An Adoptive Parents’ Guide to “Lions Roaring Far From Home”

We have been thrilled and honored by the response to our new book, “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees.” It has been selling well, and is at the top of Amazon Hot New Releases in Adoption.

Our hope is that the primary readers will be Ethiopian and other adoptees, especially international and transracial adoptees. From the book’s Introduction: “We want to draw attention to the particularities of being a Black adoptee from Africa, placed with white families.”

We also are hopeful that adoptive parents will read the book, especially parents of Ethiopian adoptees, and also of other international, transracial adoptees.

Front cover of the book: Painting by Ethiopian artist Nahosenay Negussie of an Ethiopian woman standing proudly next to a roaring lion.
Image description: The front cover of “Lions Roaring” book, a painting of an Ethiopian woman next to a roaring lion.

Of course, we are hopeful that the Ethiopian community, including the diaspora, will read the book, as well as family members of adoptees, along with therapists, adoption agency staff, adoption-related organizations, social workers, undergrad and graduate students, book clubs, anyone interested in reading a great collection of powerful essays. If you know Oprah, Angelina, or Marcus, feel free to share the book with them, and please connect the editors with them also. You can reach the editors and writers at the book’s website: lionsroaringbook.com.

Here are a few questions that adoptive parents have asked me about the book.

Is it a positive or negative view of adoption?

It is a “real” view of adoption. Each of the 33 writers has a different perspective as they speak their truths. The book shows the range of attitudes and experiences. It also shows a range of views based on ages, since the writers are 8 to over 50 years old. Some essays note the adoptees’ Christian faith, and call adoption a blessing. There is discussion in the book of suicide and abuse. Some essays recall experiences in Ethiopia prior to being adopted. Some writers talk about painful childhood events in Ethiopia and in their adoptive country. Some talk about ways they are giving back to Ethiopia. There is mention of optimism, love of family, and resilience. Some essays are matter of fact; some are deeply emotional.

I urge adoptive parents of children of all ages to read the book. You can then talk with your children about it, in an age-appropriate way, whether they are 6 or 38 years old. It could open up a lot of new conversations.

Is the book child-friendly?

It is not meant for young children. The book reflects a wide range of lived experiences: good, bad, sad, encouraging, hopeful, angry, grief-filled, all of it. Whatever your child’s age, they might have had or will have some of the feelings in the book.

Are there essays by adoptees adopted as infants, or who have very little information about their families of origin?

Yes. The writers were adopted at a variety of ages, some with and some without their siblings. One co-editor was adopted as an infant to Canada, and the other was adopted at 6 years old with her twin sister to the US. A Swedish adoptee, adopted at one year old and now in his 50’s, wrote an essay about his DNA search and some unexpected connections. Most of the writers have little information about their Ethiopian families regardless of age at adoption; some have strong memories. Some have searched, some have reunited. Many have not done either, for a variety of reasons.

Here are some questions I haven’t been asked by adoptive parents.

Will I be uncomfortable or unsettled if I read this book?

At times, probably. If you are not an adopted person, you may well be startled or saddened by some of the insights that the writers offer. Some of the essays may affirm your views on adoption. Some may rattle them. That’s a good thing.

Can I just give the book to my teenage or adult son/daughter/child, without actually reading it myself?

Yes. And don’t do that. We adoptive parents must keep doing our work to understand what our kids are going through, to do so with open hearts and open eyes, and to learn how ideas and attitudes can change over time.

Can I give this book to friends, my non-adopted children, other adoptive parents, my Ethiopian friends, my adoption agency, my therapist, my children’s therapist, my parents, my siblings? What about folks with no close connection to adoption?

Yes! Please share the book and information about it with those who are tightly connected to adoption, those who have the rainbows-and-unicorns view, those who might be able to bring about changes in adoption policy: everyone. Thank you for doing this.

And again, thank you to every one of our writers, and to all those who have supported the book.

Adoptee Citizenship Bill Fails to Pass Again

Our U.S. Congress has again failed to pass legislation that would grant citizenship to all international adoptees. This is deeply disappointing news, especially for those adoptees who have been deported.

