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Welcome! Feel free to use this blog as a resource for researching international adoption. Courtesy of www.vancetwins.com

A Book Review for The Last Invisible Continent: Essays on Identity and Adoption


Click Here for Link to MAP's book!
The Last Invisible Continent: Essays on Identity and Adoption by Michael Allen Potter (MAP) explores a real adoptee experience in an articulate and intuitive manner, properly balanced between logic and emotion and (thank God!) without the fairytale fluff.
During MAP’s journey to recoup identity, the author manages to stay in tune with his inner self, honestly relaying personal and universal defining moments. The reader is gifted with the real deal and a multi-dimensional account on life, loss and gains.

There are so many elements that constitute MAP. His experience as an American orphan turned domestically adopted person touches even me—a transracial and intercountry adoptee. I found that I resonate with his essay “God is Electric, Jesus is Electrochemical” the most.

In the effort to obtain adoption documents, like so many of us adoptees naturally do, he returns to the Catholic orphanage for answers and, as he says, “some sort of vague accountability” in pursuit of his real family.

“All I really wanted was a picture of my father or my mother. All I wanted was my sister’s address or my brother’s phone number. Something. I wanted my fucking family back.”
Somehow, influenced by orphanage portraiture, pleasantries and propaganda (seasoned by authoritative “suspicion and disapproval”), he maintains enough composure to be able to relate his tale authentically.
“I have been pushed through the phases of Catholic family farming: baptism, Sunday school, first communion, and confession. I have come out on the other end mangled and dubious.”
I truly believe that the reader will be able to connect with at least one of the many layers that constitute MAP’s identities. The Last Invisible Continent makes me think of all the domestically adopted citizens camouflaged within the United States who so deserve to be acknowledged.
Pick up the book and live vicariously through MAP. And if you’re adopted give yourself permission to search for a portion of your own truth. Take this collection of essays along with you as a newfound friend.
You can’t dismiss great writing. I am now a MAP fan! Click HERE for a link to his book on Amazon!
Janine Vance

The Missing Link

Global Times | 2013-9-29 5:03:01
By Zhang Yiqian

 American parents tour Nanjing, Jiangsu Province with their adopted Chinese kids in 2006. Photo: CFP
American parents tour Nanjing, Jiangsu Province with their adopted Chinese kids in 2006. Photo: CFP

When he was a single man well into his thirties, Brian H. Stuy, now 53 and married, had no control over when he would find the love of his life - but he knew then that he could do something to fill that paternal void inside of him.

Like many parents anxious to skip past years of waiting on adoption lists in the US, Los Angeles-born Stuy turned to a Chinese orphanage. From Dianbai, Guangdong Province in 1997, he brought home 8-month-old Meikina. She was a joy that filled his life with everything that he had hoped for, but he knew that she might one day wonder about her birth parents - so he decided he owed her the effort of trying to find them.

On a trip to China in 2000, when he was introduced to the woman who supposedly found Meikina, Stuy was eventually pained to learn that his daughter was the victim of a scam - she hadn't been found on the streets like her adoption papers said.

"Back when I adopted her, the woman who claimed to have found Meikina was able to describe the spot Meikina was found at, the clothes she was wearing and the basket she was in, but when she was interviewed by my wife in 2010, she couldn't remember a thing about it," he told the Global Times.

Stuy said he used to think that the China adoption program was a "beautiful thing," but that was before he knew what he knows now.

The revelation that many adopted Chinese children do not come from where adoption agencies or orphanages in China say they do was life-changing for Stuy. He has since devoted his days to finding out the truth about the Chinese children who are adopted by American parents - and even the search for Meikina's birth parents continues to this day. 

His work materialized into Research China in 2003, a small business that he runs out of his Utah home, where he now resides with his Chinese wife, Lan, who he met in 2002, on one of his trips to China.

At the core of the business is Stuy's subscription-only blog (The Rest of the Story), which publishes information he and his wife - with the help of some dozen fixers in various pockets of China - uncover about children in China who are adopted by American parents.

Stuy also takes on specific cases at the request of American families, who want him to zero in on the family history of their Chinese child, a process that involves travel to China, recorded interviews at orphanages and the help of their fixers, who are based mainly in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangdong Province, where hundreds of Chinese orphanages adopt kids out to American parents.
American Brian H. Stuy runs the website Research China. Photo: Courtesy of Brian H. Stuy

American Brian H. Stuy runs the website Research China. Photo: Courtesy of Brian H. Stuy
'Heartbreaking work'

After marrying in 2004, Stuy and his wife together adopted a child from a Luoyang orphanage in China named Meilan. Like Meikina, Meilan was also later found to be tied to some adoption scam: Meilan's birth parents had been told that their daughter would return home after receiving education in the US.

The Chinese parents in Henan Province, who Stuy finally managed to track down in 2009, still believe the Stuys are her English teachers.

"When my wife met them, we didn't have the heart to break the sad news to them," he said, explaining that when 12-year-old Meilan finishes school it will be up to her to decide whether she stays in the US or goes back to China - but admitted the latter is unlikely as his "all-American-girl" has no interest right now in returning to meet her birth parents.

Stuy said that the harsh and devastating reality is that an alarming number of American parents have adopted Chinese kids who were obtained through illegitimate means. He believes that a majority of the some 25,000 cases he has looked into over the years, involving Chinese kids adopted mostly by American parents, were the result of some kind of adoption scandal.

But because it is so hard to track down the birth parents for many of these kids, he has only been able to prove that some dozen of the children were indeed passed to orphanages or adoption agencies in China by child-traffickers. And in each of these cases, none of the Chinese children have gone back to their birth parents - and learning the truth has been extremely hard on both the Chinese and American parents, said Stuy.

Yet Stuy said that the heartbreaking work needs to be done to give adopted kids the chance to learn the truth about themselves one day.
"And when adopted kids start asking questions, most parents want to be able to show their children photos of and share information on what their lives were like before," he said. "Our work allows for that."

Rose Candis adopted Erica at the age of 2 from a Qujiang orphanage in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province in 2005. When Erica became curious about her birth parents, the 46-year-old mother from Ohio turned to Stuy - and she later learned from him that Erica was likely sold off by child-traffickers the same year Candis adopted her.

