The Foreign Adopted Children’s Act (FACE) and Families for Orphans Act

Reposted with permission from Harlow’s Monkey:

If you are an adoptive parent, you are likely to have heard about these two pending legislative acts. Maybe you’ve even called your legislators and indicated your support. The Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) has been encouraging adoptive parents to sign a petition in support.

However, many of us do NOT support this legislation, and the thing I find interesting is that I have been contacted by adult adoptees from both sides of the international adoption debate, as well as adoptive parents and social workers asking me to post about these two legislative acts.

In particular, the FACE act would serve to demolish any and all of connections to our birth countries of origin. It would ERASE our histories, broaden the lies already in place through the amended birth certificates and in essence, creates more of a cloaked process. International adoptions, to be entirely ethical MUST be transparent.

I encourage all adoptive parents and adult adoptees to read the following response from Ethica regarding the Families for Orphans Act and the FACE.

Foreign Adopted Children’s Act (FACE):

Introduced in the Senate as S. 1359 (Senators Landrieu and Inhofe) and in the House as H.R. 3110 (Rep. Watson and Boozman): A bill to provide United States citizenship for children adopted from outside the United States, and for other purposes.

Ethica opposes passage of the FACE Act. Ethica believes the FACE Act, if passed, would harm adopted persons and their birth- and adoptive families in a number of ways, including:

  • The bill is intended to eliminate the U.S. immigrant visa process, which means it eliminates the safeguards put in place to help ensure that children placed for adoption are legally in need of homes abroad
  • By conferring citizenship retroactive to birth, Ethica believes the bill creates a legal fiction and diminishes adoptees’ birth history
  • While eliminating the visa process may save adopting families a small amount of money toward the large costs of adopting, there is no guarantee that the Department of State will not charge similar or even higher fees for services it will provide under this bill.
  • The bill may create additional hurdles and costs for adopted persons in the future as they attempt to claim benefits and privileges they are otherwise entitled to in their countries of birth
  • Eligibility for adoption of a particular child is generally determined by the “competent authority” of the child’s country of origin. The bill does not address eligibility for adoption in countries that have not designated a competent authority
  • The suitability of the adopting parent is based on the person’s ability to support the child and appropriate criminal background checks. The bill does not address existing federal requirements for homestudies of prospective adopting parents.
  • Enacting this bill may stall adoptions in process: It is unclear how this bill will affect provisions of the Intercountry Adoption Act (which implemented the Hague Convention). Instead of speeding up processing by bypassing the visa system, confusion in interpretation and the development of new processing procedures, particularly for Hague countries, will likely create delays for adopting families and children.

Ethica believes that adoptees and other immigrants should be able to become President, but pursuing the right to presidency should be done in a way that does not erase personal histories.

Ethica also wholeheartedly agrees that citizenship procedures should be improved for adoptees, and believes that adoptees not covered under the Child Citizenship Act (including adopted persons who have been deported) should be conferred U.S. citizenship. However, this bill goes far beyond these measures and has the potential to hurt more than help.

Families for Orphans Act:

House Bill 3070 sponsored by Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA) and Congressman John Boozman (R-AR)
Senate Bill 1458 sponsored by Senators Mary L Landrieu (D-LA) and James Inhofe (R-OK)

A bill to encourage the development and implementation of a comprehensive, global strategy for the preservation and reunification of families and the provision of permanent parental care for orphans, and for other purposes.

Ethica opposes passage of the Families for Orphans Act. Here are some reasons why:

  • The Families for Orphans Act, if passed, would give the United States unilateral power to develop global child welfare strategies by providing financial incentives for other countries (including through debt and trade relief) to send their children abroad for international adoption.
  • Instead, the United States should be participating diplomatically with other nations in developing global child welfare strategies, for example, by finally ratifying the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.
  • The bill legalizes an overly broad definition of “orphan”, capturing countless numbers of children who already have loving families, potentially including, for example, children who reside in boarding schools away from their primary caregivers.
  • This bill augments existing financial incentives for countries to favor international adoption by offering additional financial incentives, including technical assistance, grants, trade, and debt relief from the United States, which may sacrifice established child welfare principles by favoring international adoption over local solutions.
  • Reunification efforts are “time-limited” which may cause original families to be unnecessarily separated from their children.
  • Conflicts exist with various definitions in the bill. For example, long-term kinship and guardianship arrangements which are considered “permanent” care under the bill may simultaneously be considered long-term foster care arrangements, which are considered to be temporary care under the bill.
  • The bill requires “cultural norms” to be taken into account, but only to the extent consistent with the purposes of the bill. The bill permits the United States then to essentially disregard a country’s cultural norms.

