Adoption Stories from Adopted the Movie - A Feature Film by Barb Lee

December 21, 2007

‘I was made to give up my daughter’ – Guatemalan teen tells her story

Filed under: Adoption,Adoption in Other Countries — Tags: , — Catherine @ 12:19 pm

From BBC News:

Luisa*, 16, is living with her one-year-old daughter in a home for young mothers in Guatemala City run by Casa Alianza, a non-profit organisation which helps children living on the streets and vulnerable teenagers.

I was in a relationship with a guy and I got pregnant. My mother was really angry about it. She banned me from seeing him and we took the decision to have an abortion.

I went with this lady to have injections to induce an abortion but it didn’t work.

Then my aunt found an ad in the paper that offered help to pregnant teenagers.

My aunt and I went to the city to see the people and soon afterwards they called to say they had a place for me in a home already. I stayed with them until I had the baby.

I wasn’t the only one there. There were six, seven, eight girls in the pregnancy home, some older and some younger than me.

We didn’t really talk – we were kept in our rooms almost all the time. Our families would come to visit once a week.

The people at the home didn’t say anything about adoption for a while. Then, when the baby was born, they asked me if I wanted to give her up for adoption or if I wanted to keep her.

My parents and I decided that we would give her up, although from the start I didn’t really want to.

The adoption lawyer made me sign some documents and some blank papers. I asked why I had to sign these blank papers and she said it was for the adoption process.

My baby was born on 21 November 2006 and they took her away from me on 7 December.

The lawyer told me she would give me money for the baby but I said I didn’t want anything.

Lawyer’s threat

So why did I agree? Well, my parents didn’t have very much money and these people told me that the baby would have a home and education.

But at the same time I didn’t feel good about giving her up. From the day I did, I cried all day every day, and when I saw people with their babies I felt I was a really bad mother.

After that, I got together with the guy again and he asked me about the girl. He knew I was giving her up but he didn’t agree with it.

We decided to go to the adoption lawyer’s office and ask her if I could have my baby back. She said no.

The lawyer gave me two options. She said I had to give my baby up, or my boyfriend.

She told me that if I didn’t give up my baby, she would have an arrest warrant issued for him because I was under-age and he was 20, so he’d had sex with a minor.

She also said I would have to repay everything she had spent on me – for the Caesarean section, the medical bills, the costs for my time in the pregnancy home.

At that point, I decided to leave things the way they were. We had no money to pay.

‘Amazing love’

A while later I received a call from the lawyer, saying my parents and I had to go to the PGN (Solicitor General’s Office) to sign the adoption papers.

The lawyer there asked if I wanted to give my baby up. This was my chance to say no – which I did.

My parents got very angry and left me in the street outside the office. But with my sister’s support, I signed the papers to say I’d changed my mind – and now here I am with my baby.

I talked to my mother for the first time today [since it happened] and she said she wants me back in the family home with the baby.

But I’d rather live with my boyfriend. He can offer me everything I need for the baby because he’s working here in the city, and I want to go with him and have my own life.

I’m really happy to have my daughter back. She’s just had her first birthday.

I’d tell girls in the same situation as I was to keep their babies, to keep fighting because they are worth it and the love you have for them is amazing.

Original article is here:

December 19, 2007

“When Adoption Goes Wrong”: Newsweek article on Peggy Hilt

From Newsweek:

When Adoption Goes Wrong; Most Americans who adopt children from
other countries find joy. But others aren’t prepared for the
risks-and may find themselves overwhelmed.

Peggy Hilt wanted to be a good mother. But day after day, she got out
of bed feeling like a failure. No matter what she tried, she couldn’t
connect with Nina, the 2-year old girl she’d adopted from Russia as
an infant. The preschooler pulled away whenever Hilt tried to hug or
kiss her. Nina was physically aggressive with her 4-year-old sister,
who had been adopted from Ukraine, and had violent tantrums. Whenever
Hilt wasn’t watching, she destroyed the family’s furniture and
possessions. “Every day with Nina had become a struggle,” she recalls now.