Per the Adoptee Rights Campaign from their Facebook page, “S.967, the Adoptee Citizenship Act, did not pass. Unfortunately, this means H.R. 1593, the House companion bill, is also lost despite passage earlier this year…Though it is a sad day, we remain hopeful. Discussions for renewed strategies are taking place. ARC will post related updates in the next Congress.”

ARC and other organizations (among them, Adoptee Rights Law Center and Adoptees for Justice) and individuals have worked hard for years on the citizenship bill. The legislation would have granted citizenship to thousands of international adoptees, including those who have been deported.

Through no fault of their own, thousands of international adoptees do not have U.S. citizenship: their adoptive parents thought wrongly that citizenship was automatic; the paperwork for citizenship was wrongly filed, got lost, or was inaccurately processed; the adoption agencies did not provide information or oversight to the parents and families, requiring them to get citizenship for adopted children; and other reasons.

Those adoptees are now in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and older. Their legal status affects their quality of life, their peace of mind, their access to Social Security, and their connections with their families, including parents, spouses, children, and grandchildren.

The current failed legislation would have applied to adoptees who were 18 or older when the Child Citizenship Act was passed. That law granted US citizenship to international adoptees who were younger than 18 when the bill passed in 2000.

Thousands of adoptees do not hold citizenship; many might not even know it. They might find out when they vote (non-citizens can be prosecuted for voting), or get in trouble with the law (serving their time and then being deported), or apply for Medicare and other benefits at retirement.

For adoptees who have been deported, this is especially disappointing news. They thought as adopted children that they had “forever families” here in the U.S., and considered themselves Americans. One of the writers in our book “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees” is Mike Davis. He’s 60 years old, a grandfather, and is alone in Addis Ababa where he was deported 17 years ago.

No international adoptee should ever be deported.

Mike, like other international adoptees, arrived here in the US as a child with the legal permission and oversight of both Ethiopia (the “sending” country) and the United States, to be part of his American family, including his adoptive father who was a U.S. Army officer.

Please keep these adoptees in your heart. Maybe say prayers for them, and for the granting of citizenship. This is an especially hard time of year for family separations and loss, and these adoptees are often struggling and alone.

Feel free to contact me if you want further information and/or to help the deported adoptees.

Suicides, December, Looking for Hope

You may have heard about tWitch/Stephen Boss’s death by suicide. Just 40 years old, famous for being on the Ellen DeGeneres show and on Dancing With the Stars. He leaves a wife and three young children behind.

I’ve heard recently about another death by suicide: someone who seemed to have it all: family, career, health. And a dear friend of mine—we had known each other since high school—was found dead in his apartment. I don’t know the details of his death, though I know he had been ill, had been lonely, had been depressed, and died alone.

Some research:

From the Center for Disease Control: Middle-aged adults (aged 35–64 years) account for almost half of all suicides in the United States. Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death for this age group.

Veterans, people who live in rural areas, sexual and gender minorities, middle-aged adults, and tribal populations may disproportionately experience factors linked to suicide. These factors include substance use, job or financial problems, relationship problems, physical or mental health problems, and/or easy access to lethal means.

From the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention:

In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88x more than women. Almost four times more men than women.


In 2020, there were an estimated 1.2 million suicide attempts in the U.S..

Covid has brought a variety of heartache to so many people, and we continue to feel its impact. From the World Health Organization: “As people grapple with Covid’s health, social and economic impacts, mental health has been widely affected. Plenty of us became more anxious; but for some COVID-19 has sparked or amplified much more serious mental health problems. A great number of people have reported psychological distress and symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress. And there have been worrying signs of more widespread suicidal thoughts and behaviours, including among health care workers.” 

I’ve written many times about the impact of trauma in adoption, as well as the link with the gut and with race. I’ve written about the fact that an American Academy of Pediatrics study showed that adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees. Our recent book, Lions Roaring Far From Home: an Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees, is dedicated to Hana Williams and also to adoptees who died by suicide (eight are named in our Dedication). Several of the essays mention suicide.

