Being an Asian adoptee in Norway, I did not have the lottery luck of ending up in a good home, which is a fact that has adversely shaped my life from childhood to present day. It has been suggested that, perhaps, if I had grown up with a better set of adoptive parents, I might have fared better and everything would have been all right. However, I’m convinced that many of the adoption-related issues that I struggle with today would still remain.
In the Washington Post article “Please don’t tell me I was lucky to be adopted“, Shaaren Pine, a trans-cultural adoptee from India, shares her experience of growing up in a white home in a white area in Massachusetts, USA, with adoptive parents who did a pretty good job of raising her. She also speaks of how she finds that her 7 year old daughter Ara expresses her mother’s adoption situation far better than she herself could.
“There she was, then 6, expressing her feelings about my adoption so clearly. She was able to acknowledge that like me, she, too, feels she has been cut off from her family, her culture and her story and that she is missing a part of who she is.
In my almost 40 years, I’ve only recently been able to talk about adoption honestly and openly. And it is incredibly difficult.”
Aside from the differences that I’m South Korean, not Indian, and that I grew up in what can only be described as a bad home, whereas she grew up in a good one, Shaaren’s story and the feelings and troubles she describes, to a large degree mirror my own.
“Unfortunately, there is no way to convince a non-adoptee that adoption is hard and that its effects continue into adulthood unless that person is willing to hear it. And in my experience, few have been.”
All in all, the article gives a look into the kinds of struggles that many adoptees have to deal with, emotionally and socially, and which follow them all through their lives. Even with good adoptive parents, all is not automatically well.
PTSD is a bitch. One hour of sleep, or perhaps if I am lucky I get two or three.
But sleep is not something I can take for granted, so the usual routine is to be up at late hours, make a cup of tea or hot chocolate and turn the computer on again, sit and take little sips of my mug and have another look at Facebook.
And think, is the world ever going to be a better place to be?
Is it better to join the majority of sheep, and go blissfully nowhere, or is it to be the lost sheep who suffers in silence, or to be the one that bugs them all with my thoughts and opinions, to be The One Who Annoys The World With Truth?
Well, I have always been the Black Sheep anyway, so nothing has really changed In Adoptionland either. So many times I feel I stand alone with my view of adoption.
But I know that we are millions out there who want changes, mothers and adoptees alike. And for that I am so happy, and I feel that there is hope for the future.
But here and now, with a mug in my hand, and my cat at my feet, here and now at least I feel loved for who and what I am. I am The One Who Spoils Her With Treats In The Night, and she does not mind at all.
She and I are a pair, a Grumpy Cat and a Grumpy Woman with PTSD, have found each other across the borders of race and species.
“Unwanted” is a documentary by 60 Minutes Australia, published on August 8th, 2016.
This short trailer (below) gives a brief glimpse into the practice of “re-homing” of adopted children, a way to rid yourself of an adopted child whom you do not want to care for or be responsible for anymore, “like getting rid of an old fridge on eBay”.
Adoption on its own is bad enough for starters, but it’s difficult to see how re-homing can be anything other than devastating to the adoptees — including but not limited to a brutal blow to their self esteem, and reinforcing existing abandonment issues, or creating new ones. The act of adoption is a lifelong responsibility to a human being whom you choose to take into your care, a human being with the same rights to be loved, respected, cared for and given a decent upbringing as any child that might have been born into that same family. There is no less parental responsibility for an adopted child, than for a child that is biologically yours. In fact you may well find that the responsibility is far greater, owing to the adopted child’s greater need for support due to baggage from their life before the adoption, or as a result of the adoption itself, or even as a result of growing up in a family they weren’t born into. And keep in mind that unlike the adoptive parents, the adoptees never had a choice in the matter, therefore the responsibility rests solely on the adoptive parents.
The existence of re-homing proves that many adopters consider their adopted children to be little more than pets, or even slaves, property that they can conveniently dispose of whenever they no longer feel motivated to keep up their end of the deal.
It is as grotesque as it is shameful.
From 60 Minutes Australia’s Facebook page:
Could you ever just give your child away?
Last night on #60Mins, Tara Brown exposed the US phenomenon of ‘re-homing’ – where parents decide they no longer want their adopted child, and simply advertise them online to lure prospective parents. There’s no court orders or vetting required, and these disposable children can be handed over to anyone. | WATCH the full episode: bit.ly/2aSZksm
Note: The full episode is only available in Australia.
The people at Against Child Trafficking (ACT) are in need of help. Running a non-profit organization is a costly venture, and they rely entirely on private funding. That means donations from people like you and me. Please, please consider helping them out, even if just a little. Every single dollar or euro helps.