As the girl grew older, things got worse. Hilt fell into a deep
depression. She started drinking heavily, something she’d never done
before. Ashamed, she hid her problem from everyone, including her husband.

On the morning of July 1, 2005, Hilt was packing for a family
vacation, all the while downing one beer after another and growing
increasingly aggravated and impatient with Nina’s antics. “Everything
she did just got to me,” Hilt said. When Hilt caught her reaching
into her diaper and smearing feces on the walls and furniture, “a
year and a half of frustration came to a head,” Hilt says. “I
snapped. I felt this uncontrollable rage.”

Then Hilt did something unthinkable. She grabbed Nina around the
neck, shook her and then dropped her to the floor, where she kicked
her repeatedly before dragging her up to her room, punching her as
they went. “I had never hit a child before,” she says. “I felt
horrible and promised myself that this would never happen again.” But
it was too late for that. Nina woke up with a fever, and then started
vomiting. The next day she stopped breathing. By the time the
ambulance got the child to the hospital, she was dead.

Hilt is now serving a 19-year sentence for second-degree murder in a
Virginia maximum-security prison. She and her husband divorced, and
he is raising their other daughter. She realizes the horror of her
crime and says she isn’t looking for sympathy. “There is no
punishment severe enough for what I did,” she told NEWSWEEK in an
interview at the prison.

Hilt’s story is awful-and rare-but sadly it is not unique. Adopting a
child from another country is usually a positive, enriching
experience for both the child and the parent. Over the last 20 years,
foreign adoption has become more popular, and Americans now adopt
about 20,000 children from Guatemala, China, Russia and other nations
each year. (In the last few years, as restrictions and red tape have
increased in some countries, the number of overseas adoptions has
begun to drop.) Longitudinal studies show that most of these kids do
quite well, but in a small but significant number of cases, things go
very badly. Since the early 1990s, the deaths of 14 Russian children
killed by their adoptive parents have been documented. (That
disclosure was partly responsible for Russia’s decision in 2006 to
suspend its intercountry adoption program while it underwent review.)

Cases like those are extreme, but clinicians who specialize in
treating foreign orphans say they are seeing more parents who are
overwhelmed by their adopted children’s unexpected emotional and
behavioral problems. And though reputable agencies try to warn
parents of the risks, not all succeed. “In the past, agencies were a
bit naive,” says Chuck Johnson of the National Council For Adoption,
which is responding to the problem with a massive education
initiative. “Now we’re urging them to give parents a more realistic
message.” Some parents struggle to find effective treatment for their
kids. Others seek to give them up. Reports that a growing number of
foreign adoptees were being turned over to the U.S. foster-care
system recently prompted the Department of Health and Human Services
to order its first national count: 81 children adopted overseas were
relinquished to officials in 14 states in 2006.

Why do some adoptions go so wrong? Clearly, it’s not the kids’ fault.
Their behavior is usually the result of trauma, mistreatment,
malnutrition or institutionalization in their home countries-problems
more common in places like Eastern Europe. But “the country of origin
doesn’t matter so much as the child’s experience,” says Dr. Dana
Johnson, director of the University of Minnesota’s International
Adoption Clinic. Some are found to suffer from fetal alcohol
syndrome, mental illness or reactive attachment disorder, an
inability to bond with a parent. Prospective families undergo an
arduous screening process, including home visits, and specify how
much disability they can handle. But even families who specifically
request a “healthy” child sometimes go home with a troubled one. In
some cases, the mismatch is inadvertent. But in others, orphanages or
adoption agencies overseas-eager to find homes for difficult children
in their care-mislead prospective parents or fail to disclose the
full extent of a child’s problems or personal history.

