Looking more closely at angry adoptees

A series of comments have been made in a very busy thread following the article, Lid lifts on the anguish of China's stolen generation.  As more members of foster/adoption community have added their personal experiences and opinions, the various issues behind angry adoptees became noted.

the label "angry adoptee" is easily pushed on each adoptee that speaks out about the negative sides of adoption, as if that anger somehow invalidates the issues being forwarded. I see that as part of some sort of kill-the-messenger-syndrome.

[From:  Angry Adoptees ]

As one who has often been criticized, shunned and even attacked by fellow adoptees and AP's alike, I have found those attacks to be insulting and hurtful, but never discouraging enough to make stop, quit and say, "F-it, I'm done!"   [But oh how I have cried and stormed.... as those very close to me know!]  The more I was attacked and criticized, the more I knew people needed more proof to see just how some adoptions give no reason at all for celebration.  The Masha Case alone illustrates just how much gets ignored and dismissed and just how an adoptee has every right to be royally pissed, not just "angry".   However, Masha is not alone.  She never has been.  For generations foul-play has been taking place behind closed-doors, just so an adoption can be made in the name of saving a child's life (from abuse or abortion.)

So, why are some adoptees so angry?

In some cases, that anger stems from the legal issues associated with Closed Era adoptions.  Marley Greiner, best known for her efforts through Bastard Nation, has become a house-hold name for those pushing for adoption reform (Open Records) in the United States.

But adoption as a continuing practice is much larger than the United States, and as such, not all adoptees identify with the wants of angry adults who happen to be  American Bastards.  So one must redefine what Open Records means to the adoption community, as a whole.

I know from my own experience, AP's I know who adopted in America or abroad have told me the Open Record issue is not something that really applies to their own adoption-story because theirs was an open adoption and they have their adopted child's original birth certificate in their possession.  The general attitude seems to be these adopted children will get these original records when the child seems "ready".   I think it's very lovely so many modern-day AP's want their adopted children to see and know information about their birth-families after the age of  16 or so.  [According to my own discussions, 16-18 seems to be the age-period many AP's feel as though their children are ready to handle more information.  In my own case, I was told it was wrong to want to know more about "those people".]

As good as it is AP's want their adopted children to know the truth, there is a question that must be asked:  what if that "original" document they have in their possession has been amended falsified? What if the name of the adopted child was changed, birth dates and times were altered, and fictitious parents were named because that child was stolen and sold through an orphanage affiliated with a highly successful adoption agency?

Only recently are more media reports revealing disturbing truths behind modern-day adoptions.  For instance, even today, AP's and adoptees alike, are learning (after-the-fact)  the information written by an placement agency is not at all correct.  Inaccurate documentation of existing health/medical conditions is lacking; significant information like types and times abuse was inflicted is often missing.  Critical information is missing or has been falsified, causing all sorts of unpleasant surprises for many shocked families.  What is a person to do when one discovers lie after lie?

[Are these not good reasons to be angry?  Shouldn't these concerning issues anger more people so more don't have to struggle and suffer?  Or are so many under the comforting belief that no such "bad" thing can happen if a person is smart?  What will it take for angry adoptees and AP's to be taken more seriously?  More "smart people" need to be fooled?]

As I see open records as being the measure that helps define a placement/ adoption agency's honesty, commitment, and integrity, I notice a new-yet-not-so-new theme making news in the media again, and it's making many angry.   AP's are choosing to return their adopted children because they do not know how to handle the situation they were given.  Not enough support is made available and mothers and fathers are finding they just can't handle the child brought to them through adoption.  As a first and only mother to four, I can say the same problem exists for first-families, as well.  There is a general lack of support for families who have no extended family members willing to help when times get hard.  We (parents without help/support) are on our own and all alone, and it is scary!

So it seems, as times change, a new approach and attitude towards "good parenting" is being adopted:  Recycling children (disrupted placements) is a socially acceptable practice because many are "coming out" and admitting good parenting is a very difficult and humbling experience.

