WHEN SHIFT HAPPENS

“Adoptees” we are not who they think we are

So this is what happened to me… In 2004 I got hit with the biggest shock of my life. This shock forced me to dig deep into the core of my being to find the origin of who I am and how I landed in the United States in 1972. There is nothing more shocking than to be labeled an “orphan,” live (happily and naively) with this branding for more than thirty years, and then to learn later in life that you came from a family. What could be worse than to learn that we (as a community) had been living a lie? Discovering the way the overseas adoption system had been set up which sanctioned to reissue and obscure identities, veil documents, and avoid accountability by those who profit the most cut like a blade. Worse yet, the false advertising campaigns continue even today, and families continue to be unnecessarily and permanently severed, and not only that, left in the dark about the deception. But most shocking, the way the concerns made by adopted people have been waved away as if our immediate and extended families never existed in the first place. For the first thirty-two years of my life, I was the happy-go-lucky, naive and trusting “adoptee.” Throughout my childhood in the 1970s and 1980s, I was not aware that adoption trafficking (or kidnapping children to fill the international children market) could even occur. How does someone find back joy when you know that children have been routinely labeled orphans to fill a demand market?

Like many “adoptees”, I believed the tale given to me by the adoption agency with no questions asked. I gave them the benefit of the doubt—even completely trusted their paperwork as if it contained fact. It wasn’t until I traveled to Seoul, South Korea, spoke with real adoptees, read Bertha Holt’s memoir, engaged daily with the adoptee community, and listened to the stories of global birth families and communities all over the world that I became cognizant of the scope of trickery used to set up, fill, sanction, and maintain the international adoption market. There was nothing more traumatic for me than to learn that mothers were groomed, coerced, and convinced to relinquish their children by businesses set up as charities who profited from the act. There was nothing more hurtful in my life than to be lied to by the pioneers of adoption, and their global followers at large.

 This brainwashing we have encountered not only affected my sister and me, but it also hurts mothers all over the world AND in the United States.

Adoption History 101: an orphan’s research

 The most difficult part about being informed and walking in awareness has been the way that the messengers, adoptees like me, have been stigmatized, name-called, and even physically abused by the profiteers and their followers. The persecution against those of us who decide to look for our birth families dominates the adoption culture. I mistakenly assumed that the public would be concerned (as I had been when I first learned of the problem). The reality was the exact opposite. People only want to listen to you if it aligns with their agenda or to “save face.” Therefore, adoptees and our families, some of whom have been left behind, have been waved away as if no big deal—as if we are making mountains out of molehills, as we recover from where we have been placed.

Want to make adoption history and expand the voice of adoption?

Janine Myung Ja
The rEvolutionary “Adoptee” Collective

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“Adoptees” we’re not who they think we are ebook available now.