Söker efter min familj i Kina

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

förbi Shelley Rottenberg, 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


Search and Reunion in Intercountry Adoption

Söker efter min familj i Colombia

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

förbi 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 Primalsåret by Nancy Verrier and Journey of the Adopted Self by Betty Jean Lifton to name a couple of outstanding examples. I am a regular listener to adoptee podcasts including Adoptees On with host Haley Radke and Adapted 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 Harlows apa. 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 InterCountry Adoptee Voices. 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: Söker efter min familj i Kina


Search and Reunion in Intercountry Adoption

Webinarium för att söka i Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts

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:
Obs! Om du tittar i Chrome klickar du på knappen Läs mer för att titta på videon


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

Klick här 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

Mina känslor angående min första mamma

förbi Maria Diemar, född i Chile och adopterad till Sverige; Grundare av chileadoption.se

Har du någonsin försökt gå tillbaka (i dina tankar) och lyssna på dig själv, till vad du verkligen kände när du växte upp som adopterad?

När jag försöker gå tillbaka i tiden så inser jag att jag har så många känslor och tankar som jag aldrig vågat uttrycka. Jag bär fortfarande dessa känslor inom mig.

Som transracial, internationell adopterad som växte upp i Sverige under 1970-1980 känner jag att jag var en del av ett experiment. Barn från länder över hela världen placerades i svenska familjer och vi skulle vara som en "ren skiva", som om våra livshistorier började på flygplatsen i Sverige.

Min bakgrund var aldrig en hemlighet och jag fick läsa mina dokument från Chile. Men jag kände aldrig att jag kunde prata om mina känslor och tankar om min första mamma. Jag höll så mycket inom mig och blev aldrig ombedd att uttrycka något angående mina känslor eller tankar. Jag kunde inte förstå varför jag var i Sverige, varför jag inte var med min mamma och mitt folk i Chile. Jag kände mig så oönskad och inte älskad.

Jag skrev ett brev till min mamma som om jag var 7 år gammal. Jag vet inte varför jag gjorde det, men jag skrev brevet på spanska.

Jag rekommenderades att skriva brevet med min vänstra hand, även om jag är högerhänt.

Låt oss prata om illegala och illegala adoptioner mellan länder

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 1993 Hague Convention 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 (Nederländerna, Belgien, Norway, Schweiz, Sweden, Frankrike) eventually investigates and recognises the wrongs done historically in intercountry adoption. Germany, Denmark och Australien 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 webbseminarium 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 could 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 adoptee 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.

kära mamma och pappa

förbi Jen Etherington, född som First Nations-kanadensare och adopterad till en australisk familj

Kära mamma och pappa,

Det har gått 34 år sedan du lämnade denna planet . Hur jag önskade hela mitt liv att jag kunde ha träffat dig. Jag är inte säker på när sista gången du träffade mig var. Jag är säker på att du inte trodde att det var sista gången du någonsin skulle få träffa mig. Jag vet att ni visste var jag hamnade. Jag vet att pappa kände min pappa som adopterade mig.

Kerry och Steve (mamma och pappa) är två av de mest fantastiska människor du någonsin kan träffa. De är, tror jag precis som ni, älskade av i stort sett alla de möter. Jag fick en lillebror av Kerry och Steve när jag var tre år gammal. Han heter Josh och vi kom så bra överens när vi var barn. Vi hade väldigt få slagsmål. Jag tycker om att tycka att det är en fantastisk kombination av våra personligheter och att den är uppfostrad av Kerry och Steve.

Du kommer att bli glad att veta att jag hade en fantastisk barndom. När jag var 7 fick vi en annan lillebror som hette Brody. BroBro och jag var mer lika eftersom vi båda är mer sociala och extroverta. Josh, Brody och jag kom väldigt bra överens. Kerry och Steve uppfostrade oss med stora värderingar. Vi uppfostrades och flyttade nära Theravadas meditationscenter på Australiens östkust. Jag träffade några underbarn där som jag anser vara kusiner. Jag tänkte att om jag blev adopterad fick jag adoptera min egen familj också.