It is a harsh reality.

And we cannot wring our hands and wish it were not so.

How to help? There are things we can all do.

Learn how to talk about suicide Asking someone if they are feeling suicidal is hard—and it can also make them feel less alone, give them a sense of relief that they can talk about it, and result in their getting needed help.

Check in on friends. So often folks seem successful and fine, and they may be: even so, take time to send a text or note or email.

Tell loved ones you love them. Tell them often. Let them know whenever you can.

Normalize tears and crying for men. Let (encourage even) men and boys to release their sorrows with tears. See that release as human and liberating.

Recognize the tyranny of social media and its impact on young people, especially. So many cruel comments. So many horrible news stories, of deaths and tragedy. We are deluged by cruelty. Give yourself a break from it, before it crushes your soul.

Learn the value of intentional breathing. Seriously. It helps with anxiety, and there is a lot of anxiety circulating these days. And share it with others.

December can be a very hard month. End of the year. In some places, the world is cold and gray, with little sun. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, there are so many messages about happy families, and going home for the holidays, and all the joys of Christmas. We are all supposed to be happy. Everyone else is happy. All those messages can conflict deeply with memories, traumaversaries, mental health, economic worries, health issues. There are strategies for dealing with the anniversaries of traumatic events, which can include holidays.

Learn about signs of suicide.

Share the 988 alternative to 911. 988 is “will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (now known as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline), and is now active across the United States.

When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.

The previous Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.”

For survivors of suicide (those who have attempted, and those whose loved ones have died by suicide), there are resources here, here, and here.

Take good care of yourself too. You matter, and we want you to stay.

South Korea Agrees to Investigate International Adoptions: This is Big.

In an unprecedented move, one that other governments will hopefully look into, South Korea has agreed to investigate fraud and corruption in international adoptions from South Korea. According to NPR, South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has said “it decided to investigate 34 cases,… which could possibly develop into the country’s most far-reaching inquiry into foreign adoptions yet.”

Further, “Nearly 400 South Koreans adopted as children by families in the West have requested South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigate their adoptions…as Seoul faces growing pressure to reckon with a child export frenzy driven by dictatorships that ruled the country until the 1980s.”

The Danish Korean Rights Group has been the leader in this effort, via Korean adoptee and attorney Peter Møller. The DKRG has filed hundreds of applications requesting an investigation, from adoptees raised in Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and the US. The adoptees, per The Guardian, “say they were wrongfully removed from their families through falsified documents and corrupt practices.”

The investigation, according to Spectrum News, is rooted in “a broad range of grievances emphasizing how scores of children were carelessly or unnecessarily removed from their families amid loose government monitoring and a lack of due diligence. 

Perhaps more crucially, the country’s special laws aimed at promoting adoptions practically allowed profit-driven agencies to manipulate records and bypass proper child relinquishment. 

Most of the South Korean adoptees sent abroad were registered by agencies as legal orphans found abandoned on the streets, although they frequently had relatives who could be easily identified and found. This made the children more easily adoptable as agencies raced to send more kids to the West at faster speeds. 

‘None of us are orphans,’ said Peter Møller, attorney and co-head of the Danish Korean Rights Group, as he described the group’s members who filed the application. 

“(In) a lot of papers, the Korean state at the time have stamped papers that say people were found on the streets. If you do a little bit of math, that would mean that from the 1970s and 1980s Seoul would be flooded with baskets with children lying around in the streets. … Basements will be filled with lost child reports at police stations.

Some of the adoptees say they discovered that the agencies had switched their identities to replace other children who died or got too sick to travel to Danish parents, which made it highly difficult or often impossible to trace their roots. 

The adoptees called for the commission to broadly investigate the alleged wrongdoings surrounding their adoptions, including how agencies potentially falsified records, manipulated children’s backgrounds and origins, and proceeded with adoptions without the proper consent of birth parents. They want the commission to establish whether the government should be held accountable for failing to monitor the agencies and confirm whether the uptick in adoptions was fueled by increasingly larger payments and donations from adoptive parents, which apparently motivated agencies to create their own supply. 

