Integrering av delarna i adoption

förbi Bina Mirjam de Boer, adopterad från Indien till Nederländerna, adoptionscoach på Bina Coaching. Bina skrev detta och delade det ursprungligen på Bina Coaching.

"En adopterad tonåring sa en gång till mig: "Jag känner att det finns två tonåringar. Jag som föddes men inte levde. Och jag som inte föddes utan levde det liv jag har idag.” Utan att förstå uttryckte hon splittringen i jaget som så många adopterade gör för att överleva...." – Betty Jean Lifton, förespråkare för författare, adopterad och adoptionsreform.

Många adopterade blir någon gång i livet medvetna om att den de är i nuet inte är samma person som den de var förr. Ofta har adopterade inte kunnat bygga upp en identitet eller leva vidare innan de blivit separerade.

På grund av avgivande delas de flesta adopterade upp i delar och lever så här för att överleva. För att kunna göra detta blir de alienerade från sitt ursprungliga jag och lämnar sin kropp. Dessutom har deras ursprungliga identitet gått förlorad eller raderats genom adoption.

Detta gör att adopterade upplever en känsla av intensiv tomhet eller till och med en längtan efter döden. De blir medvetna om att det ursprungliga jaget som föddes inte har levt och att den nuvarande överlevnadsdelen som inte föddes, lever deras liv. De överlever istället för att leva.

Detta medvetande öppnar upp den sorgeprocess som alltid var närvarande i dem men som aldrig fick ha en plats.

Den dolda sorgen blir flytande och tittar på denna sorg, avslöjar slutligen det ursprungliga jaget.

Original holländska

Många adopterade kan sigas på ett givet ögonblick i sitt levande medvetna om att vi i vår tid inte är samma person som degenererats i det förflutna. Vaak hebben geadopterade ingen identitet som kan bygga eller kunna dörren innan vi har stått.

Dörravståndet är de flesta som har adopterats uppdelat i delen och lever sedan från sin överlevnadsdel. Omdit du kan göra är att vara bevarad av sin ursprungliga själv och ha sina kroppsliga. Dessutom är genom adoptie hun oorspronkelijke identiteit verloren gegaan of uitgewist.

Detta skapar en känsla av intensiv tomhet eller en känsla av att vara upplevd. Man blir medveten om att det inte är en själv som föds inte har geleefd och att det är aktuellt (överlevnad) del som inte är föds är sitt liv. Zij overleven in place van leven.

Detta medvetet kommer med rouwprocessen som alltid är närvarande var men aldrig någon plats kunde ha.

Det gestolde verdriet blir flytande och genom att det blir verdriet för att titta blir det ursprungligen självklart synligt.

För att läsa några av Binas andra inlägg:
Att balansera kärlek och förlust
Glöm ditt förflutna
Föreställ dig att förlora dina föräldrar två gånger

Recension: One Child Nation

One Child Nation a documentary by Nanfu Wang was deeply emotional but very educational for me as an intercountry adoptee! I learnt of the painful and traumatic collective history that China has undergone in an attempt to keep their population under control. I understand that as a whole country, keeping them all living to a healthy standard is necessary but at the same time, implementing a policy so harshly, disregarding individual emotions to the extent shown in the documentary, seemed to go too far in my opinion. I do acknowledge I view this from a white lens as that is all I know, having been raised in a white wealthy country. 

I connect closely with many intercountry adoptees around the world who have experienced illicit and illegal adoptions. I found it illuminating to watch and hear the view points of so many different people in various roles (mothers, grandmothers, fathers, brother, traffickers, health professionals, government workers, creatives), all impacted by China’s children being murdered, given up for adoption, or their mother’s forcibly sterilised. Watching this documentary made me question whether the word “överlåtande” is even applicable legally for the thousands of adoptees sent abroad from China during the one child policy timeframe. I think the word “forced abandonment” would be more appropriate, just as the many abortions and sterilisations were very much “forced” upon the women. Relinquishment in intercountry adoption contexts, idealistically refers to a well thought out decision of consent by genetic parents – but after watching One Child Nation, I think the only ones really giving consent in this case, was the government party. The phrase repeated many times by people interviewed said, “What could I do?” None of them felt they had autonomy or power to make a real informed decision. The consequences of not doing so, were so harsh that it took away any sense of choice. 

