Searching for my family in the Philippines

Följande bloggserie kommer att tillägnas vår Söker i Intercountry Adoption serier. Dessa individuella berättelser delas från vår Perspektivpapper som också delades med våra Webbseminarium, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts..

förbi Desiree Maru, born in the Philippines, raised in the USA

I was born in destitute poverty in the Philippines in 1985 and hence relinquished to an adoption agency on the day that I was born. I was taken care of at Asilo de la Milagrosa, in the care of Catholic nuns who were social workers at the time, and adopted via Holt International to the USA when I was about two years old. I did not know my adoptive parents, nor did they come out to the Philippines to get to know me. My name legally changed, and I was flown from an airplane and delivered to Caucasian strangers that were my legally binding family.

I grew up in Wisconsin, in the Midwest, and had an adopted brother, who was two years older than me, who was also adopted from the Philippines, from a different orphanage. We grew up not being taught about the Philippines. We grew up with a lack of pride or understanding of our home culture, heritage, customs and language. Instead we were heavily assimilated into the Western culture; we were asked a few times about our culture from our adoptive parents but it wasn’t enough support to keep us connected to our home traditions. 

Barriers included a lack of being informed from our adoptive parents about our homeland, ancestry and we also lacked emotional-psychological support for intercountry adoptees in the Midwest at the time. I vaguely remember a time when my adoptive mother sat me down in the living room, back in Wisconsin, she told me I was adopted, and I said, “I know,” and walked out of the living room. I went back to my bedroom to be by myself. That’s the tone of my childhood, where I was showing like I didn’t care when in fact, the whole experience was difficult for me. But I didn’t know how to reach out or talk about it to anybody.

My brother had a lot of issues and we moved to Arizona in high school to try to start over as a family. This is a time when my adoptive mother came into my bedroom and showed me my biological papers. She said she had to wait until I was 18 to give these to me, but I was close enough to the age, or something along those lines. She left, and I looked at them and I cried. I saw the name of my birth mother, and I longed to know more about her. 

I imagined my birth mother a lot in those days. I wrote poetry, and it was never enough to fill the gap and missing pieces of my heart. 

Obstacles in searching at the time was that my biological papers, which had been established by social workers in the Philippines, didn’t preserve much of any functional information for independently searching for family members or family history. These biological papers lacked any kind of suitable, identifiable information that preserved in any way my heritage and family tree information, which would be necessary to piece together my past without needing the very individuals to re-establish the knowledge of my heritage. 

My biological papers revealed next to nothing about my father, which later on, I would find that the information that was volunteered by my birth mother was also false. But as a teenager, when all I have are these old, governmentally-certified papers from my home country, that’s all that I had. So these old-fashioned, brittle documents were my only hope, which were papers that scarcely were able to certify my birth on thin, fragile paper. I had a feeding schedule from my orphanage and a mighty, descriptive report of what I looked like and acted like as a vulnerable baby in the orphanage. And that was all I had of my entire past. These artefacts showed I was just a product of the adoption process. 

I finally decided to pursue a reunion when I was in my mid-twenties. I discovered that Holt International actually had a search and reunion department, so I emailed them, and started the process. They reached out to my old orphanage, Asilo de la Milagrosa, and the kind social workers there had found my files. They also went themselves to the address of my birth mother, and thankfully, she still lived there. From that point, they coordinated with her.

I planned a trip to the Philippines with barely enough funds to cover this at the time. It was difficult because my adoptive mother wasn’t supportive at all, and nobody from my adoptive family supported me either. But in a few months, I was able to create an itinerary. I was to leave Seattle, to the Philippines, and I was given a place to stay with the Intercountry Adoption Board of the Philippines, and later, Asilo de la Milegrosa had guest quarters too. 

The cost of a reunion is plenty. The cost of travel is hefty. But the main cost to consider is the toll of what you’re undergoing psychologically and emotionally. You’ve spent all your life fabricating an identity away from this place, and now you’re returning, and you’re having to break out of that safety net to acknowledge and face parts of your past that had been concealed all this time. So it is disruptive to the security in our lives. It is a risk one takes as well, because you don’t know the results, and how you’ll process the experience post-reunion either. 

The outcome of this search was that I was unknowingly able to have a reunion granted for me, with my birth mother and half-birth brother, due to all of these circumstances leading up to this being uniquely favourable and available to me at the time. 

My reunion was in 2012, and it is now 2023 and I’m living on my own in Indiana. My adopted brother recently passed away last year, homeless on the streets of the Philippines, in 2022. He lacked much needed support throughout his whole life, which will always weigh on me, and I miss him everyday. I don’t talk with my adoptive family anymore, although I had kept in touch with my adoptive parents and grandparents mainly. I just have one surviving adoptive grandfather now as well, so life has changed even in their circumstances. 