The adoptees also called for the commission to push Holt Children’s Services and the Korea Social Service — the two agencies that sent kids to Denmark — into providing full access to the entirety of their adoption documents and background information. They also say all those records should be transferred to government authorities handling post-adoption services to prevent the information from being destroyed or manipulated.”

It is extraordinary and highly significant that South Korea has agreed to this investigation of fraud and duplicity. Will other sending countries follow this important example and do the same?

“Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees” Now Available on Amazon!

I could not be more thrilled to announce that “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees” has been published. You can purchase it (Kindle or paperback) on Amazon.

It is the first ever anthology by Ethiopian adoptees. The 33 writers hail from six countries, and they range in age from 8 to over 50. The essays and poems present a range of views on adoption, and each one is insightful.

Book cover with painting of Ethiopian woman standing proudly next to a roaring lion
Cover art Copyright Nahosenay Negussie

All of the writers are Ethiopian adoptees. They were raised in the U.S., Canada, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Australia. Two currently live in Ethiopia.

The co-editors are Aselefech Evans, an American Ethiopian adoptee, Kassaye Berhanu-MacDonald, a Canadian Ethiopian adoptee; I am also a co-editor, and am the adoptive mother of Ethiopian twin daughters as well as two sons born in the U.S.

Deep gratitude to each of the amazing writers for this groundbreaking book.

Debra Parris, European Adoption Consultant Staffer, Sentenced for Horrific Adoption Fraud and Corruption via Uganda and Poland

Debra Parris, a staff member of the adoption agency European Adoption Consultants, was sentenced November 4 “to a year and a day in prison for bribing Ugandan officials and lying to Polish authorities about the adoption of a girl, who was later raped,” according to Cleveland.com.

The full Cleveland article is here.

The judge said Parris’s healthcare needs caused him to sentence her to less than the recommended sentence of three years. He also ordered Parris to pay a $10,000 fine and $118,197 in restitution to 42 families. He allowed her to self-report to prison by Jan. 9, unless the Bureau of Prisons directs her otherwise.

Among the victims of Parris’s crimes was adoptive parent Jessica Davis. Upon learning that her adopted daughter from Uganda had a loving family and had been fraudulently placed by European Adoption Consultants, Davis and her husband returned the child to her Ugandan mother. You can read more about the family here.

At the sentencing, according to Cleveland,com, “Davis gave a tearful statement during Friday’s hearing, conducted via Zoom. She pleaded with the judge to give a harsh sentence to send a message to adoptions agencies that fraud can’t be tolerated.

‘I waited for this moment for a long time, specifically for Debra,” Davis said. “You caused a lot of people pain and suffering.'”

Jessica Davis and her family took action that many adoptive parents would not, and they handled their adoption with integrity when they returned the child. The Ugandan child is, by all reports, thriving back home with her family.

Also from the Cleveland article, “Parris in November pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiring to commit fraud. Two others— Cole and former agency employee Robin Longoria— also pleaded guilty in the case. Cole, who also had serious health issues, was sentenced to three months in prison. Longoria was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, similar to Parris.”

European Adoption Consultants caused unconscionable damage to children and their families. While some justice is served with the guilty pleas and in the sentencings of the agency staffers, I wonder what restitution the Ugandan and Polish children could receive. The case of the Polish child is horrifying.

Jessica Davis wrote this on CNN in 2017:

“The travesty in this injustice is beyond words. I must be clear in the following statement: My race, country of origin, wealth (though small, it’s greater than that of the vast majority of people in the world), my access to “things,” my religion – none of these privileges entitles me to the children of the poor, voiceless and underprivileged.

If anything, I believe these privileges should come with a responsibility to do more, to stand up against such injustices. We can’t let other families be ripped apart to grow our own families!”

National Council for Adoption Releases New Report on Adoptive Parents

The National Council for Adoption recently released, in their words, “the largest survey ever conducted of adoptive parents.” You can read the results here: “Profiles in Adoption: A Survey of Adoptive Parents and Secondary Data Analysis of Federal Adoption Files.”

