Aussie director Jet Wilkinson: From an orphanage to Hollywood

The Daily Telegraph MEG MASON April 9, 2017 12:00am

From a Vietnamese orphanage to a Sydney suburb to Hollywood, Australian TV director Jet Wilkinson tells Stellar how she made the big time.

FOR a pair of hard-working parents, an accountant and a secretary-turned-housewife from a down-to- earth suburb like Dundas in Sydney’s north-west, to have their teenage daughter announce that she is planning to become a Hollywood director isn’t necessarily welcome news.

“They said, ‘The worst thing you can do is an arts degree,’” laughs Jet Wilkinson, that teenage daughter, now 43. “I ended up doing an arts degree.”

And instead of pursuing their suggested career in teaching, Wilkinson did become a Hollywood director and producer – one of the relatively few Australians to make the notoriously difficult leap from the domestic television industry to the American big leagues.

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Adoption Disruption/Displacement Experiences of Intercountry Adoptees USA

Are you an intercountry/international adoptee 18+ years or older?

  • Did you spend time (30 days or more) in foster care, group home, residential treatment, wilderness treatment camp, treatment ranch, or long-term hospitalization program before you turned 18 years old?
  • Or did your adoptive parents kick you out of the house, leading you to couch-surf, stay in shelters or live without secure housing?
  • Were you “re-homed” or placed in a formal or informal adoptive home with someone other than the parents to whom you were originally adopted?

My name is JaeRan Kim, and I am an assistant professor at the University of Washington Tacoma. I am conducting a research study on intercountry adoptees who, after their adoption by U.S. parents, experienced an adoption disruption, dissolution or displacement. Participation in the study would include completing a survey and an interview.

If you would like more information about this study, or would like to participate, please contact me at for more information. This study has been approved by the University of Washington Institutional Review Board. Thank you for your consideration.

Click here to the page link

An Iranian Intercountry Adoption

InterCountry Adoptee Voices (ICAV) 2017

I am an Iranian intercountry adoptee born in 1969 and adopted by my American adoptive family in 1976. They lived and worked at a small shipping port town called Bandar-e-abbas, not far from Tehran for a number of years. My adoptive father worked in a British ship building company, contracted to the Iranian Navy. My adoptive family had 5 older siblings, all biologically born to them. I joined my family as the youngest and I also suffer from limb deformities caused by parts of the amniotic sac wrapping itself around my fingers and foot in utero, this syndrome is called Amniotic band constriction.

My birth date is unknown and I came to be placed for adoption because I was dropped off at the police station north east of Iran at approximately 3 days old. I was placed on a blanket with a note saying “take good care of him” and nothing else to identify who had left me there. In Iran in those days, there was no support for a child born with deformities and it was considered a stigma. I was then taken to an orphanage in Tehran for 6 and 1/2 years and raised there until my adoption. My orphanage for children with deformities had been established by the Iranian queen but once the revolution took place, children like me were used for lowly roles like walking through landscapes searching for unexploded landmines ie., we were just throwaway kids, not valued or considered as worthy of any type of life.

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The Colour of Time

A new book, The Colour of Time: A Longitudinal Exploration of the Impact of Intercountry Adoption in Australia is to be released in June this year.

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The Colour of Time follows the journeys of 13 of the original 27 contributors from The Colour of Difference.  Reading about their experiences 15 years on, you will gain a greater understanding of how the adoption journey is navigated over time as adoptees mature and age.  The book looks at whether things change, and if so, how?

Included in The Colour of Time is a new younger generation of 15 intercountry adoptees, some as  young as 18 through to others in their early 30s.  They shed light on whether the issues they’ve experienced mirror the complexities raised by the older generation in The Colour of Difference.  Has the mandatory education for prospective parents made a difference?  Has racism been an issue compared to those raised in the 70s and 80s, post White Australia Policy era?  Has greater awareness of the complexities highlighted in The Colour of Difference made any impact?

Click here to learn more about the launch and book.

Asian American Adoptees Without Citizenship


Joy Alessi is 50 year-old Korean American adoptee, born in South Korea, and adopted at 7 months old to U.S. citizens. She assumed like many, that she was an American citizen, but like others, found out she didn’t have citizenship.

“From my earliest memories, I knew that as a foreign adoptee others perceived me as an “Alien.” I grew up in a predominantly “white” environment, and although I felt American on the inside, I always felt treated as an inferior outsider.”

“When I was 15, I wanted to travel overseas on a youth mission trip, but my parents prevented from going because (as I have since learned) they never filed naturalization papers after my adoption. Today, nearly 35 years later, I discovered that my mother contacted the adoption agency for proof of citizenship, but neither they or my parents took measures to resolve this. My parents also told me that a birth certificate was not available for adoptees, an error that I recently uncovered. I finally located my (archived) “Delayed Birth Registration,” and after nearly 50 years, I have the birth certificate I was meant to have. Had my parents asked for a copy following the adoption proceedings, my entire life would have been different. As explained to me by the state, this record proves my citizenship through legal adoption.”

Click here to read the full article.