After experiencing the whole search and reunion process, I do have my own perspectives to share. I think what is needed is that every adoption company and governmental organisation should have a search and reunion department for all adoptees to utilise.

Every adoption agency and birth country of an orphaned or vulnerable child should be collecting all of their biographical information including family trees and family members, so that they can have the knowledge of their past to utilise for their own personal purposes. Adoptees should have a right to have their family history preserved and safeguarded, administratively. Their biographical information, including birth information and birth records, needs to be preserved as best as possible, and social workers should make sure that all information is accurate and not in fact made up. 

This biographical information is what holds the last of an adoptee’s own cultural identity and historical background, and even medically, this is paramount. This information could give a sense of security and psychological support if anything, which could save society a lot of issues in the long run. It would hold well in the search and reunion process because the more information adoptees are given, the more options adoptees have for meeting or getting to know their home countries in ways that are comfortable for them.

Supportive resources include the adoption agencies free search and reunion administrative support, biological paper filing and holding for the adoptee; it is giving an adoptee full access to their records at any time as well. Intercountry adoption boards or agencies of the home country, and the orphanage that the adoptee was cared for at, all need to be officially accountable. They all need to have proper records of the vulnerable child, and proper process and procedures for the search and reunion. Support should be accessible on a regular basis. 

There should be rapid communication readily available for adoptees today such as having proper email addresses, current phone numbers and customer service at hand. Support should be granted such as places to stay when the adoptee visits the home country and on a reunion; they should be informed of the reunion process, given counselling support, translator support, and if someone can document the reunion for the adoptee, that could help too. 

Now in 2023, after all these years of living life, pursuing therapies, working and becoming the owner of my own life, I’ve decided to start a new chapter of my search and reunion by requesting a MyHeritage DNA Kit for starting an initial search for biological relatives, and to also learn about my DNA heritage, and where I come from. This DNA kit was free due to the program in place recently, which was why I’d participated in requesting this kit. 

The difference in this is that before, I would say, I experienced more of a direct line to my poverty-stricken past at Asilo de la Milagrosa, where in my mid-twenties, I met my birth mother and half birth-brother in 2012. Now, it is simply nice to search in a more discovery-toned, self-paced way, versus having to respond to a critical need to grasp the truth of what happened to me as a vulnerable baby and understand why my mother gave me up when I was born.

In this DNA search, I don’t have to ask too many hard questions, although even to this day, some questions can still linger in my mind from time to time: Why didn’t my biological family contact me all this time? Why wasn’t I able to mend the fabric of my biological family history at a certain point in my life? And, why did my past have to be such a void? 

Härnäst: Searching for my family in Sri Lanka

Resurser

Sökning och återförening inom internationell adoption

Söker efter min familj i Sydkorea

Följande bloggserie kommer att tillägnas vår Söker i Intercountry Adoption serier. Dessa individuella berättelser delas från vår Perspektivpapper som också delades med våra Webbseminarium, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

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

artwork by Samara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samara James (Kim Soo Im)

Referenser

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

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

Wiggin, T., 2010. South Korea’s complicated embrace of gyopo. Los Angeles Times. [Online]. 14 February 2010. Available at https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2010-feb-14-la-fg-korea-return14-2010feb14-story.html. 

Härnäst: Searching for my family in Romania

Resurser

Sökning och återförening inom internationell adoption

Söker efter min familj i Vietnam

Följande bloggserie kommer att tillägnas vår Söker i Intercountry Adoption serier. Dessa individuella berättelser delas från vår Perspektivpapper som också delades med våra Webbseminarium, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

förbi Huyen Friedlander, född i Vietnam, uppvuxen i USA

I söndags fick jag veta att min födelsefar hade dött. Jag sållar fortfarande igenom hur det känns, en unik typ av förlust av en förälder. Även om vi återförenades för över 20 år sedan fanns det fortfarande mycket outtalat, och kanske mycket som vi inte visste eller förstod om varandra. Vi träffades personligen två gånger. Första gången var strax efter 9/11. Jag hade hans kontaktinformation i nästan ett år, men jag var inte redo att nå ut. När jag visste att han bodde i New Jersey, så nära NYC där tornen föll, kände jag en känsla av brådska att jag inte skulle slösa mer tid. Jag ringde en fredagskväll. Jag lämnade ett röstmeddelande om att jag hette Huyen och att jag trodde att han hade varit en vän till min familj i Vietnam. Nästa morgon ringde han tillbaka till mig. 

Under de första sekunderna av vårt samtal sa jag mitt namn igen, sa vem min födelsemor var och sa: "Jag tror att du kan vara min födelsefar." Omedelbart, utan att tveka, sa han: "Det tror jag att jag också är." Det var en enorm gåva till mig. Inget förnekande. Ingen defensivitet. "Jag trodde att du och din mamma hade dött." 