Against Child Trafficking is an international non profit organisation, registered in the Netherlands. ACT’s main focus is the prevention of child trafficking for intercountry adoption. ACT advocates child rights based social policies that are in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is the universal standard and the best safeguard against child trafficking.
People tell me I look like a doll in this picture.
I must have been about four years old, sitting in my adoptive parents’ home, trying to be the good child that they wanted me to be, but never doing quite well enough to earn their approval. They didn’t hesitate to tell me how much I had cost them, so certainly they deserved something for their efforts?
If I was four, then this photo must have been taken in 1973. Meanwhile, in South Korea, my real father had been looking for me for three years, ever since he discovered that I was gone from the children’s home where he had placed me temporarily. Going from orphanage to orphanage, he followed dead trails and searched up one dead end after another. In another year he would himself be dead, and he’d never discover what had really happened to me, or where I had gone. I had no idea who he was, or that I was wanted somewhere else. We never saw each other again.
It was around this time that I first began to notice that I looked different from all the other children. Those around me mostly had blond hair and blue eyes. I was the only one who looked like me. So I asked my adoptive mother about it.
“Nonsense!” she’d always say. “You look just like everybody else. You’re no different at all. Now stop asking stupid questions, and leave me alone.”
But I kept looking at my own face in the mirror, at the differences that were clearly there, even though she said they were not, and I asked myself what was wrong with me.
“Carol King Eckersley is probably the last mother to have found out that her child was killed when Pan Am 103 was bombed over Lockerbie in 1988. This powerful programme follows her journey to discover the last days and death of her son Ken Bissett, who she gave up for adoption at birth.”
Unfortunately, the full documentary has been removed from YouTube. I will re-post when or if I find another copy online. Meanwhile, I include these two shorter clips from The Oregonian and Worldwide News.
The following is quoted from a recent blog post by TRACK (Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea), relating to the fatal beating of 3 year old Madoc Hyunsu O’Callaghan by his adoptive father, an Iraq veteran and high-ranking NSA agent, in February 2014, mere months after his adoption.
Click anywhere within the article frame to read the rest of the article at TRACK’s website.
Ministry of Health and Welfare audit on Holt by jjtrenka on June 27, 2014
This is the report by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on the audit conducted on Holt after the death of Hyun-su. This shows how Holt has been operating in violation of the Special Adoption Law amended in 2011 and enforced in 2012.
Summary: Holt was found to be in violation of the Special Adoption Law or its enforcement decrees in the following areas:
They did not search for domestic adoptive families before placing children internationally.
They took children from birthfamilies before the seven-day deliberation period was over.
They performed up to 28 “Child Development Evaluations” per child. Only 2-3 have to be done per year. They charged adoptive parents for this and do not have guidelines for expenditures or the international adoption fee.
They did inadequate assessment of prospective adoptive parents’ ability to financially support a child.
They did improper home studies/investigations of prospective adoptive parents.
They made improper contracts with overseas agencies.
Their post-adoption services/follow-up on adoptive children was inadequate.
They continued to collect government money to support children even though the children had already been sent overseas.
This is just the introduction. Continue reading the full article on TRACK’s blog.
Why would anybody who was raised in a loving home be unhappy about being adopted, or opposed to the very nature of adoption?
This was asked to me today in the comments on the “About Me” page I have here. Its a genuine question that I think a lot of people who aren’t effected or maybe even are effected by adoption ask themselves once they come across someone who’s views towards adoption, are similar to mine.
I do not support it. I don’t condone it, nor do I believe in adoption. I have many reasons and I think it will do me some good after this long break to put it into a post and get it into the concrete form of some kind for others to read when wondering why the hell i feel the way I do.
As I have said, i had and still have good parents…
«The incentives for government child snatching are so good that I’m surprised we don’t have government agents breaking down people’s doors and just shooting the parents in the heads and grabbing the kids. But then, if you need more apples you don’t chop down your apple trees.» — Nev Moore
An enlightening, eye-opening article describing the money game of adoption in the United States, how it’s possible to boost your income considerably by adopting any number of children, rewarding you social benefits above and beyond anything the original parents could have even dreamed of!
It boggles the mind, but it makes me wonder, how about if parents adopted their own natural children, in order to get enough benefits to make by and raise their children themselves? No, I’m pretty sure they’ve ironed out that specific loophole. Spending money on actually helping people help themselves is utterly out of the question. We can’t have that!
