Adoptees Holding the Mic, Literally and Otherwise: Adoption Mosaic at Heritage Camp

It may be overdue, but there is no doubt that the views and voices of adult adoptees are increasingly being heard—including the challenging ones.

I recently presented at the COFFEE Ethiopian Heritage Camp that takes place near Mount Hood in Oregon. The weather was beautiful, and the energy from the kids—biking, skateboarding, swimming, playing basketball, walking around in chatty groups—was wonderful and palpable.

For some of the kids, it’s one of few times where they are surrounded by other adoptees and by other Ethiopians.

For the parents, mostly white couples, it’s a chance to visit with friends and also to learn from the workshops presented by Adoption Mosaic.

In fact, the parents got to hear from an Adoption Mosaic panel of adult adoptees from Ethiopia, Colombia, and the U.S. All had been transracially adopted by white parents.

All the adoptees had different experiences growing up, of course. For some, their adoptive parents had been unaware of racial identity and adoption trauma issues, though they were loving. Some parents did a lot of work on racial equity, and still fell short sometimes. Some parents were unaware, uncaring, unreachable.

Adoption Mosaic founder Astrid Castro, adopted with her sister from Colombia, brought other staff with her as well, adoptees from Korea, India, and China: incredible mentors and sources of wisdom for all the camp attendees.

And that said, it is not the responsibility nor burden of any adoptee to educate adoptive parents. The emotional labor can be intense.

At a general session with the adoptive parents, the adoptees literally held the microphone, and the adoptive parents, while they could ask questions, could not hold the mic.

I found that a powerful metaphor, a reflection of the past when only adoptive parents held the mic, and adoptees and first/birth parents were an afterthought at best. We still, in the adoption community, need to work on centering the voices and lived experiences of adopted people and of first/birth parents.

That said, I am also a believer of inclusion, and really everyone should have the physical mic at in-person meetings so that everyone can hear equitably. Questions from adoptive parents were repeated by adopted people with the mic, so that was helpful. The symbolism, though, of who holds the microphone (at a conference, at a policy meeting, at a hearing, etc.) was valuable.

At the same session, Astrid noted the wealth of information available from the Adoption Mosaic staff, and also asked if the adoptive parents looked at #adopteetwitter or adoptees on TikTok. There are some wonderful, challenging, wise adoptees posting videos and sharing their truths.

Here’s a link to an article about Adoptee TikTok titled “Adoptees Are Using an Unexpected Platform to Shed Light on the Downsides of Adoption.”

We adoptive parents need to do the work of learning about adoption whether our kids are 8 or 46.

In fact, that phrase “do the work” permeated the time at camp with the adoptive parents.

I’d say that “do the work” for us adoptive parents is to be willing to listen and take in a variety of views about adoption; to dig deeply into anti-racism work; to learn about the role of money in adoption; to educate ourselves about grief, loss, depression, and confusion in adoption; to recognize that even if our kids aren’t talking about adoption they may be thinking about it (and absorbing all kinds of messages about it from friends, the community, the Internet); and to recognize the both/and of adoption (adoptees can love their adoptive parents and also want to see adoption abolished, for example).

Adoption Mosaic offers classes for adoptive parents, including one I co-facilitate, called “Seasoned Parents.” The 6-week online class is for adoptive parents whose kids are now in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or even older. Back when we “seasoned” adoptive parents adopted our children, the preparation process was limited at best. From the Adoption Mosaic website: “When people adopt, they are oftentimes told that love would be enough. Your kids are now adults with their own thoughts and feelings about adoption; unfortunately, love alone is not enough for you to engage in tough conversations about adoption with your adult adoptees. In the class, we reflect on why we chose adoption, and what we have learned over decades of raising children. We dig into the challenges of talking about adoption as an industry, as well as about gratitude, anger, adoption fog, search, reunion, and race. And we practice talking about these adoption issues with our adult children and with others, in ways that are clear, respectful, and helpful. 

