Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jade's Story

Littlewing04 mentioned Jade in the comments to a previous post, and I've had people asking me about who Jade is, so I thought I'd post about it to bring folks up to speed.

Back in 2007, a story hit the media about a Dutch diplomat and his wife relinquishing parental rights to their daughter adopted from Korea. Here's a Time Magazine article, under the headline, "Can an Adopted Child Be Returned?" about the case:
Every child is a gift, as the saying goes. But in a case that has stoked outrage on two continents, a Dutch diplomat posted in Hong Kong has been accused of returning his eight-year-old adopted daughter like an unwanted Christmas necktie. The story, which first appeared in the South China Morning Post on Dec. 9, began seven years ago, when Dutch vice consul Raymond Poeteray and his wife, Meta, adopted then-four-months-old Jade in South Korea. The couple, who also have two biological children, brought Jade with them to Indonesia and then to Hong Kong in 2004, although Poeteray never applied for Dutch nationality for the child — a curious oversight, given that he worked in a consulate. Then, last year, the Poeterays put Jade in the care of Hong Kong's Social Welfare Department, saying they could no
longer care for her because of the girl's emotional remoteness.

According to a spokesman from the South Korean consulate in Hong Kong, the family also said that Jade did not adapt to Dutch culture or food. "They said she had not adjusted to a new home, that there were some problems," he says. But some specialists are skeptical of that explanation as well. "My gut feeling is it's just an excuse," says Law Chi-kwong, an associate professor of social work at the University of Hong Kong. "That only happens when the adoption took place when the child is
already six or seven years old. It would not happen to a child they raised for several years, raised in the family."

A nanny who took care of her said Jade wasn't treated like a "real daughter." The family adopted at a time they thought they were infertile, and then after the adoption they had two biological children.

We all know that sometimes, tragically, adoptions are disrupted. And it is sometimes hard to know what all is going on in such a case. But I have to say this one really smells bad. Where's the "forever" in Forever Family?!?

Recently there was happy news:

A Korean girl called Jade who was adopted by a high-ranking Dutch diplomat in Korea in 2000 and then abandoned six years later in Hong Kong has found a new family. The nine-year-old has been adopted by an expatriate family in Hong Kong and currently lives a normal life, an official at the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department said Saturday. For reasons of privacy, further details about the adoptive parents cannot be disclosed, the official added.

* * *

Since the Poeterays hadn’t applied for Dutch citizenship for Jade and she had no formal residence status in Hong Kong, the child was virtually stateless until the recent adoption.
Both The Original Heping (littlewing's blog) and Ethnically Incorrect Daughter have posted about Jade.

I've been following the blog of a family trying to adopt a child whose adoptive parents are disrupting the adoption: 6Across . It's been a real rollercoaster, and I could do with less God talk (sorry, that's just me!), but I'm anxious to see how the situation works out for them. And I can't help but cry for poor Sweetpea who's the victim in all of this.


Anonymous said...

I don't know how "happy" the "happy news" really is, considering what Jade had to go through before she was adopted a SECOND time. :\

Of course, the blogosphere is going to be breathing several sighs of relief now that Jade *has* a home.

But at the age of nine years...?

If she was going to have a family to call "forever family", it should have *been* her first adopted home.

Now I wonder if she'll EVER feel secure and loved and be able to say anything other than how "grateful" she is.

NO child should have to spout off how grateful they are when their adoptive home "sends them back." It gives me the disgusting implication of "merchandise."


mimifrancoise said...

Of course it would have been better if the first adoptive family had loved her, but since they did not then the best is for her to go to a loving family. The "happy news" is that the child was adopted by a family who will love her. If we lived in an ideal world the best would have been for the child to stay with her birthfamily, but since it is not the reality, then we can be happy for her that she will finally know love. What does anyone else think aabout the "happy news" Is it or is it not?

zoe'sfriendsyd said...

Just as there are "bad" birthparents, so are there "bad" adoptive parents, as pointed out in the previous blog. The first adoptive family obviously are very dysfunctional people. I am glad Jade found a home, and I hope that she is immersed in an attentive family who can, with love, help her muddle through the negativity of her very sad past.

Anonymous said...

Note: zoesfriend, I am not picking on you. Just wanted to clarify on that. :)

"The first adoptive family obviously are very dysfunctional people."

This was sort of my point. Of *course* it's good that Jade has a family. She really did need a family.

But if you were in her shoes, and you were relinquished *back* into the system after *years* of growing up in your supposedly "forever family"... what would your concept of the word 'family' be - if the family that was supposed to take care of you through your childhood decided to surrender you again?

Where do you rebuild trust from? From a child's POV: It's like being told that one mother is giving you up because she loves you - but then who is to say that the second mother will not do the same? She tells you she loves you, she says she will never leave you because she loves you so very much. But isn't that what everyone says your first mother did? And hey, she *still* left you!(involuntarily)

Pain = love. Relinquishing = love. Abandoning = love.

I'm sure we all realize that's not true. But to a child who was relinquished from her adoptive family... how can those actions imply anything otherwise?

In short: Forever Family should have meant Forever Family. And if it didn't, then why did it take so long to realize that they weren't going to be a functional family?

What does she think "love" will even be - if her first adoptive family "gave her up"? She doesn't have a real "family" foundation to stand upon because the first adoptive family should have been IT. And they weren't. After EIGHT YEARS, they were not.

Actions speak louder than words.

Wendy said...

This is just beyond sad. I am reading The Primal Wound (thanks Malinda) and I agree with LittleWing--how will this child EVER become whole and/or realize what a family and love are? I wonder if the signs were there in the beginning that these two people were not prepared to adopt--I think may have been because it is obvious they had not worked out their fertility issues--and I wonder if the social worker did more than just fill out a form.

Adoption reform is a MUST, we see so many of these agencies just out for the money, the AP's, or for their believe that ANY family is better than no family (I have a couple of friends whose agencies had no reading/education requirement or allowed their parents to fudge on that aspect of their adoption).

My husband and I considered fostering a little girl in our state (now 11) who was adopted from Cambodia as an infant and relinquished at the age of 9 1/2 because her AM said she(the AM) never bonded with her (the AF did). After talking with the SW for the little girl and our own we decided against it for our daughter's sake. The little girl is having really severe issues (obviously) and all were concerned how our daughter (adopted) would handle the fact that this child lost her forever family and would it happen to her. She deals with these issues on her own and adding someone who experienced that loss may prove too much. I watch our state website and she is still there a year later (in a group home) and it just saddens me. This situation is not fair and I think, preventable with adoption reform. Sad.

zoe'sfriendsyd said...

littlewing - I know you aren't picking on me, and appreciate your candid thoughts.
I think we are all on the same page here - just in different words.

malinda said...

How 'bout that? I get to agree with everyone!

Jade definitely has a hard road ahead of her, given the abandonment by her first parents AND her second parents. Adopted kids often have problems with trust even if their "forever family" turns out to be forever, I can't imagine how much worse it is when your second family abandons you, too.

I hope that in addition to a good THIRD family who love her, Jade is getting good therapy -- because sometimes love isn't enough. I believe in the resiliancy of the human spirit and hope for the best for her.