9th Global Consultation on Child Welfare Services

This conference was news to me. I have to take issue with the statement made that "adoptees, and the adoptive parents, as well as adoption institutions, agencies and caregivers play a significant role in societal growth and development." Who’s societal growth and development are they referring to? The Philippines, or the receiving countries? It reminds me of Sara Dorow’s book, Transnational Adoption: A Cultural Economy of Race, Gender and Kinship.

Dorow writes,

"Client," "ambassador," and "gift" have the effect of characterizing adoption exchange as a service-oriented practice that, through the figure of the child [or adult adoptee], facilitates meaningful relationships among nations and peoples. (my words in brackets)

Read my take on this.

Cabral: Adoption offers hope for abandoned kids
Last updated 09:09pm (Mla time) 09/20/2007

ADOPTION will help save the lives of abused, neglected and abandoned children and laws have been passed to hold the welfare and the best interest of the child being adopted.

This was the gist of the speech of Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral during the 9th Global Consultation on Child Welfare Services in Tagaytay City.

Cabral assured adoption experts and participants that "laws have been passed that greatly hold the welfare and best interest of the child in paramount consideration whenever we speak of adoption."

She noted that while domestic adoption is encouraged, the implementation of the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 "has given Filipino children with no families a greater fighting chance to experience filial love and warmth."

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Article in Korea about a domestic adoptee

Thanks to Andrew for this link! It is rare that donestic adoptees are portrayed in the media unless it’s some melodramatic K-drama or film.

The Boy Who Ran the Marathon on Artificial Legs

Se-jin suddenly falls. The 10-year old rolls over hard, but Yang Jung-sook (30), his mother, plays it cool. "Look, the pavement was broken,” she says. Her son is running on artificial legs which, she reminds him, are made from the stuff they use to make airplanes, and they’re as hardy as you’d expect. "Wow! My legs are invincible!" Se-jin says, stands up and runs again. "I think he should learn how not to be surprised when he falls,” she sighs. “He’ll face so much trouble…" Se-jin’s legs rattle as he moves.


The Sun: “Musings: The colorful story of adoption in Iowa”

Musings: The colorful story of adoption in Iowa
by Jake Krob · September 19, 2007

Dozens of families with happy hearts filled the city park in LeGrand Saturday, fitting Holt International’s slogan, “From Your Heart to Your Home.”

Nearly 200 people from around the Midwest, mostly Iowa, gathered in this little burg between Tama/Toledo and Marshalltown. LeGrand is the hometown of a Holt adoption specialist, Lisa Muntz, who’s celebrating her 20th year with Holt. Thus, there’s a small Holt office there, one Niki and I spent time in as Lisa helped us on our own journey that ended with the arrival of Eli three years ago.

Each September, the colorful world of adoption descends on LeGrand for an old-fashioned picnic. This year, those worldly places ranged from Korea to India as 30-somethings to a beautiful little 17-month-old shared their commonalities as adoptees.

Expectant mothers of color face cultural hurdles with adoption – NPR

There are few academics I disagree more with than Elizabeth Bartholet. Here she is in this NPR story. Bartholet is an adoptive parent who adopted transracially. Love that this story features the saying "linger in foster care" phrase, which I think is Rule #1 in talking about transracial adoptions and MEPA. Let’s be clear, though, that this story is talking about private domestic adoptions, not foster care.

After reading Adoption in a Color-Blind Society, which focuses on private, domestic adoptions, it is somewhat easy to divert our attention in talking about the woman’s preference to place her child with a culturally and racially similar adoptive family by bringing up how MEPA "threw away" barriers to transracial adoption and talking about foster care. Maybe they need to revisit this article so they can report on this story with a fresh perspective.

There are plenty of African American families interested in infants. What is the agency doing to recruit and retain African American families?


Expectant Moms Face Cultural Hurdles with Adoption

Tell Me More, September 24, 2007 ·
Expectant mothers of color who desire to place their children in
adoptive care sometimes face diffculty finding other families of color
to adopt, based on cultural preferences. Betsy Bartholett, faculty
director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School, is joined
by Melanie Markley, a Houston Chronicle reporter who recently profiled one woman’s experience.

Movie “Operation Babylift”

From reader Stacy, a link to the documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, directed by Tammy Nguyen Lee.

