Monday, November 22, 2010

Kids of 'Quiet Migration' Come of Age

Interesting story of adult and children international adoptees, issues surrounding adoption loss, and search and reunion with birth parents:
As Jenna grew up she would learn that she had been given up for adoption in Seoul at the age of three.

What she didn't know was why.

Jenna, now 28, is one of thousands of inter-country adoptees in Canada, part of a global demographic that has been called the "quiet migration."

Between 1971 and 2001 in the United States, more than 265,000 children were adopted from abroad; in Canada, numbers have hovered around 20,000 per decade since the 1980s.

It is a demographic that is coming of age.

Many of these children, like Jenna, face unique issues of racial and cultural identity, and belonging. For inter-country adoptees, searching for resolution by finding a birth parent is daunting, if not impossible.

Lee Crawford, an art therapist and registered clinical counsellor, sees many adoptive families in her practice.

"Many of the psychological and emotional issues are the same for domestic and international adoptees: the loss of the biological family system," Crawford said. "But with international adoption we have an additional loss, of culture and country."

Even a child adopted at birth can grow up grieving for a country she has never known.
 It's hard to do justice to the article with a short excerpt.  It profiles Jenna, who searches and finds birth family in Korea; Kim, who isn't interested in returning to Korea, but who left racial isolation in New Zealand for more diversity in Vancouver; Anna, adoptive mom who facilitates birth parent searches abroad; 9-year-old twins adopted from Romania, Mikaela and Zoe, who reunited with their birth mom last summer. Go read the whole thing!

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