Often adult adoptees ask their parents to take this class, including adoptees who are estranged from their parents.

Kudos to the folks who organized the camp (it’s a lot of work), and who attended the camp. Gratitude to the Adoption Mosaic crew for sharing their years of lived experience and professional work in adoption.

May we all keep learning not in isolation but in community.

Sri Lankan Adoptees Sue the Netherlands for Negligence

The global trend of adult international adoptees suing their governments for negligence and fraud continues. In the Netherlands, adoptees from Sri Lanka are seeking reimbursement for damages they allege occurred in their adoptions.

Here is the English version of an article from, a well-known new organization in the Netherlands.

“Sri Lankan adoptees hold the State liable for abuses

Eight adoptees sued the State for negligence in their adoption from Sri Lanka in the 1980s. They argue that the government did not intervene when it could have known about the many abuses. The adoptees want the government to recognize this negligence and reimburse the costs they incurred to trace their origins.

“We want the court to determine that the government is liable for the damage suffered by these eight people,” says lawyer Mark de Hek, who initiated legal proceedings on behalf of the victims. With this, the hope is that justice will also be served for other adoptees in a similar situation.

Kidnapping and baby farming

It has been known for decades that a lot went wrong with adoptions from Sri Lanka. The first signals date back to 1979. Since then, stories about wrong files, baby theft, so-called baby farms and human trafficking have regularly surfaced. In 1987, a Sri Lankan survey found that the vast majority of adoptions were illegal.

The fact that the Dutch state was repeatedly informed of abuses from Sri Lanka from the early 1980s was apparent from the report of the Joustra Committee in 2021. At the request of the government, that committee investigated the role of the Netherlands in intercountry adoption. The abuses included baby farming and child theft. According to the committee, the Netherlands did not intervene and the government did not come up with solutions.

It was not until 1997 that these adoptions came to an end. Between 1973 and 1997, a total of about 3400 children from Sri Lanka were brought to the Netherlands. More than 2400 children came to the Netherlands through the Flash mediation agency, which, according to experts, was the crowning glory when it comes to illegal adoption practices.

Fake Mother in Photo

As a result of these practices, many adoptees have questions about their origins. For example, 31-year-old Serani van der Helm from Helmond has a photo of herself in the arms of a woman, made in Colombo during the adoption in 1986. “My file says that it was my mother who voluntarily gave me up. But that turned out to be a fake mother.”

Van der Helm talks about her search for her biological parents, whom she never found:

Serani: ‘When I became a mother myself, adoption suddenly felt very different to me’
Sam van den Haak from Zevenaar also has many questions about her adoption. In her adoption file, her date of birth is April 7, her passport says July 4, so exactly the other way around. Her old Sri Lankan passport has had a pen tampered with, making it unclear what the correct date is. “That should have been enough reason for the State to smell trouble.” Only much later when she had managed to track down her family on her own, did her grandmother tell her that she was actually born on December 17th.

Van den Haak herself calls it painful that there is an incorrect date of birth in her passport. “Do you know how many times your date of birth is asked to identify you? Then I keep being confronted with that embarrassing mistake.” But changing that data is almost impossible in the Netherlands. With the lawsuit, she hopes to get the government to help her get her real date of birth in her passport.

‘Government failed’

Lawyer De Hek calls these clear indications of negligence on the part of the government. The government has previously denied all liability. “The embassy must ensure that an adoption is legally in order before a residence permit is granted,” says De Hek. “By ignoring the signals about this, the government has failed as a regulator and visa provider.”

Here is the link to the article in Dutch:

Controversial Questions for the International Adoption Community About Money. So Much Money.

Should the United States be spending millions of dollars to adopt a relatively small number of children from overseas?

Approximately 1500 children were adopted from other countries to the U.S. in FY2022. If the average amount of fees to the adoption service providers (U.S. adoption agencies) was $30,000 per adoption, Americans spent $45,000,000 to adopt those 1500 children.