Here's the bitter twisted irony I have always known as my own reality -- when I was a child, I WISHED my Amother sent me back.  It was obvious to me she didn't know what it meant to be a "good parent" on a long-term basis, and it was obvious to me she was in WAY over her head.  The sad thing... I tried my best to be the child she wanted me to be.  I followed all the orders and tried my best not to complain or ask questions and I tried really hard not to show others just how angry everyone in that dysfunctional family was making me.  The worst part was knowing I could not complain to anyone because I knew how I was viewed:  I was the lucky orphan who was already saved by a "good" adoptive family.  By all appearances, I was given all a child could hope to receive.  I had every reason to celebrate, and not be angry.  No one ever cared to see just how much was denied me.  No one cared to see the reality of my adoption-story --  newly infertile insecure and emotionally needy woman with a hidden history of parental alcohol/physical abuse was chosen to be a fit mother to a child who had very special needs.  (I needed a family that would not give-up on me.)    She and her husband had the money and the contacts to get what it was that was supposed to make her life complete.... a healthy baby girl with no family history of any medical problems. 

23 years later, I got what I always somehow expected from my adoption-story:  my "forever" parents gave-up on me, and walked away, just when I needed them most. 

Are we to believe variations of this adoption-story is limited to those that took place only in the late 1960's?

Are we to believe bad adoption stories, made possible through shady adoption agencies, should not make people upset and angry?

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birth certificates...

"I think it's very lovely so many modern-day AP's want their adopted children to see and know information about their birth-families after the age of  16 or so?"
I have the original birth certificates for all my children including the one from Guatemala.  My children have known about their bio parents since they were 6 years old.  Just because the re-adoption in America leads to a new birth certificate does not mean that the original birth certificate is gone, unless the AP's get rid of it.  All the paperwork of my children has the first parents names (some the father is unknown); at least the mother's name is there.
I think you are talking about adoptions that are illegal from the beginning.  Ours are legal adoptions with original birth certificates within the legal-papers.  But of course, our adoptions are from almost 22 years ago, all the way to 10 years ago.  The only thing changes were two birth dates, but only for convenience sake because the real birth dates are within the legal-papers.  They were different than the birth certificate because someone transposed them wrong; but the facts remained in the original paperwork.
Even though my children have new American birth certificates, the originals were in the legal papers and I still have them.  Not all adoptions have total distortions of the facts; and I believe the illegal adoptions of the past ten years are totally different than those adoptions 22 years ago.  None of my children were stolen.  None had falsified information in their legal papers because I met most of the parents; except for my youngest daughter who was left on a bench outside a clinic in Hanoi VietNam.  I KNOW she is 4 months older than her birth certificate states because VietNam puts the birthdate as the date the baby comes into care of the orphanage.  The two who were 4 years old, I met their family.  I was there when they read the paperwork and signed that the dates were correct.  Why would the family change those facts?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

falsified paper work through the ages

I wouldn't be so certain that the international adoptions from the past ten years have been much worse than the ones 20-25 years ago. There are Brazillian cases, starting in 1986, there are Argentinian cases dating back to the military junta's of the 70's and 80's.

There is at least one case dating back to Costa Rica in the late 1950's; there are cases in El Salvador, going back to the late 1970's; Guatemala's stolen children problem also starts in the late 1970's. There are traficking cases in Honduras as early as 1984, Indonesia in the late 1980's, Korea in the early 1970's, Lebanon in the late 1980's, Malaysia, Taiwan, Poland, the Philippines and Paraguay, also in the late 1980's.

There is illegal baby trade between the United States and Canada dating back to the nineteen thirties with the Ideal Maternity Home and again discussed in the Congressional inquiry into interstate and black market adoptions, chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver (D-TN) in 1955.

Seymour Kurtz ran an adoption business from Mexico in the early 1970's.

We keep receiving comments and emails about this thread about Greece, which had an illegal baby market going ever since the early 1950's.

Illegal practices are of all age and falisified paper work comes along with that.

Vietnam and false documents

"I KNOW she is 4 months older than her birth certificate states because VietNam puts the birthdate as the date the baby comes into care of the orphanage. "

Once a baby is taken to a facility or orphanage the child is given a set of documents, usually false, with made up information. It isn't surprising that the baby's birthdate is incorrect, but what you've stated as the reason is a running myth that many adoption agencies in Vietnam like to perpetuate about birth certificates issued for "orphans."

