The following blog series will be dedicated to our 搜索跨国收养 series. These individual stories are being shared from our 透视纸 that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

经过 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


The following blog series will be dedicated to our 搜索跨国收养 series. These individual stories are being shared from our 透视纸 that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

经过 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 原始伤口 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 被收养者 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 Harlow’s Monkey. 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 跨国收养者的声音. 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: 寻找我在中国的家人


Search and Reunion in Intercountry Adoption


2023 年 4 月 23 日,ICAV 举办了一场小组网络研讨会,为您带来了我们在世界各地的搜索专家的专业知识,分享了他们关于在跨国收养中进行搜索时应考虑哪些因素的最佳智慧之言。他们直接代表来自斯里兰卡、埃塞俄比亚、韩国、海地、哥伦比亚和希腊的收养组织。

注意:如果在 Chrome 中观看,请单击“了解更多”按钮观看视频



00:20 介绍,欢迎,目的
04:30 嘉宾介绍
04:39 玛西娅恩格尔
06:48 丽贝卡Payot
09:29 乔纳斯·德西尔
10:25 琳达卡罗尔特罗特
12:55 凯拉柯蒂斯
15:22 希尔布兰德韦斯特拉
17:44 Benoit Vermeerbergen
21:00 席琳·法斯勒


23:28 一般搜索过程涉及什么? – 凯拉
27:30 被收养人需要准备什么? – 琳达,玛西娅
35:51 结果是什么? – 乔纳斯、凯拉、琳达
46:50 可能遇到的一些障碍? – 丽贝卡,琳达
56:51 需要考虑哪些道德规范? – 玛西娅、凯拉
1:06:40 搜索费用应该是多少? – 丽贝卡、琳达、塞林
1:11:46 谁值得信任?希尔布兰德,乔纳斯
1:16:16 DNA检测需要考虑哪些问题? – 伯努瓦
1:19:18 DNA 检测会产生什么结果? – 伯努瓦
1:20:40 你推荐什么DNA测试?伯努瓦,玛西娅
1:23:51 使用领养者主导的搜索组织有哪些优势? – 塞林,玛西娅
1:28:28 成为受信任的政府资助的搜索组织涉及什么? – 塞林
1:30:36 政府最需要什么来帮助我们寻找被收养者? – 希尔布兰德,玛西娅


点击 这里 对于我们的pdf 关键信息 来自每个小组成员


非常感谢 26 位收养者愿意分享他们的寻找经验,以便其他人能够获得更深入的了解。它们代表了13个出生国(中国、哥伦比亚、印度、马来西亚、摩洛哥、秘鲁、菲律宾、罗马尼亚、俄罗斯、韩国、斯里兰卡、泰国、越南)的经验,被送往9个收养国(澳大利亚、比利时、加拿大、法国) 、德国、苏格兰、瑞典、英国、美国)。

ICAV 最新的 Perspective Paper 搜索跨国收养

有关更多资源,请参阅我们的 寻找与重逢


经过 玛丽亚迪玛, 出生于智利,后被瑞典收养;创办人 智利收养网站



作为 1970 年至 1980 年间在瑞典长大的跨种族跨国收养者,我觉得自己是实验的一部分。来自世界各国的孩子被安置在瑞典的家庭中,我们应该像“一张白纸”一样,就好像我们的人生故事是从瑞典的机场开始的。


我给妈妈写了一封信,就好像我只有 7 岁一样。我不知道我为什么这样做,但我用西班牙语写了这封信。



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 (荷兰, 比利时, 挪威, Switzerland, Sweden, 法国) eventually investigates and recognises the wrongs done historically in intercountry adoption. 德国, 丹麦澳大利亚 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 网络研讨会 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 收养人 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.


