Reading with chopsticks

fortune cookie chronicles

Last week our family went on our summer vacation and since I have
been reading nothing but academic textbooks about research, statistics
and public policy and social work theory, I needed something to read
that was purely for fun.

That is how I ended up bringing along only food writing. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee was the first one I read. How fitting that by the time I'd finished this book, my adoptive
parents (who we were vacationing with) took us out to a Chinese buffet.
Everything I'd learned from Jennifer 8 Lee was experienced first hand.

Growing up, my only experience of "Asian" food was a local joint in
town that was what I lovingly refer to as a "greasy chopstick" (like,
greasy spoon, Asian style – I know, silly).  This place was teeny tiny,
and was mostly take-out. My parents typically ordered the same thing –
some kind of an egg foo young and chicken chow mein with loads of
celery and a thick gravy and the toasted brown crispy noodles in a
separate bag that we tossed on top. Our trips to Chinese take-out were
infrequent and my parents often complained about how sticky the rice
was. Like a lot of Euro-Americans, their idea of rice was Uncle Ben's
style – the kind of rice that doesn't stick together and is nearly
impossible to eat with chopsticks.

Reading The Fortune Cookie Chronicles brought me back to my
childhood, big time. I've always wondered why every little small town
in the middle of nowhere still seems to have a Chinese restaurant. Now
I know why.

As a Korean adoptee, who was raised without any connection or
knowledge about my country of origin, those rare dinners of
fake-Chinese food at the little hole-in-the-wall take out joint and the
Asian person at the register were the only small pieces of "Asia" in my
childhood. After I became an adult, I looked to dine at Chinese
restaurants where the Asian customers outnumbered the White ones; I
asked my Asian-immigrant friends and co-workers where they dined, knowing their highest praise for a restaurant was one that reminded them of home.
Thankfully, I had some caring friends who had come to America from all
over central and southeast Asia. They looked at me, and felt sorry for
me; that I was so lost and ignorant about my ethnicity. They were
patient and kind, and it is no exaggeration to say that a lot of my
cultural education happened around a table sharing a meal together.

I still submit happily to fake-Chinese food, but I have to say I
consider myself very lucky that I can choose from several Korean
restaurants now. And the true test for me will be when I learn enough
Korean cooking that I can make it at home. While I know that no matter
how true to form I become in my Korean cooking skills, I will never be
able to replace the experience of growing up as a Korean or Korean
American, I'm happy that I'm able to give my own children some of that
experience. For them, a dinner of kimchijigae, bulgogi, or chapchae
isn't unusual. They are used to coming with me to the Korean grocers,
helping me pick out ingredients for dinner. They don't flinch at big
jars of kimchi in the fridge or bags of dark, green roasted nori in the
cupboard. Even more, they are learning how to cook Korean food along
with their mom. Something that makes me wistful, because I didn't have
that for myself. I'll have to be content with having my Korean American
friends act as my mentor in that respect. As in my early 20s, it is
these Korean friends who have shown incredible kindness to me. They are
patient and kind. And what a gift they are giving me, by teaching me so
I can teach my children – whether at the stove or around the dinner

A Korean Adoptee reflects on a legendary “teacher”

From the LA Times

Jane Elliot, the woman who made (controversial) history by creating an exercise in her 3rd grade classroom to teach her classroom of all-white students about race following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. is featured in this article by former managing editor of KoreAm Journal, Corina Knoll. I first met Knoll many years ago when she was a student at a local college in my state at an adult Korean adoptee event.

I sometimes teach a class titled "Racial and Ethnic Comparative Analysis" for a social work BSW program in Minnesota, and the film "The Eye of the Storm" that documents this exercise is one of the films I have the students watch in my class.

In this article, Knoll talks about the impact Elliot made on her own life.

Jane Elliott has blue eyes.

The years have turned her
once-brown hair a bright snowy white, and at 75 years old she's
rounder, maybe shorter, than she used to be. But eye color doesn't

Elliott, an Iowa teacher, made deliberate use of that in 1968 when she
created a now-famous exercise for her classroom of white third-graders.
It was the day after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King
Jr., and she was struggling to explain the concept of racism.

hit upon an idea: For an entire day, she conducted her class as if the
brown-eyed children were superior to those with blue eyes. Elliott
eventually made headlines, appeared on "The Tonight Show" and became
the subject of multiple documentaries.

