Beyond Cultural Camp – Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption

Funded by WK Kellogg Foundation and Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2009-2011
This report was researched and written by Hollee McGinnis, Policy & Operations Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute; Susan Livingston Smith, Program & Project Director of the Institute, Dr. Scott D. Ryan, a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute and Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington; and Dr. Jeanne A. Howard, Policy &
Research Director of the Institute. It was edited by Adam Pertman, Executive Director of theInstitute. We are deeply grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for providing the funding to launch this study. Also, special thanks to the scholars and adoption professionals who reviewed this paper and provided guidance; they included Dr.Harold Grotevant, Senior Research Fellow
of the Institute and the Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Dr. Ruth McRoy, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute and the GSSW Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College; Dr. Tom Crea, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College; and Dr. Amanda Baden, Associate Professor of Psychology at Montclair StateUniversity.

Executive Summary – Excerpt

I realized I never could change my ethnicity/race. I also developed a pride in being Korean and Asian. I reviewed things I liked about being Asian that European Americans did not have. I also grew comfortable with things I did not like about being Asian. As an adult I learned how to deal with racism/stereotypes in a way that makes me feel OK about being a “border person” and a minority (Study respondent).
Transracial adoption is a reality of contemporary American life. Since 1971, parents in this country have adopted nearly a half-million children from other countries, the vast majority of them from orphanages throughout Asia, South America and, most recently, Africa. Additional tens of thousands of multiracial families have been formed during this period with boys and girls adopted from foster care, with the rate of such adoptions from the domestic system growing from 10.8 percent in Fiscal Year 1995, when there were about 20,000 total adoptions, to 15 percent in 2001, when there were over 50,000.
In the vast majority of these cases – domestic and international – children of color have been adopted by Caucasian parents.1
The consequences of this historic phenomenon have been profound, both for the tens of millions of Americans into whose families these children have been adopted, as well as for a society in which our understanding of what a family looks like is being altered every day. Yet we know very little about the impact of this change – most pointedly about its effects on the Asian, Hispanic
and African American boys and girls at the core of it. How do they develop a sense of racial identity when raised by White parents, most often in predominately White communities? How do they incorporate an understanding of both being adopted and of having parents who are of a different race or ethnicity than themselves? How do they learn to cope with racism and stereotyping? What experiences are beneficial to them in developing a positive sense of self?
This ground-breaking study by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute constitutes the broadest, most extensive examination to date of identity development in adopted adults. It does so not only by reviewing decades of research but also, most importantly, by asking the experts – adult adoptees – about the experiences and strategies that promote positive identity development. Too often, our understanding of identity, particularly of those adopted across race/ethnicity, has been formed through research involving children and youth. Similarly, conclusions about identity in transracial adoption too often have come from the perspective of parents, not adoptees themselves. The Institute’s study focuses on adult adopted persons, gaining their understanding of how they have integrated “being adopted” and their race/ethnicity with other aspects of themselves that, together, form an identity.

Federal Negarit Gazetta of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia – Revised Family Code – 2000

Federal Negarit Gazetta of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
The Revised Family Code
Federal Negarit Gazetta Extra Ordinary Issue No. 1/2000 The Revised Family
Code Proclamation No. 213/2000
Addis Ababa 4th, Day of July, 2000

Ethiopian Adoption Connection (EAC)

Our Mission.

Beteseb Felega, also known as Ethiopian Adoption Connection (EAC), is a grassroots effort to reconnect family members separated by adoption and to provide compassionate support to adoptees, birth family members, and adoptive parents. Our internet database contains Ethiopian adoption information provided by adopted people/adoptive parents and birth families who are looking for each other.

Beteseb Felega empowers families in Ethiopia who have lost children to adoption by providing emotional and social support through caseworker led discussion groups. We explain the system through which their children were adopted and provide meaningful guidance regarding reunion and ongoing contact with their adopted children. To avoid real or perceived conflict of interest, EAC’s services to Ethiopian families are offered independently of the adoptive families we also serve.

Beteseb Felega is the only organization committed to giving a voice to Ethiopian families while providing services focused on their well being post adoption. We are a non profit organization registered in the United States.

The mission of Beteseb Felega / Ethiopian Adoption Connection is to reconnect adopted children and adults (adoptees) with their families in Ethiopia. When we tell people this, especially outside adoption circles, they are often confused. They may think, “Why open a can of worms?” or “The kids have a new family, look forward not back.”

It’s a lot more complicated than that. Adoption creates a new legal family but it doesn’t erase the original family bonds. All the feelings and connections are still there, even for babies. It can be confusing for kids to grow up not knowing where they came from or why they were adopted. When you know your roots it’s easy to underestimate how hard it can be for those who don’t.

In Ethiopia we work with families whose children were adopted abroad. Many of these parents come from poor, rural areas lacking the basics we take for granted. Life is hard and living abroad is a dream for many. Often, parents who gave children for adoption were convinced to do so with promises of a good education, financial support, and that the children would return as adults to support them. Others had social or living conditions that made it difficult for them to care for their children and they believed sending them abroad would be better. They were never told their family ties would be legally severed and that their children would likely never return.

These mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers never forget. Beteseb Felega offers emotional support and provides information to help prepare families for potential reunion. Many Ethiopian families report that we are the first people ever to ask them about their adopted kids or how they feel about life without them. Some tell us they cry every day. Many don’t know if their children are even alive.

It is the vision and hope of Beteseb Felega (EAC) that every adoptee has access to their birth information and the opportunity for contact with their family of origin. We are a bridge across continents.

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Reunited After 23 Years: Adopted Woman Meets Biological Father

The Quint – The News Minute
October 25, 2016, 7:16 pm

It was a teary reunion of a father and a daughter on Monday afternoon in Chamrajpet area of Bengaluru.

Jyothi Svahn from Sweden met her biological father Dasaratha Rao who lives and works as a corporation worker in the city, after 23 long years.

As the father and daughter hugged, a moment of catharsis that was much needed by both, unfolded.

Twenty-seven-year old Jyothi, a writer and social worker, and her younger sister Gayathri, a nurse, were separated from their family at a very young age.

According to Dasaratha, one day following a fight his wife Kamala Bai, she left the house with their two daughters, who were then around four and five years old respectively. Their son Maruthi Rao, who was not in the house at the time and had perhaps gone out to play, was left behind.

After a while, Kamala sent the girls to St Mary’s Convent in the city, and then to the NGO Ashraya, which facilitated their adoption.

Romania – For Export Only – Author R. Post

the untold story of the Romanian ‘ orphans’ gives an insider’s look into the adoption kitchen, where the most used ingredients are political pressure and emotional blackmail.

Post kept a diary on her work for the European Commission that aimed to help Romania reform its child protection. She soon found out that the intercountry adoption system in place was nothing short of a market for children, riddled by corruption. After international criticism this practice was halted temporarily.

When redrafting laws, it became clear that in Romania’s reformed child protection there was neither place nor need for intercountry adoptions.

A ferocious lobby that wanted to maintain intercountry adoptions stepped out.

Worldwide, a nexus of adoption agencies, adoptive parents and politicians are use their powers to ensure that intercountry adoptions continue. Often they are successful. However, in Romania they were not.

The Romanian government, with support of the European Union, stood firm and took the decision to no longer export their children. A decision the adoption industry continues to challenge since 10 years.

The reader is taken along on an eight-year-travel, from 1999 to end 2006, and will be shown the story of the Romanian ‘orphans’ from a different light, where global politics and private interests compete with the rights of the child.

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