Emotional and even physical problems can be difficult to detect at
the time of adoption, especially in infants, and often aren’t
diagnosed until months or years later. Hilt says that’s what happened
to her. She and her husband decided to adopt after being told she’d
probably never conceive. After passing their agency’s screening, they
brought home their first daughter from Ukraine in 2001, and that went
so well they decided to adopt two Russian sisters. But when they flew
to Siberia to meet them in May 2003, they were told the sisters were
no longer available. Instead, they were told, they could adopt
Tatiana, a lively 18-month-old, and Nina, a quiet, withdrawn
9-month-old. They visited Tatiana every day for a week, but officials
never let them see Nina again. “They said she had a bad cold,” Hilt
said. Nonetheless, they signed adoption papers for both girls. But
when they returned to finalize the adoption in January 2004, they
were told that only Nina was still available. The Hilts hesitated.
They suspected a bait-and-switch, especially when officials insisted
they sign papers testifying they’d spent many more hours with the
baby than they had. “The whole process didn’t feel right,” Hilt said.
“But we figured we could love any child. You convince yourself that
everything will turn out OK.”

But from the start, Nina “literally pushed me away,” Hilt said. Over
time, Hilt found herself resenting the little girl. “We’d been such a
happy family, and then Nina came and everything changed,” Hilt says.
“I began to realize that we had made such a big mistake.” (Tatyana
Kharchendo, the doctor in charge of the Little Sun Child Home #1 in
Irkutsk, where the Hilts adopted Nina, did not directly answer Hilt’s
charges, but insisted the child “was absolutely healthy and beautiful.”)

No one is exonerating Hilt or others like her. But Joyce Sterkel, who
runs the Ranch for Kids, a Montana boarding school for disturbed
international adoptees, says she’s come to see the parents as well as
the kids as victims in these tragic cases. “It’s a horrible thing,
but I understand how some people end up killing these kids,” she
says. “They have no empathy, no affection, no love. My heart goes out
to these parents because they don’t know what to do.”

When Sterkel, a nurse, first started working with international
adoptees in the early ’90s, she didn’t see many deeply troubled
children. But 10 years ago she adopted two Russian boys whose
American parents had given up on them. One of them, a 14-year-old
boy, had just been released from a juvenile-detention center after
trying to poison his mother. Over time, Sterkel was approached so
often about adopting other children that she decided to open her
camp. Today it houses 25 to 30 kids from all over the country, and
has a waiting list. The overwhelming majority are from Russia,
Romania and Bulgaria, but she also has had children from South Korea
and Colombia. Some were bullied or raped while institutionalized or
were the children of prostitutes, drug addicts or alcoholics. “I have
gotten calls from parents who say the child they adopted has killed
the family dog, threatened to kill them, and no one will help them,” she says.

Emotional, behavioral and physical problems are not unique to adopted
children. Biological children can have the same range of issues. But
adoptive parents often assume they know what they’re getting into
because they get the chance to meet their child in advance. That was
the case when Kimble and Shellie Elmore of Los Angeles met a
10-year-old Russian child named Tania in 2005. The director of the
orphanage proudly described her as an “angel.”

But as soon as they took custody of their new daughter, her behavior
changed dramatically. “She was completely out of control,” Kimble
says. Tania would scream for hours at a time, then fall into deep
sullen silence. After signing Tania over to the Elmores, the Russian
court handed them her file. They were stunned to find that she had a
history of violence and had been transferred from one orphanage to
another. They called their adoption agency back home, but were
mistakenly told that there was nothing that could be done, that Tania
was now their legal daughter. (The American Embassy could have
helped, if they’d known.) Seeing no alternative, they boarded a plane
and brought Tania back to California. By the end of the first week,
she was admitted to a hospital psychiatric unit. She came home a few
days later, but things grew worse. She tried to stab her father with
a spike and attacked a police officer who came to the house in
response to a 911 call.

Doctors diagnosed Tania with bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress
disorder and attachment disorder, and suggested she be sent to
Sterkel’s camp. In the past year the Elmores have exhausted their
savings and retirement funds trying to pay for private residential
treatment. “We know she’s just a child and we want what’s best for
her,” says Kimble. “But we don’t know how to help her. Adoption is
supposed to be a touchy-feely thing surrounded with the glow of new
parenthood. But no one says, ‘What if the worst happens?’ ”

Psychologist Karyn Purvis of Texas Christian University, who has done
extensive research on troubled adopted children, says many of these
kids simply don’t respond to stern lectures and timeouts. Lab workups
of her patients often reveal extremely high levels of cortisol, the
stress hormone. “The children, for the most part, were in safe homes
living with safe people,” Purvis says, “but those cortisol levels
told us that their children did not feel safe with them, even if
they’d been living safely with them for years.” Children like them
are almost constantly in a hypervigilant state, she says. They don’t
let their guard down long enough to forge affectionate relationships.