Falsified documents over time

Our first son was adopted 21 years ago and our last children came to our family 11 years ago. In that time, I believe the biggest change has been brought about because of the internet. People share their stories and knowledge in a way that was simply not possible twenty years ago.
Our first son (Korean) came with the standard tidy history that all Korean adoptees seemed to be given in the 1980s. Adoptive parents compared notes, and most of us assumed there was a lot more behind those stories than we were being told. There was none of the messy drama of life - just caring unmarried women who placed their babies for adoption after their relationships with the fathers ended: no rapes, no drug use, no relationships with married men or even children fathered by men who were conscripted into military service before they could get married (a scenario I saw a Korean birth mother explain in a video), no women abandoned by the baby's father, or pressured by family to relinquish. I know adoptive families who helped their children search, and they often found family situations completely different to those on the paperwork (a child of a single mother turned out to be the fourth child of married parents, who kept the other three and relinquished the baby). At the very least, Korea sanitised these children's histories - and in doing so, falsified them.
Our next son came from Taiwan, as a young lad with special needs. Taiwan contrasted with Korea at that time, as children's histories were presented without the gloss or omissions. The story we were told was later substantiated by our son's first mother.
I don't doubt that the falsification of histories and outright fabrication of relinquishment documents has happened in many countries over a long time. Maybe this has increased in recent years, though it is hard to know. I think one of the biggest changes has come via the internet. Through it, I was able to connect with international adoption activists, families in other countries who also suspected our Indian orphanage, former volunteers in the UK who had worked at the orphanage in the past and more recently. I was able to receive international newspaper stories, such as the ones that first alerted me to the arrest of our orphanage director. Twenty years ago this wasn't possible and I may well have remained naive to what had happened.
In the past three or four years we have seen a slowing down of international adoptions and a significant reduction in the number of young, healthy children available for adoption  - a great thing, IMO, if it means more children remain in their birth families or are finding homes within their own countries. However, I am worried about the pressure it puts on international adoption programs to continue providing adoptable children. More western families are applying for fewer and fewer children, resulting in waiting lists that have blown out from one year to four or more. So, last year France sends a delegation of youth to visit countries and encourage them to send their children to France for adoption. In this climate, will receiving countries hold sending countries accountable for the fabrication of adoption documents? Will they raise these issues at the Hague, or will they worry about upsetting or embarrassing the central authorities of sending countries? I only hope that this pressure does not result in countries (sending or receiving) overlooking illegal or unethical practices, but the competing pressures worry me.

Slow progress being made

Since the origins of an adoptee is so complex, I'd like to respond to the story that follows many Korean adoptees:

Our first son (Korean) came with the standard tidy history that all Korean adoptees seemed to be given in the 1980s. Adoptive parents compared notes, and most of us assumed there was a lot more behind those stories than we were being told. There was none of the messy drama of life - just caring unmarried women who placed their babies for adoption after their relationships with the fathers ended: no rapes, no drug use, no relationships with married men or even children fathered by men who were conscripted into military service before they could get married (a scenario I saw a Korean birth mother explain in a video), no women abandoned by the baby's father, or pressured by family to relinquish. I know adoptive families who helped their children search, and they often found family situations completely different to those on the paperwork (a child of a single mother turned out to be the fourth child of married parents, who kept the other three and relinquished the baby). At the very least, Korea sanitised these children's histories - and in doing so, falsified them.

Thanks to the Internet, I read a fantastic article about efforts being made to assist unwed mothers in Korea.

Ms. Choi and other women in her situation [unwed and pregnant] are trying to set up the country’s first unwed mothers association to defend their right to raise their own children. It is a small but unusual first step in a society that ostracizes unmarried mothers to such an extent that Koreans often describe things as outrageous by comparing them to “an unmarried woman seeking an excuse to give birth.”

The fledgling group of women — only 40 are involved so far — is striking at one of the great ironies of South Korea. The government and commentators fret over the country’s birthrate, one of the world’s lowest, and deplore South Korea’s international reputation as a baby exporter for foreign adoptions.

