원에 머물렀고, 가족과 함께 엑스포 88과 같은 이정표 박람회에 갔고, 멋진 집에 머물렀습니다. Steve의 엄마가 빅토리아에 살았기 때문에 우리는 많은 휴가를 위해 캐나다에 도착했습니다. 나에 대한 케리의 꿈은 내가 준비되었을 때 당신을 만나는 것이었다는 것을 압니다. 나는 그녀가 당신이 죽었다는 소식을 들었을 때 가슴이 아팠다는 것을 압니다. 나는 혼란스러웠다. 내가 Kerry, Steve, Josh, Brody와 다르게 보였기 때문에 내가 입양되었다는 것을 알았습니다. 내가 당신의 장례식에 가고 싶은지 물었을 때 나는 9살이었고 어떻게 처리해야 할지 확신이 서지 않았고 지금은 거기에 가지 못한 것을 후회합니다.

괴롭힘과 성적 학대를 제외하고는 꽤 좋은 학교 경험을했습니다. 나는 아빠처럼 똑똑하다고 들었습니다. 나는 지능을 사용하는 데 거의 노력을 기울이지 않습니다. 나보다 더 눈에 띄지 않는 것이 자기보존인지 모르겠다.

나를 키운 세 번째 사람이 있었는데 그녀는 훌륭했습니다. 그녀는 내 아줌마, Nanette였습니다. 나는 그녀를 너무 사랑했고 그녀는 놀라운 사람이었습니다. 전화 발신자 표시가 있기 전에도 나는 항상 그녀가 전화를 걸고 있다는 것을 알고 있었습니다. Nanette도 내 결혼식에서 나에게 양보했습니다. 내 결혼식은 20년 전 이틀 전이었다. 내가 결혼한 남자는 좋은 사람이 아니었다. 나는 그에게서 많은 학대를 받았습니다. 우리는 만난 지 10년 만에 운 좋게 헤어졌다. 나는 아이가 없었고 그것에 대해 12 개월 동안 치료를 받았습니다. 나는 아이가 있으면 괜찮을려고 애썼다. 나는 당신이 나를 잃는 것이 어땠을지 상상할 수 없고 그 경험을 다시 할 수 있을지, 그리고 그것이 당신에게 어땠을지 너무 걱정했습니다.

내 공감이 어디에서 오는지 모르겠지만 그것은 축복이자 저주입니다. 나는 두 번의 유산을 겪었고 두 번째 유산에서만 심장 박동을 들었습니다. 어제 회사에서 찍은 사진입니다. 그들은 조화의 날을 보냈고 우리의 토템을 세웠습니다.

묻고 싶은 것도, 말하고 싶은 것도 너무 많았다. 엄마 아빠 사랑해요. 저는 이제 멋진 가족이 있습니다. 엄마와 아빠(Kerry와 Steve), 형제, 조카들, 파트너 James가 있습니다. 이모는 슬프게 돌아가셨지만 그녀와 시간을 보낼 수 있어서 너무 감사합니다.

Jen의 이전 블로그 읽기: 돈은 캐나다 원주민으로서 잃은 것을 보상하지 않습니다


캐나다의 퍼스트 네이션

200명 이상의 도난당한 퍼스트 네이션 어린이들이 캐나다의 표시가 없는 무덤에서 발견됨

도둑맞은 세대 – 캐나다와 호주: 동화의 유산

입양인 전문가의 해외입양 검색

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 연구 (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:

마르시아 엥겔

Marcia is the creator and operator of 플랜엔젤, 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 Trotter

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 에프티키아 프로젝트, 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.

케일라 커티스

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 국제 입양인 및 가족 지원 서비스(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. 

조나스 데지르


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?”

힐브란트 웨스트라

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 and is a renowned teacher and trainer nationally and his work has sparked great interest in the UK. He spends time bridging the work in this field between the Netherlands and the UK. Hilbrand is a confidant and executive coach for leaders and directors in the Netherlands and also works partly with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Celin Fässler

Celin is adopted from Sri Lanka to Switzerland and is the Communications Manager and Board Member at 뿌리로 돌아가기. Back to the Roots is a Swiss NGO founded in 2018 by Sri Lankan adoptees. Its main goal is to raise awareness of the complex search for origins and to support adoptees in their searching process. Since May 2022, Back to the Roots has been funded by the Swiss government and the regional districts in order to provide professional support to adoptees from Sri Lanka to Switzerland.

Sarah Ramani Ineichen

Sarah is adopted from Sri Lankan to Switzerland and is the President of Back to the Roots and may present jointly with Celin in this webinar.