From their website:

"Operation Babylift" was a $2 million dollar US initiative that
airlifted over 2,000 Vietnamese orphans out of a war-torn country to
protect them from the impending threat of the Communist Regime. Coined
by some as "one of the most humanitarian efforts in history," it was
also plagued by lawsuits and political turmoil. Even with the best
intentions, these adoptees grew up facing a unique set of challenges in
America, including prejudice overshadowed by a controversial war and
cultural identity crisis. Now, over thirty years later, this
documentary takes a candid look at a significant yet untold event as
seen through the eyes of the volunteers, parents, and organizations
directly involved, as well as uncovers the "lost" stories of the the
adoptees and who they have become as adults. This documentary is not
just a a historical piece, but gives a contemporary voice and
perspective on international adoption today through the eyes of the
adoptees themselves.

Read Vietnamese adoptees thoughts about Operation Babylift here, here and here.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to Examine Race in Foster Care and Adoption

Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
will hear expert testimony on transracial foster parenting and
adoption. The Commission will examine whether transracial foster care
and adoption serve the best interest of children, whether MEPA has been
successful, and how well the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services is enforcing the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA). Congress
enacted MEPA because of concerns that many children languished in
foster care as prospective parents of a different racial group were not
provided the opportunity to adopt them. MEPA’s broad goal is to abolish
racial discrimination for both children and prospective parents in
child welfare. MEPA, as amended, prohibits states and other entities
involved in foster care or adoption placements that receive federal
financial assistance from delaying or denying a child’s foster care or
adoptive placement on the basis of the child’s or the prospective
parent’s race, color, or national origin and requires states to
diligently recruit foster and adoptive parents who reflect the racial
and ethnic diversity of the children in the state needing foster and
adoptive homes in order for the state’s child welfare programs to
remain eligible for federal assistance. Critics of MEPA argue that
children are better able to combat discrimination and develop role
models to confront negative stereotypes when they are of the same race
as their parents. Supporters argue that transracial adoption serves the
children’s best interests. They also argue that children in transracial
adoption do as well as other children on standard measures of
self-esteem, cognitive development and educational achievement, among
other areas.

speakers will include Thomas Atwood, president and CEO, National
Council for Adoption; Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public
Interest Professor of Law, Harvard School of Law; Kay Brown, acting
director, Education, Workforce and Income Security, U.S. Government
Accountability Office; Joseph Kroll, executive director, North American
Council on Adoptable Children; Ruth McRoy, senior research fellow, Evan
B. Donaldson Adoption Institute; Joan Ohl, Commissioner, Children’s
Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Professor Rita
Simon, Washington College of Law, American University; and Linda
Spears, acting senior vice president, Child Welfare League of America.

When: Friday, September 21, 2007, 9:30 a.m.

Where: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 624 Ninth Street NW, Room 540 Washington, D.C.

The U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency charged
with monitoring federal civil rights enforcement. Members include
Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, Vice Chairman Abigail Thernstrom, and
Commissioners Jennifer C. Braceras, Gail Heriot, Peter N. Kirsanow,
Arlan D. Melendez, Ashley L. Taylor, Jr., and Michael Yaki. Kenneth L.
Marcus is Staff Director. Commission meetings are open to the media and
general public.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights                                          

Hankyoreh News: “The Shame of Korea’s Orphan Exportation”

I second Made in Korea‘s sentiments regarding this editorial.

The Shame of Korea’s Orphan Exportation

Cho Jeong Lae, writer and Endowed Professor at Dongguk University

There are more than 200 countries on this earth. Among these, the Republic of Korea ranks 12th economically. Every Korean knows this, and brags or gets haughty about it. And why not? Are we not a poor country that had a per capita income of US$80 in the early sixties that has since achieved per capita national income of US$20,000?

It would seem, however, that there are few Koreans who know that this country they are so proud of is the world’s 4th largest orphan exporter. This is because of a social atmosphere in which people ask what use there is knowing such things when you’re busy enough as it is trying to get ahead in life yourself. That, in turn, may be what makes being the 4th largest exporter of orphans more shameful than standing naked. Foreign media have begun criticizing this cruel apathy. "Now that Korea has become an economic powerhouse, it should stop sending adoptees overseas," they say.

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Most recent NPR series on Adoption (2007)

This is the series that was aired this summer (in fact, it aired while I was in Korea).

Adoption in America

In a series of conversations, four families and adoptees reflect on their experiences with adoption, and share the stories that define who they have become.

in this Series

Adoption in America: A Series Overview

July 23, 2007 · An adopted child changes a family forever. Families and adoptees have learned that it’s not just family photos that change — but entire family trees, family traditions and family stories that are altered by an adopted child’s own story.

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