Forty Five Million Dollars.

Adoption may have been the best and only choice for those children. I don’t know. I want all children to be safe and loved, and I realize that can be challenging.

Here’s the thing though. Who in the U.S. is adopting children internationally? Mostly upper-middle class white people—folks who have historically held loads of power and privilege. So millions of dollars are being spent by them, and then they get a fair amount of that back from the US government.

Most if not all of the adoptive parents can claim the adoption tax credit. According to The Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and Brookings Administration, “The credit has been repeatedly expanded, from an initial maximum value of $5,000 in 1997 to $14,300 in 2020. In 2016, taxpayers claimed total adoption credit of $290 million. The temporary availability of a refundable credit pushed the cost of the credit up to the dramatically higher figures of $1.2 billion in 2010 and $610 million in 2011 (including the refundable portion).”

The adoption tax credit was intended to be an incentive for folks to adopt from the U.S. foster care system, particularly for children with special needs. Much of that tax credit money though now goes for international adoptions; some goes for U.S. infant adoptions (folks who connect with an expectant mom and then take the newborn baby home from the hospital) and some for foster care adoption. However, a hefty portion—hundreds of millions of dollars—has gone for international adoptions, and often the adoptive parents would have pursued the adoption regardless of the credit.

Again, according to the Tax Policy Center, “The most recent year with data available by adoption type (2004) indicates that nearly half of adoptions for which the credit was claimed were for domestic children without special needs, with only 18 percent classified as special needs, and the remainder reflecting international adoptions.”

Here’s an eye-opening paragraph from the 2020 report “Adoption Tax Benefits from the Congressional Research Service:

“The legislative history of the current adoption tax benefits indicates that Congress enacted these incentives to encourage more adoptions. However, there is currently little evidence that adoption tax benefits are an effective policy tool to increase adoptions. Instead, data suggest that adoption tax benefits are often a windfall to families that would have adopted in their absence. In addition, the vast majority of adoption tax benefits go to upper-income Americans, even though data indicate that a significant number of lower- and middle-income Americans adopt. Finally, recent evidence suggests that adoption tax benefits have been difficult for the IRS to administer in terms of keeping both erroneous benefit claims and taxpayer burden low.” (boldface is mine)

A whole strong school of thought asserts that international adoptions, with their large amounts of money and the reality of who holds power (the adoptive parents, just to be clear), equates to child trafficking. International birth parents are generally impoverished, marginalized, and vulnerable. They hold virtually no power.

That’s one reason I would love to see both our Congress and the State Department welcoming international birth/first parents to their discussions about next steps in intercountry adoption policy. International adult adoptees should of course also be included in much greater numbers. Instead, it is the adoptive parents, the prospective parents, and the adoption agencies that are holding the microphone tightly in the conversations with the State Department. Adoptive parents, prospective parents, and the agencies should be demanding the presence and the voices of the birth/first parents and the adult adoptees in policy discussions and legislative hearings.

And no, I am not holding my breath on this.

I’d like to see adoption tax credit funding go, for one example, toward post-adoption services for international first/birth parents. They usually get absolutely nothing in terms of services or information, while adoptive families in the U.S. get tax credits, insurance funds, access to therapists and consultants, and, depending on their agency, an array of post-adoptive services in the language they speak and read in. Imagine what even a small percentage of that funding could do for international birth/first parents. They deserve counseling and support, after having lost their children to adoption. Some mothers grieve for the rest of their lives, in loneliness and isolation.

Iinternational adoption is not a solution to poverty, or if it is, it’s only for a tiny number of children (1517, this year) on whose ostensible behalf millions of dollars are being spent, just to get them here to the U.S.

