Sitting here at my desk at the same adoption organization my parents came to is so surreal. Being a Social Work intern at Gladney right now is so special because it allows me to connect with where my new life with my family began. As a future social worker, my goal is to help others on their adoption journeys and support all members of the adoption triad. I just finished a big personal project of mine which was publishing my book called Through Adopted Eyes: A Collection of Memoirs from Adoptees – which includes my own thoughts and perspective on adoption as a Russian adoptee. The book also includes the emotional and amazing stories of 50 other adoptees and talks about the best and worst things about being an adoptee and what adoptees wish others knew. These adoptees of all different ages have differing backgrounds, perspectives, and adoptee insight.
It started in Can Tho, Vietnam when I was placed into a baby home 9 days old until I was two. As I was living in the orphanage for those two years my adopted parents were searching for a child to adopt. It’s crazy to think how I got adopted because I knew they really were looking to adopt a Chinese girl until the adopted agency told them that they have a bunch of Vietnamese kids waiting to be adopted. They’ve told me the story many times and I can still recall it till this day. They received the video, and both of them watched the video separately to see if they would pick the same kid out of the video that they would want and as crazy as it is to think both of my parents picked me. They said that I was the biggest kid and most energetic, so it was easy to point me out, and I still carry those traits today. I have no memory on my travel from Vietnam to the United States, but I’ve definitely been told that I was very scared and confused. I mean, who wouldn’t be confused when coming to a new home?
Last week I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the Christian Alliance for Children (CAFO) Summit in Frisco, Texas. While I was there, it was great to see the Christian churches’ response to the problem of child welfare around the world.
It's been a journey already that you've taken towards becoming parents. You've had a lot of tough conversations and wrestled with your plans. Now you're ready to learn more about adoption and you're faced with several options.
According to the latest report published by the U.S. Department of State, International Adoptions continue to decline to the U.S., with another drop reported for 2017. Since the peak in 2004, we have seen an 80% decline in international adoptions to the U.S.
As Congress works to resolve the important issues around DACA, please do not forget another group of foreign-born children who were brought into United States legally, and adopted by U.S citizens, yet do not have U.S. citizenship. There are the internationally adopted persons who fell into a loophole that was created when Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. (Read Adopted Persons Deserve Equal Protection.)
ALL ADOPTED PERSONS DESERVE EQUAL PROTECTION
UNDER U.S. LAW
"100 years ago, children who were adopted were not automatically able to inherit from their adoptive parents in the same way biological children were. Today, we cannot imagine how adopted children could have fewer rights than other children born into a family. Unfortunately, another significant discrepancy continues to exist for certain internationally adopted persons: A child who was adopted in complete compliance with U.S. law and the laws of the birth country may not be a U.S. citizen, even though the person’s sibling, who was born in the same foreign country to the U.S. parents, would be a full U.S. citizen. Now as adults, one sibling has all the rights of U.S. citizenship, while the adopted sibling may not have automatic rights of citizenship, and is vulnerable to deportation."