Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stop the Deportation of Russell Green

Sign the petition

We need 10,000 signatures by January. Right now there are about 400. An explanation is below.~ IAI

Russell David Green (Lim Sang Keum) was born to a Korean mother and an American soldier and has lived in the United States for over 30 years. He currently faces possible deportation to Korea – a country whose language he cannot speak, and where he has no family who recognizes him.

 Russell arrived in Massachusetts from Korea as a 12-year-old boy, but after only a few months, his “forever parents” returned him to the adoption agency before his adoption was finalized. He was then placed with a single foster parent living in Brooklyn, New York who exposed him to drugs and abuse. Instead of facilitating a permanent family and home for him as a U.S. citizen, the U.S. adoption system set him up for a lifetime of addiction and vulnerability. It let him fall through the cracks where he has lived under constant threat of deportation.

Russell’s story could be any intercountry adoptee’s story due to insufficient U.S. immigration policies that fail to safeguard children’s rights “to enter and reside permanently in the receiving State” (Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption article 18) and “to acquire a nationality” (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child article 7). Children do not immigrate to the U.S. of their own volition to be adopted. They are transported through intercountry agreements that are designed to ensure their best interests. Powerless, they cannot enforce their rights and are therefore vulnerable to the neglect of a receiving country and its adoption agencies.

Russell and other adult adoptees therefore struggle with legal loopholes, not bad luck. Previous to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, adopted children were not automatically naturalized. A child immigrant arriving to the U.S. became a permanent resident but might be rendered stateless if the sending country revoked her/his citizenship or if he/she was not registered in the country of origin. If the adoptee’s status as a permanent resident was not converted to U.S. citizenship prior to adulthood, then the adoptee could lose permanent residency for infractions such as remaining out of the U.S. for more than 12 months or voting in an election. Moreover, as a consequence of post-9/11 security laws such as the REAL ID Act of 2005, adoptees who are unable to document their identities struggle to access state-sponsored programs and vital care.

Despite these legal entanglements, Russell’s roots in the U.S. run deep. The U.S. is his home where his three children were born and where an elderly couple who have known him for over 25 years regard him as their son. To deport Russell is to break up his family, force him to lose the only home that he has known for the vast majority of his life, and to “return him to sender” to a country that rescinded its obligations to him.

Please sign the petition.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm not telling my story any more

Back when Slumdog Millionaire became a hit, a new phrase was coined, "poverty porn." It referred to the horror enjoyed when watching wretched conditions. It also tickled people's sense of superiority. They thought, "Oh, thank god we're not like that!"

The relentless requests from adoptive parents to hear adult adoptees' stories makes me feel like they're enjoying the same kind of voyeuristic perverse pleasure in hearing how terrible things were back in the bad old days, and how much better things are now. They will listen to adult adoptees and learn. They're not going to do what our adoptive parents did, naive and as well-intentioned as they were. Adoptive Parents3.0 are going to seek out advice from adult adoptees who will relay to them stories about being the only non-white kid in school and never learning to eat with chopsticks. Then they feel better, their consciouses soothed and warned about how NOT to raise their kids, and maybe even a 10 point bullet list of how to raise a well-adjusted rainbow-family kid.

Well, no more, APs. Not from me. You're not even going to get the stories about the great things that my adoptive parents did.

Nope. Now, if you want to hear from adult adoptees, you're going to hear a lot more.

You're also going to hear my opinion about your participation in a fundamentally corrupt market for children. You're going to have to take my criticism of the adoption market which is created by adopters. That market buys and sells children for profit. You're going to read about social injustices that exploit women, poor families, and national tragedies.

You're going to find out:
I live in a neighborhood you fear.
I speak a language you ridicule.
I eat food you cannot tolerate.
I reclaim a nationality you tried to erase.
I identify as an immigrant that you hate. 
I am not a white person.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Some countries send more than 50% of their immigants to the US for adoption

I compared the total number of immigrant visas issued in 2010 to the number of adoption visas and discovered some interesting percentages of immigrants admitted to the US for adoption. Here are the top 20 countries by percentage. The ones especially interesting vis-a-vis international adoption are bold.

I hope to find the data to do more years, especially ones of peak activity from Korea, China, and Guatemala.

I'm sure that some of these are adoptions by relatives rather than brokered by the adoption industry, but I'm sure that these are insignificant in the most popular sending countries.

The data comes from the FY 2010 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions from the State Department and the Migration Policy Institute Data Hub.


Lesotho 23 13 56.52%
Marshall Islands 37 19 51.35%
Swaziland 22 8 36.36%
American Samoa 14 3 21.43%
Ethiopia 14,266 2513 17.62%
Russian Federation 6,718 1082 16.11%
Kazakhstan 1,282 181 14.12%
Latvia 435 39 8.97%
Rwanda 489 40 8.18%
Estonia 260 19 7.31%
Guinea-Bissau 30 2 6.67%
Uganda 1,085 62 5.71%
Ukraine 8,477 445 5.25%
China (excluding Hong Kong) 70,863 3401 4.80%
Taiwan 6,732 285 4.23%
Korea 22,262 863 3.88%
Malawi 164 4 2.44%
Democratic Republic of Congo 1,764 42 2.38%
Dominica 366 7 1.91%
Mozambique 53 1 1.89%