Here are a few of my observations, and, as an adoptive parent, I hope that adoptees and birth parents (and adoptee- and birth parent-researchers) will weigh in.

The NCFA survey was funded by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and by Gift of Adoption, which has dispensed some $14 million in adoption assistance grants to adoptive parents.

Responses were from 4,212 adoptive parents—representing 4,135 households and parents to 6,608 adopted individuals—residing in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. These adoptions occurred between 1966 and August 2021, with 74.9% completed since 2010, including 55.9% since 2015.

90% of the respondent adoptive parents were white. (Latine/x 3%; Black 2%; Asian/Asian Pacific Islander 2%, American Indian/Alaskan Native 1%; Multiracial 1%, with 0.6% reporting “other.”)

Whether private infant adoption, intercountry adoption, or adoption from foster care, around 80% of the adoptive parents are Christian/Catholic.

In terms of income, 72% of adoptive parents in private domestic adoption had an income over $75,000. The percentage was 62% for intercountry adoptive parents and 54% for parents who adopted from foster care.

In terms of education, 81% of adoptive parents in private domestic adoption had a bachelor’s degree or higher. The percentage was 84% for intercountry adoptive parents and 63% for parents who adopted from foster care.

The survey looks at Special Needs in adoption, and, astonishingly to me, on page 40 has a category titled “Mental Retardation.” Since Congress passed Rosa’s Law in 2010, the preferred designation is “intellectual disability.”

The survey does not note the ages of adopted children at the time of adoption, nor of the current ages of the adoptees. I believe that information would have been useful to the analysis.

The survey did not shy from using what some in the adoption community see as language of commodification: “Adoptive parents were asked five questions related to their satisfaction with adoption. Overall, adoptive parents expressed very significant satisfaction.” (Some in the adoption community see this phrasing as akin to “product or purchase satisfaction.”)

Indeed, here are the “Key Takeaways for Adoptive Parents’ Satisfaction:

• A large majority of adoptive parents find their role to be rewarding and satisfying.

• With the perspective of lived experience, adoptive parents report they would still make the same decision to adopt their child.”

Adoptive parents of International adoptions were also asked about their satisfaction with Intercountry Adoption Service Providers. Adoptive parents through private domestic adoption and through foster care were not asked (or results were not included) about their satisfaction with their attorneys or other service providers.

There is much to be parsed from the survey answers regarding race. As previously noted, 90% of the respondent parents are white. In the case of transracial adoptions, the survey says “A large majority of adoptive parents who have a child of a different race/ethnicity seek to participate in activities to incorporate elements of the child’s race, ethnicity, and culture.” While that may be a basic first step, it’s hardly a strong example of much needed anti-racist education. The words “racism,” “colorblindness,” and “anti-racism” do not appear in the report. (Here is one example of the perspective of Black and brown adoptees on how their white adoptive parents handled race: “I know my parents love me, but they don’t love my people.”)

From the section in the survey on Future Research: “The National Council For Adoption views this report as just Part One of a three-part series examining profiles in adoption. There is no single survey, focus group, or data set that can tell us everything we would like to know about adoption. In Part One, we heard from adoptive parents. We also intend to hear from birth parents and adopted individuals in upcoming research reports. Taken together, the three reports in this series will give us a fuller picture of adoption.”

I find it striking and not surprising that the first report is on adoptive parents, the people who hold and have held the most power in adoption policy. (One could argue that white, financially secure, well educated Christians have long held the most power in our society overall.)

The two authors of the report are Ryan Hanlon, the executive director of NCFA, and Matthew Quade, associate professor of business management at Baylor University. Both men are adoptive parents, and both hold PhDs.

I look forward to reading the NCFA reports on birth parents and adoptees, as to the numbers of respondents, the demographics (race, age, education, income, etc.), their perspective on “satisfaction,” whether they would still make the same decisions (adoptees of course rarely have agency in the adoption decision), and noting who funds the surveys of adoptees and birth parents. I hope the authors of the next two reports are themselves adopted persons and birth parents. I also hope the survey-takers contact the birth/first parents of international adoptees, and I look forward to reading those results.