Three decades later, my high school sociology teacher played us snippets of a news program
about the "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" exercise. For a 16-year-old Korean
adoptee growing up in Iowa, the most fascinating aspect was this:
Elliott had made history in Riceville, two hours from my hometown.

daughter of white parents, I grew up in a predominantly white city,
attended an overwhelmingly white school and interacted mostly with
white friends. The subject of race in my community was hidden, buried
under rhetoric that insisted we remain "colorblind."

Elliott was
the first white person I ever heard who admitted to the privileges of
whites, acknowledging that visible differences affect how the world
perceives us. Her words sparked a hunger in me for more.

This part of the article really touched me.

I think about a Midwestern girl who wasted years yearning to be white,
who believed life would be easier, happier, better, if her brown eyes
were not almond-shaped, who wavered between feeling insecure and
invisible, and whose heart leaped upon learning of the blue-eyed woman
who spoke of white privilege and institutionalized racism.

Jane Elliott's work make a difference to me? Yes, so much so that I
felt the need to seek her out just to let her know. Elliott listens,
then turns away and sighs. "Yeah," she says softly. "It was worth it."

suddenly, we are two Iowans, remembering the pain of a connected past,
one of us fulfilled to have met the woman who pointed the way toward a
brighter future.

Please read the whole article.

Windows and Mirrors

"Other people are the mirror in which we see ourselves."

— Beverly Tatum, PhD., author of "Why are  all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?" [citing Charles Cooley]

I came across this quote the other day while reading, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by author and professor Beverly Daniel Tatum and it really resonated with me. I think that for transracial adoptees like myself who experienced growing up in all-White settings, it truly does reflect the cognitive dissonance we experience of knowing we are Asian (or Black or Biracial or Latino, etc) but not ‘feeling it’ so to speak, because we don’t ever see anyone that looks like us.

I’ve heard TRA’s talk about avoiding mirrors because they remind us of our difference and that we’re not really White.

According to Yeung (2003), there are three main components of the looking-glass self:

  1. We imagine how we must appear to others.
  2. We imagine the judgment of that appearance.
  3. We develop our self through the judgments of others.

Growing up, in spite of the support I received from my adoptive parents, I always felt insecure about being the "odd one out." My parents tried to compensate by telling me all the time how "special" I was, and by attempting to use the "it’s better to be unique" line – only it didn’t work for me because it rang so false. After all, they were not the ones who had to deal with being unique, I was – and as a child I didn’t have the ability to really grasp what was so wonderful about being unique. No, all I saw was difference and after years of collective experiences of being different, by the time I was a teenager the only thing I wanted was to be the same.

But no amount of the "in" jeans or the cool sneakers or flipped out hair made me same. No wonder I was struggling with cognitive dissonance! On the one hand I was supposedly so special and unique and it was valued – yet on the other hand I knew this wasn’t true for me the minute I stepped outside my front door.

Family photographs were the worst for me. I could mostly avoid mirrors on a daily basis – I just learned to lower my eyes when necessary. In the same way I learned to ignore the family photos on the walls. I ripped up photographs. In my junior high yearbooks, I erased my photo or scribbled over my face. Anything to keep from remembering that I was different.

In thinking about the Looking Glass Self, I realize now why I had such cognitive dissonance regarding my self and my identity; as Cooley and Tatum expressed, the people who were the mirrors in which I saw myself did not look like me, nor did they provide a racial or cultural model for the young person that I was and the future woman I would become. I imagined, as Yeung outlined, that I was perceived as different by the social world around me. And while my family did not judge me as different they did judge others who looked like me as different.

I thus developed my self through those around me. And sadly, that did not include positive images of Asian Americans.

As an adult, I have worked to remedy my mirror and my windows – both for me and for my children who may also experience the "looking glass self" without positive images of people who reflect them. I can only hope that what they see reflected back to them are strong positive self-identities. And that they won’t avert their eyes to photographs of themselves or scribble out their photos in the yearbooks.

And that they will look in the mirror and be proud of who they see looking back at them.

Yeung, King-To, and Martin, John Levi. "The Looking Glass Self: An Empirical Test and Elaboration." Social Forces 81, no. 3 (2003): 843-879.

© Jae Ran Kim. A building in Chicago, photographed in 2006.