Over the past several years Purvis has developed new methods to
restore a sense of security and trust to traumatized kids. If a child
becomes violent, for instance, Purvis often responds with a “basket
hold.” She cradles the kids firmly but gently in her lap, facing
outward, with their arms crossed in front of their chests. She rocks
and quietly soothes until they calm down, then asks them to look her
in the eye and tell her what they want. Purvis’s assistants have
taken to calling her the “Child Whisperer.”

Sometimes techniques like these result in dramatic turnarounds. The
family of a 5-year-old adopted from Russia thought they had no choice
but to seek psychiatric hospitalization after she threw her baby
sister down the stairs. But after the parents adopted Purvis’s
methods, the little girl finally started talking about the serious
abuse she’d experienced. The child’s behavior changed markedly. But
her mother “changed even more,” Purvis says, “because now she has hope.”

Purvis is quick to say that her techniques don’t work with every
child, and older kids can take much longer than younger ones. “They
have to unlearn what they’ve learned,” she said. The next step, she
says, is for prospective adoptive parents to get more training before
and after they adopt. “Very few agencies are training parents to deal
with brain damage, sensory deprivation, aggression,” Purvis says. “A
lot of these parents are smitten with the hope that they’ll make a
difference in a child’s life, but they need very practical tools. I
consider myself very pro-adoption. But I’m also very pro informed adoption. ”

Peggy Hilt wishes she’d heard this message years ago. “If I knew then
what I know now,” she says, “I would have gotten help for Nina and
for me.” The best she can hope for now, she says, is that her story
will prompt others to seek that help before it’s too late.

Original article is here:

Woman Arrested for Killing Infant

Filed under: Adjustment Issues,Adoption,Articles,For Parents,Korean Adoption — Tags: , — Catherine @ 10:53 am

From the Korea Times:

An American woman has been arrested in the United States on charges
of killing a baby she adopted.

Rebecca Kyrie, 28, was indicted with physical detention on Friday for
murdering Chung Hei-min, a 13-month-old girl adopted from Korea about
six months ago by the accused and her spouse David, according to The
Indianapolis Star, a local daily published in Indianapolis in the
U.S. on Sunday.

The arrest came after a three-month-long investigation by the
Hamilton County Sheriff Department.

Chung was adopted by the Kyries in June through Bethany Christian
Services and was called Chaeli by her adoptive parents.

Bethany Christian Services is a not-for-profit adoption service
provider with offices in 30 states in the U.S.

Police said that Kyrie shook the baby girl so violently on Sept. 3
that it resulted in head trauma, resulting in her death the next day.
Her husband, David, was at work at the time, and her two biological
sons were with her.

Kyrie still denies the charges. Reportedly, however, her six-year-old
son has told an investigator that his mother told him not to say what
happened to the girl.

Kyrie was known among her neighbors for being a regular churchgoer
who even performed dance interpretations of Bible stories at the

“Kyrie offered no explanation for her baby condition when she called
911 on Sept. 3 and reported the child was frothing at the mouth,”
the daily quoted Maj. Mark Bowen, spokesman for the Sheriff
Department as saying. Later, however, she referred to personal
problems, according to evidence filed in court.

After the baby was taken to a hospital in Indianapolis, she was
diagnosed with a severe brain injury and placed on life support. But
Chung died after she was removed from life support equipment the next
day. The recently obtained results of an autopsy show that she died
from the so-called “shaken baby syndrome.”

The daily reported that she had not admitted to shaking the baby, and
her husband also claimed no knowledge of any prior abuse.

In an interview with Indianapolis-based TV news, 6News, her brother,
George Cooper said Kyrie, an extremely loving and caring mother,
would not have abused the child.
“There’s every possibility in my mind that this was a pre-existing
condition and that just took time to bear itself out,” he said.

