The stories of three women who were abandoned by their parents during China’s one-child policy.
The stories of three women who were abandoned by their parents during China’s one-child policy.
Reconnecting Trafficked Children with Their Families. Next Generation Nepal rebuilds family connections torn apart by child trafficking and helps rural communities become stronger, healthier places to raise their children.
NGN Turns 10: A Decade of Rescuing and Reunifying Trafficked Children with their Families
|With your help, we have brought over 500 children home, raised awareness and started an initiative to stop trafficking before it begins.
It has been 12 years since I first arrived in Nepal for what I thought would be a small blip in my story. Little did I know that I was about to embark down a path that would change the entire trajectory of my life in ways I couldn’t imagine.
This journey began in 2004 when I volunteered at Little Princes Children’s Home on the outskirts of Kathmandu and met a group of boys and girls who would change my life forever. I’d been led to believe that these kids were orphans, which invoked heartfelt empathy and a strong desire for me to bring them joy in their young lives. I soon learned the truth—they had mothers and fathers, siblings and communities where they once had a full and happy life which they had been taken from. I was shocked to know these kids had been trafficked. It was because of this realization that I made a promise to do whatever possible to bring them and as many others back home. Out of that promise the seed that would grow into Next Generation Nepal was planted.
It took two years of commitment and hard work, but, in 2006, NGN was finally able to open the doors of its official office in Nepal and rescue the Little Princes. Soon after, I set off to the remote district of Humla in search of their families. This was the first rescue and reunification that NGN did.
Over the last 10 years, NGN has continued to grow. Today we work in 31 districts and have helped reconnect over 500 children with their families! In addition to our reintegration work, NGN is now considered an expert on ethical volunteering in Nepal, and our Community Anti-Trafficking (CAT) project works to prevent children from being trafficked in the first place.
NGN has persevered through a civil war, earthquakes and constant political unrest, but we have not let anything stand in our way in accomplishing our mission. Our teams continue to rescue, care and search in the remotest parts of Nepal for the families of these children so that we can bring them home.
NGN is celebrating the joy of 10 years of rescuing and reunifying trafficked children as well as broadening NGN’s reach into bringing awareness to families and communities of the causes of trafficking and stopping it before it begins.
There are still thousands of children who have been displaced from their families and living in abusive conditions for the financial gain of their captors. Please help us to begin this next 10 years by supporting NGN’s work so we can not only bring hundreds more children home, but to stop child trafficking at its core.
Conor Grennan (author)
MORE: After the Great Nepal Earthquake
April 25, 2016
I drove to the NGN transit home where I was overjoyed to find 17 children playing games in a make-shift tent of tarpaulins, and being cared for by our staff and —believe it or not— the Little Princes! Yes, the now young adults whom NGN Founder Conor Grennan had made famous as children in his book, “Little Princes,” had kept their promise that in the event of an earthquake they would protect the younger children. In addition to this we had a four-week supply of food, water and medicines, so even if the roads and airport were shut off, we could all still survive.
Within the heavily cracked walls of a room at the Central Child Welfare Board, I joined the Government and other NGOs to plan what our response would be for affected children. We knew that the situation in Kathmandu was not as bad as the rural areas. But we also knew that the traffickers were already prowling the villages looking for children to remove them from their frightened parents and place them in profit-making children’s homes. To make matters worse, several children’s homes were already announcing hundreds of new places for children to come to Kathmandu. It was like the previous decade’s civil war all over again—families would be torn apart by hollow promises of safety and education, only to be used as fundraising tools by organizations wishing to profit from the millions of dollars of disaster aid money flowing into the country. All these unscrupulous organizations needed to succeed in their plans were children to be falsely presented as “earthquake orphans.” We had to act fast.