The webinar will be recorded and made available at ICAVs website.

If you have questions you’d like to see addressed in our webinar, please add your comments to this blog or 연락하다 us.

Huge thanks to the Australian Government, DSS for funding this event via our Relationships Australia, Small Grants & Bursaries program.

Dear Korea, About Mia*

*Name has been changed to protect identity

~에 의해 kim thompson / 김종예 born in South Korea, adopted to the USA, Co-Founder of 유니버설 아시안

This article was written for Finding the Truth of 372 Overseas Adoptees from Korea published in Korean

Artwork: Gone But Not Forgotten by Amelia Reimer

Dear Korea,

I want to tell you all about my friend Mia, but I am limited in how I can tell you her story as she is no longer here and cannot give consent to my re-telling of what is hers and hers alone.

And so, Korea, I will tell you about my experience and observations of her and of our friendship.

Mia was a fellow adoptee and my friend. We met in your city of Seoul around 2013 or 2014. I was in my fifth year of living there. Mia was, as is the case for many adoptees in Seoul, trying to learn your language and doing various freelance jobs related to writing and teaching English, as well as working as a journalist for publications in the country she had been adopted to and raised in. She was an immensely talented writer and photographer.

Mia was quirky. For example, she loved marshmallows more than any child or adult I have ever met. She loved them to the point of ecstasy–we used to laugh at how deliriously happy it made her to roast a marshmallow on a rotating spit over hot coals where we’d previously been cooking our 양꼬치 (lamb skewers). Mia was her own unique self. When it came to your food and cafes, Mia loved everything about you, but the fact that you could get marshmallows from 다이소 made her love you even more, even if they weren’t (according to her) quite the same as she could get in the country where she’d been raised. She laughingly said it made her life with you that much easier.

Mia was funny, kind, thoughtful, and incredibly generous both with her time and money. She once hunted down and gifted my then-partner and myself with two specialty sakés from Yoshida Brewery because we had told her how much we loved the documentary The Birth of Saké. She cared deeply for others, freely and easily expressed gratitude, and was just an all-around fun person to hang out with. She had a laugh that I can still easily recall.

Mia loved the band 넬(Nell) and used to, needlessly, thank me constantly for “introducing” them to her. “They’re sooooooo good~~~” she’d earnestly exclaim when talking about an album of theirs she’d been listening to on repeat. She was an intelligent, articulate, and creative mind who had a delightful hunger for life, art, travel, new experiences, and good food… and marshmallows.

Mia also had a very deep awareness and understanding of her mental health struggles and was as proactive as one could be about working to be healthy. She sought out the professional help she needed. She used her very real diagnosed depression as a positive in that she allowed it to make her an even more empathetic being, which was so evidenced in her professional career as a journalist and how she conducted her personal relationships. Mia had lived through traumas and tragedies that are all too common for adoptees and had profound sorrows and losses.

Korea, I am writing to tell you that Mia was such a good friend to many, including myself. She was genuinely interested in and curious about the lives of those around her. When one was with Mia, one felt seen, heard, loved, and cared for.

Four years have passed since she took her life, and I still and shall always love and miss her.

Something else I can tell you, Korea, with as much certainty as possible, is that if the adoption agency through whom she was exported from knew of her suicide they would quickly blame her adopters, her circumstances, her environment, her traumas, her mental health, and Mia herself. They would never think to own their responsibility in being the root cause for all of the “reasons” for why she felt she could no longer stay in her life or this world.

Korea, chances are, the agency would tell you that while it’s an unfortunate reality that “every so often” “bad” adopters manage to get through their system–that it’s a “rarity.” They would dig their heels in, feigning willful ignorance and dismissal over the well-researched and known statistic that adoptees are four times more likely to attempt or commit suicide than non-adoptees. They would tell you that they are not to be held accountable for Mia’s mental health, and that she should have gotten the help she needed. They would say that what happened to her is too bad, and I do not doubt that they would mean it, but they would in the same breath tell you that none of this is their fault.

And yet, Korea, it was the agency that placed Mia in the family she was raised in via a system that has been empowered and enabled on both societal and governmental levels to prioritize and value financial gain over keeping children with their ummas and appas. Mia’s physical and emotional safety and support she needed were not prioritized, nor were they valued.

The responsibility for her mental and physical wellness was placed directly onto her shoulders. The responsibility for her surviving her childhood; learning how to thrive; and later, as an adult, trying to adapt to life in Korea; to explore and embrace her cultural and racial identity; to try and learn the language; and to search or not to search for her first family were also all placed directly onto her shoulders. Mia’s birthright to family, culture, and identity had been sold right from under her without her consent when she was a baby, and she was then left to pay the price for someone else’s immense financial profit.