The original article is here:

December 14, 2007

International Adoption, It’s a One-Way Dialogue

From Mother Jones:

When adoptive parents like myself try to keep the lid on controversy, we do
ourselves—and our kids—no favors.

by Elizabeth Larsen

November was National Adoption Awareness Month, and the
media—including Mother Jones, which recently published my story Did I
Steal My Daughter? The Tribulations of Global Adoption—have been doing
their best to bring fresh ideas to a much misrepresented topic. The New York
Times has joined the fray with, among other things, “Relative Choices,” an
engaging series of personal essays to which readers can post comments
online. As an adoptive mother, I’m delighted with the variety of
perspectives (though I do wish more birth parents had been included and feel
that the title “Relative Choices” is off tone—most adoptees don’t have
a “choice,” nor do birth mothers buckling under economic or societalpressures).

But there are viewpoints that aren’t given a lot of real estate, most
notably the perspectives of people—adoptees, birth families, adoptive
parents—who are deeply critical of adoption. Novelist Tama Janowitz’s
essay, published on November 12, unknowingly highlighted this disparity.
Intended to be a humorous look at generational resentment, the essay employs
the term “Mongolian” to describe her Chinese-born daughter’s features and
refers to a recently published book in which Midwestern adoptees in their
30s and 40s “complain bitterly” about their experiences and as a result
blame their parents. (The book, which Janowitz doesn’t name, is Outsiders
Within: Writing on Transnational Adoption.)

It didn’t take long before the blogosphere was buzzing not only about
the Janowitz essay, but also the fact that when some of those very same
“bitter complainers” tried to post their reactions, they couldn’t get past
the Times’ digital gatekeeper.

In its FAQ for posting comments, the Times makes it clear that its
criteria for allowing users to post comments are subjective and that
abusive, vulgar, or ad hominem comments are not tolerated. In the opinions
posted for stories that were not related to adoption, it is clear that the
website favors measured language over anything that tilts toward pissed off.
But how do you explain that a post that included the line “The term
Mongolian to describe Asian features went out of fashion the year your book
was published” was nixed when a response to an article about Camille Paglia
saying “Camille, dear. Return to your Madonna-lust and leave the rest of us
alone” did make it through? Several of the responses that were not published
are posted on Harlow’s Monkey, a blog by Jae Ran Kim, who was adopted from
South Korea and is now a social worker specializing in adoption. While some
of the comments might not be personally gratifying for Janowitz, none that
I’ve read are, in my opinion, anything that the general public needs to be
protected from. In the days that followed the flap over censorship, more
dissenting voices were included in the comments, including a posting by Kim.

The online scuttlebutt behind these omissions is that the “Relative
Choices” editor Peter Catapano, who is an adoptive father, is censoring
critical voices. I have no idea if Catapano had anything to do with the
filtering—neither he nor anyone else at the Times returned my phone
call or emails. But whether or not this incident was an example of an
adoptive parent censoring dissent, I think it’s vital that we recognize why
some adoption critics would not be surprised if it was so. The truth is that
it’s almost impossible to find those voices in American media. When The
Language of Blood author Jane Jeong Trenka—a Korean adoptee and
award-winning writer who tackles the difficulties she faced growing up in a
small Minnesota town with heartbreakingly gorgeous prose—tries to
submit her writing to magazines and newspapers, she gets virtually no
takers. Meanwhile, Korean editors print everything she writes.

Why? I think when it comes to adoption, American adoptive parents
(myself included) steer the discourse. We direct adoption agencies and think
tanks. We write the home studies of prospective adoptive parents. We are
policy experts and doctors and academics and journalists. We are passionate
about adoption—an institution that has given us so much—and
therein lies the problem: In our passion, we sometimes shield ourselves from
larger discussions about the toll that adoption can take, a discussion that
is in fact gaining traction across the globe. And in doing so, we are
preventing adoption from evolving.