At first, Candis had a hard time accepting the news.

But it's better to have bad news than no news at all, she said.

Seeking the truth   
Earlier this year in July, Chinese and foreign news reports exposed that doctors in Fuping, Shaanxi Province, had told parents their newborn babies were born with severe complications and did not survive and instead sold the babies to orphanages.

Stuy said that this is an area to look into in the future. He also suspects that the rising number of Chinese children with a disability appearing at international adoption agencies may suggest other illegal activities.

But even as Chinese authorities openly vow to crack down on child-trafficking, not all American parents with adopted Chinese kids want to acknowledge that their children may have been snatched before being sold to an orphanage or adoption agency.

Before the $20-yearly subscriptions were needed to access Stuy's blog in 2007, American parents in denial would frequently post messages, saying "shut up , or don't shut down the program, stuff like that," he said.

"There are still American parents who disagree with what I do - they think I'm running on some kind of ulterior motive, trying to get these orphanages shut down," he said. "But I don't have an agenda. I just want these kids to have the truth, even if it turns out to be hurtful."

"At the end of the day, I believe that the truth can be a liberating force in the life of an adopted child," he added.
Click here for direct link to article

China: 200,000 children abducted and sold yearly




Children rescued from child abductors in 2006 sit in the Panlong Public Security Bureau in Kunming, Yunnan
Children rescued from child abductors in 2006 sit in the Panlong Public Security Bureau in Kunming, Yunnan
China National Radio’s www.cnr.cn said in its report titled Around 200,000 children disappear every year, only 0.1% found back, “According to various different statistics, in China the incomplete statistical figure of disappeared children every year is about 200,000.
“Those found and returned roughly account for only 0.1% of the figure.
“Behind the figure of disappeared children, there are stories of various different families. An art exhibition on missing children happened to open on June 1. The creator is Li Yueling.”
“Li Yueling said: We now only display, pictures, but they will soon send TV sets here. There are 61 pictures along with the documentaries provided by 61 parents that will be played simultaneously.”
Those are all pictures of missing children and their parents’ documentaries, to be displayed in order that viewers who know the whereabouts of any of the children will give clues for finding the children.
The reporter interviewed quite a few parents and told their sad stories. Some of them have put an end to their successful careers to travel full time all over the country to look for their children.
SCMP says in its report titled Police dismiss report that 200,000 children abducted in China yearly, “Police denied the (www. cnr.cn) report. ‘This figure is untrue. There is no basis for it,’ Chen Shiqu, the head of the Ministry of Public Security’s department in charge of handling children abductions, said in a microblog post. The office was set up in 2007.
“Last month, Chen’s department said it had solved 54,000 cases of trafficked children between April 2009 and the end of 2012.
“The trafficking industry was ‘booming’, Chen said in April. Traffickers buy children for about 30,000 yuan ($4,827) and sell them for 70,000 yuan to 90,000 yuan, he said.”
http://www.cnr.cn says, “A visitor says: Things can be bought and sold but not human beings. A human being’s personality is insulted when bought and sold. He/she is deprived of his/her dignity and feels being turned into a lifeless object. That hurts very much. The shame cannot be really understood if one has not personally experienced it.”
http://www.cnr.cn says in its report, “Zhang Zhiwei, Director of the Human Trafficking International Cooperation and Protection Centre of China University of Political Science and Law, has taken part for years as a volunteer in publicising the campaign against abduction, and for rescuing missing children. Let’s hear his view on what ordinary people can do.
“Zhang said: It is very important for the community and public to take part in the campaign. It so happened that once in Nanjing, a couple brought their grandson with them. The child cried and made trouble all the way. Twice, passers-by brought them to a police substation for enquiry as passers-by suspected that the child had been abducted. It was later proved to be a false alarm, but at least it proved people’s enhanced awareness of the problem.
“The simplest things ordinary people can do are forwarding microblogs, studying the issue on their own or spreading and publicising information about the issue. Those are things they can do. If they have more time and energy, they may join some non-governmental organisations that fight against abduction of children. There have been quite a few volunteers who have single-handed helped dozens of families to find their abducted children in a few years.
“Many people know that buying an abducted child is a criminal act against the law, but in the administration of law, no criminal liability has been affixed to almost all such buyers. Even if such liability does have been affixed, they receive relatively slight administrative punishment, which means nothing in terms of punishment. The cost of committing the crime is very low. I think that we should make more severe the criminal punishment for the crime of abducting children as soon as possible.”
Note: It’s no use to solve the problem even if the crimes of abducting children are severely punished. Trafficking of abducted children is now a booming business controlled by large criminal gangs that have nationwide networks. I suspect that they have connections with, and are protected by, corrupt local police in quite a few areas as corruption is so rampant in China and the business is so profitable.
News about the arrest of dozens members of such gangs are quite common in China.
The key problem is that there is a huge market in rural areas for abducted children. Rural people are willing to pay 70,000 to 90,000 yuan ($11,300 to $14,500). What does that amount mean? It means a family’s savings for several years.
One month ago, there was a story on CCTV that a peasant bought a boy six years old as he already had two daughters and was not allowed to have any more children due to strict birth control. The boy was abducted by two criminals who killed his mother in order to abduct him and his younger brother. The peasant did not care how the boy became available, nor the officials and the villagers in the peasant’s village. They just kept the information secret, but the boy had the memory of the murder and abduction.
When the boy had left the village and become a skilled migrant worker in a large city, he tried hard to find his father and brother for years. With the help of lots of enthusiastic urban volunteers, he finally found his father and brother 19 years after the abduction.
Where did the boy get the leads? With the help of the volunteers, he forced his adopt father to tell him who sold him to his adopt father, and had the seller arrested for the crime. The seller confessed and told the police where he bought the boy and through further tracking they finally found the murderers and dug up the bones of the boy’s mother in the courtyard of one of the murderers in a small city far away from the boy’s adopt father’s village. DNA test proved the bones were the boy’s mother’s.
Through similar tracking, the boy was finally reunited with his younger brother.
The most difficult was to find his father. The boy remembered the appearance of the house and the village he lived in. He remembered his mother, he and his brother walked a long way to the city to do some shopping and that his mother was murdered and he and his brother were abducted there.
He searched in the villages around the city and did not recognise his village when he went there as the villagers have become rich and pulled down their old houses to replace them with new ones.
Quite a few volunteers from various cities visited all the villages around the city to enquire whether there was a man who lost his wife and two sons 19 years ago and were thus able to find the boy’s village as some villagers there still remembered that event.
My advice: If you and your young children look like Chinese, keep your children close by your side when you are in China.
In the above-mentioned exhibition, the parents who have lost their children, told the reporter that some vans stopped by the side of their children and someone got off and grabbed the children into the vans and immediately drove away. The parents just did not have time to respond. As the vans had fake license plates, they were unable to track the vans.
If you are a young woman, be careful when you are alone in China. There is a true story that a woman was abducted when she was 23 and sold for 30,000 yuan ($4,827) to a peasant. The peasant forced her to be his wife and give birth to two children. She was maltreated for 5 years until she was rescued by the police mid May, 2013.
I will give the full story tomorrow.
Sources: China National Radio’s http://www.cnr.cn “Around 200,000 children disappear every year, only 0.1% found back” (excepts translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee) and SCMP “Police dismiss report that 200,000 children abducted in China yearly”
 