Han hade fått veta av en arméförbindelse att min mamma hade dött när hon försökte ta sig till Thailand och att jag hade dött i Babylift-kraschen. Han sa att han hade velat gifta sig med min födelsemor, men han fick inte det eftersom hennes familj ursprungligen var från norr. 

Det kändes så overkligt att äntligen få den här informationen, ett litet fönster in i vad som hade hänt. Inom några veckor var jag på väg till östkusten med min adoptivfar, min man och min 17 månader gamla son i släptåg. Jag var ungefär två månader gravid med min dotter då. Min födelsefar och hans fru hälsade oss välkomna på en restaurang, med en kram och blommor i handen. Efter middagen var de nådiga och bjöd hem oss på cannoli och en chans att besöka mer. 

Hemma hos mig var jag glad över att träffa min halvsyster, som också var mamma till en ung son. Min födelsefar tog fram ett fotografi av mig, förmodligen vid ungefär 2 års ålder, en ren kopia av ett trasigt foto som min födelsemors syster hade hållit fast vid i 20 år i Vietnam. Vi gjorde aldrig DNA-testning; den här bilden som de båda hade sparat var bevis nog. Min födelsefar gav mig också ett guldkors som min födelsemor hade gett honom innan han lämnade Vietnam, för att skydda honom på vägen hem. På samma sätt, när min födelsemor tog mig till Friends of the Children of Viet Nam i Saigon för att överge mig, hade hon satt en St. Christophers medaljong på ett snöre och knutit den hårt runt min hals, för att skydda mig i mitt nya liv. Att ge mig fotografiet och korset kändes generöst och omtänksamt. 

Under det kommande decenniet checkade vi in med jämna mellanrum via brev eller telefon. När vi skulle träffas personligen igen var jag änka, en ensamstående mamma till två unga tonårsbarn. Efter att ha förlorat min man kände jag igen en viss brådska att se till att mina barn skulle träffa sin biologiska farfar. Och återigen, min födelsefar var nådig när han sa ja till min begäran. Vårt besök var sött och barnen tyckte att han och hans fru var roliga och snälla. Innan vi åkte gav min födelsefar oss ett utsmyckat serveringsset som han hade tagit med sig från Vietnam. 

Efter det besöket skedde mycket av vår kommunikation via Facebook, med enstaka kommentarer på varandras inlägg. Facebook gjorde att vi kunde se aspekter av varandras liv på ett väldigt naturligt sätt. Jag fick en liten uppfattning om hans humor, hans kärlek till fiske och modelltåg. Facebook råkar också vara det primära sättet att hålla kontakten med min födelsemor; vi FaceTime och hon ser mina inlägg och fotografier.

Jag ville inte skriva något om min födelsefars död på Facebook förrän jag hade möjlighet att FaceTime min födelsemor i Vietnam för att meddela henne. Under det första besöket med min födelsefar 2001 berättade han för min pappa att min födelsemor hade varit hans första kärlek. Det här var en gåva att höra, även att känna till det sorgliga resultatet för dem, eftersom det på något sätt bekräftade min födelsemors tro att han skulle komma tillbaka för oss. Hon väntade i åtta år. 

I min återföreningsvideo med min födelsemor (fem år innan jag hittade min födelsefar) sitter vi vid mina morföräldrars matbord. Hon strålar mot mig, med en arm runt mig, och skrattar säger hon, "Beaucoup kärlek skapade dig! Ja, beaucoup kärlek skapade dig." När hon tittade på mig såg hon honom. Hon pekade på mina ansiktsdrag och sa: ”Samma! Samma!" Det verkade ge henne glädje, att se honom i mitt ansikte. 

Jag var nervös för att ringa henne ikväll för att berätta nyheterna för henne. Jag bad min kära vän Suzie att gå med i samtalet för att hjälpa till att översätta. Jag talade på engelska, "Min födelsefar har dött. X dog. Jag är så ledsen." Och genast lät hon ut ett sorgset rop. Även om min födelsemor så småningom gifte sig och fick fem barn till – grunden och glädjen i hennes liv – hade min födelsefar en speciell plats i hennes hjärta som hennes första kärlek. Under ett år i sina unga liv hade de älskat varandra mycket. 

Suzie hjälpte till att översätta detaljerna som jag har hört tidigare. Det var krigstid. Det fanns inget de kunde göra för att vara tillsammans. 50 år senare är min födelsefars bortgång en förlust för min födelsemor. Som troende katolik ber hon för honom nu. Det var mycket jag inte visste om min födelsefar, och jag skulle fortfarande vilja veta mer, men jag kan också vara ifred med det jag vet. 

För tillfället förblir jag grundad i den tacksamhet som jag känner för att ha hittat honom, tacksamhet för att han kände igen mig och tacksamhet för de möjligheter jag hade att få kontakt med honom och hans familj. Jag ber en bön för hans fru och familj när de navigerar i denna förlust.