Jag hade några svårigheter i barndomen, inklusive skoningslös mobbning för rasism samt objektifiering. Det var alltid av ett barn som heter "Johnno" oavsett vart jag gick . Jag hade turen att ha starka vänner runt mig som hjälpte mig att inte låta det förstöra min personlighet.

Vi växte upp med nästan varje semester med hela familjen eftersom det var viktigt för dem att ha mycket tid med familjen. Vi åkte på underbara semester och campade, bodde på husvagnsparker vid stranden, gick på milstolpeutställningar som expo 88 med familjen och bodde i ett härligt hus. Vi kom till Kanada för många helgdagar eftersom Steves mamma bodde i Victoria. Jag vet att Kerrys dröm för mig var att träffa dig när jag var redo. Jag vet att hon var knäckt när hon hörde nyheten om att du dog. Jag var förvirrad. Jag visste att jag var adopterad hela tiden eftersom jag såg annorlunda ut än Kerry, Steve, Josh och Brody. När jag fick frågan om jag ville gå på din begravning var jag 9 år och inte säker på hur jag skulle bearbeta det och ångrar nu att jag inte kom dit.

Jag hade en ganska bra skolupplevelse förutom mobbning och sexuella övergrepp. Jag får höra att jag är smart som pappa. Jag anstränger mig sällan för att använda intelligensen. Jag är inte säker på om det är självbevarelsedrift att inte sticka ut mer än jag gör.

Det var en tredje person som uppfostrade mig och hon var fantastisk. Hon var min faster, Nanette. Jag älskade henne så mycket och hon var en otrolig person. Redan innan nummerpresentation på telefoner visste jag alltid när hon ringde. Nanette gav mig också bort på mitt bröllop. Mitt bröllop var för 20 år sedan för två dagar sedan. Mannen jag gifte mig med var ingen trevlig person. Jag hade mycket övergrepp från honom. Vi separerade som tur var 10 år efter att vi träffades. Jag hade inga barn och jag hade terapi i 12 månader för det. Jag kämpade för att vara ok med om jag någonsin skulle få barn. Jag kan inte föreställa mig hur det var för dig att förlora mig och jag var så orolig att jag skulle återuppleva den upplevelsen och hur det var för dig.

Jag är inte säker på var min empati kommer ifrån men det är en välsignelse och en förbannelse. Jag fick två missfall och bara det andra hörde jag hjärtslag. Detta är en bild på mig igår på jobbet. De hade harmonisdag och de satte upp vår totem.

Jag har så mycket att jag ville fråga dig och berätta. Jag älskar dig mamma och pappa. Jag har en underbar familj nu – min mamma och pappa (Kerry och Steve), mina bröder, mina syskonbarn och min partner James. Min moster gick tyvärr bort men jag är så tacksam att jag fick tid med henne.

Läs Jens tidigare blogg: Pengar tar aldrig igen det jag har förlorat som First Nations-kanadensare


Första nationerna i Kanada

Över 200 stulna First Nations-barn hittades i kanadensisk omärkt grav

The Stolen Generations – Kanada och Australien: arvet efter assimilering

Att lära sig att sörja som ett barn

förbi Paul Brian Tovey, en brittisk inhemsk adopterad och begåvad artist, adopterad förespråkare, skapare av 2022 Global Anon Adoptee Survey

Jag fyllde i nyanserna av en annan linjebild igår av "Dogpache" som dansar med två Dogohawks och märkte senare inflammation som kom genom min kropp och armar ...

Jag gör flera upprepningar av bilder och de ger ofta en djup vandring av adopterade känslor .. I mitt fall är ett kärntrauma att misshandla och använda barn efter adoptionen ..

Långsamt ekar bildervandringen mina känslor och visar också nya vinklar och prismor som jag använder för att lösa smärta.. I min typ av terapi kan jag göra när som helst nu, eftersom jag är pensionerad, är jag tränad att tillåta känslorna att vara vad de vill bli.

Så mina armar gick upp i luften och in i klorna och då kom bilder på min födelsemamma in i mitt sinne..Jag kände mig som ett barn som kliade sig i ansiktet. Och det gjorde jag i mina "image-sfärer" och i luften .. Jag är ganska rationell, galen, och allt är bra .. Jag har ett välutvecklat kreativt sinne ..