Watching how Chinese babies became efficiently funnelled into the orphanage system to be given to foreign parents makes me question why it was only the traffickers who were sent to prison. In reality, the Chinese government party leaders and ministers should have also been sent to prison for their roles. It was their crime to force this policy upon families in such a harsh way. Why hold only the middle men responsible when actually it was the whole government party creating the environment, the incentives, and demanding forced abandonment and then an overwhelming number of children for which adoption seemed like a great solution? The government forced families to give up their children, the orphanages gave the babies away to foreign families for huge sums of money! If we assume a majority of the children went to the USA alone and calculate the total amount of money gained in the trade, it’s a US$10.4b business (US $40,000 per child on average for approx 260,000 children). On more conservative estimates, if all the children were adopted to Australia, the Chinese government gained AUS$780M (AUS $3000 per child). Somebody, somewhere gained a ton of money from adopting Chinese babies! How much of that money has been given back to the families and the community to help ease their suffering in forms of support services? To date, it appears there has been no recognition of the people’s loss and grief let alone any recognition of the lifelong losses of culture, people, race, place, families, heritage and language for the thousands of adoptees sent away. It’s as if Chinese intercountry adoptees are invisible to the Chinese government. In being sent away, these adopted children (many of them now adults) have disappeared and the Chinese consider their slate wiped clean. We who live it, know it doesn’t work this simple. We grow up to have questions and we have to somehow make sense of why our country has chosen to send us away and forget us, acting as if we never existed.

I also question how China can consider themselves to be following the guidelines outlined as a signatory to the Hague Convention for intercountry adoption. Understanding the Hague Convention guidelines, so many aspects of China’s intercountry adoption program from this era are questionable. For example, where was the informed consent and legal relinquishment of children, where are the truthful identity documents, and how can they justify the financial gains but with little to no provision of post adoption services?

I hope all Chinese adoptees will watch this documentary as they age and mature. It will help them come to terms with how their life has become so radically displaced. It is very normal for us intercountry adoptees to question how we came to live in a country not of our birth. This documentary is a powerful capture of what really went on in the larger social, political, economic arena, together with a glimpse into the many individual stories which many Chinese intercountry adoptees can mirror on the other end.

I do ponder whether China will one day be like Australia and Canada – the two countries who have acknowledged their history of forced adoptions – except theirs were domestic. Both of these countries have since recognised the historical wrongs in terms of individual rights and impact and they have now issued an apology but only Canada has provided financial reparation. Will the Chinese government one day apologise to the thousands of Chinese intercountry adoptees for purposively sending them abroad? And what would an apology mean in action? I believe it should be a supply of well funded services to help them deal with the lifelong consequences. I was left with a strong impression of the heartbreak the grieving, sad families in China experience. They deserve to know what has happened to the children they birthed and had to abandon. For the adoptees themselves, so many of them are growing up in countries like America, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the UK. They might be happy and have no desire to find their families. Or they might be like Johanne Zhangjia adopted to Norway and murdered by her racist step-brother. Some intercountry adoptions work out, others don’t. Between these two extremes are all the in-betweens. These are real individuals, thousands of them, each with their own questions and thoughts. All Chinese intercountry adoptees and their original families deserve to know the truth and be supported to reconnect should they ever wish.

I wonder how China is implementing their newer two child policy. Is it as harsh? Have any lessons been learnt? Are the leftover children still being forcibly abandoned and given up for intercountry adoption? How can receiving governments or prospective parents consider this supply of children as ethical, in terms of Hague standards for adoption?

There have not been too many reviews yet of One Child Nation documentary from adult Chinese adoptees because most are still busy growing up and finding their voice. One of the few to start to voice her opinions is André-Anne – she is asking exactly the same question as I, in her artikel.

*Added in Aug 2021 with Shelley Rottenberg’s thoughts on the documentary, with thanks to CCI Projects.

When is the Chinese government going to recognise the thousands of Chinese intercountry adoptees around the world and provide them with much needed post adoption support services? How long can the government remain wilfully closed off from their responsibility to their forcibly abandoned children?

The images above of the children reportedly “lost/abandoned” are a symbol of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese intercountry adoptees growing up around the world – being raised with a democratic mentality. One day they will be a force to reckon with!

I hope the Chinese government will be prepared to answer their questions and be honest about what happened to cause them to lose their identity, their culture, their people, and homes. Maybe they hope these children will remain invisible and quiet forever like the people living in China are, but the Chinese government hasn’t seen the patterns of intercountry adoptees around the world. We adoptees don’t all sit quietly and disappear. Many of us grow up enmasse and find our voices. I look forward to the day when we hear very loudly what Chinese intercountry adoptees think of the One Child Policy and it’s impacts.