Härnäst: Söker efter min familj i Sydkorea

Resurser

Sökning och återförening inom internationell 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

Timecode

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

Resurser

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 Söker i Intercountry Adoption

For more resources, see our Searching & Reunion page

Sökning i Intercountry Adoption av Adopterade Experter

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

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

Our 8 panelists are:

Marcia Engel

Marcia is the creator and operator of Plan Angel, 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 The Eftychia Project, a nonprofit organization that assists and supports, free of charge, Greek-born adoptees searching for their roots and Greek families searching for their children lost to adoption.

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

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

Kayla Curtis

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

In her professional life, Kayla works as a Senior Counsellor for the Intercountry Adoptee and Family Support Service (ICAFSS) at Relationships Australia.  

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

Jonas Désir

Jonas

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

Benoît Vermeerbergen

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

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

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

Rebecca Payot

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

Hilbrand Westra

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

In daily life, Hilbrand runs his own school in systemic work 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 Tillbaka till rötterna. 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 Kontakt us.

Stort tack till Australian Government, DSS for funding this event via our Relationships Australia, Små stipendier och stipendier.

Vietnamesiska adopterade bror och syster hittar varandra genom DNA

Mikati is a fellow Vietnamese adoptee raised in Belgium, who joined the ICAV network some years ago, wanting to connect to those who understood the complexities of this lifelong journey. I’m honoured to be a part of her life and she told me the amazing news recently of finding and reuniting with her biological brother Georges who was also adopted, but to France. Neither knew of the other until their DNA matches showed up. Together, Mikati and Georges have shared with me their thoughts about finding each other and searching now for their Vietnamese family. Since sharing this and having their news go viral in Vietnamese media, they are currently awaiting news that they have possibly found their mother. Incredible what can be achieved these days with DNA technology and social media! Here is their story as reunited brother and sister.

About Your Life

Georges

I’ve been adopted in 1996 by French parents and my Vietnamese name is Trương Vanlam. I live in Noisy-le-Grand, a little Parisian suburb near the river Marne. I happily live with my cat and girlfriend.  

My life in France (childhood to present) meant I’ve grown up in the countryside surrounded by medieval castles, fields and forests. It has not always been easy to be different in a place where Asian people were very rare to encounter. I was a shy kid but I was happy to have the love of my adoptive family and some friends. Later, I studied in Paris, a pluri-ethnic place with a lot of people from different origins. I have an interest in arts like theatre and cinema and I’ve started to develop short films with my friends. I am not shy anymore but creative and more confident.  

My adoptive parents were very happy to see me for Christmas. They are retired and they don’t leave their village very often like before. They try to help me as much as they can and are happy about my reconnection to my new found sister, Mikati. I trust and respect my adoptive parents and they trust me and respect me equally.  

I teach cinema, video editing and graphics with Adobe suite to adults and teens. I’m making videos and one day, I hope to become a movie director.  

Mikati

I was born in 1994 and adopted to Belgium in June 1995 at 7 months of age. I currently live in Kortrijk in West-Flanders, Belgium. My childhood was in Anzegem, not so far from Kortrijk.

I have been able to develop and grow up in Belgium. I have some dear friends. I have a nice job. Over the years I have made beautiful trips in and out of Europe and met many people. I have done two studies – orthopedagogy and social work. Here I learned how important human, children’s and women’s rights are. I have been working for a non-profit organization for years. I follow up families in socially vulnerable situations and connect them with a student who is studying at the college or university. I did not study to be a teacher, but it is true that I do train students about how they can work with vulnerable families, how they can reflect on their actions, etc.

My childhood wasn’t all that fantastic. As an intercountry adoptee, I grew up in a white environment. That environment had little respect for my original roots. Sometimes I would walk down the street and hear racial slurs from people I didn’t know. As much as I tried to assimilate, I didn’t forget my roots.

My Vietnamese name is Pham Thi Hoa Sen which says a lot about what my life has been like. I grew up to turn out beautiful but I grew up in mud just like a lotus flower. A thorough screening could have prevented a lot. My adoptive parents are not bad people and they did their best, but they underestimated the care needed for children adopted internationally. My adoptive mother already had two children from a previous marriage that she was no longer allowed to see. She was mentally unable to raise children. My adoptive parents are burdened by trauma that they have not worked through. At that time there was also little to no psychological support and guidance for adoptive parents. It was very difficult growing up with them. It is by seeking help for myself and talking to people about it, that I am more aware of life. Just because you mean well and have good intentions does not mean that you are acting right.

About Your Reunion

Georges

It has been surreal, like a dream and a little bit frightening to be found by my sister because all my beliefs about my personal history are now unsure. The first days, I remember repeating again and again, “I’ve got an elder sister, I’ve got an elder sister”. Then we started to talk and get to know each other more and it became more real. Now I’m very happy and proud to have Mikati as my sister. It’s very strange because even though we met only two weeks ago, I feel like I have know her for a long time. For me, it’s a new step in my life, the beginning of a journey where I will connect more with her, with Vietnam, where we will try to discover our family story, I hope.  