«What an interesting government policy when compared to the welfare program that the same child’s mother may have been on before losing her children, and in which she may not own anything, must prove that she has no money in the bank; no boats, real estate, stocks or bonds; and cannot even own a car that is safe to drive worth over $1000. This is all so she can collect $539 per month for herself and two children. The foster parent who gets her children gets $820 plus. We spit on the mother on welfare as a parasite who is bleeding the taxpayers, yet we hold the foster and adoptive parents [who are bleeding ten times as much from the taxpayers] up as saints. The adoptive and foster parents aren’t subjected to psychological evaluations, ink blot tests, MMPI’s, drug & alcohol evaluations, or urine screens as the parents are.» — Nev Moore
It’s important to note, though, that this article is from May 2000, 14 years and several presidential terms ago. I have looked, but not found, so if anyone can provide pointers to information stating that these practices no longer exist, I would appreciate if you would leave a comment with updates to that effect.
“It’s almost five years ago that I began following the story of Masho and Roba. This was at a time when I believed adoption was a noble act for children in need of parents, and for parents in need of children. But what I witnessed was not the tale of joy and hope that I had imagined.” “Det er nu snart fem år siden at jeg startede med at følge Masho og Robas historie. Det var den gang jeg troede at adoption udelukkende var en god gerning for børn der behøvede foreldre, og foreldre der behøvede børn. Men det jeg blev vidne til var ikke den historie full av glede og håb som jeg havde forestillet mig.” — Katrine W. Kjær
End titles (not included in the subtitles)
“77 children were adopted from Ethiopia to Denmark the same year as Masho and Roba.”
“Of those, only 2 were classified as orphans.”
“Every year, about 30,000 children are adopted internationally.”
This Danish documentary from 2012 is heartbreaking, and it clearly demonstrates so many of the things that are wrong about adoption.
Childless, at age 44 and 46, after seven years of being unable to have children of their own, the Danish couple Gert and Henriette decide to adopt the siblings Roba and Masho, aged two and four, from Ethiopia.
The children’s natural parents Sinknesh and Hussen are still alive, but suffering from AIDS, and the mother Sinknesh has been told by her doctor that she will die “in exactly five years”, three years prior to the adoption. For this reason, and this reason alone, the couple decide, or rather allow themselves to be persuaded by the agency DanAdopt, to put their two youngest children up for adoption. Promises are made that they will receive periodic reports on their children’s progress and well-being.
Three years after the adoption, and six years after being told she had only five more years to live, Sinknesh and Hussen have received no information about Roba and Masho. They are both still alive and well enough that they’re capable of working and taking care of their three remaining children, and they still mourn the loss of their two youngest, of whom they have had no word since they were taken away. They try to confront DanAdopt and the Ethiopian authorities, but to no avail as they are stonewalled and rejected.
In Denmark, things are not going so well either. The adoptive parents are disappointed that Masho does not bond with them as they had expected. Mother Henriette punishes Masho for her “bad” behaviour by withholding affection, although it is precisely affection that she needs. They appear to make little or no effort to understand the needs of the children, but rather expect them to adapt to their new, alien surroundings without trouble, and then blame the children when this does not happen. Hardly ever after they return to Denmark do you see the adoptive parents smile, especially the mother who most of the time looks completely stone-faced.
I consider being past 40 as very late in life to have children, and especially to adopt children who have special needs because they are removed from their natural environment, old enough to already have a language and strong ties to their natural family, accustomed to their original local way of life, being ripped away from everything they know, including the love of their natural parents, and thrust into the custody of strangers who do not even speak a language they can understand. Of course they are afraid, in turn fear leads to anger, and anger leads to suffering. Being the oldest of the two, with deeper roots to her home, Masho struggles and suffers the most.
Henriette and Gert show clear signs of having no idea what they’ve let themselves in on. In their eyes, they’ve bought a product that doesn’t live up to their expectations, and which doesn’t come with any warranty. In short, they feel cheated!
At their age, it would be enough of a challenge to have their own biological child, although this would have been a whole lot easier to handle. Their own child would have been born into the family, and their bonding would happen naturally. However, having no previous experience whatsoever with raising children of their own, yet diving headlong into adopting not just one but two children as old as Masho and Roba, from a completely different culture, with no mutual language to communicate, no knowledge of their original home and customs, was a recipe for disaster because Gert and Henriette did not have even the most basic skills or knowledge to handle the situation.
It’s clear from the adoptive parents’ attitude that they had solid prior expectations as to how well this would go, as if according to a plan. When it doesn’t, they act disappointed as if it was Masho who had asked them to adopt her, and not lived up to her part of the deal. Masho, on the other hand, looks like a caged animal, marked by the futility of her situation, struggling with grief and missing her mother, the single most important person in her life, and the fact that she will probably never see her again.
“Do not worry about the children. They will forget you. You will think about them, but they will not think about you.” — DanAdopt
“Det er nu snart fem år siden at jeg startede med at følge Masho og Robas historie. Det var den gang jeg troede at adoption udelukkende var en god gerning for børn der behøvede foreldre, og foreldre der behøvede børn. Men det jeg blev vidne til var ikke den historie full av glede og håb som jeg havde forestillet mig.”