Vem är jag nu?

Av Maria Diemar från hennes blogg kl Jag äger min Story Maria Diemar

Vem jag är nu, efter att min livshistoria förändrats

Jag trodde alltid att min mamma gav upp mig för adoption
Jag var ett övergivet barn
Jag lärde mig att tro att adoption är något vackert
Även om det gjorde ont
Trots att jag kände mig övergiven
Trots att jag kände mig ensam

Jag letade efter min mamma i så många år,
det var nästan omöjligt att hitta henne
tills jag fick kontakt med Ana Maria i Chile

När Ana Maria hittade min mamma
Jag lärde mig sanningen
Jag blev stulen från min mamma
på sjukhuset
direkt efter att hon födde mig
Min mamma fick inte se mig eller hålla om mig
Folk på sjukhuset, en socialassistent försökte verkligen tvinga henne
att skriva under papper att hon ville ge mig upp för adoption
min mamma vägrade skriva på några papper

84 dagar gick,
från den dag de skilde mig från min mamma
i den lilla staden på landsbygden i Chile
tills jag kom med ett flygplan till Stockholm i Sverige.

Jag kom till Sverige med dokumentation
det stod att jag inte hade någon familj som kunde ta hand om mig
det stod att min mamma hade lämnat mig för adoption
Det ifrågasätter jag aldrig
Men jag kände mig övergiven och ensam

Idag vet jag sanningen
Jag blev stulen och
kraftfullt separerad från min mamma

Få människor vill se sanningen
som samhället har lärt oss det
adoption är något vackert

Jag har lärt mig att adoption är snuskigt
affärer och det
människor tjänar pengar
Jag har lärt mig den adoptionen
är en industri

Och jag är inte säker,
vem jag är längre
om jag inte är det där övergivna barnet

Jag har tvingats gå tillbaka
att möta alla mina rädslor och
att titta på mina val och erfarenheter

Idag när jag ser bilden på den lilla flickan
i mitt chilenska pass
Jag ser en ledsen tjej,
helt ensam i världen
utan lagliga rättigheter pga
ingen tog sig tid att försäkra sig
Jag kom från situationen
som stod i handlingarna

Efter 6 månader blev jag adopterad,
enligt lagen i Sverige
trots lagen i Chile

Vad betyder adoption för dig?

Och snälla, innan du svarar på den frågan,
Vem är du?

Att fira hemligheter och sorg

It’s early morning, I’ve only the birds for company for a few more hours. Until my favourite person wakes up. Across the world in the place I was born it’s already early afternoon on my birthday.

Birthdays are a strange, strange day for adoptees. The days preceding it are pensive and sad for completely different reasons to those who perhaps see only more candles on cake. It’s an odd day to celebrate given the anniversary of loss eclipsing that day.

My birthday is one of normalised secrets and mysteries, unspoken questions unanswered. Who was the woman to whom I was born on this day? How was my birth? Did she hold me at all, for how long, minutes, days, weeks, months? How was she feeling? Sad, relieved, resentful, frightened. Decisive?

Who were the other women who cared for me and brokered my adoption? Nuns convinced they were doing a God’s work. While from my perspective it seems more like a Handmaids Tale.

I know my mothers name, her age and that she was Indian and I have her ID number, assuming my birth certificate wasn’t falsified as many were in other parts of Asia. That’s all, except perhaps that she was likely Catholic. You would think a name and an ID card number might be enough to find her. But it’s another continent, another culture. One in which I have no sources, no allies or relationships and no sense of the unwritten rules and expectations.

Her name now brings up an obituary listed in late 2016. A woman with this name died leaving behind a husband and a daughter. More mysteries, could it be my mother, and if so, is the daughter me, or a sister? Is her name common in Malaysia? Are those whom Google uncovers with this name, no more likely to be relatives than a Brown or a Smith? Or is it more rare? The first search reveals a young man, a journalist in Malaysia, a crime reporter. He’s on Twitter but he has only a handful of followers and very few tweets showing me who he is. Should I follow him, and see if he follows the clues back to me? Am I a random stranger whose profile of a Chindian Malaysian adoptee is only of passing interest or could it resonate with the possibilities of a shameful family secret? How does an adoptee reach out to people in these circumstances knowing the possible weight of consequences?