去年,我跑了一个 网络研讨会 关于跨国和跨种族被收养者与种族主义的经历,以帮助提高认识并作为一个社区表达这些共同经历。为了进一步解决我们社区在这方面缺乏资源的问题,我通过 关系澳大利亚 小额赠款和助学金计划 聘请 色调,一家专门从事反种族主义研讨会的生活体验公司。 Hue 和 ICAV 共同提供了一个急需的空间(分别用于跨种族收养者;另一个用于养父母),以讨论、提高认识和处理涉及种族、种族主义和跨国/跨种族收养的一些问题。

我们的工作坊是免费的,将分为三个部分提供,作为专门为澳大利亚跨国和跨种族收养者及其父母量身定制的反种族主义计划。欢迎来自其他国家的收养者和父母加入,了解该计划是从澳大利亚的角度(但仍然与其他国家相关)和澳大利亚时区提供的。每个研讨会的上限为 35 人,以确保参与者获得最大利益。


以下是有关 Hue 及其协调人 Elsa 的一些信息,我曾与她合作定制这些研讨会以适应我们的社区体验:

色调 是一个种族和社会正义组织,由两名有色人种女性创立,提供一系列易于接受、引人入胜且基于优势的培训计划。他们的研讨会由具有生活经验的人提供便利,为所有知识水平提供参与式和细致入微的学习体验。他们还为希望对其政策、流程和工作文化实施有意义变革的组织提供持续的支持和咨询。

艾尔莎(她/她)是一位酷儿、犹太和中国有色人种女性。她是一名教育者、促进者、组织者和表演者。她是 Hue 的联合创始人,Hue 是一家反种族主义和社会正义组织,为组织提供培训和咨询。此前,她是 Democracy in Color 的培训总监,并在 Switchboard Victoria 的董事会和 QTIBIPOC 董事会委员会任职两届。她拥有社会工作和心理学背景,并撰写了关于来自多个少数民族遗产的多种族人如何处理他们的种族身份的荣誉论文。 2020 年,她被授予 Out for Australia's 30 under 30,表彰 LGBTQIA+ 榜样和领导者,2022 年,她入围 7NEWS 社区服务和社会影响青年成就奖半决赛。她热衷于平台化生活经验、建立社区力量以及在此过程中进行康复。

被收养者研讨会的关键日期是:5 月 21 日、6 月 4 日和 6 月 18 日从澳大利亚东部标准时间下午 1 点开始。每个工作坊持续 3.5 小时,中间有休息时间。通过小组分组讨论鼓励输入和参与。这不是一个坐下来听的研讨会,但如果你觉得这样做很舒服,那也没关系。

如果您想以跨国/跨种族被收养者的身份参与我们的被收养者研讨会,请点击黄色的 RSVP 图片:

养父母研讨会的关键日期是:7 月 23 日、8 月 6 日和 8 月 20 日澳大利亚东部标准时间下午 1 点开始。每个工作坊持续 3.5 小时,中间有休息时间。通过小组分组讨论鼓励输入和参与。这不是一个坐下来听的研讨会,但如果你觉得这样做很舒服,那也没关系。

如果您想以养父母的身份 RSVP 参加我们的养父母研讨会,请点击蓝色 RSVP 图片:

非常感谢 澳大利亚联邦政府,DSS 通过资金使这成为可能 Relationships Australia ICAFSS、小额赠款和助学金计划.


经过 仁埃瑟林顿, 出生为原住民加拿大人并被澳大利亚家庭收养


你离开这个星球已经34年了 .我多么希望我的一生都能遇见你。我不确定你最后一次见到我是什么时候。我敢肯定你不认为这是你最后一次见到我。我知道你们知道我的结局。我知道爸爸认识收养我的爸爸。

Kerry 和 Steve(妈妈和爸爸)是您见过的最了不起的两个人。我相信他们和你们一样,几乎被他们遇到的每一个人所喜爱。我三岁时从克里和史蒂夫那里得到了一个弟弟。他的名字叫乔什,我们小时候相处得很好。我们很少吵架。我喜欢认为这是我们个性的完美结合,也是由克里和史蒂夫抚养长大的。

你会很高兴知道我有一个美好的童年。我 7 岁时,我们有了另一个弟弟,名叫布罗迪。 BroBro 和我更像,因为我们都更善于交际,也更外向。乔什、布罗迪和我相处得很好。克里和史蒂夫以伟大的价值观抚养我们长大。我们在澳大利亚东海岸的 Theravada 冥想中心附近长大并搬家。我在那里遇到了一些很棒的孩子,我认为他们是表亲。我想如果我被收养了,我也可以收养我自己的家人。

