Hana’s Story On a “Harrowing” List: But What About Other Adoptees?

Buzzfeed.com has compiled a list of the most compelling, troubling, and controversial stories from 2013. Kathryn Joyce’s article on Slate. com about the tragedy of Hana Alemu (Williams) is on this list of “17 Most Harrowing Feature Stories.”

You can read Kathryn’s powerful article “Hana’s Story: An adoptee’s tragic fate, and how it could happen again” here.

I’ve written dozens of posts about Hana here on my blog, and have extensively covered the murder trial of her adoptive parents. Many people learning about Hana’s story for the first time, such as through Kathryn’s article, are deeply saddened and horrified by what Hana went through. It is a wrenching story, and we need to continue to honor Hana’s memory and to work toward eliminating abuse of children.

Kathryn’s article, though, is not just about Hana. There are many now-young adult Ethiopian adoptees–survivors–who deserve our attention too, as they have lost not only their homeland but also their adoptive families. These young people are adrift, and they are worthy of our time and concern as well, as they struggle to make their way, often alone, far from all they once knew.

Internationally adopted children grow up. Adoption agencies, have, I believe, an important obligation to adoptees. It’s not enough to talk about the notion of “forever families,” when that myth shatters all too often, or to be content with fulfilling legal responsibilities only. Agencies hold a unique, extremely important obligation to speak out on behalf of these adoptees, and to help them locate the services they need to survive.

I’d love to write here about how adoption agencies are doing that, and would welcome hearing those stories.

2 thoughts on “Hana’s Story On a “Harrowing” List: But What About Other Adoptees?

  1. I understand the desire to dig deeper into a situation for reporting, but only telling the disrupted teens side of the story is like …well pick 15 US teens from families who are in cut-off from their parents. They would speak of their parents in about the same way. Interviewing failed families doesn’t tell the entire story. I would have liked to have heard some success stories as we could learn from them. It is troubling to hear the downside of very large families. Although there are superstars that can manage it, my guess is that most of us would struggle. These children and young adults have gone through more trauma than most in their lives …and whether in Ethiopia or the USA they have a long hard road to tow through no fault of their own. Very few people give them grace for that and so the backlash to their behaviors when they try to fit in or protect themselves in the only ways they know how, continues a bad cycle. I wish them well as I imagine they are lovely souls.

  2. Yes, what about the others? I have had friends and family who were adopted, or adopted a child. There are good and bad stories. Some are good and bad in the same story. But focusing on one, takes the light off the others.

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