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Someone to the post Almost Aborted wrote, “Be a round Korean, learn Korean and serve in the Korean Army.”


Korea sent me to a white community  where there were no Asians.
A community where I was mocked, bullied and threatened for my slant eyes.
I was called “The Chinese” or “La Chinoise” if not “la sale Chinoise (the dirty Chinese)” by everyone around me, even by the few black people.
Korea sold me  to white people who taught me that to be an Asian was a shameful thing, that to be Asian = to be a geisha.

Koreans sent me to a foreign land where there were no Koreans around me.
As I mentioned in the post “Almost Aborted”,  Koreans crossed off the date of bearer’s return on my visa to ensure I wouldn’t go back to Korea for a long time.
I completely lost my language within two years of my arrival on this land for having nobody to talk to.
The loss of mother language was traumatic.

To be told to to be around Koreans, to learn Korean  and to serve in the Korean army sounds sardonic to me.

 

 

 

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Today I expanded my vocabulary with the word gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and brainwashing that seeks to make the victim to doubt her or himself, to make him/her question  her/his own memory, perception and sanity.

I had actually seen the word before but I had never bothered to read its definition until I saw it again today. I’m glad I took the time to read it because it perfectly fits what I’ve experienced as a child (and also as adult) in my adoptive family. However I will not tell my experiences of being gaslighted by my adoptive parents,  because there are many articles on internet that give examples of gasligthing in a family, in a relationship or at work and also because it’s a painful memory that I’m not ready to tell on a blog. Although equally painful, this post is about my experiences of being gaslighted by Holt adoption agency as a child (and later as young adult), because there is no example of an organisation gaslighting a child.

It’s not too difficult for an adoption agency to gaslight a child. All they need to do in a first step is to change the identity of the child. That’s what Holt agency did to me. They changed my birth date, my age and made a fake story to sell me to a Canadian couple.

I started to talk about my life and my family in Korea  15-16 months after my arrival. I could have talked earlier, probably six months earlier, if we hadn’t moved to Quebec, which forced me to learn another new language (and forget the little bit of English I had learned) only seven months after my arrival to the USA. One of the first thing I told my parents was that my birthday was not my birthday. I told them that a man had asked me my birthday only to give me a  different birthday and age and that he had ordered me to give my new birthday if someone would question me later.

As I was becoming more fluent in my new language, I would often recount  my life in Korea to them. They never told me directly I was a liar, but they would ignore everything I said and remain silent or act as if I was  lying.

For examples, if I said, “my mother died in a bus accident when I was six years old,” my mother would reply, “No. You were only four when your biological mother died.” If I said that I got lost after visiting my older sister at the house where she worked as a maid, she wouldn’t say a word. If I recounted the day I got lost with more details, such as, “I didn’t find my father where he was supposed to wait for me after I went to see my sister, so I left the street…”, then she would say, “No. Your father abandoned you to his landlord and after four days, the landlord brought you to a home for abandoned children. ”  Some time later, I told  my parents a couple of times that I believed I was not abandoned after all. I panicked when I didn’t see my father and I didn’t even wait a second for him to return, so I left believing that he had abandoned me and I got lost. Maybe he returned to the place  but  I was gone. My mother said that  he would have searched for me and found me if I was lost and I must accept the fact that I was abandoned.

(As I’m writing this, I’m in tears. I feel like I’m going to lose my mind  just like I felt when I was kid. So I have to take a break now …  )

Sometimes I felt angry but I never showed my anger. I often felt  like I would lose my mind. But I didn’t doubt myself. I continued to recount my past life, because I was so nostalgic I needed to talk about my past life. I told her about my sisters, my brother, my nephew, the games we played together, the food we ate, etc. My mother would listen to me without contradicting me when I told her about life in general in Korea. For example if I said there was no modern toilets in Korea, but there were outhouses, she would say, “So, Korea is thirty five years late compare to Canada” or “It was like that here too thirty five years ago.” That encouraged me to tell her more about Korea. But every time I spoke about my life in Korea involving my family or a member of my family, she would either remain silent or contradict me.

I gradually stopped talking about it… until the day, on the second year of my adoption, I read my adoption papers which were never hidden from me.

The papers were filled with lies and omissions.
Example of lies: “parents: unknown”. Example of omissions: the place I lived; my three siblings. (About 35 years later, I obtained an additional paper from Holt, my family background information, which only contains lies. “Myung-Sook says she has neither brother nor sister. She does not remember, either, where she lived before her coming to Seoul.” Read details here.)