The recent U.S. State Department report on international adoptions says that the Office of Children’s Issues requested the resumption of intercountry adoptions from the People’s Republic of China. State met virtually with the Central Authority of Honduras to clarify requirements for U.S. citizens residing in Honduras seeking to adopt Honduran children. The Special Advisor for Children’s Issues traveled to Indianapolis to attend the National Council for Adoption’s annual conference, and met with adoption stakeholders there and presented on the Department’s work to promote intercountry adoption.

(Note: I’d bet good money that very few if any of those “stakeholders” were international birth parents or adult international adoptees. I’d be happy to be wrong.)

An adult and a child are walking along the beach. The sky and beach look hazy.
Newport Beach, OR © Maureen McCauley

Further, the State Department report notes that “The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Russia, and Latvia have established or maintained a significant law or regulation preventing or prohibiting adoptions involving immigration to the United States. The Department continued to engage foreign authorities in several of these countries to encourage resumed intercountry adoptions.”

Has the State Department also engaged the birth/first parents about this proposed resumption of adoptions? If not, why not? All of us, and perhaps especially our Congress, desperately need to hear the birth parents’ voices, and not keep them in systemic silence.

We in the United States also need to look at what other countries are doing to investigate international adoptions. Other governments—South Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Australia, Chile, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Guatemala—are putting time and money into investigations of illicit adoptions, ending adoptions due to corruption, and listening to birth/first parents and adult adoptees. It is a global movement, and the United States needs to get engaged.

I am ruminating here. I don’t have solid answers or strategies. I think it is time to set adoption on its head, look at it critically, say out loud who holds power currently, and then build a far better system. I’ll keep thinking.

US State Department 2022 Adoption Report: No Mention of Deported International Adoptees, Nor of Birth Parents. Look at the The Fees!!

The U.S. State Department has issued its FY 2022 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption: Report of the Activities of the United States Central Authority under The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.

The report includes a discussion of the countries that the Office of Children’s Issues (CI) has visited or been in contact with, an overview of the situation in Ukraine, and tables of data.

The report contains no information on nor mention of the deportation of international adoptees from the United States, nor of the need for citizenship for all international adoptees. Nor is there any reference to international birth/first parents as participants in any calls, town halls, policy meetings, or any other place at the table.

There are two mentions of engagement with adult international adoptees, one in a town hall and one at a Special Commission event which is held every five years, “primarily focused on illicit practices and post-adoption services. Nearly 400 people participated in the Special Commission, including 73 member states, observers from non-governmental organizations, and adult adoptees.” The number of adult adoptees is not specified.

There is no mention of the fraud and corruption that many adoptees and adoptive families have encountered post-adoption, often in the course of search and reunion efforts. There is no mention of South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s review of possible fraudulent adoptions from South Korea to Denmark and several other countries, including the U.S. Nor is there any mention of the government inquiries into fraudulent international adoptions by Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, Ireland, Chile, and elsewhere.

Photo description: the United States flag

Some highlights from the U.S. report:

Total adoptions in FY2022 to the U.S. : 1517

Top countries of origin:

  • Colombia 235 children
  • India 223 children
  • Republic of Korea 141children
  • Bulgaria 84 children
  • Ukraine. 82 children

Number of U.S. Children Adopted Internationally: 25 (The U.S. children were adopted to Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland.)

Median Adoption Service Provider (Adoption Agency) Fees:

Over US$50,000 for adoptions from Albania and Armenia

Between US$40,000 and US$50,000 for adoptions from Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia, Costs Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Hait, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar Peru, Poland, South Africa, and Vietnam.

This means, for example, that U.S. adoptive parents paid US$9.6 million in adoption agency fees for children from Colombia; US$1.2 million for children from Burundi; and US$3.8 million for children from Haiti.

The role of money in adoption is horrifically complex. The U.S. adoptive parents are likely all eligible for the adoption tax credit, which has reimbursed adoptive parents with literally billions of dollars.

The role of money in adoption deserves much more research, attention, and conversation.

And this report deserves that as well, as much for what it says as for what it does not say. Feel free to share your thoughts about it.