Födelsemamma lämnade mig vid 3 och det kärnområdet är omgivet av senare missbruk av min kropp .. Hon kände personen hon lämnade mig med så långt tillbaka som 1940 när födelsemamma var 7 år .. Hur som helst, jag kände de smärtsamma känslorna, men ett annat prisma återvände av en fast mun .. Dämpade språk. Var säker … SÄG INGENTING……Tryck på att tala dock..

Äntligen bröt smärtan ut ur mitt yl-mun-barn-hål i lösande skrik som var som ett spökebarn som ylade efter mamma ... Det är bara ytterligare ett prisma i det massiva fragmenteringsfältet av tidig barndom som läker för mig .. Hur löser det sig. ? Genom att vara och bli sig själv .. Genom att äntligen tillåta vara, att vara inuti vara som sig själv .. Att sörja som det barnet delar ... Det är sanning fördröjt förvisso men kan terapeutiskt återupplevas ....

Gör det ont ? När det är i stadierna av inflammationer ja... Du slår vad om, för kroppen döljer en gammal "lögn" från det tidiga sinnet som ändå försökte skydda mig från fasan..Jag behöver inget skydd nu (stackars autohjärna) i själva verket behöver jag vara hela mig .. Hålls som mig av mig .. Det är allt ..

Nu är jag äntligen gammal nog att vara ung igen och känna saker från mitt olika förflutna eftersom jag har utvecklat en hjärna som kan hålla allt ..Det är en långsam väg tillbaka till känsla-anknytning och den formen av inre integritet. Jag noterar att det är nödvändigt att släppa ut sorgen av: "Vem borde ha varit där och inte var där" ...

Det är poängen med att reducera det otillfredsställda behovet (av mamma) till lösbar sorg och gråt..."Mammaeeeeee"... "Howlllll".. Jag har varit på en långsam väg mot att acceptera det som hände, men det som hände var under många år med smärta. .. Det är därför jag fortfarande blir vän med monster i konst och får dem att gråta och landskap också att yla ..

OWWWWWLLLL OWWWWOOOOOO…. Jag älskar tjut som befriar min tidiga primala själ som var kedjad till dissociativa känslomässiga fängelser..Jag har lärt mig att sörja som ett barn som stoppades från att sörja... Jag är här i mig själv ... jag har kommit .. Jag är hemma i min hud bättre och det är sorgligt på ett mer positivt sätt bara för att tragedi är ..  

UK Intercountry Adoptees Webinar

Den 30 januari 2023 deltog en liten grupp interlandsadopterade i Storbritannien i ett panelevenemang för webbseminarium för att dela sina tankar och erfarenheter med adoptivförälderorganisationen, AdoptionUK.

I det här webbseminariet får du träffa Sarah Hilder adopterad från Sri Lanka, Joshua Aspden adopterad från Ecuador, Emma Estrella adopterad från Brasilien, Meredith Armstrong adopterad från Kina och Claire Martin adopterad från Hong Kong. Tillsammans svarar vi på några frågor som adoptivföräldrar kl AdoptionUK fråga.

Se webbinariet och nedan finns en tidskod, nyckelmeddelanden och relevanta resurser.
Obs! Om du tittar i Chrome klickar du på knappen Läs mer för att titta på videon

Tidskod för webbseminarium

00:20 Intro från AdoptionUK
01:03 Intro från Lynelle från ICAV
02:44 Sarah Hilder
03:35 Claire Martin
05:34 Meredith Armstrong
07:39 Emma Estrela
09:39 Joshua Aspden
12:17 Hur man skyddar mig från bedragare när jag söker efter familj – Lynelle
17:23 Tips för att närma sig livsberättelsearbete – Meredith
20:54 Känner du att livet skulle ha varit bättre om du hade blivit adopterad av en familj i ditt födelseland?
21:27 Josua
24:56 Emma
28:00 Vad vill vi att adoptivföräldrar ska veta när vi börjar med en internationell adoption?
28:24 Claire
32:25 Meredith
35:12 Sara
38:24 Emma
40:24 Josua
43:34 Lynelle
45:30 Vad förbinder dig mest med ditt arv?
45:45 Sarah
48:23 Claire
49:30 Joshua
51:07 Planerar du att besöka fosterfamiljen, några tips eller råd för att hantera de stora känslor som kommer att dyka upp för den adopterade?
51:30 Meredith
52:24 Emma
54:25 Lynelle
56:24 Jo slut och tack

Sammanfattning av webinariets nyckelmeddelanden

Klicka här för en pdf dokumentera

Relevanta resurser

Kan vi ignorera eller förneka att rasism existerar för adopterade av färg?