I cried. I told my father that it was all lies. I felt like I would go crazy. I still remembered  my mother’s name. I told him her name and that I had one brother and two sisters. I told him their names too, except my elder sister’s and my father’s names which I had already forgotten since long time. I told him that I gave them my former address in Seoul where we lived before my biological father and I moved to the country side. There was nothing new in what I said that moment.  He yelled at me to stop crying, it was not a reason to cry. I stopped immediately, but it hurt like hell.

I imagined all kind of scenarios to explain the lies and the omissions. In each scenario, I imagined my elder sister  telling to write the lies because she didn’t want me in her life.

We knew a Korean-American man. It happened he called us and told us he was going to Korea soon. My parents asked him to stop by St-Paul’s orphanage to ask the nuns about my siblings.

The nuns told him I had never spoken about my siblings to them. (It was partially true. I never talked about my siblings to the nuns because they never questioned me. However I had often talked about my siblings to my friends in front of one of the nuns and other staff including my housemother. I also repeatedly talked about my siblings to the housemother of another group, and I told her that the director had promised me to search my elder sister’s house to bring me to her.  I also talked about my brother and sisters to the director of the orphanage. Click here for more details). The nuns also said they didn’t deal with adoptions, they only took care of the kids, and only Holt dealt with adoptions.”

My parents said it was true, that only Holt took care of adoptions. It was the first time I heard the name of Holt. Before then, I thought everyone I had met worked for the orphanage. They explained me that Holt was an adoption agency that placed children for adoption while St. Paul was an orphanage where I lived. That day I learned Holt and St. Paul were entirely separate.

I had told them that St. Paul’s director had written my address in Seoul when he had came to my first orphanage. If he didn’t keep it, then  Holt or my first orphanage must have kept it. But I didn’t know the name of my first orphanage. I don’t know if the Korean American man asked them or not, but we didn’t get any answer about it.

They asked Holt. Holt said I had no sibling. And there was no additional information.

Again I felt going crazy.

My father placed an ad in a Korean newspaper, to no vail.

Did I imagine my life? There were brief moments I doubted myself. It must be a bad dream… I have to forget… No I can’t forget, I must not forget if I want to be reunited with my father…. Those are the kind of thoughts that came to my mind whenever my family came to my mind.

In 1988, the Seoul Olympics reminded me I had a family in Korea. My father placed another ad in a Korean newspaper, without result. I also asked a Quebec journalist who was in Korea during the Olympics for help, he promised me he would help me but he never contacted me again.

Bear in mind that I don’t blame my adoptive parents for this gaslighting.   They believed the lies they were told by Holt agency. I only blame the adoption agency… However, I never blamed Holt as a kid. On the contrary, I admired Holt agency and the Holts because I had often heard my mother praising them for having saved thousands of unwanted babies after the Korean war. But I was unconsciously angry at Holt for their lies.

In 1989, fourteen years after my adoption,  we went to Korea  with Holt Family Tour. I was 23, the oldest of the adoptees participating the tour. My anger at Holt that was buried deep surfaced once before and a few times during the trip. At the same time I admired the Holts for saving unwanted and orphaned babies, I especially admired them when they brought us to Holt Ilsan Center for handicapped children. Besides they ( Holt staff and the Holts, mother and daughter) were so nice that I felt I had no right to be angry at the saints.

On one of the papers we had received before the tour, my father had highlighted a paragraph that said, “You will be able to meet the staff at the Holt office. They are willing to help you if you are particularly interested in seeking information about your background. If you were abandoned, however, there is no where to turn further information.”
He had told me, “You understand. You were abandoned, so they cannot help you.”  I felt angry, but I had replied calmly that I was abandoned but old enough to remember I had given them an address, old enough to remember the names of my parents.

Old enough to remember, but not old enough to retain my mother language.

When I lost my mother language, I also lost the names of my friends and of most of my family members. Names, proper nouns, common nouns, all became foreign words. I was able to retain only the names of my mother, my brother and my second sister.

I tore the page of the telephone directory that contained the name of my brother in my hotel room. I asked a staff member to telephone each number by the name of my brother, Kim Daeyeul. The man laughed  saying, “Oh! My name is Kim Daeyeul too.” But he ignored my request. It was very frustrating I felt I would burst with anger, but I stayed stoic by habit. I asked the name of my first orphanage (I also asked to a St. Paul’s nun), they wouldn’t answer.

My only reason for wanting to be part of the Family Tour was to search for my natural family. For my mother, it was only to honour a promise she had made me a year after my arrival, that’s to bring me to Korea.  At the same time, it was going to be her last gift to me, our last trip as a family together, before their divorce. Killing two birds with one stone, she was keeping a promise she had made a Korean girl we had fostered for six months in 1987 and with whom we had lost contact with. So my parents spent the only free days at the end of the trip to search for her and forced me to follow them and I didn’t get to search my family as I wanted. (I wanted to search only by walking in the streets of Seoul.) We managed to find the girl and meet her with the help of someone who had worked for the organization that had placed her with us and a Holt staff  member (We lost .contact again a year later!)