Link to news source

Guatemalan mother seeks 'stolen' daughter's return from U.S.

(CNN) -- Loyda Rodriguez says she can still remember the day her daughter was taken.

What began as a simple walk home from a shopping trip more than five years ago became a nightmare, she says.

"November 3, 2006, is when they stole my daughter," she told CNN Thursday. "I had left to go shopping. When I came back, I did not realize that a woman was following me. When I entered my house, my daughter stayed on the patio, and that was when she was taken."

But that account is not what she has told other news organizations in describing what happened that day.

In 2008, she told ABC News a woman appeared in her backyard and grabbed her out of her arms, while she was trying to enter her house.

Last year, the Associated Press reported that Rodriguez felt someone tug at her daughter as she tried to enter her home, and then turned to see a woman get into a waiting taxi, along with her young daughter.

And the El Periodico newspaper reported that Rodriguez said she left her daughter on the patio with other children while she went to deal with clothes on the terrace.

Reached Friday by phone, Rodriguez told CNN she does not remember telling ABC or anyone that the girl was snatched from her arms. She said she's given multiple interviews on the case, and stood by what she said earlier -- that she left the girl outside after returning from a shopping trip.

It all happened in about two minutes, Rodriguez said.

Now, the 7-year-old girl is at the center of an international custody dispute. She is a child with two identities, in two countries, with two sets of parents who claim her as their own.

In Missouri, they call her Karen. In Guatemala, she is known as Anyeli.

Guatemalan authorities say Anyeli was snatched from Rodriguez and sold to an international adoption agency.

Last year, a Guatemalan judge ruled that the girl belonged with Rodriguez and not with her adoptive U.S. parents.

The Guatemalan government suspended adoptions in 2007 after authorities found multiple cases of falsified birth certificates and paperwork, as well as alleged thefts of babies.

This week, the U.S. State Department weighed in on the case of the 7-year-old girl, saying a U.S. state court would have to decide whether the girl should return to Guatemala, because when the incident happened, the two countries had not yet signed an international treaty dealing with abducted children.

"Our view remains that, at the time, this appeared to be a legitimate adoption. So again, our preferred course of action would be for any claims to be pursued in the state courts of the United States," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Rodriguez told CNN she was devastated by the news.

"I feel very sad, and I am still suffering, because I had hope that the United States would respond to me and would return my daughter. ... I do not know why they are unfair, because I have my rights, because I am her real mother," she said.

In Guatemala at least 10 people have been charged with human trafficking in connection with the case of this adoptive girl. So far, two of those people have been convicted, and the others are awaiting trial.

That's more than enough proof, Rodriguez says, that her daughter should come home.

"There is very important evidence, which revealed that she was stolen from me, and DNA evidence proves that I am her real mother," she told CNN.

However, a source with knowledge of the case told CNN that while Rodriguez's DNA matches the DNA of a child brought to the embassy in Guatemala, there is no evidence the child in question in the United States is the same child tested at the embassy.

Also, questions have been raised about whether the person presenting the child at the embassy was, in fact, Rodriguez's sister, which casts doubt on the kidnapping story, the source said.

Guatemalan authorities say the adoption agency falsified documents to make the girl eligible for adoption, something that the adoptive parents in Missouri apparently didn't know.

Rodriguez says she now hopes to go to court in Missouri to get her daughter back.

The adoptive parents were unavailable for comment, referring CNN to their lawyer in Washington, who declined to comment.

Last year a family representative said the adoptive parents would "continue to advocate for the safety and best interests of their legally adopted child. They remain committed to protecting their daughter from additional traumas as they pursue the truth of her past through appropriate legal channels."

Link to CNN Article

International Adoption’s Trafficking Problem

The Illusion
International adoptions have an illustrious fa├žade, conjuring images of couples saving a hungry, orphaned child and living happily ever. While imagining international adoptions as a corrupt business is abhorrent, connections to child trafficking have recently arisen. Accordingly, the State Department reports that though Americans adopted 22,991 international children in 2004, the implementation of The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption brought about a precipitous drop to 9,319 adoptions in 2011.

Over the past decade, Western investigative journalists led by Scott Carney have published on hidden realities. Despite the illusion that there are more orphans available than parents looking to adopt, there is insatiable demand for children from the developing world, particularly healthy infants.

With this enormous market, many opportunities exist for profit seekers. Promises of astronomical adoption fees motivate orphanages to ensure a steady supply of children. This causes orphanages to resort to drastic measures, even occasionally paying kidnappers directly. According to Carney’s reports in his book The Red Market, the problem is particularly rampant in impoverished Asian countries. Malaysian Social Services, located in Chennai, India, has paid about $236 per child, while China’s Hunan Province hosts institutions that openly purchase children openly for up to $350.

Western adoption agencies are not immune from temptation either. Notably, employees of Zoe’s Ark, a French charity, attempted to fly 103 “Sudanese war refugees” from Chad in 2007. Police later determined that most of the children had been taken unwillingly from their families in Chad.

