“Thousands of Adoptees Might Not Be Citizens”

This is frightening.

According to this article, many adoptive parents may not have completed the steps to acquire citizenship for their transnationally adopted children because of neglect or not understanding.

Even more difficult to determine is how many adoptees have been deported to countries they have no connection with anymore.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigates, detains and deports, if ordered to, noncitizens who violate immigration laws. The agency doesn’t break down deportations by type, said Lorie Dankers, a regional spokeswoman.

Read the entire article here.

More news

Some interesting headlines from this past week:

Guatemala to resume Int’l Adoptions in June

Until the door to adoptions slammed shut in 2007, Guatemala was the world’s second-largest source of babies to the United States after China due to its routinely quick adoption process.

Authorities suspended adoptions after discovering evidence some babies had been stolen, others had fake birth certificates, and women were being coerced to give up their children.

As my friend Nate asks, what exactly has been changed with this new system? The article cites that instead of parents requesting certain characteristics in children, now adoptive parents will be provided with a “list” of children available for adoption. in my mind, they’re two sides of the same coin. Either way, the adoptive parents will get what they “want.” The difference is in the former case they’re putting in a virtually customized order, and in the second, they’re picking from a list. Since this article is so short, I hope that there’s a lot more behind the changes that we just haven’t yet seen.

Young Learners Need Librarians, Not Just Google

As a former corporate lawyer, I owe much of my success to effective research skills that evolved, with the help of skilled trainers, as new tools came along. As a former executive officer at a company that had 1,200 employees in 29 countries worldwide, I know that without adequate media literacy training, kids will not succeed in a 21st-century workplace. The “old school” ways of communicating won’t cut it; I’ve mastered those, and yet now spend each day re-learning how to communicate effectively in this new world order. And as the founder of a company whose mission is to teach the effective use of the Internet, I have pored through dozens of studies, and recently oversaw one myself, that all came to the same conclusion: Students do not know how to find or evaluate the information they need on the Internet.

Study after study after study (Keith Lance comes to mind) stress the importance of having school librarians (also known as school media specialists) in every school. (Tongue in cheek) Maybe everyone should get an LIS degree.

I guess we’ll see how both situations pan out. It’s been a rough but productive week, and I am now on spring break, so I’m going to work hard and play hard for the next 10 days. I’ll hopefully blog more too. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more!

“No one book can be ‘the best book'”

I’m re-reading an article by Junko Yokota titled, “Asian Americans in Literature for Children and Young Adults” (Teacher Librarian 36:3  Feb 2009) in preparation for giving a guest lecture tonight in Dr. Thomas Crisp’s children’s literature class. Today, this part of Yokota’s words stood out to me:

Representation does not mean looking for the ideally authentic book to represent a culture; no one book can be “the best book” for representing Asian American literature. In fact, it takes many books to create a multidimensional look at a culture.

Whenever I talk about Korean American children’s books or Korean adoption in children’s books, people inevitably ask one of two questions:

  1. Do you plan to write a children’s book on this topic? (No.)
  2. What one book would you recommend?

I find it almost insulting, after giving a presentation on the great variety of experiences and depth of history of the Korean diaspora, and representations of such in children’s literature, to be asked what one book I would recommend. For what time period? From whose perspective? For what age level? In what genre(s)? In which region(s)? On what topics/issues?

Rather than ask, “What is the best book for Korean American youth?” how about asking, “What are some books that represent a range of Korean American experiences for XYZ age group?”

I am much better able to answer the latter question than the former one.

