Adult Adoptees On TV News Shows: Flip The Script

The social media movement during National Adoption Month (November) to “flip the script” is the brainchild of insightful women at The Lost Daughters. The purpose of the twitter hashtag #flipthescript is to include the voices of adoptees in National Adoption Month, which for far too long has been dominated by adoptive parents and adoption agencies. The hashtag broadens the understanding of adoption, by adding the valuable insights of adoptees.

Rosita Gonzalez created this important #flipthescript movement. It’s gained a lot of traction on Twitter, as well as the attention of news outlets. Listen to the recording of Rosita’s #flipthescript radio interview with Adoption Perspectives radio show on YouTube here.

This morning, Aselefech Evans was interviewed on Good Morning, DC, a news show of FoxTV channel WTTG. You can watch the clip of her excellent interview here.

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Aselefech Evans on the set of Fox TV Channel WTTG’s Good Morning DC.

 

On Friday, November 28, you can see 3 more amazing people talking about why it matters to #flipthescript:

Minneapolis: Kevin Haebeom Vollmers‘ interview will air on KMSP-TV Fox 9 at Friday 11/28 at 7:45AM.

Philadelphia: Amanda Transue-Woolston‘s interview will air on Fox 29 WTXF-TV at Friday 11/28 at 8:15AM.

New York: Joy Lieberthal Rho‘s interview will air on Fox Good Day NY on Friday 11/28 at 8:40AM.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Helping Adult Adoptees Return to Their Homelands

Humans of New York (HONY) recently posted about a young adoptee in Israel. She hopes to return to Brazil to meet her birth mother. The post got 400,000 likes, and was shared some 4,000 times. Journalists, flight attendants, and hundreds of other people around the globe now want to help her. I’ve no doubt that the young woman is well on her way now to making her dream a reality.

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For international adoptees not featured on HONY, what support do they get to return to the country where they were born?

My daughter Aselefech wrote a powerful article, “Finding A Way Home,” in this month’s Gazillion Voices about exactly this question. The coincidence (she had written her article before the HONY post was published) suggests to me that there is global interest and need. Aselefech writes, “Going back (to one’s country of birth) is more than about visiting your birthplace like a tourist. It’s about completing your identity, and salvaging the very things adoption has stripped you of. Adoption has a huge impact on our identity, many times stripping away the very core of what we believed made us who we are.”

It’s expensive to travel around the world. How does one travel from Canada to Ethiopia, or Israel to Brazil, or the US to China? Adoptees can, of course, save money for such a trip, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Still, the reality is that original family members die, adoption agencies close, records are lost, and time is wasted. International adoptees had no voice in being moved from their first countries. Is the adoptees’ only recourse to have adoptive parents willing and able to fund a trip to the homeland, or to do online fundraisers to reconnect with their own heritage, culture, and family?

A Google search for “funding for adoptive parents” yielded 21,000 results. Without quotation marks, it had over 8 million. The phrase Funding for International Adoption also got about 8 million results. Loads of resources, grants, and fundraisers for people thinking about adopting a child.

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Then I Googled “funding for adult adoptees.” It had No Results. Without quotation marks, it had about 82,000 results, or roughly one-tenth of those for adoptive parents.

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“Funding for international adoptees” also yielded No Results. That same search without quotation marks yielded just over 200 results, but loaded only 12, all of which were about the only US program I am aware of that provides funds to adoptees: the Gift of Identity which is part of TIES: Adoptive Family Travel. It seems a good model, though it’s only for US citizens, is connected with the homeland tours, and requires a “pay it forward” commitment.

I envision programs for adult adoptees who would travel alone, or with other adopted adults, or with a spouse or partner, not with Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad were eligible for big funding on the front-end of adoption. American adoptive parents have received some $7 Billion via the adoption tax credit, most of which has gone to reimburse the parents for the cost of international adoptions. I’ve argued that even a small part of those funds should go to pre-adoption preparation, and for post-adoption services (including for first/birth parents as well). Adoption agencies and adoptive parents have been aggressive and successful proponents of the adoption tax credit as it exists.

Are those same adoption agencies and parents willing to advocate for funding to help adult international adoptees (especially those with limited financial resources and those whose adoptive families cannot or will not help them) visit their homeland and search for their original family?

Here’s my vision going out to the universe today: Funding for adult international adoptees, all around the world, to visit the country of their birth, a global collaboration for and by adult adoptees that could include a partnership with parents (first/birth and adoptive) as well as airlines, businesses, governments, and more. As Aselefech writes in Gazillion Voices, “I believe going back to your mother land should not be a privilege, but a basic human right. Let’s find a way to give that right and experience to others. It might be through legislative advocacy, through grants, through partnerships, or through networking around the globe. But it’s time for us to make sure we can all find our way home when we need to.”

To read Aselefech’s full article in Gazillion Voices, you need to subscribe. It’s well worth it, for her article, my article, and lots of great articles and features. Good news: until October 10, you can subscribe for a deeply discounted price. Click here for more information!

 

 

 

 

 

A Conversation Between Jenni Fang Lee and Aselefech Evans

Update: Here’s the YouTube link for the conversation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDC3NlSI60I&feature=share

Save the Date–December 9, 9pm edt

Google+ Hangout

An Adoptee Conversation

Join Cindy Rasicot, MFT,  of the wonderful blog Talking Heart to Heart, and me on Monday, December 9, at 9pm eastern (6pm pacific) for a conversation between Jenni Fang Lee and Aselefech Evans.

Aselefech Evans and Jenni Fang Lee

Aselefech Evans and Jenni Fang Lee

Jenni Fang Lee was adopted from China when she was 5 years old, and raised in Berkeley, California. She is one of the young women featured in the acclaimed documentary Somewhere Between, and is now studying sociology and economics at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She returns to China each summer to volunteer at an orphanage, and has created a start-up designed to teach Mandarin and Chinese culture to Chinese adoptees and their families. According to her blog fangtopia.wordpress.com, Jenni’s passions lie in both entrepreneurship and non-profit work, specifically directed towards women and children.

Aselefech Evans was adopted from Ethiopia, along with her twin sister Adanech, when she was 6 years old. Like Jenni, she is a columnist for Gazillion Voices. Aselefech has presented numerous workshops and webinars about transracial adoption, racial identity,  hair care for adopted African-American children, her search for and reunion with her Ethiopian family, and more. She is a candidate for a BSW at Bowie State University in Maryland, and plans to go on for her master’s in social work, potentially working in post-adoption services.

Aselefech and Jenni met recently in person at the adoptee-led, adoptee-centric conference “Reframing the Adoption Discourse” held in Minnesota. Both young women share much in common, and also have had distinct differences growing up as transracial adoptees in the US. This will be a fascinating discussion.

Cindy and I are looking forward very much to hosting this conversation. Please plan to join us.

I’ll be posting more details soon as to how to join the Hangout. In the meantime, please save the date.

We will be recording the conversation and posting it on YouTube as well!