KAAN, NAKASEC, Adoptee Citizenship, and a GoFund Me

The time is long overdue for the passage of adoptee citizenship legislation, and, as understandably tired as some folks are, we need to gear up more than ever.

Action steps:

(1) See how you can help via Adoptees for Justice. You can click on the QR code in the photo below, which shows Jimmy Byrne, a Korean adoptee who spoke about citizenship at the 2023 KAAN conference.

Photo Description : The photo shows Jimmy Byrne, a Korean adoptee wearing glasses, on a panel at the KAAN conference. There is a QR code on the screen behind him, which has information about the work of Adoptees For Justice.

(2) Support deported adoptees, like Mike Davis. Any and all help is deeply appreciated. Please donate; please share the link.

Photo Description: This is a photo of Mike Davis, an Ethiopian adoptee, on the GoFundMe page that hopes to raise money for Mike’s legal costs so he can return to the United States.
He was deported to Ethiopia in 2005.

Some background info for this post: About a week ago I attended the national conference of KAAN, the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network. This was the second time I had attended this conference, and, as before, I was presenting a workshop with the wonderful Astrid Castro and Shelise Gieseke of Adoption Mosaic. I also attended several great workshops presented by others.

One was on Adoptee Citizenship, presented by folks from Adoptees for Justice and NAKASEC, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium. Both groups have been working on the issue of citizenship for many years, including citizenship for international adoptees.

Adoptees from South Korea make up the largest and now oldest group of international adoptees. As such, they have been active in advocacy work for decades, in South Korea and in their adoptive countries. Around 200,000 South Korean children have been brought to the Unites States for adoption; some 18-20,000 of that group are estimated to be without U.S. citizenship. Some have been deported; some do not know they are not citizens. Some are working on getting through the naturalization process.

The NAKASEC and KAAN efforts are not only for Korean adoptees. Adoptees for Justice (A4J), which has connections with NAKASEC and KAAN, is working for all international adoptees, advocating for full and retroactive citizenship.

At the KAAN workshop, the presenters talked about the legislative history of trying to get citizenship enacted. It seemed possible at the end of the last Congress, but failed again, probably for many reasons. I speculate on some of them here. Certainly there was a lot of time, energy, advocacy, prayers, and hope that went into the effort.

Advocates are working on citizenship legislation in the current session of Congress. It won’t be easy, with so much anti-immigrant sentiment and the upcoming elections. Groups like A4J (and I’m sure other groups) are looking at a variety of strategies, such as state and local government resolutions.

Please contact your legislators. Ask them to support citizenship for all international adoptees. Please help deported adoptees. Please spread the word that deported adoptees deserve to come home, and that all international adoptees deserve citizenship. Many thanks.

“Lions Roaring Far From Home” Update

While our primary goal with our groundbreaking book “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology By Ethiopian Adoptees” is to get the book to as many Ethiopian adoptees as possible, we are also reaching out to the larger Ethiopian and Ethiopian diasporic community.

Frew Tibebu, who arrived in the US from Ethiopia as a refugee from the Derg via Djibouti in 1980, is now a successful realtor and social entrepreneur in California. Here’s what Frew had to say about our book:

“As someone who was a frequent attendee of Ethiopian Adoption Camp at Scotts Valley. California, in the mid 2000’s, I thought I knew enough about Ethiopian adoptive families and Ethiopian adoptees.

After reading Lions Roaring Far From Home, I realized how little I knew about the diverse experiences of the Ethiopian adoptees.

I consider this anthology by Ethiopian adoptees to be an enlightening, ambitious undertaking, a missing voice to the Ethiopian transnational adoption and to the Ethiopian diaspora experience in general.”

Thank you, Frew, for your kind words, for your leadership as president of the Ethiopian Diaspora Stories Project, and for your decades of work helping Ethiopian children via Ethiopia Reads.

