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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Adopted Babies Grieve* #NAAM2019 Adoption and Child Separation at the Border

Adopted Babies Grieve*


When I first joined my new family, in a new home, in a new country with new sounds and unfamiliar smells and foods, I cried and screamed unabated for days on end. My Mom was so concerned she took me to see a doctor. The doctor diagnosed me with “acute separation anxiety.”

I was 6 months old.DNA does not forget.

And neither do our mothers.


_________
*This is the second essay in a  series titled, "Reflections from the Other Side of 10 Years Post-Reunion," that I am publishing as I examine the past 10 years since reuniting with my Korean family. To view additional essays in this series, click here.

**

Adoption and Child Separation at the Border


Native News Online captures the voices of American Indian leaders speaking out about the practice of incarcerating children and notes the similarities to the boarding school project.
We are seeing the beginnings of how organizations transform black and brown children to desirable bodies for adoption. These are the same children Americans seek to adopt when they are considered “over there” or not linked to black and brown adults. Finding Fernanda by Erin Siegel demonstrates the experiences of adoptive parents as they sought to adopt children from Guatemala.  We are seeing how children’s bodies are being disciplined to become acceptable bodies of children of color—potential adoptees, potential kin to white families.

Silence is violence, especially now. This is why I urge white adoptive parents of children of color in particular to use your voice and speak. Advocate for family preservation and reunification. See how your child’s immigrant story is aligned with the immigrant experiences of these other children. Adoptees should not be exceptional immigrants, but yet we are. We are heralded while people who could be our parents, siblings, or children are denigrated. And don’t be fooled—your children are not exceptions, not when we see naturalized citizens not having the ability to think their citizenship is permanent. To look away and think, “Well my child would not have this happen to them,” at some point we might be in a situation where they will come for us—adoptees. And then what? I’m reminded of the poem, “First they came for the socialists,” by Martin Niemöller given the ways in which American society is normalizing the behavior and dehumanization of some ethnic, racial, and religious groups over others. A quick Google search will reveal that I’m not alone in this concern. 
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where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?