Ethica supports the strengthening of global child welfare systems. However, we believe that this would best be accomplished by working through existing frameworks of technical assistance and aid, ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to demonstrate the commitment of the United States as a global partner in securing and upholding children’s basic rights, limiting the definition of orphans to those children truly in need of permanent caregivers with placement decisions made without the influence of money.

Ethica has the contact information for all the legislators at their website. Please go there now and read their full position statements.

Petition Request: Adoptee Right to Participate in Korean Adoption Law Revision

Adoptee Right to Participate in Korean Adoption Law Revision

Published by TRACK on Jul 13, 2009

Category: Law Reform

Region: South Korea

TargetKorean Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family

Web site: http://www.adoptionjustice.com  

Background (Preamble): In the 56 years of overseas South Korean adoption, the South Korean government has talked about these invested parties, attempting to represent their best interests. However, the South Korean government has yet to work *with* them on the very processes that irrevocably affect their lives.

Petition:

Dear Director Park Sook-ja:

We — the undersigned Korean domestic and overseas adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, unwed and single mothers, and allied supporters — strongly urge you to include overseas and domestic adoptees and their birth families (henceforth “invested parties”) as equal partners in the creation, development, discussion, and administration of South Korea’s adoption law revisions.

In the 56 years of overseas South Korean adoption, the South Korean government has talked about these invested parties, attempting to represent their best interests. However, the South Korean government has yet to work *with* them on the very processes that irrevocably affect their lives.

The birth families of Korean adoptees are Korean nationals. Adoptees began their lives as Korean nationals. Only South Korea’s international adoption law made overseas adoptees foreigners. Though overseas adoptees lack South Korean citizenship, they have the moral authority and right to participate in the governmental procedures that continue to create them.

By not including these invested parties, the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family’s hearings on adoption law ignores their lives and those of their relatives (an estimated 1,000,000 Korean nationals) who continue to be silenced by the world’s longest-running adoption program. Since the 1950s, South Korea has sent away the greatest number of children for international adoption in the world. An international adoption today costs $17,000. How much money international adoption has brought into South Korea since its establishment is currently unknown.

By including these invested parties, South Korea’s adoption law revisions will democratically reflect over 1,160,000 combined years of adoptee and adoptee relatives’ lived experience (1 year for each life).

As the world’s largest and oldest international adoption program, South Korea can set a new ethical standard for the true and just representation of its most vulnerable members of society, whose lives are irrevocably affected by South Korea’s adoption laws. We urge the South Korean government not to miss this opportunity.

Who may sign petition: adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, unwed and single mothers, and allied individuals and organizations.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION

Korea Continues to Deny Overseas Adoptees Access

From The Korea Times (2009 July 17):

By Jennifer Kwon Dobbs and Jane Jeong Trenka

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family opened a central adoption information service center Wednesday to provide post-adoption services to adoptees searching for their birth families. However, there’s one significant problem that the ministry has ignored: adoptee access.

This center is meant to fulfill the requirement of a “central authority” by the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Click on the central authority’s new Web site (www.kcare.or.kr) featuring images of adoptees for whom their birth families are searching and you’ll find it is completely in the Korean language. Can an overseas adoptee whose first language is either English or French read or use this?

Read the rest of the article here

Read and consider signing a petition urging the Korean government to include adoptees in their policy changes, etc. The text of the petition:

Dear Director Park Sook-ja:

We — the undersigned Korean domestic and overseas adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, unwed and single mothers, and allied supporters — strongly urge you to include overseas and domestic adoptees and their birth families (henceforth “invested parties”) as equal partners in the creation, development, discussion, and administration of South Korea’s adoption law revisions.

In the 56 years of overseas South Korean adoption, the South Korean government has talked about these invested parties, attempting to represent their best interests. However, the South Korean government has yet to work *with* them on the very processes that irrevocably affect their lives.

The birth families of Korean adoptees are Korean nationals. Adoptees began their lives as Korean nationals. Only South Korea’s international adoption law made overseas adoptees foreigners. Though overseas adoptees lack South Korean citizenship, they have the moral authority and right to participate in the governmental procedures that continue to create them.