In addition to getting the book to Ethiopian adoptees and the greater Ethiopian community, we also want to get Lions Roaring to other adoptees. Our writers were raised in six different countries: Ethiopian adoption is global. There are some unique differences for Ethiopian adoptees, and some overlap with the experiences of other adopted people.

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

We also want adoptive parents to read the book. For those folks who live in isolation from Ethiopian adoptees, the book is an opportunity to hear from 32 Ethiopian adoptee writers, with a variety of perspectives.

We have heard about adoptive parents reading the essays along with their children, then talking about them together. There are some great conversation-starters in the book.

We love to see the book being read by folks with no connection to Ethiopia or adoption: everyone can learn a lot from the amazing writers, who range in age from young children to adults in their 50’s and older.

In less than two weeks, we will be presenting at two Ethiopian heritage camps, one in Oregon and one in the Washington, DC, area. We are working on additional outreach in a variety of places and groups. Thank you for purchasing and reading the book, and for sharing info about the book.

At the KAAN Conference This Weekend

I am attending the annual conference of KAAN, the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network, in Chicago this weekend June 30-July 2. I am looking forward to it for several reasons.

One is that I will be presenting a workshop with my colleagues at Adoption Mosaic. The workshop is directed toward adoptees and adoptive parents, and is titled “Educating Your Adoptive Parents: Not Your Burden.” We have found that many adoptees, when they are adults in their 20’s, 30’s 40’s, and even older, would love for their adoptive parents to learn more about adoption—about the role of trauma, racism, identity, search reunion, and more. That education, though, should not be the burden of the adopted person—it should be the adoptive parents’ responsibility to learn and gain more understanding.

Another reason I am looking forward to the conference is that I will be bringing “Lions Roaring Far from Home: An Anthology by Ethiopian Adoptees” to sell and to talk about at the conference. As a co-editor, I appreciate this opportunity. KAAN has worked on reaching out to other adoption communities, and I look forward to bringing the book there.

I am also looking forward to meeting up with folks I know and haven’t seen for years, and also to meeting folks who I “know” via Facebook or otherwise, folks who I feel as though I know but have not yet met in person.

And, of course, I look forward to listening and learning from the wisdom that will be shared there.

Sweden to Investigate Adoptions from Ethiopia

Yesterday it became official that the currently ongoing state adoption investigation in Sweden will also examine the country of origin Ethiopia alongside the countries of origin Colombia, Chile, Poland, Sri Lanka, China and South Korea.

This news is from Tobias Hübinette, a professor in Sweden and a Korean adoptee, in a public post today on his Facebook page. Here is the full post, translated via Google Translate from Swedish:

“Yesterday it became official that the currently ongoing state adoption investigation led by Anna Singer will also examine the country of origin Ethiopia alongside the countries of origin Colombia, Chile, Poland, Sri Lanka, China and South Korea.

In total, approximately 1,300 children from Ethiopia and today’s Eritrea have been adopted to Sweden, and over the years the country has been rocked by a large number of adoption scandals and repeated reports of irregularities. In 2018, Ethiopia chose to finally close the country to all foreign adoptions and until the end, the thoroughly corrupt Swedish Adoptionscentrum was active in the country at the same time that virtually all other western countries (except Sweden) had already left Ethiopia before then due to the extensive corruption within the adoption business.” (English version via Google Translate)

The 1300 Ethiopian/Eritrean adoptees to Sweden are among the oldest in age in the Ethiopian adoptee community. While the number may be small in comparison, say, to the United States (some 15,000 Ethiopian adoptees), the activism and advocacy of the Swedish international adoptees is well known: Sweden is already investigating adoptions from six other countries, per the post above.

An increasing number of countries (Sweden, Chile, Ireland, Australia, the Netherlands, more) are investigating fraud and corruption in international adoptions. South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is actively investigating adoptions from their country, largely spurred by Korean adoptees in Denmark.