…A child-friendly space is a basically a large tent that acts as a safe space for children after a disaster. In the NGN child-friendly spaces, the children were offered structured play and learning activities, psycho-social counseling and locally-prepared nutritious meals. This gave them the opportunity to regain a sense of normality in their lives, and allowed their parents some much-needed respite. But our child-friendly spaces were more than this—they also built trust with the local community, which, in time, allowed NGN to start raising awareness within the community of the dangers of child trafficking and the importance of family preservation.
By July we had established 11 child-friendly spaces in hard-hit villages where we had assessed there was a high risk of trafficking. We had also supported the Nepal Police to establish two transport check posts where we could intercept buses to search for children who might be being trafficked to Kathmandu. When we found unaccompanied children on the buses, we rescued them, and the local government returned them to their families.
By now we were also able to roll out our awareness-raising campaigns. These included a traveling acting troupe that performed a street drama about child traffickers pretending to be representatives of NGOs to lure vulnerable children to the city; several passionate street rallies led by school children demanding an “end to child trafficking”; leaflets and posters; competitions and speeches; and a radio jingle to reach the most remote families whom we could not access by road or foot.
An International Adoption Clouded in Deception
February 19th, 2012
February 20, 2012: Imagine a complete stranger telling you that your adopted daughter, who you always believed was an orphan, was actually not. “Surreal and heart wrenching” is how Ana would describe it.
|Names have been changed in the story to protect the privacy of those involved.
In early 2004, a Spanish woman named Ana wanted to adopt a Nepalese child. Nepal was still in an armed conflict and she was told that many children were losing their parents. She arranged a meeting with a representative at the Consulate of Nepal in Spain to find out more information. Ana was given the contact information for an orphanage in Nepal and started the complex process necessary to adopt a child.
After about one year, the adoption became official and Ana, overcome with joy, traveled to the orphanage in Kathmandu to meet her new daughter and bring her home to Spain. The orphanage had arranged for Ana to adopt Sunitha, a six-year-old girl with a personality that enchanted Ana from the beginning. As months passed, Sunitha quickly learned Spanish and slowly began assimilating to Spanish culture. “Sunitha was becoming a Spaniard, but I also wanted her to be aware of her Nepalese heritage. I did not want Sunitha to forget her origins,” said Ana…
According to The U.S. State Department website, the United States “continues to strongly recommend that prospective adoptive parents refrain from adopting children from Nepal due to grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system and credible reports that children have been stolen from birth parents, who did not intend to irrevocably relinquish parental rights as required by INA 101(b)(1)(F). We also strongly urge adoption service providers not to accept new applications for adoption from Nepal.” To read more about the US State Department’s guidelines on adoptions from Nepal click here.
Last year: Children left devastated by the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 were preyed upon by slave traders… Wealthy British families are buying children left devastated by last year’s earthquake in Nepal to work as domestic slaves. The children – who are as young as 10 – are being sold for as little as £5,250 (Rs 500,000, $7,468) by black market gangs operating in India’s Punjab region, according to an investigation by The Sun. I published about Nepal here.
Here is another adoption trafficking victim here.
Just remember conflict areas like Syria are ripe for human trafficking.
From my friend Toritto:
PLEASE READ: 800 Babies in a Mass Grave – a Re-Post/Update
It’s Friday and a good day to cry my eyes out… Lara/Trace
The outrage WAS fast concerning this… and it got pulled…. LT
Adoptly is a controversial app that simplifies the child adoption process. Kickstarter recently pulled the campaign.
This I just heard about… LT
Inga adds her story to THE ATLANTIC’s long-running adoption series:
I wanted to adopt and was devastated when our adoption did not work out. It is a long and very painful story in itself—one that others judge me for, and some of my friends became my enemies. … Embryo adoption gave us a chance to adopt again but avoid the trauma of mother-child separation from a traditional adoption—which clearly did not work for us. I did not consider egg donation because my goal was different; I wanted to adopt an embryo that was already created. …
I chose an anonymous adoption, and the embryo had been frozen for a little less than four years. … He is now 17 months old. … I do not consider my youngest child adopted, even if he is genetically not mine—because he is biologically mine, 100 percent. After all, I carried him for nine months and gave birth to him; how much more “biological” can it be?