When I attended a reading of Outsiders Within last winter, I was struck
by how much the intensity and the passion of the writers recalled the
pioneers of second-wave feminism. That movement upended our opinions about
marriage, and the institution survived for the better. Any adoptive parent
knows that the adoptive bond is not fragile. So why do we protect it from
the same kind of scrutiny?

Reading through the comments posted on “Relative Choices” and other
adoption blogs, it’s clear to me that if you are an adoptee and want to say
something critical about adoption, you had better make it abundantly clear
that you truly, absolutely love your mom and dad or you risk getting
berated. (A notable exception to these “quit whining” directives are the
respectful comments posted to Sumeia William’s “Relative Choices” essay
titled “I Am Not a Bridge,” the most hard-hitting selection in the series.)
In fact, expecting adoptees to publicly pledge their gratitude to their
parents is holding them to a standard no one else has to adhere to. Isn’t it
true that even if we hate our parents, we still love them?

Similarly, in some adoptive-parent communities, anything questioning
the current practices in the adoption universe leads to a virtual stoning of
the messenger. When UNICEF publicly states that they support intercountry
adoption—but only after all efforts to keep children in their birth
countries (through family preservation, foster care, or domestic adoption)
have failed—or the State Department weighs in with critical
assessments of Guatemalan and Vietnamese adoptions, tirades rain down.
Meanwhile, a Guatemalan adoption attorney who allegedly offered money to a
teenage birth mother’s father in exchange for the baby is praised by some
adoptive parents for her dedication.

I’m not saying that I want all adoptive parents to agree with the steps
UNICEF or State is taking to reform intercountry adoptions. But we need all
perspectives to get more space in the conversation—otherwise, we
parents are just patting each other on the back.

Since Mother Jones published my story, I’ve taken my own virtual
knocks. (Unlike the Times, Mother Jones only filters hate speech and
propaganda.) There’s not much reward in being called an egotistical
colonizer whose self-hating tendencies have rendered me a horrible mother.
But I will admit that even some of the more stinging criticisms have made me
pause long enough to rethink my assumptions.

This is a difficult time for transnational adoption, with troubling
news stories increasing and the future, at least in some countries, unclear.
But whatever the solutions may be, I don’t think we’ll find them by closing

Elizabeth Larsen has worked for both Sassy and Utne Reader. She wrote about
her daughter in this year’s Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception,
Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion, and in the current
issue of Mother Jones.

@2007 The Foundation for National Progress

Original article:

December 13, 2007

Follow Up on Jade’s Story

Filed under: Adoption,Korean Adoption,Site News — Tags: , — Catherine @ 6:44 pm

We have posted a follow up to our previous post about Jade, the 7-year-old Korean adoptee who was given up by her adoptive Dutch parents.

Read the post and the follow up articles here: Couple gives up girl, 7, adopted in Korea as a baby.

December 11, 2007

Couple gives up girl, 7, adopted in Korea as a baby

Filed under: Adoption,Korean Adoption — Tags: , , , — Catherine @ 12:23 pm

From JoongAng Daily:

HONG KONG ― A high-ranking Dutch diplomat and his wife, who adopted a 4-month-old Korean girl in 2000 when he was posted in Korea, gave up the child last year, officials here said.

Now, officials here are looking for someone to take care of the school-age child.

The girl, Jade, is still a Korean citizen because the adoptive parents, whose names were not released, never applied to give her Dutch citizenship, according to an official at the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department.

She doesn’t speak any Korean. She speaks only English and Cantonese, according to people close to her.
And she doesn’t have Hong Kong residency status, either.

The Hong Kong Social Welfare Department, where the Dutch diplomat left Jade in September last year, has had responsibility for her ever since, the official said.

Full article is here:

FOLLOW-UP on Dec 13, 2007 at 6:30 PM:

From South China Morning Post:

Netherlands backs diplomat in adoption row

A Dutch diplomat who gave up to Hong Kong welfare staff the daughter
he and his wife adopted seven years ago in South Korea has received
the support of the Dutch consulate-general and the country’s
department of foreign affairs amid outrage in the city and the

The Sunday Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) this week
revealed that the diplomat, Raymond Poeteray, and his wife, Meta, had
given up to the Social Welfare Department the child they adopted when
she was four months old.