Home again

(Me with John Raible and Susan Ito, the last day of Pact Camp)

I never quite get used to it. Despite growing up in a transracial adoptive family, and despite previous experiences working at a Korean culture camp, and despite working with transracial adoptive families extensively over the past 6 years, it is still a shock.

It is still a shock to my system to be in a closed environment where almost all of the adults are white and almost all of the children are black or brown.

Even after 37 years of experience, it still takes me aback.

I was invited to Pact Camp this year as an "expert." An expert as a social worker, and an expert in my life’s experience as an adult transracial and international adoptee. After all these years, I have started to believe that yes, I am an expert (that alphabet soup after my name says so, after all) and I welcome being able to finally have the credibility that for so long was refused by professionals and adoptive parents.

But I am also a student of life and incredibly open to new thoughts and new lessons. So, although I came to teach adoptive parents, in many ways I was the one who was learning.

I learned that in many ways, being around so many young transracial adoptees re-traumatizes me, because I see so much of myself in them and I fear for those struggles they are going to have. I ache for their pain and their identity struggles. I worry because I see that their parents are actually doing so much more for them than my own parents did, and yet they’re still experiencing the same things I did.

I learned that some adoptive parents are actually willing to do things like move to a diverse area; cut off ties with family and friends who are racist or who dismiss or downplay their efforts to provide racial and cultural role models for the children; I learned that some adoptive parents are advocating for adoption reform; that they are no longer keeping silent about injustices; that they are supporting relationships with their children’s birth families; that they are opening up what the definitions of family means; that they take race seriously – for their children and most importantly, for themselves too.

I learned that my fellow adult transracial adoptees are amazing teachers and inspiring human beings and that we are a diverse group of people. I learned that some of my fellow TRA friends and colleagues are far more generous than I. I learned that my fellow TRA’s are kickin’ it in their respective fields and that all together we are a powerful force. I learned that they are strong and resilient and I have learned to lean on them when I’m hurting or vulnerable.

There will be many more posts to follow about my experiences of Pact Camp, but I want to give some thanks –

Continue reading

“Girl with no country “

Unusual case leaves Allentown teen in immigration limbo for 14 years

From The Morning Call:

Fifteen-year-old Allie Mulvihill has a mom, a dad, a sister, two yappy
dogs, and a home in West Allentown. But she has no country.

The Central Catholic freshman’s quest for American citizenship has been
stymied since she was adopted from Guatemala by Lori and Scott
Mulvihill 14 years ago.

At the core of their struggle is the question of whether, unknown to
the Mulvihills, Allie might have been stolen from her biological family
and given up for adoption by a woman posing as her birth mother in a
baby-trafficking scheme.

At the heart of it are the hopes and dreams of a teenager with no
citizenship or green card, who can’t get a driver’s license when she
turns 16 in two months and can’t work legally or travel abroad. Unless
her case gets resolved, she won’t be eligible for financial aid when
she goes to college and won’t be allowed to vote when she turns 18.

This is a big deal to me – and lately seems to be everywhere in my life. On some of my list-serves, there is talk about adult adoptees in their 20s, 30s and 40s whose adoptive parents never completed their naturalization and so they are now concerned about being deported to a country where they have no family, no language and no resources. At work I am dealing with a South East Asian teenager who was adopted and the adoptive parents did not naturalize her. The child is no longer living with her adoptive family, but is in the care of a guardian and the citizenship issue came up when the teenager tried to get a summer job.

Why on earth there are any international adoptees – whether adult or still children – who are in this position is beyond my comprehension. Sometimes it’s the adoptive parent’s fault – but in this story it’s squarely the US and Guatemalan government’s fault.

You can read the entire article here.

Adoptees rights to birth certificates

I have been supporting the Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform since 2004, the group in our state that has been trying to get an Adoptee Access Bill passed that would allow adult adoptees to receive their original birth certificates. The bill passed the house and senate this last session but the governor vetoed it.

One of the reasons he gave was based on the long-held myth that "birth mothers were promised privacy" and that adoptees would go searching for their birth mothers and disrupt their lives. However, the research strongly shows that the majority of birth/first mothers are open to contact with their children.

At one of the get-togethers for MCAR, I had the chance to see relinquishment papers from birth/first moms who are now in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. None of their papers included privacy statements. These women were not guaranteed that their children would never find them; it is impossible for anyone to guarantee that. Adoptees search and find birth/first parents all the time, and birth/first parents search and find their children all the time.