My name is Janine Vance and I am one of the Vance Twins. When my sister and I were sent to the United States from South Korea in 1972, the pioneering adoption agency gave our adoptive parents a document called “Certificate of Orphanhood.” This piece of paper gave the impression that we were orphans. Because this document implied that we had no Korean family, we wore whole new identities without question and never thought to look for people who we were told did not exist. The idea of a Korean family did not enter our consciousness while we were young.
It was not until my sister and I were 32 years old that we learned that most children are not truly orphans but were merely giving the label of orphan in order to be processed overseas for intercountry adoption. What?!? We felt like we had been living a lie for more than three decades! This discovery was the catalyst that motivated me to investigate intercountry adoption and how exactly children are obtained by so-called “ethical” adoption agencies.
“Poverty is no reason to take children away. Poverty is NOT a disease and international adoptions are NOT the solution.” — Roelie Post, Former EU official
After a decade of listening to numerous accounts from global families of adoption-loss—families who have been unnecessarily separated for adoption (but dismissed and ignored because of the public’s love affair for adoption), we’ve met one woman who has truly fought for the proper implementation of children’s rights for the European Commission since 1990. The name of this hero of ours is Roelie Post, civil servant of the European Commission since 1983. She is someone, we—adopted people and parents of loss—can trust to truly protect children from being trafficked for intercountry adoption. We applaud Roelie’s work specifically for the stand she took in respect of Romania’s Child Protection.
Devastatingly, a ferocious adoption lobby made up of adoption agencies, lawyers, NGOs, adopters and their allies have given themselves the authority to decide the fate of vulnerable families worldwide. Adoption facilitators have ignored the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) a legal binding agreement that was originally created to protect the natural-born rights of children all over the world. Perfectly fine methods set forth within the UNCRC such as temporary care and guardianship care, sponsorship, step-parent adoption, kinship care have been ignored for too long – methods that would keep children with their families.
This “adoption lobby” has even built their own legal agreement—a modern day cemented and sanctioned freeway—that has taken precedence over the fate of children from other nations and people. These agenda—driven individuals have enforced their own ill-conceived belief system—their own definition of Child Protection and The Best Interest of Children (intercountry adoption) via the Hague Adoption Convention (HAC) onto innocent families who could have cared for themselves if given the chance. The victims and survivors of this system—trusting and naïve families who still live and grieve parent/child separations every single day—have no recourse to seek justice.
Adoption trafficking continues at an alarming rate and no one except for Roelie Post has been courageous enough to fight against the lobby. In fact, she has been followed, her home office was broken into and ransacked, a plastic gun was left on her doorstep and strange men gestured toward her as if drawing a gun! Despite being intimidated, she continues to fight for children’s rights. Roelie Post needs to be held at the highest regard and protected!
Today, foreigners can apply for a license, enter a nation and then expedite precious children overseas before allowing them to be cared for by extended family or the people of their birth community, culture, and country. Perfectly fine methods set forth within the UNCRC such as temporary care and guardianship care, sponsorship, step-parent adoption, kinship care have been ignored for too long. Huge amounts of money are crossing hands, children are sold at varying prices depending on the child’s race, and children are photo listed on western websites like little pups on online catalogs. How dehumanizing! No child – not even your own – is safe from being targeted and processed overseas.
Intercountry adoption has expanded its web now onto Africa. An Ethiopian child can cost more then $64,000 but to help an Ethiopian parent and child stay together as a family, an estimate of $15 per month. Today, these agencies are claiming to be advocates for family preservation which deceptively gives them a doorway opened to set up shop within foreign nations and provide “services” – services that could have easily gone directly to the citizens of that nation. Billions of dollars are crossing the hands of NGOs. Children are being unnecessarily moved across borders.