Yesterday a source at the Dutch consulate said they were standing
behind him. “Our ministry of foreign affairs says nothing illegal
happened. It is a private matter but as a good employer we will assist
in this matter in the interests in the child.”

Mr Poeteray “feels he should not go into the open”, the source said.

Social commentators and adoption experts have demanded Mr Poeteray
explain his actions.

Yesterday he declined to explain why the couple gave up the child.

“I have nothing to add from what I said on Saturday,” he said.

Mr Poeteray told the Sunday Morning Post the decision to give up the
child had caused a “terrible trauma” in his family, and added: “I
don’t have anything to say to the public. It is something we have to
live with.”

The department has told members of the Korean community in Hong Kong
that the Poeteray family – who have two biological children – have not
been in touch with the child they abandoned.

Margaret Chang, president of the Korean Women’s Association, said news
of the case had triggered a flood of inquiries from families
interested in adopting the child.

“Our concern now is for the welfare of the little girl. She is not a
Hong Kong resident and she only speaks Cantonese and English,” she

Mr Poeteray will return to the Netherlands today, where, the source
said, he would be required to explain his actions to the government.

Hilbrand Westra, chairman of Adoption United International and one of
4,200 Korean adoptees in the Netherlands, said the ministry and consul
could not continue to defend Mr Poeteray.”The ministry has said this
has nothing do with his function. But that cannot be,” Mr Westra said.

He said there was considerable concern the couple had not naturalised
the girl as a Dutch citizen, which was against the law.

The Sunday Morning Post made an editorial decision not to publish the
names or pictures of the family to protect the child, who is in foster
care. But the story has since received extensive coverage by other
media outlets, which named the couple.

From The Guardian:

After seven years, Dutch diplomat puts adopted daughter back up for adoption

A Dutch couple living in Hong Kong yesterday found themselves at the
centre of an international controversy after they gave up their
daughter for adoption seven years after they adopted her themselves.

Raymond Poeteray, 55, who has worked as a Dutch diplomat for more than
20 years, and his wife, Meta, adopted Jade, an ethnic Korean girl,
when she was four months old.

Poeteray told the South China Morning Post that the adoption had gone
wrong. He said that his family was “trying hard to deal with it”.

He added that his wife was receiving counselling following the
decision to give up Jade. “It’s just a very terrible trauma that
everyone’s experiencing,” he told the newspaper.

Full article:,,2226521,00.html

From De Telegraaf:

Former baby sittter: Jade got less attention

By Bart Olmer

AMSTERDAM – “There was my sweet Jade for whom I baby sitted two years long
and with whom I played -… My heart broke when I read yesterday’s

These are the words of the Dutch former babysitter of Jade. ‘I’d love to
adopt this child myself and give her a good home!”

She stutters, overtaken by emotions and is looking for the right words. Her
use of language makes clear she lived for many years in Asia and Latin
America, as daughter of a Dutch couple that for their work travelled the
world. That’s how she got to know Raymond Poeteray, the Dutch consul in
Hong Kong, of whom the whole of Asia speaks in shame these days.

Less attention.

Yearlong the babysitter, in the meantime settled in The Hague and studying,
lived in Jakarta, nearby Raymond and Meta Poeteray, who were then attached
to the Dutch Embassy in Indonesia. She was a regular guest of the house and
saw from close how the diplomate couple, who already had a 7 year old son,
adopted the four-year old Korean girl. “But since the beginning I felt
something was wrong: they gave her much less attention as their own son. It
got wrong since the beginning.”

The former babysitter knew Jade until her second year. ‘IN the evening I
looked after her. During the day there was an Indonesian woman who looked
after Jade constantly. But Meta treated Jade directly as not her own
daughter. Their son, by the way, was very fond of Jade.”

The Dutch babysitter, who yesterday cried dire tears about Jade’s fate,
remembers her as ‘very sweet, but also very quiet’. There is absolutely no
abuse in the family, she says.