Link to the remaining article

Elder slams NT forced adoption plan

AAP
An indigenous elder is pleading with Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles to scrap plans to address Aboriginal child neglect via forced adoptions.

Mr Giles has warned that Aboriginal children are being left with neglectful parents for fear of creating another stolen generation.

The first indigenous head of government in Australia has flagged placing Aboriginal kids in adopted homes if their parents don't take responsibility for them.

But in a letter obtained by AAP, elder Djiniyini Gondarra, who represents 8000 Yolngu people of east Arnhem Land, urges Mr Giles to have a rethink.

"We vehemently oppose your proposed policy to take away our children and give them up for adoption," Dr Gondarra writes.

"We already live under such heavy control, with no respect. This will paralyse our people."

There is an urgent need for more family support programs in indigenous communities, Dr Gondarra adds.

"We need your help to do this, not your punishment and more pain for our people."

Dr Gondarra writes that the healing process since the federal government's 2008 apology to the stolen generations would be ruined if forced adoptions were reintroduced.

"What you now propose to do is to tear open the bandages and cut us again," he says.

Community dysfunction is caused by decades of poverty and further exacerbated by the disempowering policies of the federal and NT governments, Dr Gondarra says.

He disputes Mr Giles's claim that only one child has been taken away and given up for adoption in the Northern Territory in the past 10 years.

About 60 children are being taken away every month by child protection services, he says.

"Children are being taken away from us at numbers not seen since the stolen generations."
The Yolngu child has a spirituality, "skin", culture, language and a place in the community.

"You are committing a deep wrong by taking that away," he tells Mr Giles.

Dr Gondarra's community supports kinship-care placements and direct negotiation and resolution with parents, extended family and clan leaders.

Source of Article:
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/elder-slams-nt-forced-adoption-plan-20130520-2jw5t.html

Author's Excerpt: Chapter 1

Excerpt from The Search for Mother Missing: A Peek Inside International Adoption

[ Post Korea 2004

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. —Lao-tzu

On the drive home from the grocery store, I spot the sign again: “Korea Post.”  A surge of urgency runs through my blood. I’ve seen the local newspaper before, but was too timid to actually go in. Only two weeks from now, my sis and I will be in Seoul, South Korea! As a stay-at-home mother of two and caregiver to my disabled father, the upcoming trip is a rare opportunity to focus all my attention on me.
The sign reminds me of my sister’s comment. “Janine,” she had said, confirming my trepidations about the trip, “Our trip to Korea might be the only chance we’ll have at finding our birth parents. We might never get to go to Korea again.”
Because I am of Korean ethnicity, most fellow Americans might think that I am not a “real” American citizen. But I am. I haven’t even explored my Korean roots and I’m already thirty-two years old! I come from an all-American Caucasian family, so I’ve never identified myself as a “real” Asian. According to what I had heard while growing up, Asians were supposedly odd people who were not wanted or needed and could go back where they came from if they didn’t like it here. All they did was steal jobs from the American people. I assumed “real” Asians ate gross food and got good grades. Why would I want to associate myself with such foreigners? Of course, as an adult, married to a man born in Vietnam, I now know all those labels have been lies. But back when I was a child and only exposed to white society--they were considered civilized and all other colors were “wrong.” I was supposed to follow my parents’ footsteps and become a conservative Republican Christian adult—because that’s who my parents wanted me to be and that’s who they were.
My sister’s comment runs through my mind again. Our trip to Korea might be the only chance we’ll have at finding our birth parents. We might never go to Korea again.
Her comment motivates me to turn the van around. I’ve avoided the possibility long enough. Since it’s now only two more weeks until we leave, I have to go inside! My heart pounds. I wonder if the newspaper staff will translate the letter I had written to our Korean mother. I had written a letter to my birth mother in anticipation of the Adoptee Gathering. I want to get it into one of the major newspapers in Seoul, perhaps before our trip, so our Korean family might read it and meet us at the hotel. There could be a slim chance our biological parents have been looking for us; and if not, I’d like them to know that we are currently looking for them. I’ve been stashing my adoption papers and the letter to my birth mother in the van for weeks, just in case I would find the time or the courage to actually walk into the office and ask for help. I know if my twin had the opportunity, she’d be right beside me. But she’s at work—always at work in multiple nursing homes teaching patients how to regain their independence after an injury or surgery. She loves her job and work keeps her busy.
I swerve into the parking lot that serves several professional offices, which face Puget Sound. A cool salty mist blows off the water and refreshes me like a damp cloth placed on my forehead. I enter a large periwinkle building, where the Korea Post is accessible by an internal door located inside a corridor, and peer into a side window. The office environment is not rushed like newsrooms shown in American movies. In fact, the opposite. The two women hunched in front of computers look approachable.
Having rarely been around Koreans, I wonder how the women will receive me. I remember being around Korean women only once when I was a kid. My Caucasian mother had taken my twin and me to a Korean American church potluck. My adoptive mother felt a bit uncomfortable and so it was the last time we ever socialized with anyone of Korean ethnicity.
For most of my childhood, my conservative Caucasian parents tried to uphold an all-American status. My dad collected American cars. My mom collected delicate white porcelain dolls. She wore beauty products from Avon and decorated the house in JC Penny and Sears attire. She dressed my sister and me in fluffy pastel Easter and red velvet Christmas dresses and Mary Jane shoes. We ate jarred spaghetti sauce over noodles or sweet and sour chicken over boxed Uncle Ben’s rice. We ordered pizza on Friday nights.
My all-American parents believed it was their duty to take us to church each week for activities such as Sunday school, youth group, and mid-week services—in a Cadillac Limousine, no less. My sister and I lit the candles on the front altar. My mom played the organ, my dad directed the choir. There was nothing Asian about us; we were the all-American family. I believed I was a typical American girl. My environment was all white. It was I who was all wrong. It was I who did not match my all-American environment.
I peek through the Korean Post window again and see the two Korean women sitting peacefully at their desks. Will they be offended that I don’t speak the Korean language—the language I’ve been told by some well-meaning adults that I’m supposed to know?
After a few moments of silence, I grab the chrome doorknob and muster up enough courage to tiptoe into the office.
Both Korean women raise their brows, startled at my sudden intrusion. The older one in the yellow dress stands. “May I help you?”
“Yes. I am looking for my birth parents.” I intentionally speak out, like a confident American. “I was adopted when I was a baby.” (Most people, when they look me over, might assume that I’m in my early twenties because of my petite physique. Sometimes, it can be a struggle to be taken seriously or even acknowledged.) “There’s going to be a huge adoptee Gathering—” I notice a man peek around the corner from a far office. Am I too loud? I lower my voice. “Um . . . there’s going to be a conference in Seoul two weeks from now. I was hoping you could—”
The woman in the yellow dress stands from her desk, points at the door I had entered and then walks me toward it. Scared she wants me out of the office, my heart skips a beat. Is she kicking me out already? Oh, relief. She’s only taking me by the door to the table and chairs. Still, I feel guilty for wasting her time. Maybe I shouldn’t be looking for my birth family. Maybe it’s none of my business. Is it even normal for adoptees to look? Maybe I’m out of line.
“Please have a seat,” she whispers, pulling out a gray padded chair near a small round table.
Waiting for the woman to return, I twirl long damaged hair into knots with nervous fingers, wondering if I’m doing the right thing, wishing Jenette was with me instead of at work. I stare at the walls, naked with pale plaster as drab as a hospital gown. They seem to beg to be colored with more than just a journalistic hand. After a minute, the woman returns with a pen and a yellow legal pad. I explain about our trip and that we will be in Korea for two weeks. I spread the few documents given to us, when our adoptive mother died, on the table with the letter to our birth parents on top.
“Excuse me. May I read your letter?” The woman in yellow asks.
Sliding the white paper toward her, I pray that she will somehow get this translated and sent to Korea.
To our Korean mother:

My twin and I will be at the Adoptee Gathering in Seoul, South Korea, this coming August, which will be our first trip to our motherland. We are very much looking forward to discovering our roots—something that has remained a mystery to us for all our lives. We would like to meet our birth parents if possible. There is no anger or resentment and you should not feel ashamed. We had a good life in America and consider ourselves to be very lucky. Even though you have not played a part in our lives, you have been with us on a subconscious level. Our adoptive mother passed away from cancer seven years ago and our adoptive father sustained a head injury when we were twelve and is now physically disabled. It is now time to meet physically so that we may heal the past. Please e-mail us with any information you have. We look forward to getting to know you.
Sending peace, love and joy to Seoul,

The Vance Twins :):)
While she skims my typed letter, I see her swallow hard and then I hear her breathe heavily. It’s obvious that the letter has made an emotional impact. She jots notes and asks for our Korean names, being careful to get the spelling right. She motions me to follow her to the computer while she looks up web sites that could possibly help us. At last she finds Holt International’s Korean web site (the agency we were adopted through). A page with photos of adoptees looking for birth parents pops up. As she scribbles Korean writing on the legal pad, she assigns the younger woman to scan Jenette’s “Intake Form,” the letter to birth parents, and her adoption papers into the computer. My papers were never given to me. She e-mails these documents, along with my authorization, to Holt’s Seoul office along with a note that Jenette and I will visit the Post Adoption Services Office in August. She also sends my permission to release whatever birth files are necessary upon our arrival. We’d like to visit the street we were said to have been found on, according to Jenette’s intake form, and visit either our foster parents or the orphanage we were placed in.
The woman paws through a stack of files, finally pulling out copies of maps and directions to the buildings, all located in Seoul. All we will have to do is hand the map to the taxi driver. From her desk, she stops and studies me for an instant. “Don’t give up hope. Reunions can happen,” she reports. “A while ago I helped an adoptee reunite with her father.”
I am amazed that she is doing this for us. “Thank you,” is all I can say.
The woman in yellow silently follows me out the door, into the corridor, and then finally to the parking lot. Once I reach my van, she surprises me with an outburst, “I’ll be praying for you!”
I think to myself. “I did it!” It’s the first time we’ve ever made a move to learn about our past! It’s the first time we’ve attempted to look for answers about ourselves!
Because there’s hope, now, and an opportunity to actually meet our birth family, I’ve begun imagining the reunion. I’ve never done something so outrageous before . . . to actually meet members of my Korean family seems like a fantasy . . . a dream. Even though I have everything a human being could want and should consider myself extremely lucky, something is missing. I’m not sure if it’s due to not having a close relationship with my adoptive mother or being separated from my Korean mother or not experiencing cultural identity or not knowing my life’s origin. Something is missing. But I don’t dwell on it. Or have I? What are other adoptees thinking, wishing, dreaming? Or does it even matter?
I imagine that meeting our natural mother will be a copy-cat version of “The Swan,” a reality television program where producers take a “nobody” and after an extreme make-over, untangle her into a “somebody.” Jenette and I will have to prepare for such an event, a fairy tale come true! I imagine how newsworthy the reunion will be. Major Korean newspapers will write headliners on their front page: “Twins Originally Found in Box Are Finally Claimed!” And “Long Lost Parents Finally Find Their Beautiful Daughters!”
Jenette and I will have to spend hours preparing for our reunion in a closed room. Korean experts, specializing in the styles best suited for us, will choose classy outfits from famous designers. Of course, in my made-up vision, we’ll have to try on many dresses to find our favorite one. The best make-up artists (familiar with Asian skin) will apply our make-up without making comments about the shape of our eyes or what they call our “yellow” skin color, and hairdressers (who actually know how to manage black Asian hair, instead of being shocked and awed by it) will know which products to use to hold our thick hair in an elegant updo for special events. They’ll even find a sparkling tiara to crown us with, just like in the popular beauty pageants I’ve seen. In my dreamy reunion, my birth family will be sweating in the front room having no idea what to expect, wondering who we most resemble. Everyone will be nervously sipping green tea to calm nerves, anticipating the moment of the “Big Reveal” just like on “The Swan” reality show. Soon it will come time for the lights to dim.
Not long ago I had even consulted a Tarot Card Web site, typing from the keyboard: will I find my birth family? Dorothy and the “Wizard of Oz” card appeared on my computer screen:
When Dorothy appears in your reading, follow your destiny and proceed on your life quest. Develop your confidence and spiritual strength. You may be exploring and perceiving unusual realities at this time. Your dreams may be colorful, profound, fun, or adventurous. Keep a notebook of your nocturnal experiences. This may also be the time for an actual journey in the physical world. Remain open to the entire range of possible destinations. Take action to make your visions come true. Eliminate the fear of getting lost and making mistakes. Your helpers and guides will direct you home when your magical adventure is about to end.
Hmm. Seems applicable. My mind jumps into the childish fairy tale reunion. We’ll be surrounded by the media. The crowd hushes when it’s time for the moment of truth. A spotlight flashes on. We face our Korean parents for the first time. Omma or mommy will recognize us immediately. Ahboh or Daddy will cry at the sight of us. A magical glow surrounds the four of us. In them, I see a reflection of me, or who I could be. There’s a weird knowingness in the air. Just by gut, we understand both of them. We may even laugh the same way. Jenette and I can finally be ourselves . . . free to embrace, unbound by agency-induced adoption laws. Our Korean parents will then push us to the trembling arms of extended family—people who resemble us. For the first time in our lives, we won’t be the minority. For the first time in our lives we won’t be so obviously different compared to our adoptive family. At last, Jenette and I won’t be the odd ones out. New relationships develop with relatives who remind Jenette and me of ourselves—no longer hidden; no longer are we lost from them. The honeymoon begins.
Snap. Blackness. A void. I rebuke myself for fantasizing. Okay. I know. I know. I should know better . ... The fairy-tale is a little ridiculous--stupid even. I’m asking for way too much. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to ever meet my family. I need to get my head out of the ground! I remind myself that I should know better. Adoption agencies warn adoptees against looking for our Korean parents, saying they might not want to meet us. I should stop day-dreaming and stay focused on reality. I scold myself: Stay focused on reality. Stay focused on reality. Stay focused on reality. Damn it, stay focused!
 