我在童年时期遇到过一些困难,包括对种族主义的无情欺凌以及物化。无论我去哪里,它总是由一个名叫“约翰诺”的孩子 .我很幸运身边有坚强的朋友帮助我不让它毁了我的个性。

在我们成长的过程中,几乎每个假期都和全家一起度过,因为对他们来说,拥有大量的家庭时光很重要。我们度过了美好的假期露营,住在海滨大篷车公园,与家人一起参加了具有里程碑意义的世博会,如 88 年世博会,并住在一栋可爱的房子里。我们确实在加拿大度过了很多假期,因为史蒂夫的妈妈住在维多利亚。我知道克里对我的梦想是在我准备好时见到你。我知道她听到你死了的消息时很伤心。我很困惑。我一直都知道我是被收养的,因为我看起来与克里、史蒂夫、乔希和布罗迪不同。当我被问到是否想去参加你的葬礼时,我才 9 岁,不知道该如何处理,现在很后悔没有去那里。


有第三个人抚养我长大,她很棒。她是我的姨妈,娜内特。我非常爱她,她是一个不可思议的人。甚至在电话上没有来电显示之前,我总是知道她什么时候打电话。 Nanette 还在我的婚礼上出卖了我。我的婚礼是 20 年前的两天前。我嫁给的男人不是一个好人。我受到了他的很多虐待。相识10年后,我们幸运地分开了。我没有孩子,为此我接受了 12 个月的治疗。如果我有孩子,我很难接受。我无法想象你失去我是什么感觉,我很担心我会重温那种经历以及你的感觉。


我有很多想问你,想告诉你。我爱你们爸爸妈妈。我现在有一个美好的家庭——我的妈妈和爸爸(Kerry 和 Steve)、我的兄弟们、我的侄女和侄子以及我的伴侣 James。我的阿姨不幸去世了,但我很感激我有时间和她在一起。

阅读 Jen 之前的博客: 金钱永远无法弥补我作为原住民加拿大人所失去的一切



在加拿大无名墓中发现 200 多名被盗的原住民儿童



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 research (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 is the creator and operator of 计划天使, 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 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 埃夫提基亚项目, 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 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 跨国收养者和家庭支持服务 (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 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 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 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 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 is adopted from Sri Lanka to Switzerland and is the Communications Manager and Board Member at 追本溯源. 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 contact us.

非常感谢 Australian Government, DSS for funding this event via our Relationships Australia, 小额赠款和助学金计划.


*Name has been changed to protect identity

经过 kim thompson / 김종예 born in South Korea, adopted to the USA, Co-Founder of 环球亚洲

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

Artwork: Gone But Not Forgotten by Amelia Reimer

Dear Korea,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

是的,确实有可能,即使米娅能够在本应属于她的家庭和地方长大,她也会一直为自己的心理健康问题而苦苦挣扎。但是,我也有信心说,她很可能不会在 30 多岁时结束自己的生命,因为她不会有任何因被迫遗弃和收养而造成的创伤,无法承载她太大太美的心为了这个世界。





海外韩国收养者人权核实保障国际会议 (英韩翻译,对韩国跨国收养者进行的最大规模研究的研究概述)




RU OK Day? – 是时候谈论被收养者和自杀未遂了


在印第安纳波利斯,我最近开始与禅宗禅师 Seung Sahn 创立的观音禅宗大乘佛教传承的僧伽一起练习禅修。我在印第安纳波利斯禅宗中心与一群修行者一起坐下来开始学习。修行包括坐禅和行禅、聆听禅宗佛法朗读以及在等候室参与轻松的佛法讨论。








“从中学习,”他说,“当我体验到它时,我会感谢它。我感谢它给我的教训。”他在悲痛中描述了自己的人生经历,提到了一本书,书名是: 如何与你的恶魔做朋友,并说这对他来说确实消失了。



“你必须去感受它,”在我的禅宗访谈即将结束时,老师对我说。 “你必须拥有它。”我凝视着他,明白了即使悲伤也有修禅的方法。并且有一种方法可以拥有它并且不让它控制我的生活。


阅读 Desiree 之前的博客: 在一个新的城市继续前进


创伤 在采用资源