Dear Korea, I want… I need you to know that Mia, like so many adoptees including me, had to constantly navigate statements from the agency, adopters, and non-adoptees like: “You sound so bitter and angry. You should be more grateful.” “Your life is so much better than if you’d grown up an orphan in South Korea.” “You don’t know how poor South Korea was.” “You’re so lucky to have been raised in the West. Your life is so much better.”

I need you to know… to feel… to somehow understand that no matter how emotionally or mentally strong or proactive we as adoptees are in advocating for ourselves, no matter how “perfect” some of our adoptive parents might be, these kinds of statements, which embody attitudes and perceptions of denial, dismissal, and diminishing, take a toll on our mental health. They are forms of what is now known as “gas lighting.” They can cause us to question our sanity, goodness, love, gratitude, self, and sense of worth. They make us feel like we really might be ungrateful, unloving human beings who should be good with not knowing our parents, our ancestral roots, language, or culture because: “We got to grow up in the ‘rich’ West.” These are things that no adoptee I have ever known, myself included, is truly equipped to handle, and yet the responsibility to do so, is always on us.

I think about how all of this must have worn Mia down. I think about how even though she knew on an intellectual level that her traumas were never her fault, she bore the emotional toll.

Dear Korea, when Mia took her life, your citizens did not wail aloud in the streets wearing black and white. The adoption agencies operating on your soil that to this day export children to the West for financial profit did not fall to their knees asking the gods and Mia’s soul for forgiveness. 

The ones who were wailing, the ones left falling to their knees under the gut-wrenching sorrow and ache of Mia’s suicide were and remain the same ones who also live as survivors of adoption–us adoptees. You see, when any one of our 200,000 is lost to suicide or addiction or abuse, the loss is deep and the loss is a collective and a permanent one. Four years later, and I still feel the absence of her presence not just in my life, but also in this world.

I am writing you Korea, because it is imperative that you always remember that Mia’s decision to end her life was not her fault. Yes, she made that choice at the very end, but in so many ways that choice had been made for her the day her agency got their hands on her and sold and sent her away from your shores to her adopters.

Yes, it’s true that chances are, Mia would have always struggled with aspects of her mental health even if she’d been able to grow up in the family and place that was rightfully hers. But, I am also confident in saying that her taking her life in her late 30s most likely would not have happened because she would not have had any of the traumas inflicted by coerced abandonment and adoption to carry in her heart that was too big and beautiful for this world.

When Mia died, not only did I lose a dear friend, we the collective of adoptees lost yet another of ours, and whether one can or wants to see this or not–you, my beloved South Korea, you lost a great woman, a great creative mind, a great friend, a great daughter, a great sister, a great aunt, a great partner, a great heart, and a great Korean who had all the potential to significantly contribute to the richness of your literature, arts, and culture.  

But more than anything dearest Korea, when Mia lost her life to the wounds and traumas of adoption inflicted on her by her agency, you lost one of your children.


Intercountry Adoption and Suicide: A Scoping Review

International Conference for Verifying and Guaranteeing the Human Rights of Overseas Korean Adoptees (English – Korean translation, Research Overview of the largest study done on Korean intercountry adoptees)

Intercountry Adoptee Memorials

Research on Adoptees and Suicide

Adoptees and Suicide Risk

R U OK Day? – It’s time to talk about adoptees and attempted suicide

입양인의 슬픔과 참선

인디애나폴리스에서 나는 최근 승산 선사가 시작한 관음 선종의 대승불교 승가와 함께 참선 수행을 시작했습니다. 저는 인디애나폴리스 젠 센터에서 수행자 커뮤니티와 함께 앉아 공부를 시작했습니다. 연습은 좌선 및 걷기 명상, 선법 읽기 듣기, 대기실에서 가벼운 마음으로 법 토론에 참여하는 것으로 구성됩니다.

명상 수련에서 게임 체인저가 된 것은 눈을 뜨고 명상하는 것입니다. 나는 그 기능과 유용성에 충격을 받아 시도하기로 결정했습니다. 나는 일반적으로 내면의 평화를 찾는 다양한 수면, 미묘한 명상 단계를 거치지 않고 완전히 깨어 있습니다. 나는 눈을 감고 얻은 마음챙김으로 깨어 있고, 내 명상을 발전시키는 것은 눈을 감고 어둠 속에서 이 모든 일을 하고 나중에 그것을 세계.

