“Why a Generation of Adoptees Is Returning to South Korea” is a great article that highlights the complexities of international adoptions to the US. Despite their best intentions, adoptive parents who adopt children (especially those who would be considered racialised minorities in the US) could be subjecting their adopted children to the exhausting life framed by bullying, stereotyping, and racial discrimination. In addition, international adoptions have become an industry. Poeple who are involved in the adoption process — lawyers, agents, translators, orphanage administrators, social workers, etc. are often in it for the money. They get paid to “deliver” the best child and a seamless adoption experience. As the result those parents who might be misinformed by the agencies about children available for adoption, end up dissolving adoptions or simply send their children back, as it was the infamous case of Artyom Saveliev which contributed to the ban of international adoptions in Russia. I can’t help but see similarities with returning the dress that didn’t fit…

During my time working with Russian orphans, I have also witnessed one cases when potential adoptive parents changed their mind half way through the adoption process and left the child wondering what made adults reconsider this adoption. It is a devastating, soul crushing experience that takes forever to recover from, and that nobody should have to go through, especially not neglected children who already have a hard time trusting adults.

The New York Times article asks us to look at the process of international adoptions from the perspective of the adopted children, who were brought to a new strange country and whose parents failed to understand what their children go though as they search for the place where they belong, for people who share their experiences, and for a sense of community. The love that these parents feel for their children is not enough. Having money is not enough. Sending your child to great schools is not enough. Children who were adopted from abroad will inevitably feel like a fish out of the water and will question reasons for their adoption. Parents should be aware that this will happen and they should be ready to answer these difficult questions without reducing to “we don’t see race” rhetoric. Being reflexive and open about the reasons for adoption and difficulties that parents might have faced could be the first step towards building a truly trusting and supporting family.

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