Today more than 200,000 Korean children have been sent to foreign families. And they are NOT living “cosmopolitan” lives like assumed by many Koreans. Rather, they live daily with losses, misunderstandings, feelings of doubt and abandonment by the very country that could have protected them—but didn’t. Intercountry Adoption only ADDS to the problems a family already has. Intercountry Adoption does not solve a family’s problems. The best preventative medicine is to counsel families by organizations who do not have a financial agenda. We all know that when history is ignored, it is bound to repeat itself.
For every “forever family” created by adoption another family is forever torn apart.
All of this can be stopped!
We need Roelie Post to continue to work within the European Commission on Children´s Rights and trafficking, so that she can continue to protect children’s rights like she has done successfully during the accession process of Romania into the EU and while working for ACT- Against Child Trafficking.
My sister and I applaud Roelie Post for having the courage to carry out her job properly. She is a child’s right expert and a hero to many of us. Being “saved orphans,” we understand and appreciate the challenges the European Commission had to fight in Romania for children’s rights against a determined force.
Roelie works with integrity and empathy. She is the only civil servant that families of adoption-loss trust to protect children. She has the knowledge and expertise. She must continue to work on children´s rights, so that families are protected and laws are kept-because children’s rights are Human Rights.
Visit Roelie Post’s website here.
Trace contributed a chapter in the Vance’s book ADOPTIONLAND
For news on industry practices, go to Adoptionland.org
Adoptionland podcast listen here
You might also like these videos on the topic of adoption here.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month (#NAAM2016).
Adoptees have taken this month to blog, write and educate… thanks for reading… L/T
Despite all evidence to the contrary we still think this is simply a “war of words”; a simple changing of minds. It’s not. The “adopter narrative” is morphing and adapting in order to silence us; it is stealing the power of our words and the weight of our tropes in order to render us harmless and pointless. And the correct response is not just more words, but, at long last, union; and beyond that, words that form a framework for praxis; for action. When all is said and done, when our silly hashtags are forgotten on the dustheap of history, there will be an accounting of our accomplishments, and how successful we were in “scripting the flip”; in paving the way for a revolution of all those displaced, dispossessed, and disinherited. For it begs the question: if not now, when, exactly, do we see this happening? – Daniel Ibn Zayd
Trace Lara Hentz (DeMeyer) (Shawnee/Cherokee/Euro) is the author of One Small Sacrifice and the book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.
THREE PART SERIES
By Lara Trace, adoptee and author of ONE SMALL SACRIFICE (top photo)
This is the month to bring awareness to the harm of closed and illegal adoptions and the history from a different vantage point: the adoptee who experiences it.
#NovemberAdoptionAwarenessMonth is shortened to NAAM.
When did forced adoption begin? A very long time ago.
I have said many times the only way to change history is to write it ourselves (as in adoptees and first moms and dads.)
I’ll be posting more news and updates each week.
A BOOK based on TV3’s Adoption Stories has been launched (Ireland)
The book is based on the TV3 series and highlights the reality of adoption today in Ireland and is the only series to feature first hand experiences.
On Oct. 12, TV producer and director Sharon Lawless launched her first book at Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street, Dublin.
She said: “The TV series adoption stories allows me to bring the reality of all aspects of adoption both past and present to the viewers, this book brings it one step further.”
Included in the book are real life situations, among stories about reunited siblings, a rejected natural mother, child trafficking, an abusive adoptive mother.
There is also an incorrect identification, intercountry adoption, a married couple who gave their child up, a real time search and DNA testing.
And if that’s not enough, you can read about a little suitcase that survived a trip from Ireland to the US with its toddler owner over 50 years ago.
Adoption was legalised in Ireland in 1952, since when, almost 45,000 legal adoptions have taken place.
It’s estimated the same number again could have been illegal.
