Kevin Vollmers, one of the editors of Gazillion Voices magazine, and I were debriefing the KAAN conference as we waited for our flight to take off back to Minnesota. We both agreed that it feels we are on the precipice of some incredibly big paradigm shift when it comes to adoption. I’ve been feeling it for about a year now, ever since the CCAI and the State Department (including Ambassador Jacobs) met with a grassroots group of us adult adoptees to hear our collective concerns for the first time last July.
I am so proud to be part of a community of revolutionary adoptees. With social media platforms, it appears like this adoption revolution is new and those of us with blogs and websites can appear to be doing new and groundbreaking work. But we recognize we are not the first. We are incredibly grateful and humbled by the incredible work of so many adoptees who have been doing this work for decades, without much acknowlegement and very little fanfare. In fact, many adoptees have taken the hits for years on our behalf. Adoptees have been working in policy, advocacy, community organizing, research, academia, and very importantly through art for decades. We in this current generation of adoptee rebels are not taking their hard work for granted; no, we are trying to continue the work and will pay it forward – so that the next generation of transracial adoptee leaders can take it to the finish line. -JaeRan Kim
And let’s not forget the comedians and writers, who work hard on the very front line of acceptance and confront the myths of adoption where they are grown and raised, in the heartlands of our communities, wherever they are and where ever we are…
Yes, it does seem a paradigm shift is happening; the glacier is moving, it has always been moving and we are now more aware, contributing more and encouraging others to contribute. We are constructing our own ideas about adoption, what it is, what it means to us, how it affects us and what we’re going to do about it. We are all ages, from many countries, with diverse experiences but enough commonality to understand the injustices, the suffering and the traumas of adoption however and wherever it happened.
Right now in my country, many of us are watching a TV series called ‘The Times of Our lives’. We’re holding our collective breath to see what will happen to Chai Li, an Operation Babylift adoptee, one of less than 300 brought to Australia for adoption. I have also, this week, watched a documentary called simply Operation Babylift available on iview. Officials tell us there were 400,000 displaced children during that time and ask what happened to them. Suggesting that they survived without the intervention of America and Australia, who felt that something had to be done. Some suggest it was a political intervention, others humanitarian, but whatever your view, it is heartrending to view the footage of the airlift, when the babies are placed in cardboad boxes for transportation and into the arms of young, inexperienced soldiers who knew war but not how to care for babies.
I have known of this operation for many years, have watched programs and read much about it and it never ceases to affect me, because it is such a graphic example of the devastation of war, the way in which war impacts the innocent, the demonstration of the vulnerability of the young and the way in which we can be lost to our relatives, our country and our culture so very easily. It is my belief that all Babylift adoptees should have DNA testing made available to them by our Government to help them clarify questions of relationship if they require it. The tragedy of adoption is etched on some of the faces, others seem to have survived differently, thrived maybe…….
As many of us Vietnamese adoptees crack open and peer into yellowing photo albums, our eyes adjust to images of little brown infants swaddled in virgin white gowns, being held by a big pair of white hands for our first christening. Our eyes were either wide with fear or shut tight against the impending rush of deliverance. We turn the pages and witness ourselves chronologically fitting molds made by a mass of social and cultural forces that none of us had any control over. And now, at the end of the day, some of us will kneel down and pray for a reason, while some of us will turn to the next page in our lives and keep looking for one – See more at: http://thehumanist.org/may-june-2009/operation-baby-lift-an-adoptees-perspective/#sthash.gCnjFazq.dpuf