I am part of a group of adoptee researchers and we meet on a monthly basis to discuss research on adoption issues. One of the things brought up as we discussed this latest veto by our governor is that despite the long-held "best interest of the child" belief, everything is about the rights and privileges of other parties involved in adoption – the birth/first parents and the adoptive parents. The adopted individual has no rights. We don’t have the right to the most basic of information.

From The Past, Unsealed by Linda Baker in Adoptive Families magazine:

Concerns about privacy and breach of confidence have always been
foremost in the argument against open records. But according to
Elizabeth J. Samuels, an adoption expert and associate professor of law
at the University of Baltimore School of Law, this stance is at odds
with U.S. adoption history. One of the biggest misconceptions about
sealed records, she says, is that they’re meant to protect the
birthmother’s identity. On the contrary, she notes, “historical
research has shown that the concern was to protect adoptive families
from possible interference or harassment by the birthparent.” The law
has never guaranteed lifelong anonymity for birthparents.

Consistent with this history, adds Samuels, are findings that an
overwhelming majority of birthparents do not object to, or actively
support, adult adoptee access to records—regardless of how they felt
when they first placed the child for adoption.

Here is a link to one adoptive parent’s support of the Adoptee Access bill. My only hope is that we’ll have a new governor next time around; one that will consider the importance of adoptees to have their family and medical history as everyone else has the right to have.

Life in the fishbowl

I’m about 3/4 of the way through Signe Howell’s book, The Kinning of Foreigners: Transnational Adoption in a Global Perspective
and while I’m finding it a very interesting read, I’m also finding myself surprisingly sensitive to feeling
like a caged monkey being poked and prodded for the purposes of
research and science.

I’m always conscious of being in this strange world as an adult transnational and transracial adoptee who is also an "adoption professional" and soon to be adoption researcher;  this third space,the proverbial fence or tightrope, attempting to balance or straddle (or whatever overused cliché seems applicable) between didactic notions of being.

Research has tried to define me in terms of these dyads – Am I more Korean or American? What has had a greater influence in my life, nature or nurture? Are we, as adoptees, researched from a perspective of our strengths or our pathologies? Studies seem to indicate we’re "well-adjusted" or completely f*ed up. What is given more credence, empirical research by "professionals" or the personal narrative?

And so it goes with how I’ve used my life in the adoption fishbowl thus far.

I think it’s pretty common for individuals who were adopted to use personal narratives as a vehicle for making connections – personal, psychological and spiritual – with each other. The personal narrative has been very important for me. Through sharing my experiences in exchange with other adoptees I was able to normalize my experiences and that helped bring me out of isolation which I’ve learned is so common among transnational adoptees.

The problem with sharing the personal narrative is that eventually it feels very pathological. Not only do you risk sounding whiny, but you also risk being critiqued. Unlike research, however, what’s being critiqued is your very essence. Especially when it seems people really want drama-filled, angst-ridden stories. We tend to gravitate towards Brother’s Grimm or conversely, Disney’s happy-ever-after endings. My life just hasn’t been that tragic nor Pollyanna. That’s why I bristle when people want to use strictly anecdotal evidence to prove a larger point.

I’m cognizant of this and so I set boundaries around what information I share. Knowing that everything that is written on a public blog is open to anyone with internet access means I sometimes struggle over whether to share something personal or whether to highlight yet another research study. Both are important; one must see one’s experience as both a singular existence and as part of a pattern of larger social behavior too. Sociologists and psychologists compare you with a cohort of others and
look for correlations in either your socialization and/or genetics with
your current status and rate you on some bell curve of "normalcy." 

I also question the dependence on research studies. Call me cynical too – it’s not that I mistrust all researchers who happen to also be adoptive parents – but I’ve learned to be wary because sometimes there are biased researchers. Either way, as I’ve said before, we need to take both into consideration. For example, I know that in a so-called random sample study on the "adjustment" of transnational and/or transracial adoptees the outcome might be that adoptees are "well-adjusted." Usually the metrics for what constitutes "well-adjusted" are things like mental health diagnoses, behaviors (often reported by adoptive parents, not the adopted individual), whether the adoptee has friends, or scores in a certain range on some ratings scale. If I were to take those research studies at face value, I’d have to agree that it looks like transracial/transnational adoptees do, in fact, do well.