Adoption Stories looks at all aspects of adoption in Ireland from the point of view of those who have experienced it firsthand. READ MORE
The Adoptee Rights Campaign reported October 25 that 40-year-old Adam Crapser, adopted from Korea when he was three years old, will be deported.
In a nutshell, this is why:
None of us condones the commission of crimes, but it’s an outrage that the United States is deporting international adoptees, brought to the U.S. legally as children by U.S. citizens for the purpose of becoming the sons and daughters of American parents. Two governments–in this case, South Korea and the United States–sanctioned all the paperwork.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On October 24, 2016, Immigration Judge John C. O’Dell ruled that Korean adoptee Adam Crapser would not be granted relief for cancellation of removal and will be deported to South Korea. Adopted at the age of 3 by U.S. citizens and surviving two sets of abusive adoptive parents, Mr. Crapser is being deported to a country where he does not speak the native language, does not know the culture, and will have great difficulty securing gainful employment and integrating into Korean society.
Adam (the father of young children, married, living in Oregon) is one of an estimated 35,000 intercountry adoptees who do not have U. S. citizenship. Introduced in November 2015, the Adoptee Citizenship Act will close a loophole in a 2001 law and grant citizenship to these adoptees.
[Someone explain to me how this is not human trafficking… It’s known and documented that adoptees have issues (primarily emotional trauma or long-term PTSD) and add to that, Adam suffered abuse at the hands of adoptive parents (TWO SETS), then was reassigned adding more trauma. He needs our help, not deportation. LT]
More on Deporting Adoptees here
In the spring of 1970, less than two years after the death of his “common-law wife” of eighteen years, Peter Stanley looked on helplessly as a judge declared his two young children wards of the state, condemning them to a series of foster placements and their father to years of legal turmoil. Illinois’s definition of “parent” excluded “natural” fathers of illegitimate children, thus denying Stanley even a hearing to determine whether he was fit to parent the children he loved and had helped to raise from birth. These were the stark facts that Peter Stanley’s lawyers presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971. The reality of Stanley’s legal status and of his record as a father was more complicated.59
But if Stanley had been a woman, married or unmarried, or if he had been able to produce proof of a valid marriage to the children’s mother, he would have been their legal parent and would almost certainly not have lost his parental rights. Stanley’s inability to produce a marriage certificate made him a legal stranger to Kimberly, age two-and-a-half, and Peter Jr., age one-and-a-half.60
In some states, Stanley could have presented proof of a common law marriage, but Illinois abolished that institution early in the twentieth century.61
Instead, Stanley’s attorneys argued that Stanley “did build up and develop a father relationship” with his children. “[W]e feel,” said Fred Meinfelder of Legal Aid, that “while he was not legally married to his wife that that should not be a basis for removing those children from him . . . .”62
State officials told the judge that Stanley was “not in a position to provide financial support” for his children but that “if he did have some progress and was to marry and establish an orderly family situation” he might be able to petition for custody later.63
His lawyers emphasized that if Stanley were not a legally recognized parent, he would have no standing to petition later for custody or any other rights. And while he might be able to find a wife and “establish an orderly family situation” in the future, under Illinois law Stanley could do nothing to change his legal parenthood status with regard to Kimberly and Peter, Jr. As an amicus brief later put it, “there is no way to marry a dead person.”64
Before the Illinois Supreme Court, Stanley’s lawyers argued that the exclusion of fathers of illegitimate children from the category of “parent” violated the Fourteenth Amendment.65
In a cryptic opinion, the Illinois court ruled that unmarried fathers had no rights to their natural children unless such rights were granted to them by a court in an adoption or guardianship proceeding.66
Stanley had not sought guardianship or custody of his children, preferring to leave them in the care of a married couple whom he had asked to look after Kimberly and Peter Jr. a few months earlier. Pursuing an adoption would have been risky, as Stanley would have been required to meet a much higher standard than mere fitness—he would have had to prove himself a “suitable” parent.67