*Structural Violence* and *HERE*

So much to update, so little time. For now, some awesome reads:

Structural Violence, Social Death and International Adoption: Part 1 of 4 by Jane Jeong Trenka

Structural Violence, Social Death and International Adoption: Part 2 of 4 by Jane Jeong Trenka

Structural Violence, Social Death and International Adoption: Part 3 of 4 by Jane Jeong Trenka

Structural Violence, Social Death and International Adoption: Part 4 of 4 by Jane Jeong Trenka

Some quotes from Trenka’s article:

It has been estimated that there will be no more Koreans left in South Korea by the year 2305; there are not enough babies being born to replace the elderly who are dying.(1)

The Korea Times quoted the minister, whom it dubbed the “Minister of Ingenuity,” as saying, “It is obvious that my primary and ultimate goal as family minister is to lift the birthrate.” Yet this is the very same ministry responsible for sending up to 200,000 children overseas for international adoption (2), with 90 percent of the 1250 Korean babies sent for international adoption in 2008 being the children of unwed mothers.

It seems that the ministry is not interested in raising the birthrate by simply allowing the children who are already born in Korea to live there, or by extending the “choice” of raising one’s own child to everyone. Even while she talks about adopting the model of family-friendly policies used in France (where people no longer find it necessary to marry to have and raise children), the minister is interested in encouraging only married people to have children. Children who fall outside the “norm” of Korean society have been systematically shipped out ever since the end of the Korean War. (3)

Although there may be up to 1 million Korean family members directly affected by international adoption, these family members are rarely heard from(4); the adoption program that presumably “saved” children from miserable lives in Korea and that now “saves” unwed mothers from raising their own children has also rendered them socially dead in the process. These social deaths, accomplished by dis-embedding children from their families, exiling them from their country, and changing their names, birthdates, hometowns, and social histories, have been facilitated by the “justice” ministry and the ministry of health, welfare and “family,” as well as the adoption agencies’ web of orphanages, unwed mother’s homes, and the Korean healthcare providers who pressure women into relinquishing children and who have the power to cover up the adoptions. (5)

And FINALLY! It’s HERE: A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota !! From the Yeong & Yeong website:

Why HERE? Our story: Minnesota has one of the highest number of adopted Koreans, per capita, in the world, and yet there is nothing in our state’s annals to document this. This book was conceived to recognize the 13,000–15,000 of us who have immigrated to Minnesota, and to celebrate our existence, experiences, and perspectives, which are as diverse as our faces. We are everyday people, yet unique. We are girls, boys, women, men, babies, teens, and adults; singles, partnered, married, gay, straight, and transgendered; sons and daughters, mothers and fathers. We are a living, breathing part of Minnesota history. This book has no agenda—it is neither for nor against international adoption. We merely present the spectrum of our adopted community and how we have altered the face of Minnesota since the 1950s. Most important, we felt the urgent need to create this book as a resource not only for the present population, but also for future adoptees. After all, many of us do not have access to our Korean families and ancestry, and this book may provide the only touchstone many of us will ever have.

Congratulations to Kim Dalros and Heewon Lee for making this book a reality!

More, more, more!

More of my students are coming to see me in both office hours and outside office hours. I see this as either 1) I don’t explain things clearly so they need extra help or 2) they see me as a fount of knowledge and want to learn more. Let’s go with the latter, although I’m looking over my teaching materials to clarify in case it’s the former.

More presentations this spring! Spring semester is definitely the busy season for conferences, starting with ALISE, and continuing on with internal presentations (SCU Scholars Circle and SCU Asian Women’s Association), and of course there is AAAS (which, sadly, I’m missing this year – when was the last time I attended AAAS? I almost can’t remember *sad face*), MAASU (I’m required to attend with my AWA undergrads, but also giving two presentations!), a few guest lectures for my awesome friends Jamie Naidoo and Thomas Crisp, the Adoption Studies conference (which I’m attending for the first time! Yay!), and of course, one of my absolute favorites – the Children’s Literature Association conference in June 2010. It’ll be my first time going to Ann Arbor, my first time serving on the career panel, my first time running for a position (diversity committee), but not my first time hanging out with one of the raddest group of people ever.

More good things – sunshine and melting snow, homemade cheesecake, good books (All the Broken Pieces is a recent favorite), and trips (best friend Sonja’s bachelorette party in Miami).