Att få kontakt med färgade personer är inte automatiskt för transracial adopterade

Rasresurser för adoptivföräldrar

Kulturresurser för adoptivföräldrar

Global lista över stöd efter adoption som är specifikt för adopterade mellan länder

Vikten av stöd före och efter adoption

Sök och återföreningsresurser

Tankar till adoptivföräldrar

Ett privilegium, inte en rättighet

förbi Kamina Hall, en svart, transracial, sent upptäckt adopterad i USA

They say it’s their right, their right to create and own a life,
Interestingly enough, this is a perception as old as buying a wife.
Are we nothing more than cattle, to be traded and sold?
Or we are the light of the Universe, sent through her womb, more precious than gold?

Interesting the amount of studying and toiling that goes into obtaining degrees,
Yet, when forming life any and everyone is allowed to do as they please.
Change your mind, wrong color, or simply too young? 
With the swipe of a pen, that new soul changes hands, and their life comes undone.

I knew your heartbeat, your voice, your smell, all before I ever saw your face,
Though their arms might have attempted to replace you, no one ever took your place.
There was a dark empty yawning void in my soul I never knew existed,
Drugs, sex, alcohol, and self-sabotage; still the madness persisted.

Vi förklarar bestämt, du kan inte äga ett liv, och att skapa det är inte din rättighet,
Själen är helt enkelt i din vård, utlånad från universum, tills den kan utkämpa sin egen kamp.
Ta på allvar de konsekvenser och krusningar du släpper ner i livets damm när du skapar,
Barn vi är för bara ett ögonblick, vuxen ser oss med högar av traumasederande.

Du kan följa Kamina på hennes Youtube-kanal – Koachen Kamina
Läs Kaminas andra gästers inlägg på ICAV:
Healing som en transracial adopterad
Din sorg är din gåva

Din sorg är din gåva

förbi Kamina Hall, en svart, transracial, sent upptäckt adopterad i USA

Det handlade aldrig om dig, mitt kära söta barn, 
Din själ har alltid haft ett syfte, även om du har fruktat att den är förorenad.
Hon övergav dig, sorgen är giltig och ack så verklig,
Men det här är inte för evigt, det här är inte din evighet, känslor finns där för oss att känna.

Så sörj, kära själ, mitt syskon i kärlek och ljus,
Låt sorgen och smärtan skölja över dig, men vältra dig inte för länge i fel och rättigheter.
Behandla dina känslor som besökare, välkomna dem med öppna armar och ta hand om dem vänligt,
Ta sedan farväl av dem, tacka dem för att de kom och underkasta dig dem aldrig blint.

Se på din smärta, skada, sorg, ilska och rädsla,
Fråga dem vilka lektioner de har för dig, men vägra att låta dem blanda sig.
Din själ valde denna väg, just denna resa, för ett syfte,
Så titta på dina känslor med nyfikenhet, inte identitet, eftersom de bara existerar för att varna oss.

Allt du längtar efter bor inom dig just i denna sekund,
Du är inte ofullständig eller felaktig; så stå stark och vägra att känna dig hotad.
Familjen, mamman, kärleken outtalad,
Ingenting och ingen håller kärlek till dig som du blir, med vidöppna armar.

Så sörj vackra själ; sörja det som gick förlorat,
Kom ihåg att du valde denna väg, även om den kommer med den mest värdefulla kostnaden.
Du valde denna svåraste väg för att dela din kärlek, ditt ljus och din själ,
Du är här för att skina ditt ljus för räkningen och för att vara med och göra oss hela.

Du kan följa Kamina på hennes Youtube-kanal – Koachen Kamina