최근 이 새로운 도시로 이주한 이후로 떠오른 것은 눈을 감았을 때 몰입하는 살아있는 슬픔입니다. 나는 그것을 내 중재에서 사납고 모든 것을 소모하는 바다로 느낍니다. 그리고 그것으로 인해 내 마음에 무거움이 있습니다. 그리고 나는 창문 위의 안개나 흙처럼 그 무거움을 통해 바라본다. 그러나 그것은 분명합니다. 저는 몇 초 만에 일시적인 명확성을 달성했습니다. 그리고 나는 지금 이 순간의 정확한 생생함을 느끼고 전혀 정신이 없습니다. 나는 내가 앉아 있는 방에서 깨어 있을 뿐이다.

어제 있었던 선 수행 중에 선생님과 면담을 할 수 있었습니다. 나는 중재에서 내 슬픔과 그것이 맑아졌을 때 내 경험을 가져왔다.

"어디로 가죠?" 선생님이 물었다.

"사라진다." 내가 말했다.

“그럼 선택의 여지가 있습니다.”그가 웃으며 말했다.

나는 슬픔과 무거움, 그것이 나를 끌어당기고 나를 졸리게 만드는 방식, 그리고 슬픔과 이 무거움이 어떻게 내 명확성을 흐리게 할 수 있는지 설명하고 거의 원처럼 회전하는 이러한 어려운 감각으로 명상에 대한 선의 조언을 구했습니다. 나는 그것에 강한 애착이 있고, 수년 동안 내 명상에서 그것에 집중하고, 나도 모르게 그것에 마음을 집중하고, 그것을 먹임으로써 그것을 더 크게 만들었을 수도 있다고 설명했지만, 이제 그것이 어떻게 나에게 남아 있는지 확인하십시오. 눈을 뜨고 무의식적으로 내 깨어있는 삶에 어떤 영향을 미칠 수 있는지 상상할 수 있습니다. 그래서 이 모든 게 선생님이 고맙게도 조금 아시는 입양인으로서 평생의 업보를 짊어지는 것 같아서 고민이었어요.

"그것으로부터 배우십시오. 그리고 내가 그것을 경험했을 때 나는 그것에 감사할 것입니다. 교훈을 주셔서 감사합니다.” 그는 슬픔에 잠긴 자신의 인생 경험을 설명하면서 다음과 같은 책을 언급했습니다. 악마와 친구가 되는 방법, 그리고 그것이 그를 위해 떠났다고 말했습니다.

나는 이 대화에서 갑자기 희망이 터지는 것을 느꼈다.

“그래서 그 존재를 감상하고 연습을 계속할 수 있습니다.”라고 나는 그에게 확인합니다.

“당신은 그것을 느껴야 합니다.” 선 인터뷰가 끝날 무렵 선생님이 나에게 말했다. "당신은 그것을 소유해야합니다." 나는 슬픔 속에서도 참선을 수행할 수 있는 방법이 있음을 이해하고 그를 바라보았다. 그리고 그것을 소유하고 그것이 내 삶을 통제하지 못하게 하는 방법이 있다는 것입니다.

인디애나폴리스에 있는 새 아파트에서 나는 오늘 내 삶의 슬픔과 그것이 만들어내는 무거움을 눈을 뜨고 보고 있으며 그것이 내게 가르쳐준 것에 대해 일기를 쓰고 있습니다. 힘들지만 관찰한 것에서 나 자신에게 비판적인 질문을 던지고 있다. 내 슬픔에 전적으로 초점을 맞추는 대신, 나는 내 삶과 깨어 있는 세상, 그리고 그것이 내게 가르쳐 주는 모든 것에서 슬픔에 감사하고 감사할 수 있는 공간을 제공하고 있습니다. 슬픔에 대한 나의 경험으로 볼 때, 특히 작년에 필리핀계 미국인 형제의 죽음으로 나에게 그것은 상처받고 도취적인 동반자입니다. 그러나 나는 슬픔을 감사하고 내 안의 사랑에 다시 연결함으로써 슬픔을 버리는 것이 아니라는 것도 깨달았습니다.

Desiree의 이전 블로그 읽기: 새로운 도시로 이동


외상 채택 자원에서

당신의 슬픔은 당신의 선물입니다

영국 국제 입양인 웨비나

2023년 1월 30일, 영국의 해외 입양인 소규모 그룹이 웨비나 패널 행사에 참여하여 입양 부모 단체와 그들의 생각과 경험을 공유했습니다. 입양영국.