Blog has Expanded

The purpose of the blog has expanded from archiving newpaper articles in the effort to protect potential adoptive parents to, also, protect the parents of adoption-loss (and the public) from pro-adoption perpetrators.

FROM YESTERDAY:

Lifting the veil on international adoption to help potential adopting couples make an educated decision to adopt or not adopt based on worldwide newspaper articles, mourning unacknowledged families and adoptee experiences instead of being solely influenced by multimillion dollar adoption agency advertising campaigns, which target the child and abandons the family and community.

TO TODAY:

**Raise global consciousness on the hidden side of adoption.
**Share enlightened and heartfelt perspectives on adoption issues based on real experiences.
**Offer preventative and alternative solutions for an industry currently in flux.
**Protect vulnerable families from a lucrative industry that has targeted children and abandoned mothers (and fathers) on a worldwide scale.

About Adoption Truth And Transparency Worldwide Network

Adoption Truth & Transparency
Worldwide Network
Facebook Group
Join the AdoptionTruth and Transparency Worldwide Network Facebook Group.
*A worldwide meeting place, news hub, and  human rights advocacy space for families separated by adoption. We shed light on the hidden side of adoption.

cofounded by: The Vance Twins (www.vancetwins.com).
We support the work of Against Child Trafficking (ACT) at www.againstchildtrafficking.org. ACT promotes the full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).It gives children the right to know and be cared the child’s family by birth.

 Mission Statement: -to monitor, find resources, scrutinize, investigate, critique adoption policies and procedures, raise awareness, and share diverse adoption experiences.

We offer a full description of adoption as opposed to the one-sided stories promoted by agency advertising and marketing campaigns. Your voice matters. Let your voice be heard. TOGETHER we are strong.


Who are we? We are not just adoptees—we are adoptees with a purpose. We are advocates and activists for proper implementation of the UNCRC. We advocate for the rights of mothers, fathers, children and families severed by adoption, and against the present adoption system. We also provide articles and blogs to educate the mainstream on the history of adoption and current worldwide practices. We question and analyze the adoption industry on a global level, not just a national one.

Out of consideration for the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to adoption, please refrain from using the word "birth" mother, "birth" father. This word has been used by the adoption industry in an effort to belittle and take advantage of vulnerable parents. Parents of adoption loss prefer the terms of first, natural, original (or no precursor at all) to refer to them.
This is the first public group that has invited all members involved in adoption to participate in a discussion. Until now, families of adoption-loss have been excluded from the industry dialogue  and from adoption policy making. We are the first public group to invite parents of adoption-loss to speak about child protection. Please understand that the topic is very sensitive and personal for all involved—especially for parents of adoption-loss and adopted people. Many members have been aware of unethical adoption practices for many years but  resisted by the mainstream from sharing stories, therefore, comments by some members might be blunt in nature. Critical point of views might be construed as extreme or radical by those who are not aware of human rights in accordance with the United Nations or have been sheltered from all sides of adoption.

Suggestions while participating include:

· Enlighten up – Let’s support each other! Remember, we are educating the public on the hidden side of adoption. The priority is to inform and spread awareness. Angry emotions toward the corruption and scandals are normal and acceptable.
· Self-Monitor - Make sure that whatever you post comes from a place of receptiveness and understanding. Enjoy each other’s knowledge and experiences.
· Allowance – Allow that all members have their own opinion - agree to disagree.
· Non-judgment - Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. It's human nature to help others.
· Detachment – If you’re hit with resistance, don’t take comments personally.
· Protect - If you feel insulted or unsafe, placing a “FB block” can help.

Due to the sensitive nature and very personal experiences, we cannot be responsible for the attitude and actions of members. The discussions can be heated so please be considerate of everyone's life experiences. No threats please. If discussions explode out of control or defeat the purpose of our mission then we have the right to 1.) Delete threads 2.) Remove members

To track complete adoption news and CEO earnings, go to: http://poundpuplegacy.org/   

If you are looking for a missing family member or if you are an adopted person, you are welcome to post your search on: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Search-for-Mother-Missing-a-peek-inside-international-adoption/507330895960230?fref=ts

An Adoptee on Adoption

"I got really addicted to reading Janine's book.
It was fascinating and worth my time.
It opened up a totally different world to me
and made me think about a lot of things.
--K. Norton
HI FRIENDS! I'm Janine Vance, the author of The Search for Mother Missing: A Peek Inside International Adoption. For almost a decade, I've kept my mouth shut about intercountry adoption while independently researching for my book and, instead, collected newspaper articles from around the world (probably an unconscious effort to try to comprehend the insanity of what I had been reading), which makes this site more of an archive than a blog. However, behind the scenes, I've also written a ton about adoption and just kept everything to myself. I plan to start sharing my thoughts on this blog.