As a practical matter, then, the court’s ruling meant that he could be denied all access to the children—and indeed, he later petitioned for visitation to no avail.68
this research outlines the pervasive intrusion of religion and law in to the most basic human activity: parenting your own child… it’s disgusting… Lara
By Lara Trace (who is thinking about parents and parenting)
This is my excuse for a post this week. I’m on the road most of the month… read ’em and leave me a nice comment on what great stuff you are reading or dwelling on… merci beaucoup… xoxox
The French have lots of good going on over there…
The journalist grew up on New York’s Upper East Side with her mother, a celebrated poet who partied with Andy Warhol and Saul Bellow. Now she’s lifting the lid on a deeply unhappy childhood (WOW WOW WOW to that Jon Ronson)
It drives people nuts. But when you’ve been on the receiving end of gaslighting, a compulsion for accuracy can be a survival mechanism. Before you read my book, had you heard the term ‘gaslighting’?” I had: gaslighting means, “To manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”
Leve says that even while writing the book, she wasn’t sure she’d actually publish it. I’m glad she did, because it is riveting and evokes with clarity the emotional turmoil of being subjected to the constant needs of a narcissistic parent. I’m sure it will help other people in similar circumstances. But then there is her mother, who is still alive….
“I’m not panicking you, am I?” I ask. “When you leave the restaurant, are you going to dwell on this part of the interview?”
“I’m a dweller,” she says. (She had therapy to rewire her brain. It is called EMDR… wow!)
“Oh dear,” I say. READ NOW
Even more on gaslighting: How can I make my parents’ stop abusing me? How can I just make the abuse stop?
“How does someone accidentally find their biological mother online?” READ THIS CONFESSION
(I was thinking Stockholm Syndrome when I read about her guilt trip…)
— One Story (@onestorymag) June 14, 2016
— James Winter (@Jp3Winter) July 2, 2016
Yup, it’s that Joyce Carol Oates… who does great tweets!
When is a book not a (mere) book? When it is a memoir / blunderbuss.
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) July 2, 2016
My memoir excerpt is here
NEW BLOG:::: Want to be an eye witness: email me: email@example.com (writers\photogs are invited from across the planet blogosphere to post photos… you can be a contributor or send me a link to your post)
“Although violence can beget violence, it’s hardly the only cause of violence,” says Dr. Vincent Felitti, co-principal investigator of the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study), groundbreaking epidemiological research that showed a direct link between 10 types of childhood trauma and the adult onset of chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence, among many other consequences.
“Basically there’s lots of other ways,” he says. “Humiliating people. Isolating people. Verbally provoking them. All of those have potential for producing violence in response.”
In addition, violence can provoke nonviolent behavior that can be just as damaging as violence. In other words, childhood trauma does not equal only violence.
Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.
Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris noticed a disturbing trend as she treated children in an underserved neighborhood in San Francisco: that many of the kids who came to see her had experienced childhood trauma. She began studying how childhood exposure to adverse events affects brain development, as well as a person’s health as an adult.
Understanding this powerful correlation, Burke Harris became the founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness, an initiative at the California Pacific Medical Center Bayview Child Health Center that seeks to create a clinical model that recognizes and effectively treats toxic stress in children. Her work pushes the health establishment to reexamine its relationship to social risk factors, and advocates for medical interventions to counteract the damaging impact of stress. Her goal: to change the standard of pediatric practice, across demographics.
“[Nadine Burke Harris] believes that regarding childhood trauma as a medical issue helps her to treat more effectively the symptoms of patients. Moreover, she believes, this approach, when applied to a large population, might help alleviate the broader dysfunction that plagues poor neighborhoods.” — The New Yorker
Palmater, born to a white mother and Mi’kmaq father in Point La Nim, N.B., has extensive television experience, including her own comedy and musical variety show on APTN, called The Candy Show, and a recurring role on Trailer Park Boys.