Mikati is a strong and caring woman who is always trying to help others despite having encountered many difficulties in her life. She’s very passionate, clever, funny and above all I respect and admire the person she is. We like to discuss many things from important subjects like international adoptions and smaller subjects like the life of our respective cats or tv series or why Belgians are so proud to eat French fries with mayonnaise. I don’t know why but I’ve quickly felt a connection with her. It could be because of our shared DNA but I think it’s more probably because she is fundamentally fantastic as a person. I like to tease her a little sometime and she’s very patient with me and my jokes! We’ve got our differences of course, but siblings always have differences. I’m very glad to have her in my life.  

Mikati

1.5 years ago I decided to take a DNA test through MyHeritage (a commercial DNA-kit). To get a bit of an indication of where my roots come from. Through the result I got a little more information about ethnicity and I saw distant relatives. It was cool to know something because I know very little about my roots. I hadn’t looked at MyHeritage in a long time until early December 2022. I have no idea why exactly as I didn’t even get a notification. To my surprise, I saw that I had a new match. It wasn’t just any distant relative, it was my brother! He lived in a neighbouring country, France!

You have to know that I just woke up when I looked at my mobile phone, so I immediately sent a message to some close friends and my guidance counsellor at the Descent Center. I wanted to know if I was dreaming. Finally I got the confirmation from the experts at the Descent Center that my DNA result were real and we share over 2500 centimorgans! That means he is not half but rather, a full brother.

I was so happy! So many emotions raced through my body that day. I saw a lot of people who were also adopted at an event that day. Most of them were a great support. Most were as happy and moved as I was. A minority reacted rather short, jealous or gave unsolicited advice about anything and everything. I also understand their feelings. It is an exceptional situation that triggers many emotions. Those emotions of others made it sometimes overwhelming for me.

I contacted Georges through Facebook. I wondered if he had already seen it. When he didn’t reply, a friend gave me his LinkedIn profile that had his email address on it. I felt like a little stalker but I decided to send him an email as well. I sent him a little text and gave him the option to get in touch if he wanted to. When he answered, he introduced himself and asked a few questions. The contact was open, enthusiastic and friendly. So we are very sure of the DNA match, but some mysteries soon surfaced quickly during the first conversation. We told each other what name we got on our adoption papers. Our last names are different. I see on my adoption papers that I have the same last name as my mother. Maybe he has the father’s last name? Georges has not yet properly looked at his adoption papers, so there are still pieces of the puzzle missing.

I am happy when I connect with my brother. The contact feels so natural! We talk and joke like we have known each other for years. We both got a little emotional when we talked about our childhood but also realised how close geographically we grew up. Georges is barely 14 months younger than me. Did the orphanage ever talk to my adoptive parents and suggest taking Georges too? So that we could grow up together? What would my adoptive parents do in such a situation? With a reunion, the search for one’s identity is not over. In fact, it has opened up many more questions!

About your biological family in Vietnam     

Georges

My determination to find my family in Vietnam has increased since I met my elder sister but I’ve always been curious to find more information about my biological mother and father. Growing up as an adopted child, I grew up with a perpetual mystery about my origins. It defines me, marking me forever because I’m always facing the fear of being rejected again . Like many adoptees, I grew up with this explanation: “Your first parents left you because of their poverty.” This is speculation which may be true or not and we do not know until the facts are gathered. I feel no anger about that but I want to know the real motives, the real story from their point of view. Was it their decision or not….?

Mikati is really passionate and determined in this search and about our story and she told me about the real problems caused by some organisations which have seen international adoption as a business in the 1990s. I did research to gather information based on official and independent reports from the press and UNICEF and I talked to adopted people who have been in our orphanage. I’m worried about some testimonies, about the lack of transparency in the adoption process and to adoptive parents, adopted children and biological parents and now I want to be sure if our parents gave their consent or not. I’m also determined to discover this truth and to show our journey through a documentary in order give more information about what could have been problematic in international adoption in the 1990s to year 2000. I’m not alone in this quest ,my elder sister is with me and I’m with her.  

I’ve never had the opportunity to return to Vietnam yet but it is something I hope to do in the near future. I’m sure it won’t be only for fun and tourism!

You can follow Georges at Facebook, LinkedIn eller Youtube.

Mikati

I have my reasons for wanting to find my parents. Under Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the child has a right to information about his or her parentage. It is also fundamental in human beings to know where they come from. As long as I don’t know the story about my biological parents, I can’t be mad. I really wonder what their
story is. I know it’s going to be hard to search. I know that commercial DNA testing is less used in Vietnam. Papers and names were sometimes forged. I don’t know if my mom actually came from My Tho. Is her name really Tuyet Mai? Right now I’m looking at it mostly inquisitively and with compassion. I want to look at the bigger picture. Why is it that parents are faced with the decision to give up a child? How can a system support parents so that such things do not have to happen again?