But there are two concerns I have about these "adjustment" studies. I have the additional information of being closely connected to adult Korean, transracial and international adoptee groups and from personal narratives and anecdotal stories I would say the studies don’t show the whole picture. Many adoptees "look" from outsiders to be "well-adjusted." So as I told one of my former co-workers who once described me as an example of an adoptee who is "successful" – just because we appear this way doesn’t mean we don’t have or have had a lot of really hard times in our lives – and still, as adults, struggle to reconcile what we experienced with our adoptions. If those questions were asked differently or if the research was measuring other aspects of our lives, we might see some very different results.

Secondly, even if those numbers are small, they are important. For example, the number of adoptees I know who were physically, sexually or emotionally abused by their adoptive parents, for example, are shocking. Yet most adoption professionals and adoptive parents are extremely unwilling or unable to give this information any credence because 1) it’s not an empirical study and 2) the numbers are so small that compared to the large overall numbers of adoptees who aren’t abused by their adoptive parents, it can’t be considered legitimately an issue. This is where professionals and parents say things like, "the numbers aren’t any different than parents who abuse their biological children" or, "it’s statistically insignificant." And while both those statements might be valid, it doesn’t invalidate that some adoptees are abused by their adoptive parents and that it’s just wrong and adds another layer of trauma on that adopted individual.

All of this is not to debate the merits of research or conversely to promote the personal narrative but just to say that sometimes I step back and look at my life and realize how much bigger this whole adoption thing has become. I have spent years trying to make sense of my adoption and the majority of the work I’ve done has been with the help of other adult adoptees. I’m this weird hybrid of adoptee, adoption professional, adoption researcher. Three hats to wear, three-headed hydra, always trying to combine them all together. Neither the personal narrative nor the research tells the whole story. Both need to be considered as important aspects of explaining the experience. Sometimes science can provide a name to a feeling or behavior, but it just can not explain at the core what my experiences were or how they made me who I am today.

Sometimes I just feel strange being the subject and object of research. Every now and then, like tonight, reading a book about how transnational adoptees behave and think makes me realize how strange my life has become. I guess that’s part of the reason why I work and study adoption as well as live it in my own life. I didn’t want to always be looking at other people from inside the fishbowl.

“Police Officer Helps Young Korean Adoptees Adjust To Madison”

Police Officer Helps Young Korean Adoptees Adjust To Madison

Bielski Works To Answer Questions About Heritage, Background

MADISON, Wis. — Imagine finding yourself in a
new family half a world away from your home. For adopted Korean
children living in Madison, that situation is a reality.Now, a local group and a police officer are looking to unite and support those children, WISC-TV reported.Madison
Police Officer Dave Bielski, a Korean adoptee, not only delights in
explaining to children what it is like to be a police officer, but he
also enjoys trying to help young Korean adoptees figure out who they
are and where they came from.

Read the article here

Adoptee sues parents for kidnapping

Read the whole article here

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Feb. 19) – A 30-year-old woman is suing her adoptive parents for kidnapping in a case that opened in an Argentine court Tuesday, becoming the first child of disappeared political prisoners to press such charges.

Maria Eugenia Sampallo Barragan accused her adoptive parents Osvaldo Rivas and Maria Cristina Gomez Pinto of falsifying adoption documents to hide her identity. She made no comments on leaving court Tuesday.

Thousands of leftists and dissidents vanished after being abducted by security forces during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military regime, and human rights groups say more than 200 of their children were taken and given to military or politically connected families to raise.

My right to know

I know I’m opening up myself for some dissent here, as any mention of halting or slowing down adoptions from any country immediately brings defensive rejoinders, but I feel this is an important issue. I believe that the loss of the information and history of our famiiles of origin is a fundamental right that was taken away from adopted individuals (though I know many other adoptees share this position I recognize not every adoptee does).

In discussions about adoption, many people often make statements about “the rights of children to have a permanent, loving home.” Yet, rarely do I hear about another right that I believe all human beings – including children – are entitled to: that of knowing who they are and where they came from.

I have been attempting to find out information about my Korean parents for the past 9 years now, to no success. Often, people will tell me that my Korean mother may not want to be found and that I should respect that. But why are her rights privileged over mine?