Just a little note: prior to my trip to S. Korea to look for my Korean family, I was a typical advocate of adoption. In fact, I had no idea that anyone contested it at the time—who would have the audacity to question the great people who professed that they were "saving orphans"? Of course, I had only been aware of the one-sided perspective of the practice. I had no idea that profiteers used megapreachers and its members to attract potential adopters under the veneer of doing "God's work." Some even profess and preach that adoption is the "Christian" thing to do and that GOD wants you to adopt. Adoption has become more about targeting children and abandoning the rest of the family.

It's time to offer a perspective that comes from an orphan > adoptee > mother > human rights advocate > activist. Before you think of adopting, watch out for high agency fees! Many adoptive parents have discovered that agencies are really wolves in sheep’s clothing. Even "ethical" adoption facilitators have been known to have potential adoptive parents (PAPS) fill out all sorts of documents in an attempt to prove that PAPS are upstanding citizens capable of raising a child. But also scrutinize the "ethical" adoption facilitator. Do not be afraid to demand that they prove to you that the children they are showcasing are really ORPHANS--without a mother, father, siblings and extended family, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins who could later disrupt the family you are trying to make.

Potential adoptive parents, be sure to police the agency! Make them prove to you that the children are literally orphans--and not what they call "paper" or "social" orphans, which means that they really do have a family that also needs support--who are really kept in the background. Have the agency employees provide you with the DEATH CERTIFICATES of the children's parents or family members before you apply give them your money. Do not be surprised if these agencies continue to ask you for heavy fees--some people have been drained of their savings. You will read that some couples who have hoped and prayed for a child have even paid up to $60,000--money that could have helped to preserve families and help with kinship care, where the children do not lose their identities.

Also, do not be fooled by religous adoption agencies who advertise beautiful brochures exhibiting what they call in adoption rhetoric "languishing" or "withering" children, like in times past. The great majority of the children's families are alive. In fact, because of the worldwide web, we now know that many families (from the other side of the world) are missing children. Some vulnerable families see intercountry adoption as glorified white-collar child trafficking. Adoption lobbyists, lawyers and special interest groups, even some beneficiaries have been able to change laws in the countris they've entered to side with them, and legalized the removal of children from vulnerable families. It is very sad to see this happening in a world that is supposed to be evolved and enlightened enough to know better.

My book, The Search for Mother Missing: A Peek Inside International Adoption is an introduction to the adoptee community based on my trip to Seoul, South Korea for the 2004 Adoptee Gathering where more than 400 Korean-born adoptees (sent to fifteen countries) traveled back to our homelands--some for the first time--to celebrate and contemplate intercountry adoption. That was only the beginning of my quest into the world of adoption. I had no idea at the time that I would discover adoption from the other side. All I had wanted was to hear my own Korean mother's voice. Well, like they say, watch out for what you ask for!

Still looking for our Korean family, born 1972.


Janine Vance
Visit www.vancetwins.com to learn more about me.

A Korean-born Mother's Perspective on Adoption

Letter to the Guardians of the UNCRC:

For most of my life I believed in the idea of adoption. I did not know I had a choice to believe otherwise. Now I believe it’s an antiquated and unnecessary practice and the idea has been used and abused by individuals who claim they are working for the children’s “best interest.” If one is really an advocate for the best interest of children, than one would listen to and be receptive toward individuals (families already separated) who have already mourned and grieved over the losses. If one is really an advocate for the best interest of children, one would consider progressive and enlightened answers in regards to child protection and care. Because of Against Child Trafficking, I have become aware of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, and I have become an advocate.

My trip to South Korea sparked my interest into knowing my rights as an adopted person. After much research thereafter, I discovered that since the adoption industry’s inception (a little more than a century ago), the mothers’ voice on the practice has been missing--in fact, their voices have been completely non-existent--especially during the adoption industry’s policy making. This floored me. The only thing I wanted to hear was my mother’s side of the story, and it was the only piece of the puzzle that had been completely left out of the dialogue. This is one of the reasons my sister and I started the Adoption Truth and Transparency Worldwide Network FaceBook Group. We wanted to hear from the mothers. We wanted to offer them a (non-judgmental) platform from which to speak. We needed the mothers to be included in the adoption community.
We learned that some mothers live in unnecessary shame and guilt. Some of them, to this day, blame themselves--decades after the event--caused by the stigma of losing their children to adoption. Many have not yet been able to release the trauma of losing their children. We learned that some mothers are angry. What they had been told by adoption facilitators were lies in a subtle and or forceful (yet legal) effort to obtain their babies for wanting couples in the name of adoption. Most of all, we learned that many mothers are uniting and becoming empowered. Because of the internet and social media, they have banded together, investigated and discovered the truth about adoption. My sister and I are pleased to be able to provide a space for which open discussion for families (separated by adoption) can come together and discuss the industry.

My sister and I advocate for mothers to let go of any shame and guilt. You deserve to be heard. Even if you had left your infant on a hospital doorstep or a drop box,* you should have been helped and not stigmatized. All mothers go through moments of fear, anxiety, and even terror when faced with becoming a new mother. Sadly, adoption facilitators, we have learned, have become masters of capitalizing on this quandary—so much so that they have kept the shame alive for as long as they can. One example is the way they have told adoptees that mothers do not want to be found. Mothers from the Adoption Truth Group have revealed that most mothers want to be found and many have worked tirelessly for adopted people to have open access to our birth certificates. When adoption facilitators speak for you to us (adoptees), about you, they take advantage of your voice again. They have been speaking for you—convincing the mainstream (and sometimes even you) that you don’t want your children when, in fact, the actions of aware and empowered mothers prove otherwise.
*For mothers who truly cannot accept the responsibility of motherhood even after counseling that encourages her (rather than dissuades), Temporary Guardianship is an alternative that does not void out a child’s identity or require documents that falsely state children are "orphans." Temporary Guardianship is also in accordance to the proper implementation of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child. Temporary Gaurdianship is a humane solution to a temporary problem.  