Recently a Vietnamese woman contacted me on social media. She told me why she had given up her child in the same orphanage as Georges and I. It has not been easy for her to find out where her child went and she continues to search for her child, even if it was more than 20 years ago. She is still saddened by the situation. If anyone can help us broaden this search, please see här.

I have lost contact with my adoptive parents, so they know nothing about my search. I’m sure my adoptive mother would have disapproved.

It would be nice if we find our parents, but we’ll see. I am very grateful for Phuc who has offered to help us search. He seems very nice. I hear from other adoptees that he is friendly and reliable. I also read articles about him and it’s unbelievable what he does to bring families together! I would find it courageous if families dare to come out for what was difficult in the past and why they gave up their child. By telling their story as biological parents, even if they feel ashamed, our society can learn and improve the future.

There are adoptees whose biological parents thought their baby was stillborn but it was actually sold for adoption. If that’s the case with our parents, they don’t even know we are alive. Our story can be everything. It’s hard to know what our case was.

I have so many unanswered questions and I would like to know my family’s story.

If I were to see my biological mother again, the first thing I would tell her is that I would like to get to know her and listen to her story.

Vietnam will always be special to me, even though I didn’t grow up there. I was 9 years old when I went back with my adoptive parents and my sister (non biological) who is also adopted. We went from North to South. Even though my adoptive mother was negative about Vietnam, she couldn’t ruin it for me. The food, the smiling people, the chaos in Ho Chi Minh and the nature in smaller villages have stayed with me. Now I’m reading more about Vietnam and talking more to Vietnamese people. I am saving up to travel to Vietnam again. Maybe alone, maybe with friends or maybe with Georges. We’ll see. But I certainly will go back and learn more about my beautiful country.

You can follow Mikati and her journey at Facebook eller Instagram.

To read Mikati and Georges’ story as published in the Vietnam media, click här and the English translation här.

Ebony på K-Box Adoptee Takeover Night

Ebony is an Haitian born intercountry adoptee raised into Australia. She is a talented artist whose body of work speaks to the complex issues we live as intercountry adoptees and exploring our identity. 

As an Australian contemporary artist with an interest in interrogating concepts of individuality, adoption, sexuality, queerness and black identity. Ebony draws on her life experience to inform the creation of her drawings and expressive sculptural forms, employing a diverse assortment of materials to compose her work. Performance is also an important element of her creative practice. In 2000, Ebony created the drag personality Koko Mass. Koko loves to perform songs with soul and is a bit of a badass who always speaks up and is honest about issues they face in society. Koko challenges perceptions head on whilst also having fun with their audience. Ebony’s practice is bold and politically engaged, responding to issues that affect her communities with a strong visual language she continues to explore. Ebony completed her Masters of Contemporary Art at Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne in 2020. 

Ebony contributed this piece of artwork for our ZINE which was a printed out magazine celebrating Australia’s intercountry and transracial adoptee artists, for people to take home.

If you live in Melbourne you can see more of her artwork at Chin Chin & Go Go at 125 Flinders Lane. The bar is decorated with her artwork and her video shown below, is projected onto the laneway. 

She is also participating with a group of Australian First Nations adoptees on the 7 Oct at Melbourne University in an exhibition titled – Adopted.

Ebony’s artist statement about this video:

Divine Make-up, 2019

Divine make-up is an example of my drawings coming to life, putting myself within the frame, showing how I draw and then pairing that with my spoken word performance. Drawing is an important part of my practice; I respect the simple form of paper and textas.

I like the immediacy of drawing; I feel my drawings can be spontaneous and I like to free draw. When I draw, I don’t plan the outcome, I start and see where it takes me, I let the marks guide my direction. My work, as Ebony, is personal and honest. My drawings are a mix of feelings, experiences and specific moments in my life. This videos shows the ideas I have explored recently, coming together to fill the space with my black self.

Watch Ebony Hickey’s Divine Make-up:

Resurser

Other artwork by Ebony at ICAV:
Jag är jag
Född åt båda hållen

You can find out more about Ebony at:
IG: @ebony.hickey.7

Härnäst is Meg’s presentation from the evening.

Sökning och återförening inom internationell adoption

Search & Reunion: Impacts & Outcomes

In 2016, ICAV compiled a world’s first resource of our lived experience voices sharing the ups and downs of searching and reunions, specific to intercountry adoption. No such resource existed like this before and yet, as adoptees, one of our hugest challenges across our lifespan, is contemplating if we want to search, what’s involved, and figuring out how to go about it. I wanted to provide a way to address these questions so I asked ICAV adoptees to share their experiences, focusing on lessons learnt after looking back in hindsight. I also asked them to share what could be done by authorities and organisations to better support us in our search and reunion process. I published our perspective paper in english and french and it ended up being a 101 page paper (book) covering the experiences of adoptees from 14 birth countries, adopted to 10 adoptive countries.