When I was in the hospital recently and going through a series of tests, I had to go through interview after interview answering “I’m adopted” in response to my medical history. Although I understand that my Korean mother may have felt she had no choice – or perhaps someone else made that “choice” for her – not having any idea on my family history is not acceptable.

That is why I am alarmed to find out that in Vietnam, there has been a growing trend in children being “abandoned” when previously they were “relinquished.”

This is no minor distinction. The U.S. Embassy in Vietnam is estimating that 85% of the children being placed for adoption are classified as “abandoned” compared to 38-39% around 2000-2002. The vast majority of children adopted from Vietnam in the earlier time frames who were relinquished had at least one – and many had both – biological parents information on record.

So why the sudden growth of “abandoned” children in Vietnam? According to Ethica,

There is simply no societal reason in Vietnam for the practices to have so abruptly changed from pre-closure to post-closure. There are, of course, a few possibilities about why it is happening now. It could be happening at the direction of orphanages, at the provincial level (one agency reported that some provinces are making rules that only abandoned children can be placed), or in some cases, at the direction of agencies or overseas facilitators. It could be happening to make processing easier, or to avoid investigations. It could be happening because people haven’t thought about the long-term ramifications. There likely will be a mix of opinions about why this phenomenon is occurring. Equally likely is that there probably are several different reasons.  But one thing is certain—regardless of the reasons, there are two end results. First, children are losing their identities, an unacceptable ramification of this practice. And secondly, there is a very real risk that this behavior will affect the future of adoptions from Vietnam. 

Ethica, along with the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam, has called for greater investigation into the background of these children classified as “abandoned” and of course, that is leading to delays in the adoption process. Adoptive parents are outraged. The U.S. government and Vietnam are attempting to re-negotiate an agreement and many adoptive parents are advocating that Ethica stop its investigations because of the chance it will hurt the negotiation.

I don’t understand why any adoptive parent wouldn’t want to know for certain that their child was legitimately and legally abandoned or relinquished before they went ahead with the adoption. Cambodia’s adoption program essentially ended for this reason; there was too much evidence that “abandoned” children were actually unethically or illegally placed for adoption.

It’s not that I’m unsympathetic to the long wait time for international adoptions. I understand that the process to adopt is agonizingly slow. Two years is a long time to wait for an adoption. But this is not about the adoptive parents. This is not just about Vietnam. This is about what’s ethically just for the children involved.

This is also not about pushing people into opposite camps. It’s not shut down a country’s adoption program vs. adoptee’s rights to information. It doesn’t have to be either/or.

The desire for a faster adoption should not be the reason that eyes are closed. If even one child is found to be illegally adopted, that is enough reason that adoptive parents, agencies and Vietnam should slow down and do what’s right.

People want to say that it’s in the best interest of the child to be adopted and that causing a child to have to live in the orphanage longer than necessary is damaging. But what is damaging to me – a child who lived in two orphanages – is losing everything that tied me to my family in Korea. This isn’t in negation of or in place of  my adoptive family. This is in addition to. This is about my right to know where I came from and my history and the fact that everyone else’s needs were too selfish to consider my future needs as an adult without a family history.

Averting one’s eyes is more dangerous to the future of adoption – not just in Vietnam but in every country. It’s not about being pro- or anti-adoption this is about being ethical. Agencies and orphanages in Vietnam are lying to the U.S. Government about its practices. They are also undermining investigations by the U.S. Embassy into illegal and/or unethical adoptions.

I feel the same way about these developments in Vietnam as I do about Guatemala.

Why would anyone want to push forward with their adoption if there is a chance it is illegal or unethical?

Isn’t doing the moral thing more important than speed? Isn’t the protection of children’s rights the most important issue here?

I spent over two years living in an orphanage. If I were to find out today that I was delayed for 6-12 months because the orphanage and agency in Korea was double and triple-checking that I wasn’t kidnapped, trafficked or otherwise illegally procured for adoption, it would have been worth it.

For more about the controversy in Vietnam, check out Ethica’s positions:

Operation Identity:Cooperating to Protect the Identity of Vietnamese Orphans

Updates on Vietnam adoptions

U.S. State Department:

Vietnam Intercountry Adoption Concerns 1/28/08

Warning Concerning Adoptions in Vietnam

Other responses:

Borrowed Notes – Operation Identity

Land of the Not So Calm – Operation Identity and Vietnam Adoptions

Ethnically Incorrect Daughter – Operation Identity