이 웨비나에서는 스리랑카에서 입양된 Sarah Hilder, 에콰도르에서 입양된 Joshua Aspden, 브라질에서 입양된 Emma Estrella, 중국에서 입양된 Meredith Armstrong, 홍콩에서 입양된 Claire Martin을 만나게 됩니다. 우리는 함께 양부모가 묻는 몇 가지 질문에 답합니다. 입양영국 묻다.

웨비나를 시청하세요. 아래에는 타임코드, 주요 메시지 및 관련 리소스가 있습니다.
참고: Chrome에서 보는 경우 동영상을 보려면 자세히 알아보기 버튼을 클릭하세요.

웨비나 타임코드

00:20 소개 입양 영국에서
01:03 소개 ICAV의 Lynelle에서
02:44 사라 힐더
03:35 클레어 마틴
05:34 메러디스 암스트롱
07:39 엠마 에스트렐라
09:39 조슈아 아스펜
12:17 가족을 찾는 동안 사기꾼으로부터 자신을 보호하는 방법 – 라이넬
17:23 인생 이야기 작업에 접근하기 위한 팁 – 메러디스
20:54 당신이 태어난 나라의 가족에게 입양되었다면 삶이 더 나아졌을 것이라고 생각합니까?
21:27 여호수아
24:56 엠마
28:00 국제 입양을 시작할 때 양부모가 무엇을 알기를 원합니까?
28:24 클레어
32:25 메러디스
35:12 사라
38:24 엠마
40:24 여호수아
43:34 라이넬
45:30 귀하의 유산과 가장 관련이 있는 것은 무엇입니까?
45:45 사라
48:23 클레어
49:30 여호수아
51:07 위탁 가정 방문을 계획 중인데, 입양인에게 생길 큰 감정을 관리하기 위한 요령이나 힌트가 있나요?
51:30 메러디스
52:24 엠마
54:25 라이넬
56:24 조 엔딩과 감사

웨비나 주요 메시지 요약

여기를 클릭하십시오 pdf 문서

관련 리소스

유색인종 입양인에게 인종차별이 존재한다는 사실을 무시하거나 부인할 수 있습니까?

유색 인종과의 연결은 다인종 입양인에게 자동이 아닙니다.

양부모를 위한 인종 자원

양부모를 위한 문화 자원

해외 입양인을 위한 입양 후 지원의 글로벌 목록

입양 전후 지원의 중요성

검색 및 동창회 리소스

양부모에 대한 생각

권리가 아닌 특권

~에 의해 카미나 홀, 흑인, 초인종, 늦게 발견된 미국 입양인

그들은 삶을 창조하고 소유하는 것이 그들의 권리, 그들의 권리라고 말합니다.
흥미롭게도 이것은 아내를 사는 것만큼이나 오래된 인식입니다.
우리는 거래되고 팔리는 소에 지나지 않습니까?
아니면 우리는 그녀의 자궁을 통해 보내진 우주의 빛이며 금보다 더 소중합니까?

학위 취득에 들어가는 공부와 수고의 양이 흥미롭습니다.
그러나 생명을 형성할 때 누구든지 원하는 대로 할 수 있습니다.
마음을 바꾸거나 피부색이 잘못되었거나 단순히 너무 어리십니까? 
펜을 휘두르면 그 새로운 영혼이 손을 바꾸고 그들의 삶은 끝납니다.

나는 당신의 얼굴을 보기도 전에 당신의 심장 박동, 목소리, 냄새를 알았습니다.
그들의 팔이 당신을 대신하려고 시도했을지 모르지만 아무도 당신을 대신하지 않았습니다.
내 영혼에는 내가 존재하는지도 몰랐던 어둡고 공허한 하품 공허가 있었습니다.
마약, 섹스, 술, 자기 파괴 행위; 여전히 광기는 계속되었습니다.

우리는 단호히 선언합니다. 당신은 생명을 소유할 수 없으며 생명을 창조하는 것은 당신의 권리가 아닙니다.
영혼은 자신의 싸움을 할 수 있을 때까지 우주로부터 빌려온 당신의 보살핌 속에 있습니다.
창작할 때 삶의 연못에 떨어뜨리는 의미와 파문을 진지하게 받아들이세요.
우리는 잠시 동안만 아이들이고, 성인이 되는 것은 트라우마 진정제 더미로 우리를 봅니다.

그녀의 Youtube 채널에서 Kamina를 팔로우할 수 있습니다. 코치 카미나
ICAV에서 Kamina의 다른 게스트 게시물 읽기:
다인종 입양인으로서의 치유
당신의 슬픔은 당신의 선물입니다