Given one of the core topics for discussion at the recent Hague Special Commission is Post Adoption Support, I felt that it was timely to re-share our paper and provide a summary of what it captures for those who don’t have time to read the 101 pages and for the benefit of Central Authorities and Post Adoption organisations to learn from our experiences.

Summary of key themes from ‘Search and Reunion: Impacts and Outcomes’ by InterCountry Adoptee Voices (ICAV) 2016

Issues and challenges faced using tracing services:

  • The need for specialised counselling is a recurring theme throughout most stories, particularly to prepare adoptees for the first meeting, delivered from someone who understood and specialises in intercountry adoption
  • Searches are often conducted through social network sites that can leave adoptees can vulnerable and not properly supported to engage with birth families
  • Privacy issues and barriers
  • The need for access to birth records to help with birth reconnection
  • Several cases mentioned issues with passport and visas
  • Adoption agency would not disclose identifying information about their birth family due to privacy
  • Transparency of services and where to access them
  • Assumption that birth records are accurate, despite corruption
  • The sense of ‘rebuilding your history’
  • Challenging to maintain a relationship with birth family due to language and cultural barriers
  • Need more standardised laws  and processes for adoption agencies to follow when adoptees are seeking their information
  • Laws passed to allow adoptees access to their files
  • More support is needed for adoptees in counselling, and translation when searching
  • Facilitated counselling service that assisted with the search and reunion process from beginning to end
  • Listing of adoptees as mentors who have been through the process
  • Stories of adoptee searches and their reconciliation of those searches would provide emotional support to other adoptees thinking of beginning their own search

Suggestions for improved support for adult adoptees when searching for birth families:

  • Documentation is the key and open adoption is the best way to lend support
  • The need for interactive support groups and to know where to find them
  • A comprehensive education for adoptive parents to help them manage the lifelong issues for adoptees, and affordable counselling for all parties in the adoption process, and particularly to have access to this support regardless of the stage of the adoption process
  • Having a social worker ‘check in’ on people who are adopted throughout their lives
  • Maintenance of a database to allow the search to be conducted with access into other databases such as births, adoptions, deaths and marriages in each country
  • Some adoptees want adoptive families to have mandatory training that helps them manage adoptee issues up to the age of 18 – education in language, culture history, the importance of having all the documents, the value in making regular visits together to the country of origin
  • Include adoptee DNA testing done, Y or N on the adoption file

Key quotations from adoptees about their experience of reunification:

“Adoption is a life long journey and even to this day I have fresh revelations of my adoption. The “general” impact has been one of profound empowerment which arose from great anguish.”

“Although I had a session with a very good psychologist before my reunion, I still feel there was so much more I should have been made aware of. I wish I had been directed to other adoptees willing to share their experience of their reunion with tips, advice and support.”

“It was devastating for me to realise my birth family are basically strangers and if I wanted a relationship with them, I would have to sacrifice the life I built after they rejected me and re-alter the identity I have struggled to develop, just to fit into their expectations.”

“The biggest obstacles for search and reunion in my experience have included:

Being a ‘tourist’ in my country of birth. I found it surprisingly confronting and difficult to have people of the same nationality assume I was one of them and then having to explain my adopted situation.

Post reunion i.e., working through the consequences of opening the door to the past – it is irreversible! I should have been better prepared and better supported for the post reunion aspects and consequences.”

“It took many years to properly come to terms and to get my head around my adoption after reunion. It has undoubtedly affected my identity and the course of my life for the best. My adoption has become something I have grown to appreciate and evolve with. Learning my life should have ended before I was even born, has made me incredibly grateful and motivated to do something with my life.”

“Primal wounding when separated from mothers is exacerbated by the mystery of unanswered questions.”

To read the full ICAV Perspective Paper: Search & Reunion – Impacts & Outcomes in English or French, see our collection of Perspective Papers.

Grekisk intercountry Adoptee Advocacy

Logo of the organisation, The Eftychia Project for Greek Intercountry Adoptees

As one of the earliest cohorts of intercountry adoptees, the Greek intercountry adoptee community is represented by the amazing work that Linda Carrol Forrest Trotter does under her organisation The Eftychia Project. I’ve been connecting with Linda over the past 5 years and I love what she has done in advocacy to bring her community to the attention of the Greek government. It’s wonderful when adoptees advocate for themselves!

This was one of the meetings Linda had with the Greek government late last year. Apologies for posting so late but it’s helpful for other adoptee groups and leaders to see what some adoptee leaders are doing around the world to advocate for their community.

Here is Linda’s formal letter which she provided to the Greek government at her meeting. Thanks for sharing Linda!