The global mobilization of adult international adoptees is growing. Concerns about fraud, corruption, inaccuracies in medical and social histories, lies told to first/birth parents—the ramifications are worldwide, and the activism and social media are spreading the news worldwide.

Here is the original Swedish version from Professor Hübinette:

Igår blev det officiellt att den just nu pågående statliga adoptionsutredningen som leds av Anna Singer också ska granska ursprungslandet Etiopien bredvid ursprungsländerna Colombia, Chile, Polen, Sri Lanka, Kina och Sydkorea. 

Totalt har ca 1300 barn från Etiopien och dagens Eritrea adopterats till Sverige och genom åren har landet skakats av ett stort antal adoptionsskandaler och upprepade rapporter om oegentligheter. År 2018 valde Etiopien att slutgiltigt stänga landet för alla utlandsadoptioner och in i det sista var svenska genomkorrupta Adoptionscentrum verksam i landet samtidigt som i stort sett alla andra västländer (förutom Sverige) redan hade lämnat Etiopien innan dess p g a den omfattande korruptionen inom adoptionsverksamheten.

Ethiopian Adoptee-Writer-Entrepreneur: “Lions Roaring Far From Home”

“…Reading these stories has helped me feel less alone and more connected to a community of people who share similar experiences…” ~Kiya Herron-Sabi Goura

“Lions Roaring Far from Home,” the first ever anthology of essays and poems by Ethiopian adoptees, has been available on Amazon since last December. It has received great reviews from amazing people such as Lemn Sissay OBE, Hewan Girma Ph.D., Yadesa Bojia, Nicole Chung, and Shannon Gibney.

Per the back cover:

Equally important are the reactions and reviews of the writers themselves as they have read the whole book. We recently heard from Kiya Herron-Sabi Goura; she is Kiya Herron in the book.

It’s comforting to know that there are others out there who understand what it’s like to be adopted and the unique challenges that come with it. Reading these stories has helped me feel less alone and more connected to a community of people who share similar experiences. I appreciate the honesty and vulnerability of the writers and the effort put into creating this book. It’s an important contribution to the adoption conversation and I hope it reaches many others who can benefit from it. Thank you again for giving adoptees a platform to share their stories and be heard.

That is an absolutely beautiful comment, Kiya—thank you so much.

We also want to note that Kiya has started a business: Gelane Hair Oil, specializing in Ethiopian hair oil and butter. You can learn more about it on Etsy, and also on Facebook. We love the fact that Kiya is an entrepreneur, and that she is connecting with the beauty of Ethiopian culture.

We are, of course, proud of all our writers, and there is a special joy in sharing their accomplishments outside of our book.

Holt Children’s Services and Adam Crapser to Appeal South Korean Court Decision on Adoption

On May 16, 2023, a South Korean court announced its decision on South Korean adoptee Adam Crapser’s lawsuit against both Holt Children’s Services and the government of South Korea. According to an AP article, “A South Korean court on Tuesday ordered the country’s biggest adoption agency to pay 100 million won ($74,700) in damages to a 48-year-old man for mishandling his adoption as a child to the United States, where he faced legal troubles after surviving an abusive childhood before being deported in 2016.

However, the Seoul Central District Court dismissed Adam Crapser’s accusations against the South Korean government, which he saw as responsible for creating an aggressive, profit-driven adoption industry that carelessly removed thousands of children from their families during a child export frenzy in the 1970s and ’80s.”

Last week, Holt Children’s Services announced it is appealing the court’s decision. According to the Korea Times, “the main point of dispute is at what point an adoption agency’s duties as a guardian ends and argued that in Crapser’s case, Holt’s guardianship came to an end upon his arrival in the U.S.” Holt is also arguing that “the special adoption law requiring the verification of an adoptee’s citizenship acquisition and other protections, introduced in 2012, does not apply to Crapser’s case.”

Adam Crapser is also appealing “the court ruling that did not recognize the government’s liability in his troubled adoption.”