Yet each year, social pressure drives thousands of unmarried women to choose between abortion, which is illegal but rampant, and adoption, which is considered socially shameful but is encouraged by the government. The few women who decide to raise a child alone risk a life of poverty and disgrace.

Nearly 90 percent of the 1,250 South Korean children adopted abroad last year, most of them by American couples, were born to unmarried women, according to the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs.

In their campaign, Ms. Choi and the other women have attracted unusual allies. Korean-born adoptees and their foreign families have been returning here in recent years to speak out for the women, who face the same difficulties in today’s South Korea as the adoptees’ birth mothers did decades ago.

One such supporter, Richard Boas, an ophthalmologist from Connecticut who adopted a Korean girl in 1988, said he was helping other Americans adopt foreign children when he visited a social service agency in South Korea in 2006 and began rethinking his “rescue and savior mentality.” There, he encountered a roomful of pregnant women, all unmarried and around 20 years old.

“I looked around and asked myself why these mothers were all giving up their kids,” Dr. Boas said.

He started the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network, which lobbies for better welfare services from the state.

“What we see in South Korea today is discrimination against natural mothers and favoring of adoption at the government level,” said Jane Jeong Trenka, 37, a Korean-born adoptee who grew up in Minnesota and now leads Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea, one of two groups organized by Korean adoptees who have returned to their homeland to advocate for the rights of adoptees and unwed mothers. “Culture is not an excuse to abuse human rights.”

[From:  Group Resists Korean Stigma for Unwed Mothers ]

I for one would really like to see less coerced adoptions taking place... especially if single-parents can be given the support networks they need to keep their children happy, healthy and safe.  For far too long, the rescue and save mentality has altered family dynamics in a very negative way, and this attitude that single-parents are unfit needs to change, especially if single-adults are going to be allowed to adopt.  So once again, the issue of supply and demand must be recognized in ALL adoption-circles, because if money still influences child placement, and more and more AP's complain on-line about adopted children with RAD, the demand for healthy babies/very young children will remain quite strong.

Now, to keep things in perspective, and show how as much things change, they often remain the same with each new-generation, I'd like to explain how PAP's influence adoption policies.  I grew-up in a era in which the adopted child was the answer to a fertility issue.  Infertile couples could get baby from (unmarried) fertile women, IF they had the money... and the connections.  The more money and connections they had, the quicker the process.  Given the letters still being sent to Senators/Representatives to help push adoptions through, I can't say much has changed in America.

Four decades later, the average reader who follows celebrity adoption news is led to believe adoption is not an answer to fertility issues, but a calling... one that answers an orphan's wanting desire to be part of an existing family.  [Perhaps one of these days we, the people being touched by adoption, will get a formal universally approved definition as to what an orphan really is... but then, that itself is a whole different issue!]

The question is... how many PAP's are choosing not to conceive (through IVF or "natural" means) and adopting "orphans" because they want a baby/growing family... and how many PAP's are choosing adoption because they want to help make a significant positive difference in the life of another?  In other words, what are the motives behind those choosing to adopt, especially from a foreign country?  Is it to save children from being aborted, save them from poorly-run orphanages, save them from being abused/abandoned?  Is the adoption-option being considered because it creates families without getting pregnant or costly IVF fees?  Is adoption being done because there are children who want a parent and a home, or is adoption being done because an adult decides he/she wants to be a parent?  [In a very odd way, this choose-where-the-PAP-fits reminds me of that old Sesame Street song, "One of these things is not like the others... one of these things doesn't belong..."]

If you ask me, in many cases, the best way help a child is through the mother.  [Imagine how helpful services like Bethany would be for new-mom's to be if adoption was not part of the program?  Oh, if only Bethany and Gladney operated more like the Nurse Partnership Program, and less like international adoption agencies!]   By supporting and educating the single-parent, you are directly and indirectly supporting the child.  As a young mom who had no "family help" and had to be taught how to do everything for my babies and growing children, in my mind and experience, helping mothers-to-be to become the best mothers they can be, is the most humane thing a person can do... but this push for family-preservation is not supported by the adoption industry, for obvious (conflict of interest) reasons. 