I could hire a detective – perhaps with this information it wouldn’t take a well connected expert long to find people and information. But I’m told it’s common practice to expect to bribe people for information. For my information. I’m resentful about how much it might cost me to find out what everyone else takes for granted. A history they’ve never even had to consider a human right. It just exists. Perhaps it’s even a little boring, the story of the day you were born, told again and again.

If I take my search to another level, there’ll be no going back once a certain line has been crossed. So much can unravel once it does in a family across the world, and in one here.

Only adoptees will really understand this, perhaps they will always mean more to me than family. They are mostly strangers across the world, they know intimate details about my adoption story and almost none about my day-to-day life. A kind of Adoptees Anonymous.

Today a call with my British adoptive parents will be unavoidable. There will be pseudo jollity. They’ll wish me a happy birthday, ask me about my day and presents, and no one will mention the secrets and mysteries of this day in 1972 in Malaysia.

Dear Belonging,

Perhaps to some, You are a dear friend and a faithful companion. To others, You are found in spurts and moments, and still to others, You are an elusive dream in their nightmares. To me, You are a far off figure standing still in the distance. Throughout the years, I have caught the sparkle in your eye on more than one occasion. And yet, I long for the day when I shall stand before You, face to face for more than a moment.

You are a whisper in the wind. You are the tiny speck of ash fleeing into the night sky. You are the warm blanket on a cold winter’s day.

Was it fate that tore us apart? Was it destiny that would strip me of my identity, family, ancestry and heritage? Was it life that would transport me to a new world, family and culture?

You are the sound of silence on a still lake. You are the leaf that tumbles during fall. You are the majestic mountain in the distance.

Are You merely a feeling inside of me or are You the people and circumstances around me? Are You the actions that I take?

Different than my family, different than my friends, different than my church, different than my culture, different than my place of birth: You are a foreigner to me. Are You and I even compatible?

You are the receding wave on the shore. You are the rare diamond in the sand. You are the seashell hidden in the caves.

Is the distance between us my own doing or has fate seen fit to keep us apart? Are You simply a word or are You always the emotion I feel towards You?

You are the dream that I chase. You are the comfort that I long for. You are the melody that I live for.

Are You the confidence I should have in myself despite my surroundings or are You the feeling of talking to a kindred soul on a midsummer afternoon? Are You simply the summation of both?

You are the mountain I gaze upon. You are the island I venture to see. You are the distant horizon I peer at.

Would I cry in your presence? Would I scream for joy at beholding your face? Would I fall to my knees before You?

You are the candle that flickers in the darkness. You are the lone star in the galaxy. You are the silver lining in the tunnel.

Every day the sun sets and I get one last chance to catch a glimpse of your face before the darkness invades and I lose sight of You once more.

And yet, each day the sun rises anew, shining on your beautiful features once more. Would that every day bring me one step closer to You.

by  Joey Beyer

Våra mödrar och familjer?

En del av mitt personliga mål under de senaste åren inom ICAV har varit att hitta sätt att hjälpa rösterna från våra första familjer på den internationella adoptionsarenan. Under några år har jag påpekat att de i stort sett inte har någon röst och förblir osynliga. Eftersom jag inte har hittat min egen vietnamesiska mamma än, undrar jag ofta över omständigheterna som ledde till att jag gav upp mig. Nu, som en utbildad yrkesman uppvuxen inom västerländskt tänkande, ser jag på den större bilden av adoption mellan länder och undrar hur mycket vår resa som internationella adopterade och våra familjers resa skulle kunna förhindras. När jag pratar med andra vuxna internationella adopterade från hela världen vet jag att jag inte är ensam om detta funderande.

Förra året i oktober hade jag förmånen att online träffa en inspirerande ung kvinna, en colombiansk utlandsadopterad uppvuxen i Tyskland. Hon talade entusiastiskt om ett projekt som hon skulle ge sig i kast med och som hängde ihop med mitt personliga mål. Jag delade med dig här om Yennifers mål att öka medvetenheten om de upplevelser colombianska mammor lever, som har förlorat sina barn genom internationell adoption. Precis som jag drevs hon att göra detta eftersom hon också alltid hade undrat över sin mamma och vad som orsakade hennes eget avstående.

Nu, drygt ett halvår senare, intervjuar jag Yennifer för att höra hur hennes första resa till hemlandet har varit, tillsammans med en uppdatering om hennes projekt.

Läsa här för Yennifers uppdatering om hennes projekt med titeln Ingen mor, inget barn.