I look forward to a time when all children have safe, loving families, and when children are not removed from their families of origin due to poverty, economic imbalance, or systemic racism. I also look forward to the equitable distribution of funding and of pre- and post-adoption services to all birth parents (including International birth families). I especially look forward to deeper, well funded, accessible, and equitable advocacy for family preservation.

United Nations Report Calls for End to Illegal, Fraudulent International Adoptions

The United Nations Human Rights Commission today issued a report titled “Illegal intercountry adoptions must be prevented and eliminated.” It is the culmination of work done by global experts, in light of increasing awareness of fraud and other illegalities in adoption.

Here are some highlights from the press release:

  • “In certain conditions as provided for in international law, illegal intercountry adoptions may constitute serious crimes such as genocide or crimes against humanity.”
  • “They also called for setting up independent commissions of inquiry to establish facts surrounding allegations of illegal intercountry adoptions and determine the responsibilities of all parties, facilitate the search for origins and propose adequate reparation measures for victims. ‘States shall ensure that all victims, including those adopted in the past, receive the assistance they need to know their origins,’ they said.”
  • “They also called for setting up independent commissions of inquiry to establish facts surrounding allegations of illegal intercountry adoptions and determine the responsibilities of all parties, facilitate the search for origins and propose adequate reparation measures for victims. ‘States shall ensure that all victims, including those adopted in the past, receive the assistance they need to know their origins, they said.”
  • “For instance, States should create a DNA database that includes genetic samples for all cases of wrongful removal, enforced disappearance, or falsification of identity that have been reported, with the specific purpose of re-establishing the identity of victims of illegal intercountry adoption.”
  • “Victims of illegal intercountry adoptions have the right to know the truth.”

Several adult adoptee groups were involved in the inquiry that resulted in the UN report. According to Lynelle Long of InterCountry Adoptee Voices (ICAV) via LinkedIn:

“Many thanks to my colleagues who worked together in our coalition called Voices Against Illegal Adoption (VAIA), led and initiated by Mariela SR Privé, to work with the UN on this statement. We all gave input to the draft, I also presented on behalf of VAIA on 10 March, and we will be presenting our body of evidence and work to the UN at an upcoming meeting in 2023.

Many thanks to our coalition members: 

Fondation Racines Perdues – Raices Perdidas – (RP) 
Chilean Adoptees Worldwide (CAW) 
Collectif Adoptie Schakel 
Intercountry Adoptee Voices (ICAV) 
Empreinte Vivantes – Adoptés belges du Sri Lanka
Plan Angel 
Collectif des adoptés français du Mali
Collectif des parents adoptifs du Sri Lanka
Rwanda en Zoveel meer
Association DNA
Back to the Roots
Collectif des adoptés du Sri-Lanka
Child Identity Protection (CHIP)”

I’ve no doubt many experts, in addition to adult adoptees, were consulted as part of issuing a report such as this. Among them, according to the UN, were the following: The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice and Reparation, the Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children, and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

I hope that adoptees, adoptee groups, adoption agencies and providers, international child welfare organizations, and all those connected with intercountry adoption will review this report carefully to bring about long overdue changes to the international adoption industry.

Hundreds of Korean Adoptees Petition for an Investigation Into Their Adoptions

The Danish Korean Rights Group (DKRG), an adoptee-centered organization based in Denmark, has petitioned the government of South Korea to investigate adoptions for fraud, and to ensure that agencies do not destroy adoptees’ documents.

Korean adoptee Peter Møller of the DKRG spoke recently in Seoul. This is an excerpt.

“Today I have handed in 232 new application to the (Truth and Reconciliation) Commission. 163 from Denmark and 69 from countries other than Denmark, from adoptees placed around the world, including the USA, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium…

We add to this declarations of support from adoptees placed by adoption agencies other than Holt and KSS, and adoptive parents…

I have received many inquiries from all over the world, and most adoptees are very worried…adoptees are afraid that the adoption agencies will destroy and dispose of our original documents to prevent the truth about adoption from South Korea from being known.

