Monday, January 23, 2012

Traveling Abroad to Find Home

The Washington Post profiles an internationally adopted teen on a homeland/birth parent reunion tour.  Here's a sample:
As her father catnapped at her side, Deanna Torstenson’s heart pounded and her body trembled. She fixed her eyes on the tiny airplane moving across a video screen on the seat back in front of her. Slowly it approached Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Soon, for the first time, she would set eyes on the woman who had given birth to her.

“I’d never been in the presence of anyone who was actually biologically related to me,” she later recalled. “So I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. . . . This is really happening!’ ”

Deanna, 17, who was adopted 15 years ago from a Kazakhstan orphanage and grew up in Springfield, had always felt an invisible thread connecting her to a biological family, long before she ever knew they existed.

Her parents had provided a loving home and all the trappings of American life — at West Springfield High School, she sings classical music and does madrigals in musical theater.
But Deanna couldn’t stop wondering about from where — and whom — she had come. Now, as her plane lowered over Central Asia, she was about to find out.
The article covers a lot of territory, including adoptee identity issues, birth parent reactions to being found, adoptive parents' reactions to their child's desire to search, etc.  And it turns out that the birth mom did not really relinquish the child, she was told the child died. So go read the whole thing.


Anonymous said...

Very emotional.

I almost find myself wishing that the author had simply focused entirerly on this one teen and her journey. To do it justice.

It would seem there are few surprises uncovered; many of the same stereotypical responses from both the adoptee and family; not sure if they all share what is "expected" or if words simply fail when faced with something as big as this.

I am happy for Deanna that she was able to make this journey back to her homeland and connect with her biological family. We wish the same for our daughters should they choose oneday to return to their birthland and yes, we have searched and found their overseas Mothers.

The one area of the article I suspect might be disingenous is the birth mother claiming she was told the baby was dead.

There WAS and IS no shortage of babies/children needing permanent families in Kazakhstan. The need is stark and glaring and Babyhouses are overflowing with children of all ages. We spent several months in Kaz. and know this first hand.

Additionaly reliqueshing parents in Kaz. have the option of sending their children to orphanages for temporary (or permanent) care and have the option of not signing consent for adoption. Some of those children will spend their entire lives in institutions, with no option of adoption, despite their bio. family never returning for them or visiting.

This is fact. We met hundreds of children not eligible for adoption due to this. Thousands more who were legally available and waiting.

Its possible she was told that by officials wishing to remove her child, due to their perception of unfit parenting but NOT because Kazakhstan needed to fill a quota or demand for healthy babies for foreigners to adopt.

I sometimes wonder if some birth mothers simply can't admit they wished to give the baby up or that circumstances forced them to ~ I know many mothers don't have that option and are coerced or lied to, but this response in light of what I know about Kaz. seems off.


Anonymous said...

There have been entirely too many DOCUMENTED cases of birthmothers being "tricked" or "misled" out of keeping their children... kidnapped in Guatamala, told birthparents the child was simply going abroad to be educated in Samoa and Ethiopia, told the child was dead in El Savador and Spain, etc.

... so I'm inclined to believe the birthmother when she says she was told her child is dead.

Anonymous said...

As usual one part of a entire comment is taken out of context and made the focus of a redirect.

I firmly acknowledged that coercion does and has existed ~ never disputed that.

What I am saying is that if WAS NOT done to provide an infant or child for a waiting couple overseas.

Was she tricked by her own Kaz. government? Maybe.

But guess what? I know plenty of birth mothers who simply cannot face acknowledging their choices when confronted by the child they gave up.

Additionally, Kazakhstan has never been implented in those documented kidnappings or scams so your "examples' really don't contribute to the discussion at hand.

That too is fact.