By not including these invested parties, the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family’s hearings on adoption law ignores their lives and those of their relatives (an estimated 1,000,000 Korean nationals) who continue to be silenced by the world’s longest-running adoption program. Since the 1950s, South Korea has sent away the greatest number of children for international adoption in the world. An international adoption today costs $17,000. How much money international adoption has brought into South Korea since its establishment is currently unknown.

By including these invested parties, South Korea’s adoption law revisions will democratically reflect over 1,160,000 combined years of adoptee and adoptee relatives’ lived experience (1 year for each life).

As the world’s largest and oldest international adoption program, South Korea can set a new ethical standard for the true and just representation of its most vulnerable members of society, whose lives are irrevocably affected by South Korea’s adoption laws. We urge the South Korean government not to miss this opportunity.

Who may sign petition: adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, unwed and single mothers, and allied individuals and organizations.

Breaking the Ice

With my lobster friend :o)

Most people think I’m very outgoing, sociable, etc., (for example, I usually look like the person in the left – all smiles, even without a delicious lobster in my hand!) but it actually takes a lot for me to get to that point. I do get there, but I definitely need to warm up first. And then I enthusiastically embrace opportunities to get to know people, make them feel comfortable, and to connect them to others with similar interests. 

But it’s the first step that’s often the hardest; the first time you approach someone, introduce yourself, and break the ice. This is fun to do at conferences, and easy if you recognize someone’s name from a listserv or because you’ve read their books/articles, etc. and can use those connections. But sometimes it’s not quite as easy; I’ve been attending the same church for the past several months but I haven’t established any consistent friendships because I haven’t been proactive about it, and this has been very hard for me because having a spiritual community is essential to my well-being. But this past Sunday, I attended the church’s Operations Center Open House and took a group tour of the new facilities. Later, a girl who was in my tour group came up to me and introduced herself. It just about made my day!

So where am I going with this? I don’t know who my readers are, but I’d like to. Few of you leave comments or questions or email me, so I’m not sure how helpful my website is to you or the nature of your interest in my pages and posts. So if you feel comfortable (and if you don’t want to, that’s fine too!), I’m breaking the ice; please comment when you read something interesting, or email me (spark@stkate.edu) and introduce yourself. I don’t bite, although I might emit a few spark*s of excitement 🙂

USNews ranks Librarian Best Career in 2009!

Now, I try not to set too much store by US News and World Report rankings except of course, when they announce that the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois is ranked #1 in the entire country (which, of course, means in the entire universe). So who am I to argue that they recently announced that librarianship is one of the best careers of 2009? 🙂

Overview. Forget about that image of librarians as a mousy bookworms. More and more of today’s librarians must be clever interrogators, helping the patron to reframe their question more usefully. Librarians then become high-tech information sleuths, helping patrons plumb the oceans of information available in books and digital records, often starting with a clever Google search but frequently going well beyond.

Read the rest of the article here. To be fair, the description is a little glamoratized (“Librarians may also go on shopping sprees, deciding which books and online resources to buy. They may even get to put on performances, like children’s puppet shows, and run other programs, like book discussion groups for elders.” — as if those are *easy* tasks?! We have whole courses devoted to collection development, online databases, children’s services, storytelling, and running book discussion groups!) 

Also, here’s proof that you can’t *really* trust US News and World Report rankings: they say being a professor is one of the most overrated careers 😦 

To get tenure, which takes seven years, one typically must, in addition to a carrying full teaching load and advising students, publish original research, serve on committees, and perform other university service. That means long hours and not even close to getting the summers off.

It’s hard work, but someone’s got to do it. Might as well be someone who loves what they do enough to survive 5+ years of graduate school :o)

“Speaking Out,” by Nikki Grimes

 

Moses, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Moses, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

From “Speaking Out,” Nikki Grimes’ article in The Horn Book:

I’ve met a good many people who have served on Caldecott committees over the years, all lovely men and women, to be sure. A few of them I’ve even had the pleasure to call friends. I appreciate their tireless service to the children’s book community. But I have one burning question for Caldecott committees, past and present: if this nation can manage to put a black man in the Oval Office, why can’t the Caldecott committee see its way clear to give the Caldecott medal to an individual artist of African descent?