DKRG has had reasonable grounds to suspect that falsification of adoptees’ documents has occurred to enable overseas adoption…An example:

The adoptee Ms. Stephens from the US writes to me: ‘I was told by the social worker, Mrs. Kim (KSS), that most likely the name provided as my mother’s was a false name, probably changed by a KSS employee. In making me an “orphan,” KSS erased my mother’s identity from my records, making it impossible for me to find her. It is my belief that my mother wants me to find her as she wrote letters to my father and sent him photos of me. My father died before I could meet him.’

I am standing here with a letter from one of the adoption agencies, and this letter proves that this is precisely what happened. Let me read it out loud to you. This is a letter to an adopted person:

‘First of all, I would like to apologize for the mistake in your adoption file written in English. It says you were transferred from Namkwang Children’s Home in Pusan to KSS for international adoption. In fact, it was made up just for adoption procedure, and now I would like to share your adoption background as written in the original paper,’ quote Ms. Lee, KSS…

DKRG has decided to write a letter to the President of Korea, in which we urgently request the Korean government and authorities to protect the adoptees’ original documents and protect the adoptees from reprisals.”

Møller’s full statement is here.

Zoom Meeting with Mike Davis, Deported Ethiopian Adoptee: Rescheduling

UPDATE: Unfortunately we need to reschedule this Zoom meeting. probably until September. We really appreciate the concern and support for Mike and his family. Please feel free to send me a message (via the Contact page) if you have any questions. Thank you.

POSTPONED:

Please register for this Zoom (info is below) and share widely! Thank you.

Join us Sunday July 31 at 9am pdt for a Zoom with Mike Davis, an Ethiopian adoptee who was deported to Ethiopia in 2005. Mike’s wife Laura, who lives in the U.S., and perhaps one of their sons, will also be with us.

Mike is almost 60 years old. Born in Addis Ababa in 1962, he was adopted when he was around 8 years old by a U.S. Army officer who was stationed in Ethiopia. In 1976, when Mike was 14, he and his dad returned to the U.S., with the legal approval of both Ethiopia and the United States. Mike grew up on military bases, and believed that America was his forever home. He had several small businesses, such as pizza place and a gas station. He married and had children. About 30 years ago, he got in some legal trouble, and accepted the consequences. He has had no trouble with the law since. Nonetheless, because he had less than excellent legal representation and could not prove citizenship, he was deported.

Yes: the U.S. government deports people who were legally brought as children to the United States for the purpose of adoption. The U.S. deports people who had no choice or agency in their immigration, and who arrived here with the legal sanction of both the United States and their country of origin. The U.S. deports people who were adopted to so-called “forever families,” people who had no means of responsibility for the processing of their citizenship, and then returns them to countries where they have no family, friends, language, or other connections.

Mike’s beloved dad passed away in 2012, and he could not, to his great sorrow, attend the funeral. His sons have grown up without him, and his wife has worked hard to support the family and to encourage Mike. He has grandchildren he has never met.

Mike is one of the writers whose essay is included in our book, Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees. The Ethiopian adoption community, and many other folks, want to help Mike. The co-editors of Lions Roaring, Aselefech Evans and Kassaye Berhanu MacDonald, Ethiopian adoptees themselves, are a pivotal part of this effort.

Mike Davis, in Addis, 2021 via Also-Known-As interview

Our Zoom conversation with Mike and his family will take place on Sunday July 31 at 9am pacific time. (Please double check your time zone!)

Here is the link to sign up for the Zoom conversation:


Sunday, July 31, 2022 09:00 Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpfuuupj8qGtdnFk7HXtVEdFL7KIZ20X48

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We hope to raise awareness about adoptee deportation, and its unfair, devastating effect on adopted people and on their families. We will also be fundraising for Mike’s legal, medical, and living expenses.

Please join us.