However, I must remind myself and others adoption is not limited to the American experience, so it's interesting to note how other countries have been influenced by on-going American practices:

last year France sends a delegation of youth to visit countries and encourage them to send their children to France for adoption. In this climate, will receiving countries hold sending countries accountable for the fabrication of adoption documents? Will they raise these issues at the Hague, or will they worry about upsetting or embarrassing the central authorities of sending countries? I only hope that this pressure does not result in countries (sending or receiving) overlooking illegal or unethical practices, but the competing pressures worry me.

From what I understand, Hague Conference Meetings are open ONLY to delegates or experts designated by the Members of the Hague Conference, invited non-Member States and International Organisations that have been granted observer status.   

So much for voicing unvoiced concerns (of parents and children) and keeping communications open with governing bodies touched by intercountry adoptions.

I'm not saying this happened

I'm not saying this happened to you or your kids, but I've heard some child traffickers will pose themselves as being one of the parents, making it look like they're giving their approval for an adoption, when in fact they're getting a kick-back from the orphanage that deals with a private agency. I'm not sure how true that is, but it could be something worth looking into, especially if you adopted recently.

I also read children can be stolen by child traffickers outside of police stations, so even if a parent reports a child is missing, that child could already be stolen and sold to someone else. This happens in China, but it could happen in other places, too.

Well rehearsed practice

In many cases no one actually poses as parents. The orphanage directors, local police, hospital officials are all getting kick backs and know full well where the babies are coming from....and not from so called desperate parents who leave their babies on doorsteps. The traffickers and their associates bring the children right to them. The paperwork is completely fabricated which is easy to obtain in countries like Vietnam. If you look at "abandonment" reports from ten different babies they will often be the same story with minor details changed like the color of the blanket the baby was left with.

It is to eliminate a paper trail back to the child's actual family and history.

Reports that can make a person very angry

It's very sad and interesting to see how certain trends and practices take place in highly popular sending countries.

I was reading  yet another article that supports the belief that children are being stolen to supply families who want a particular type of child.

"There are too many cases of missing children. They (the police) are too embarrassed to let higher-level officials know," he said during a lunch that was interrupted by a public security officer, a reminder of the police surveillance he says he's long endured due to his outspokenness on the issue.

China's relatively soft anti-trafficking laws have made it difficult to locate missing children.

In its 2009 report on human trafficking, the U.S. State Department said China's trafficking laws "do not conform to international standards." It urged China to "significantly improve efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders, including public officials complicit in trafficking."

Not only have current laws failed to deter the buying of children, traditional patriarchal values remain deeply engrained in places such as Chaozhou and in poor, rural communities where families still see nothing wrong in buying a kidnapped boy.

"Further policy action particularly in the area of social protection is required to reduce the dependence of rural parents on their sons for support in old age, sickness and other difficulties," said UNICEF's Di Martino.

Boys, particularly toddlers, can fetch 30,000 yuan ($4,390) on the black market, whereas girls fetch much less, around $500, according to media reports, making it a lucrative illicit trade. 

[From:  In China, parents mourn children abducted by traffickers, James Pomfret and Venus Wu, June 28, 2009 ]

Of course, one can only imagine just how how much a healthy chinese girl "can go for" if she's "chosen" for international adoption. 

Meanwhile, Niels recently posted a series of  videos called The Mystery of #4709.  The video features an abused adoptee who was never reported; an adoptee who was brave enough to share her murderous thoughts... thoughts and feelings about a story I, a fellow angry-adoptee, can appreciate as being typical and very normal, given the very disturbing circumstances.

I watched the featured video a few times because it's interesting to see how different countries keep record of missing/adopted children. 

Although nothing in the video series confirms babies  #4708 and #4709 were stolen, one can get a glimpse of what "search and discovery" can be like for the child chosen in Korea.... yet another "international adoption-friendly" country.

 

When these various pieces get put together, isn't it easy to understand why so many adoptees have/do become so angry?

Pound Pup Legacy