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We Issue a Challenge to Korean Adoptee Bloggers: Blog About Adoptee Deportation/Citizenship

Can I have your attention please, Korean adoptee bloggers?!  As you know, we are a reflection of the massive Korean adoptee community.  We are part of a worldwide community that is marked by diversity of opinion when it comes to anything relating to adoption.  Some of us are “pro-adoption.”  Some of us are “anti-adoption.”  Some of us “don’t give a shit.”  However, I suspect we Korean adoptee bloggers can agree when it comes to this: “The deportation of adoptees is fucked up.”  Yes, the statement is crass, but am I wrong?

With this in mind, I ask you to join us folks here at Land of Gazillion Adoptees to talk about adoptee deportation/citizenship at least once during the month of June.  Talk about our fellow Korean adoptee Russell Green.  Talk about our fellow adoptee Kairi Abha Shephard.  Talk about adoptee deportation/citizenship in a broader context.  Talk about other deportation cases.  Talk about the need to reform the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.  Talk about the fact that others are talking about adoptee deportation/citizenship.  Talk about the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) statement:

Utah resident Erlene Shepherd adopted her daughter, Kairi, from an orphanage in India when the child was just three months old. When she was eight-years-old, Kairi’s mother passed away from cancer. Unfortunately, prior to her death, Erlene did not finalize her daughter’s citizenship despite the fact that Kairi was eligible to become a permanent United States citizen. Now 30-years-old and suffering from multiple sclerosis, Kairi faces deportation to India because—at age 17—police arrested her for cashing fraudulent checks. She has since served her sentence for this crime.

“In adopting Kairi, her family promised her a forever home and, in effect, the United States guaranteed her a forever home country,” said Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of CCAI. “A failure to submit the proper paperwork, over which Kairi had no control or knowledge of, should not mean that she is forced back to a country she does not know and to a place where she has no family or support system. However, this case should underscore the importance of securing citizenship for every individual adopted by an American family to ensure that these children are entitled to the benefits afforded to all United States citizens.

Talk about the National Council For Adoption (NCFA) statement:

Kaira Abha Shepherd was adopted from India at the age of three months. She was raised by parents who were U.S. citizens and was eligible for citizenship herself, but her family never took the steps necessary to finalize her citizenship. Due to indiscretions as a minor, for which Ms. Shepherd has already fulfilled the penalty, deportation has been ordered.

A return to India will not be an easy transition for this young woman, who has no recollection of her birthplace and no remaining connections in India. “Kaira Abha Shepherd should be considered and treated as an American citizen, as should every internationally adopted child of American citizens should be,” said Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of NCFA. “To deport her to a country to which she no longer has family members or a meaningful connection is a betrayal of all that intercountry adoption is supposed to be. This difficult case should serve to remind us of the importance of ensuring citizenship for every person adopted by American parents, now, in the past, and in the future.”

Talk about Adam Pertman’s statement:

People who break the law should unequivocally pay an appropriate price for their offenses. But I think it can fairly be argued that the reason some are being ejected from the only country they’ve ever known is not because of the crime they’ve committed – but because they were adopted.

This feels grievously wrong. We should be shocked, we should be outraged, and we should do whatever is necessary to halt the cases already in progress and to prevent this from ever happening again. (source)

More than mere talk, I personally challenge you to join us here at Land of Gazillion Adoptees in stepping up the blogging game during the month of June.  I challenge you to show the naysayers in the adoptive parent and adoption establishment communities who believe that we just whine about our lives.  I challenge you to demonstrate to the broad adoption community that we, along with other international and domestic adoptees, are fully capable of leading the discussion about adoptee deportation/citizenship.

Land of Gazillion Adoptees is in.  Are you?

4 Comments on We Issue a Challenge to Korean Adoptee Bloggers: Blog About Adoptee Deportation/Citizenship

    I established a home for girls rejected for adoption in Kolkata India. My own younger daughter is from IMH, the same orphanage as Kairi. Adoption is supposed to be “ad-if” from our bodies, but the deportation/exile makes this a lie.

    • With all due respect for you and your work, “as-if” from a body *IS* a lie outside of a legal context. I don’t even know if “as if” is a fair and considerate legal or conceptual framework for adoption for the adoptee. The adopted individual usually has no ability to consent to the legal arrangement. That is just the simple truth. And I feel the persistence of the “as if” framework in many cases forces adoptees into a truncated version of their life story. We weren’t born to you. And that’s okay. It’s unfair to force us to act “as if” we were. We didn’t get to cast a vote. It may be that adoption is framed “as if” under the assumption that would be the most comfortable view for those consenting parties involved.

      That said, as an adoptee, I view adoptee citizenship and deportation issues as an absolute national failure and shame. Conceptually it is in a way self-nullifying. On the one hand the prevailing cultural discourse is that adoption renders origins irrelevant or relevant calibrated to the levels most comfortable for the adoptive parent (either ignored or maintained through some kind of pseudo-acculturation i,e, ties trips, etc.). But, on the other, origins are made so important by the government they can never be disregarded should proper paperwork not be on file! It’s a kind of conditional xenophobia.

      “We only want you here if you’re cute, loving and might serve our citizens by making them further consume goods and resources and/or eventually consume those goods and resources yourself. Dare you be foreign born without appropriate paperwork, ill or perhaps a criminal we will revise our viewpoint as best serves our interests. You will become an outsider once again because it serves us.”

      To be frank, it’s the kind of issue that cements to me that people at their core are often complete selfish fucks. A promise is a promise.In legalizing adoptions governments are applying their stamp of goodwill that the arrangement will serve the parties involved in a positive way. In a way, the failure of this system is proof that you cannot legalize love and appreciation for a human life on a grand scale. Adoption literature is steeped in the tropes of love, “loving as ones own”, appreciating the child “as if” born of your body. But love does not pay the bills or give someone citizenship. Anymore than legal document facilitate actual feelings of love between individuals. It is a large tangle of legal knots and self-assurances that we keep because we have no better system for childcare of the young, poor and/or unsupported.

      Adoption takes vulnerable people (children/future adult adoptees) without a currently active extended support system (families/individuals declining parenthood) and grafts them at will onto available rootstock (adoptive parents) with no assurances. In a way perhaps that is the best society can think to do for humans whose biological relationships have failed to support them. Perhaps, in the failures of the social experiment that is adoption, one can see it is not about love or appreciating individuals. Governments feel no more responsible for their “orphans” than they do any other export or import. “Well, if your own family could not to better for you. Certainly we can’t either.” *cue passing the buck to a willing adoptive parent*. No matter how well-intentioned that parent. No matter how cute the baby. It is still, at its core, passing the buck/sending seed off to points unknown unsupported, usually because the original parent is unsupported.

      Often it is the very state of the infrastructure of the nation of origin that exacerbated the instability of the family of origin — giving way down the event chain to adoption. And adoptees? Well, they just keep on getting punished for the emotional insecurities and legal fuckups of others in cases that fall between the cracks. And there are many, many cracks. My two cents. Or perhaps more like two dollars.

  2. Word duly spread! Although I’m not an adoptee, I’m in one way or another.

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