We encourage mothers (of adoption loss) to release any residue shame or guilt and share your side of the story—don’t let the adoption facilitator speak for you! You will find that it was not uncommon for mothers to have been heavily influenced, coaxed and cajoled by a money-making industry. The Girls Who Went Away, the book by Ann Fessler, showcases how mothers have been (unnecessarily) forced into the relinquishment of their newborns in the U.S..

Adopted people need parents (of adoption loss) to claim your authentic power and speak from an empowered self. No more hiding. No more shame. To tell you the truth, there is no way we could have survived what you have lived through--to make a decision in one’s life caused by self-doubt and then to be prevented from ever having contact with your child and stigmatized for the rest of your life, is an unjustice against you. You should have been encouraged and helped—not ceorced (overtly or covertly) into a situation that benefits wanting couples moreso than ensuring your own well-being and the life of your child.
As an adopted person who was told that I was an abandoned baby and believed this tale without question for more than thirty years, I ask that you please protect the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to the best of your ability. The UNCRC is the only protective measure that people like us –adoptees—have that ensures that we have a  right to our own family instead of being sent overseas and into the hands of strangers like adoption zealous facilitators are eager to do. It is a pure binding treaty that has been untouched by individuals and groups who benefit financially from the adoption industry. Some people profit from each adoption. They use children as commodities, but deny their actions or justify their actions as a “win-win” situation—sometimes they even claim that God told them to take action against the mother. They only see us "so-called orphans" as babies to be moved, but do not face the fact that we grow into adults and live a life-long sentence of wondering (about our first-family) and wandering the earth searching for them. Am I your daughter? Are you my mother? Father? Sister? Cousin?

Adoption facilitators do not want us to find you. There’s a risk that the truth will be revealed if we do, although very recently (and after considering the voices of empowered mothers) many “ethical” adoption agencies have changed their campaign to make appearances and therefore gain public approval. They would like you to think that intercountry adoption is “in the best interest of the child” or “child protection” and they will continue to use adoption rhetoric claiming that “every child deserves a family,” until someone calls them out on it. 

As one with experience, I’d like to be “stuck” with my own family—the one I was born into. I do not approve adoption. To erase a child’s identity without that child's approval (falsify birth records, “legally” remove us from our own family of birth—a family and country in which they deem incapable of raising us—to a foreign one they deem “capable”) has hurt thousands of families left behind.

For every family they decide to help, another family is hurt. Are my (unknown) elderly Korean parents now languishing and withering on the streets of Korea? Who will take care of them? Will you?
My Korean family is just as important to me today as the so-called “loving forever family” agencies had sent me to forty years ago. One thing that agencies do not consider is that babies grow-up and develop  the ability to think. Why am I not permitted to know or have access to my family? Why should the agencies social workers have the right to know the identity of my family, but not give me that same right?

As someone who has been taken from my Korean family and issued a legalized false document “Certificate for Orphanhood,” I should have a say in this matter. Where are the police reports proving that my parents had been searched for? Similar to how US adoptees have falsified birth certificates, adopted people from South Korea have a false document, stating that we were "orphans," placed in our file by Holt. This false document was a "legalized" requirement so that they could process us overseas and charge a fee.
Beware of adoption facilitators who have for many years manipulated their way into the law. They have reworked UNCRC's description to benefit themselves and in the name of “protecting children.” To those who have been unnecessarily removed from families, adoption is not adult protection. What about when the child grows-up? Please do not allow strangers access to children. With the bloodgates left ajar, they have demonstrated that they do not control themselves. With more than 4000 adoption facilitators in the US, there is fierce competition between them. Every person yearns to be a “savior,” fiercely motivated by the hope to be accepted into the gates of heaven. Even my adoptive father who has read the bible cover to cover thirty-four times knows that separating families is not the way to enter win God’s grace.

Many couples flaunt the idea of children from Africa, South America and Asia. You have no idea what it is like to be used as a life-long charity decoration. If you did, you would stop the insanity. Facilitators target the children and abandon the children’s families. Poor parents are unable to fight back. I have for 40 years adored the adoption agencies and their facilitators. But now that I know how some have operated (within their organizations), I am siding with the voiceless. Please promote the UNCRC because everyone else has ignored it or manipulated the whole story of adoption into something useful for themselves. Issues that I believe need to be addressed are:
  • US ratification with United Nation Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),
  • Adoption policies and procedures should be re-examined from the viewpoint of families of adoption-loss, which includes scrutinizing the Council on Accreditation and Joint Council on International Children Services,
  • Include and place priority on the voices of families adoption loss: Adoption would not be considered “child protection” but more along the lines of cultural genocide, child trafficking, human exploitation, and an UNCRC violation against vulnerable first-mothers, first-fathers, first-families and children and other members of the first-family (like aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents),
  • Re-examine the need for adoption from secrecy to total transparency,
  • Correct the adoption documents given to the adoptive parents for children who were claimed to be orphans by agency facilitators, when in-fact the children were not orphans,
  • Follow and endorse the investigational work of Against Child Trafficking (ACT),
  • Redefine the word “orphan” back to its original meaning,
  • Ensure (or enforce) that the US respect that all other countries (except Somalia) have ratified the UNCRC,
  • Act as UNCRC Guardians ensure proper implementation of the UNCRC (without the interference of adoption lobbyists, special interest groups and adoption beneficiaries),
  • Create a place for adoptees to report adoption abuse and the right to revoke their displacements (which happened without their consent)
At the moment the UNCRC Guardians are interlinked with adoption agencies who have the agenda to ignore the UNCRC even some self-professed critics of adoption insist that adoption is not forced cultural and family genocide upon innocent children. Families of adoption loss believe, however, in the proper implementation of the UNCRC. For we have experience: for every family helped by adoption, another family is hurt. History has demonstrated that for every family built by adoption, another family is separated.

I believe that children should have a right to their "own" family--not "a" family or "any" family like the agencies have used in their rhetoric to obtain the rights to children and create laws to sanction their business. 


*credit needs to be given to the Against Child Trafficking Team for their expertise and insight into the issues concerning separated families worldwide.