Excellent work and let’s hope the Greek government steps up and provides much needed supports, services, and rights to the Greek adoptee community which are requested in Linda’s letter. These right and requests need to be recognised as basic essentials to be provided from every country that we are adopted from.

For more on Adoptee Advocacy, see ICAVs extensive list of blogs on some of the work we’ve done around the world.

Indien övergav mig

förbi Kris Rao, adopterad från Indien till USA, upptäckte nyligen deras adoption som en Late Discovery-adopterad.

Jag stötte på en indisk baserad podcast som heter The Filter Koffee Podcast med Karthik Nagarajan som värd. Han sitter med en gäst och har som han beskriver det ett samtal. "Sånt som gör dig rikare. Den sorten som bara kaffe kan få fram.”



Senast i januari 2022 satte han sig ner med Poulomi Pavini Shukla, en högsta domstolsadvokat, och talade om föräldralösa barn i Indien. Det här avsnittet fick titeln Varför Indiens föräldralösa barn överges två gånger?

Utan att gå in på för många detaljer om podcasten, här är några viktiga ämnen de gick över:

  • De olika system som har införts för barn i behov av vård.
    (Statliga system i Indien lanseras av regeringen för att ta itu med medborgarnas sociala och ekonomiska välfärd)
  • Pengarna/budgeten går till föräldralösa barn. Vilket motsvarar mindre än 1 rupier per dag och barn.
  • Det uppskattade antalet föräldralösa barn i Indien som rapporterats av UNICEF.
  • Hur barnhem drivs och hur många som ska inrättas i varje distrikt.
  • Vad händer med övergivna barn och deras liv som föräldralösa.
  • Skillnaderna mellan kvinnliga och manliga föräldralösa barn.

En av de saker som slog mig var det uppskattade antalet föräldralösa barn i Indien. Enligt UNICEF finns det 29,6 miljoner föräldralösa barn i Indien, cirka 30 miljoner.

Och som adopterad, som en av dessa så kallade sociala föräldralösa barn, var allt jag kunde tänka på när jag lyssnade på den här podden:

Varför har Indien 30 miljoner föräldralösa barn i första hand?

Vad gör mitt land som skapar det här problemet?

Vad gör mitt land för att förhindra detta?

För mig verkar det som att det största problemet inte bara är att vi har 30 miljoner föräldralösa barn i behov av vård, det är att vi har 60 miljoner föräldrar som gav upp och övergav sina barn. Och det händer fortfarande. Dessa siffror växer fortfarande.

Var är det samtalet?

Är det på grund av religion, kast? Vilka andra faktorer spelar in här?

Hur är det med reproduktiv rättvisa?

Jag är en av de miljoner sociala föräldralösa barn som har kommit ut från Indien. Och det får mig att fråga, är det för att min existens ger "skam" över min familj varför jag är föräldralös? Smutsar min existens familjenamnet?

Var min uppfattning så problematisk i ögonen på Indiens samhälle och kultur att min mamma kände sig tvungen att överge mig?

Jag skrev en gång att den enda anledningen till att jag adopterades är för att samhället på något sätt svikit min mamma och tvingade henne att fatta ett beslut som hon inte borde ha behövt från början.

Vad gör vi för att ändra på det?

Efter att ha lyssnat på podcasten förstår jag att det är viktigt att hjälpa föräldralösa barn i Indien och behöver uppmärksamhet. Jag har själv bott i Indien i 11 år och besökt barnhem, ja, jag förstår det.

Jag tycker att det är viktigt att varje barn tas om hand. Men varför inkluderar det att skilja dem från deras familjer? Varför ska ett barn förlora alla juridiska band till sina första och biologiska föräldrar och familjer (inklusive utökade anhöriga) för att helt enkelt kunna tas om hand?

Och viktigast av allt, vad gör vi för de "sociala föräldralösa barnen" som nu är vuxna som vill veta sina sanna rötter? Tillgång till våra anor, historia osv.

Hur kan vi ta bort detta stigma och tabu som jag hela tiden hör om adoption i Indien?

Som framgår av titeln säger Poulomi att föräldralösa barn från Indien blir föräldralösa två gånger. "En gång genom att vara föräldralösa till sina föräldrar och en gång genom att vara föräldralösa till staten eller lagens föräldralösa."

För internationella adopterade som jag själv, känns det som om Indien övergav mig en tredje gång när det skickade iväg mig för att vara ett annat lands problem.

De olyckliga och obefogade omständigheterna som gjorde mig till en av Indiens "sociala föräldralösa barn" satte mig på en väg att bli adopterad.

Och genom att bli adopterad tog det inte bara bort mina val utan det tog också bort mina chanser att hitta mina rötter. 

För mer från Kris, kolla in deras senaste blogg: Kris delar om Adoptee Anger

Följ Kris på:
Kris-404:RootsNotFound
Twitter @adoptedindian
Instagram @indianlatediscoveryadoptee

Svenska
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