An African American family adoptes a white child

Mark Riding’s African-American family is adopting a white girl in Baltimore.

You can listen to the story on the NPR website.

And for those who might have missed it, Lisa Marie Rollins of A Birth Project was featured a few weeks ago.

Lisa Marie Rollins, founder of Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora, wrestles with so-called baby lifting and the impact of transracial adoption. Rollins herself was adopted by a white family in Washington state when she was 3 months old.

Rollins says her birth papers described her as Mexican, Filipino and Irish. "My theory is that it was basically kind of a marketing decision," says Rollins, who writes about the transracial adoption experience at A Birth Project.

She describes growing up in a family of people with blue eyes and blond hair, not just the only black child in her town but the only child of color. In those early years, she says, "I basically am going through life with people telling me that I’m not black, when it’s clear that I am black."

Today, Rollins says she loves her adoptive family and remains close to her adoptive parents, but would like to see the end of adoption as we know it. In the present system, she argues, black women are more likely to have their children taken away and less likely to be offered chances for reuniting with them. "These are the types of things that we’re concerned about it," she says.

Check out the story here and be sure to visit Lisa Marie’s blog, A Birth Project and the Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora group.

Daily Mail: “Why did an adoption agency tell Angelina Jolie I had died of AIDS when they gave her my baby?”

Why did an adoption agency tell Angelina Jolie I had died of AIDS when they gave her my baby?

Indeed, even the most cynical Hollywood-watcher couldn’t fail to be moved by Angelina’s description of the hell from which her new daughter had been removed. The little girl’s natural mother had, according to Angelina, died of AIDS.

Malnourished and suffering from rickets, six-month-old Zahara was, it was claimed, just days away from death when Angelina found her at an orphanage in Addis Ababa, nursed her back to health and adopted her.

Although they knew Zahara had family back in Ethiopia, Angelina and Brad have chosen not to visit Awassa, the lakeside town where the little girl was born. Had they done so, they may well have been shocked by what they found.

The Mail on Sunday has discovered that not only is Zahara’s mother, Mentewab Dawit Lebiso, alive and well, but that the man who arranged Zahara’s adoption has been waging a campaign of threats and intimidation against her family.

When rumours surfaced last week in America that all was not as it appeared with the paperwork, the American headquarters of the international adoption agency Wide Horizons For Children initially insisted that Zahara’s mother was dead. And yet in Ethiopia, the man who brought Zahara to the agency knows Mentewab is alive and has been attempting to shut her up.

Last week, The Mail on Sunday travelled to Zahara’s home town and talked, through interpreters, not only to the extended family but to Mentewab herself.

read the rest here

Pacific Citizen: “Minnesota’s Adult Adopted Koreans Connect at AK Connection”

Minnesota’s Adult Adopted Koreans Connect at AK Connection

With the highest number of Korean adoptees in any state, Minnesota is in a unique position to help build networks.

   

   

At the age of 4, Kimberly "Soon-Young" Therres reached up to touch her mother’s eyelids "with their prominent folds" and wondered, ‘how come mine don’t have folds like that?’

   

It is the earliest memory Therres, now 29, has of realizing for the first time that she was different from her German American adoptive parents and two older brothers. She is an adopted Korean.

Born in Gimhae, South Korea, Therres’ biological parents made the difficult decision of putting their daughter up for adoption in 1978. By the time she was five months old, her adoptive parents had come to take her to her new home in Chaska, Minnesota.    

"I knew I was adopted, even at that young age," she said. "I don’t push away who I am because of how I was raised. I’ve always stressed my Korean blood, my Korean heritage. I’ve always felt a sense of pride about it."

Read the rest here

Don’t Stop Believing

It’s a cold, grey afternoon and the promised snow we are set to receive is just beginning to mist down on my car, the lone vehicle on this long stretch of highway. Each tiny flake melts so quickly that my wipers lay slumbering on the base of my windshield. I am driving back to the cities from a pre-Thanksgiving visit with two of my clients, teenage brothers, who are living in a residential treatment center a few hours south of the Twin Cities.

Yesterday when I spoke to their case manager, I asked if I could take them off campus for lunch. They hardly get to leave their campus. They are in foster care, and this weekend when most of their peers are going home to their families for turkey and mashed potatoes, they will be in the residential center with a few staff.

"I don’t know," says the case manager. "X was in a hold this morning and he’s really been struggling this last week."

"Yes," I respond. "He told me he is frustrated that this will be his second year spending Thanksgiving in the center. All of his friends are going home." This boy and his brother have no home. For two years they have been waiting to be adopted.

With that statement, the caseworker changes her mind. I can take them out to lunch.