Read the rest of the article here.

Someone sent out this link on Child_Lit and asked for thoughts. I had read it already, a couple days ago, when it was posted on someone’s blog. My response to the Child_Litter was:

I was very sad that Moses did not win the Caldecott Award in 2007, and although I love Henry’s Freedom Box, I’m a little more understanding of Hugo Cabret’s win in 2008.

Related, I wish Laurence Yep had won the Newbery award for Dragowings. I also feel it’s “time” but the tricky thing is that we don’t want to award them because it’s “time” but because their work for that year is truly deserving (which, I think, Moses was.)

I’m looking forward to hearing other people’s responses to this article.

Writings on Transracial Korean Adoption: A Bibliography for Adult Readers (assignment for LIS510)

Writings on Transracial Korean Adoption: A Bibliography for Adult Readers

This bibliography provides resources regarding the history, politics and experiences of transracially adopted Korean persons. Many works exist on “how to adopt” and “how to parent your adopted child,” and they often overshadow the voices and thoughts of adult adopted Koreans and their allies. Thus, the main purpose of this bibliography is to provide resources, mostly from the perspectives of adopted Korean themselves, that might be easily found in a public library or on the Internet.

  • Bergquist, Kathleen Ja Sook, Elizabeth Vonk, Dong Soo Kim, and Marvin D. Feit, eds. 2007. International Korean Adoption: A Fifty-Year History of Policy and Practice. New York: The Haworth Press.
  • Bishoff, Tonya and Jo Rankin, eds. 1997. Seeds From a Silent Tree: An Anthology by Korean Adoptees. San Diego: Pandal Press.
  • Clement, Thomas Park. 1998. The Unforgotten War (Dust of the Streets).
  • Cox, Susan Soon-Keum, ed. 1999. Voices From Another Place: A Collection of Works From a Generation Born in Korea and Adopted to Other Countries. St. Paul: Yeong & Yeong Book Company.
  • Dorow, Sara, ed. 1999. I Wish For You a Beautiful Life: Letters From the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children. St. Paul: Yeong & Yeong Book Company.
  • Freundlich, Madelyn, and Joy Kim Lieberthal. June 2000. The Gathering of the First Generation of Adult Korean Adoptees: Adoptees’ Perceptions of International Adoption. New York: The Evan B. Donaldson Institute. [http://uskoreainstitute.org/publications/working-paper-series/the-korean-diaspora/korean-adoptees/]
  • Hübinette, Tobias. 2006. Comforting an Orphaned Nation: Representations of International Adoption and Adopted Koreans in Korean Popular Culture. Korean Studies. 32nd ed. Seoul: Jimoondang.
  • Kim, Elizabeth. 2000. Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Extraordinary Journey of a Korean War Orphan. New York: Doubleday.
  • Kim, Jae Ran. Harlow’s Monkey: Experiencing the Social Experiment of Transracial and Transnational Adoption. [http://harlowmonkey.typepad.com]
  • Oparah, Julia Chinyere, Sun Yung Shin, and Jane Jeong Trenka, eds. 2006. Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption. Cambridge: South End Press.
  • Park Nelson, Kim. 2009. Mapping Multiple Histories of Korean American Transnational Adoption. US Korea Institute. [http://uskoreainstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/USKI_WP_0901.pdf]
  • Register, Cheri. 2005. Beyond Good Intentions: A Mother Reflects on Raising Internationally Adopted Children. St. Paul: Yeong & Yeong Book Company.
  • Robinson, Katy. 2002. A Single Square Picture: A Korean Adoptee’s Search For Her Roots. New York: Berkeley Books.
  • Trenka, Jane Jeong. 2009. Fugitive Visions: An Adoptee’s Return to Korea. St. Paul: Graywolf Press.
  • Trenka, Jane Jeong. 2003. The Language of Blood: A Memoir. Minnesota: Borealis Books.
  • Trenka, Jane Jeong. TRACK: Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea. [http://justicespeaking.wordpress.com/]
  • Wilkinson, Sook, and Nancy Fox, eds. 2002. After the Morning Calm: Reflections of Korean Adoptees. Rancho Santa Fe: Sunrise Ventures.

Created by Sarah Park, Ph.D, for LIS510 Adult Public Services, a course in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. Questions and comments may be directed to spark@stkate.edu.