‘I am very angry at the adoptive parents Poeteray. I could hate them for
what they did. I am amazed by their action. You don’t do such thing. When
you adopt a child, you are fully responsible. It is not a dirty sock, which
you throw in a corner. The girls is not a piece of dirth? I would like to
adopt her myself. Make sure she gets a good home. But whom should I call for
that in The Hague?”

The babysitter denies that Jade would have behavioural problems, as is being
said by the Dutch ex-parents. “She was very quiet. But I can of course only
speak for the first two years, not what she became later on. That her
adoptive parents say there are problems with eating is incredible. You
should just work on that. Patience, take your time. Give her a chance. But
the strange thing is, Jade at anything at home, she ate anything. We have
not noticed an eating disorder. The parents Poeteray speak about a
difference in culture, but that’s a lie: the girl was already in their
family at the age of four months. She was shaped by their education!’

The former baby-sit is very worried about the current emotional well being
of the child. ‘I am doing everything to find out where she is now. Jade must
be very confused. She can impossibly understand what is going on. She sleeps
in another bed, with unknown people, at a unknown address. She is being
damaged in a terrible way. My baby-sit child is somewhere all alone, that
hearts me terribly.

Apart from the avelange of furious reaction from the Netherlands and the
whole of Asia, the revenged diplomatic couple gets support of Huub van ‘t
Hek, chief editor of the magazine Perspectief, a magazine about parents and
children in youth care. He has understanding for the diplomatic couple:

“It may sound paradox, but breaking up with your adoptive child can in
exceptional cases be in the interest of the child. If you adopt a child of
four months, you don’t know what you get into your house. I do not know what
happened at the time with this child, or if there is possibly a genetic
problem. .

Most foster cares do more than the average parents. They work very hard for
the well being of their children. Bu ta child can by psychologically so
damaged, so unadapted, so unreachable, that it is not able of any bonding.
Such children remain ‘bodemloos’. In such cases it is not ‘dumping of
children’, but parents are simply broken by the slow poison that is
destroying their family life. In such cases ‘dismantling’ is in everyone’s

Original article (in dutch):

Journey 2008: A Trip to Korea for Overseas Adopted Koreans

Filed under: Adoptees,Adoption,Korean Adoption — Tags: , , , — Catherine @ 11:48 am

This was recently sent out through ICASN:


I am writing to you on behalf of Journey 2008: A Trip to Korea for Overseas Adopted Koreans. Each year JinHeung Moonhwa sponsors this wonderful experience for adult adoptees around the world. For two weeks adoptees are able to visit Korea to learn more about the culture, heritage and people of their birth country. The company covers all expenses for the trip including food, lodging, and transportation with the only expense to the participant being airfare. I would appreciate your efforts in forwarding this to all of your members. I was a participant of this trip in 2001 and it remains one of my most life changing moments. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Applications and information ocan be obtained on the following website.

If you are interested in receiving updates from ICASN, visit their site to sign up:

December 10, 2007

ICASN Studies Now Available On The Site!

Filed under: Adoptees,Adoption,Site News,Suggested Reading — Tags: , , , — Catherine @ 6:02 pm

We recently uploaded four short studies published by ICASN, the Inter-Countery Adoptee Support Network ( Adoptees sent their personal views on such topics as adoption by same-sex couples, and post-adoption support services.

Read the studies and find out more about ICASN here: ICASN Articles

Visit ICASN on the web at

December 3, 2007

New York Times’ Relative Choices Blog

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the New York Times has recently started a new blog called “Relative Choices: Adoption and the American Family”, which features pieces by people whose lives have been affected by adoption in various ways. The authors include: Dr. Jane Aronson, founder and medical director of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation, as well as a mother of an internationally adopted child; Hollee McGinnis, policy director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and a Korean adoptee; Lynn Lauber, a birth mother and author; and Huong Sutliff and Adam Wolfington, who are teenagers and transracial adoptees.

The articles have been as widely varied as the authors. Topics have ranged from adoptive parents’ stories about traveling to meet their children and how adoptive parents react to questions posed by others about their children, to adoptees’ memories of first meeting their adoptive parents and helping the next generation of transracial adoptees.