I wish the case manager, also his therapist, would remember how holidays trigger these kids. I wish they would remember that when they are in their warm homes surrounded by their family and friends, that these kids are left behind, wanting that family and feeling lost and alone. Every single thing they do is under a microscope. When they have a bad day and are in a bad mood, they’re "oppositional defiant" and when they go for months "behaving" well, one bad day can send them back to day one.

The staff is planning a day of board games and movies, yet they want to spend time with me, if only because I am getting them off the campus for part of a day. Or perhaps it is because my twice monthly visits this past year have been the most they get from anyone. Maybe it is because I am looking hard to find a family who will adopt them. X wants a family. Even at age 16, he says, "I still need a family to love me." 

On the way home, I am listening to the radio and the song, "Don’t Stop Believing" by Journey comes on the air. The lyrics,

Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard

Their shadows searching in the night

Streetlights people, living just to find emotion

Hiding, somewhere in the night

I think of X and his younger brother. I think of them, how they are living to find emotion. Their county worker tells me I shouldn’t give them false hope that they will find an adoptive family, given their ages and their behaviors. But that’s my job. These kids, according to the law, have to be tracked for "adoption" as their permanency plan. That is why I talk to them about adoption. That is why they know I am their adoption worker and that I am looking for a home for them. And they want to be adopted.

I ask X if I’m giving him false hope talking to him about adoption and he says, "I’ve gotta have hope. If I don’t have hope, there’s nothing for me to live for."

And as I drive home, to a family waiting for me, I think about X and his brother.

How they are shadows searching in the night for a family. And how none of us are willing to stop believing that it can happen.

“Report urges open access to records for adult adoptees”

Report urges open access to records for adult adoptees

                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                        

Report urges access to birth certificates, adoption court files

Few issues are more heatedly debated in child-welfare circles than
whether adopted citizens should have access to their original birth
certificates and other legal documents.

In most states,
including Illinois, adoptees are legally prohibited from obtaining
those records, based on the belief that such practices best serve both
the birth parents who relinquished their children and their new
families.

   But a report
scheduled to be released Monday by the Evan B. Donaldson Institute
challenges those assumptions, suggesting that all adult adoptees should
have unfettered access to their court files and that barring them from
such personal information raises significant civil rights concerns.

Read the rest of the article here
 

“I am not a bridge”

A beautiful post by Ethnically Incorrect Daughter on Relative Choices

I love this part:

Perhaps the role of the adoptive parent could be viewed, not so much as
a bridge, but as a builder of bridges, connecting their children to
themselves and their ethnicities. As parents, the ability to find and
develop the tools is in their hands, not in the hands of their
children. Of course, there is no one solution or guarantee that it
would achieve the desired outcome. I don’t think it should be a matter
of end result, but of preparing a child to deal with the challenges
they face as they come into their own.

“Going Home”

A new film in production by ThirdCat Productions.

From the website:

We learn a new love, a new laugh, and a new cry as we uncover
ourselves with age. We might feel that this comes from our growth
within- but we cannot deny that our surroundings and our culture plays
a part.

A Third Culture Kid lifestyle embodies the adaptation of doubly dynamic
surrounding cultures.

A Third Culture Kid grows up in an environment outside of their own
parent’s native background. They discover the cultures they are exposed
to, while not identifying with one in particular.

Their lifestyle touches upon facets of candid contradictions and
interesting dichotomies. Similarly, transracial adoptees are exposed
primarily to their adoptive parent’s culture and are unable to identify
with their own genetic culture.

The documentary will explore the story of Jason Hoffmann, a transracial
adoptee. Jason, an adoptee from South Korea, has been raised by a Jewish-American family in New York City’s Greenwich Village.

As a case study, Going Home will also explore the story of Mikyung
Kim, an Adult Third Culture Kid. Although Mikyung is Korean, she was
raised in Hong Kong where she attended a British elementary school, an
American school, and finally college in Boston.

Going Home will put the spotlight on the social implications of
discovering one’s own roots. Jason will immerse himself in the South
Korean lifestyle and as he searches for his birth parents, we will see
him journey into a new world physically, mentally, and emotionally.

For more on ThirdCat Productions on the YouTube page click here.

“Scandal in Chad Raises Adoption Debate”

Back to regularly scheduled programming. From Voice of America

Scandal in Chad Raises Adoption Debate



08 November 2007

An ongoing scandal over attempts to put African children up for adoption overseas amid questions of where the children come from and whether they have families has raised a debate about child welfare in Africa. Would these children be better off with adopted families in the West? In Dakar, Naomi Schwarz looks at the questions being asked amid the latest controversy.