But Holt wouldn’t help me find my family. Nobody would help me. I found it extremely unfair that to help my parents find the girl they had foster for six months, a man had telephoned every school an entire day until he found her, while nobody wanted to call a few numbers on a telephone directory page to find my brother whom I lived with for the 8 first years of my life.

The tour leader said we could write any request on a piece of paper, such as a special place to visit. I wrote I would like to go spend time with  Korean family, to eat together, to sleep on the floor a night (just like I used to with my family), to visit places that were not touristic (I had in mind that I might miraculously find the place I used to live) and the name of my first orphanage. My requests were simply ignored. Meanwhile, an adoptive mother’s request to visit a school was granted.

In 2001,  a Korean friend I met at University invited me to go to Korea to search for my family. She found me a family to stay with. I wrote my story in 4 pages for the TV program that helped to reunite families. I’ve been so brainwashed to think the Holts were saints that the first thing I thought was to bring gifts to the kids of Holt Ilsan Center and money  to donate (a meager sum but earned  on a hard working by painting job). When I had visited Holt Ilsan in 1989, I had convinced myself that people taking care of disabled people couldn’t be bad and that their lies were only a mistake. But I was still very angry at Holt for their big big mistake. (Confused I was!) I called Molly Holt and emailed her.  She was so nice that I was impressed. She told me to send her my story, she would help me find my family, which surprised me.
I went to Holt office a week after my arrival to Korea. Again I was confused and surprised. The man who received me was extremely nice. He took note of what I said. He was going to help me find my family. I had a moment of anger and was extremely hurt when he brought me to a room where they prayed for the babies that were going to leave for adoption that day. He introduced me to a staff member who was an adoptee. For the first time I was with someone who could understand me completely.  She said I should go stay at Molly Holt’s house for the rest of my trip, and suddenly all was decided (I should say she decided and arranged everything, and I moved to Molly’s house). A few days later, I was volunteering at Ilsan Center. I talked to Molly about my anger at Holt. She admitted there had been some mistakes. She told me about three siblings who had been processed for adoption, but thanks God, their father had found them on time before they were sent to a foreign country, another story of a boy who was lost and sent for adoption (by another agency). She even told me another adoptee was abused by her adoptive father…. Everybody was extremely nice. Everyone was willing to help me and I had forgiven their mistakes.  Suddenly all was fine, I had forgotten everything.  After all they were all good Christians and I too was Christian. I thought I judged them wrongly, there must have been one person who made a mistake, but Holt was a good organisation.

I found my family through TV two weeks before the end of my stay. I stayed with my sisters the last week of my trip. I felt guilty for not being able to volunteer during that week and thankful that they didn’t say anything about it.

When I came back from the trip, I sent a thank you card to Molly for helping me find my family.

In 2003, I went back to Korea. at Molly’s house at Ilsan Center again. It’s during that stay I started opening my eyes to their ugly business of selling babies and started feeling again extremely angry at Holt. I found another place to stay for the remaining of my trip because I was too angry to continue to be at Holt Ilsan. But I was still confused, I was angry more at Korea than  at Holt. Molly had told me, “what can we do, if they (Koreans) abandon them?”
“It’s not Holt’s fault, it’s Korea’s fault,” I repeated myself. I bought a cloth for an abandoned baby who was at Ilsan. When I went to Holt office to bring the gift, I saw the foster mothers coming out from the office crying. Again I felt angry at Korea for selling babies and extremely sad.

A few weeks after I came back home, I realized that Holt hadn’t help me at all to find my family in 2001.  I had written alone my story which was translated from French to English before going to Korea. I had received the call from KBS to appear on TV before I had moved to Molly’s house, when I was still at the family’s home my friend had found. The only help I had gotten from Holt was  to go to KBS station, Ilsan Center’s driver drove me there. But it was his job to drive anyone working or volunteering at Ilsan Center.

According to wikipedia, gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

Holt has lied about my identity, my family history, and made me question my memory, perception and sanity.

Because Adoption Is Love


 

I hate love because of you.

You, my (adoptive) parents, who told me,
“Your biological father must have loved you very much to abandon you.”

You who didn’t know nothing of my story and yet, in your vain attempt to make me speak, said,
“Your mother abandoned you because she loved you so much she wanted you to have a better life.”

You, strangers who told me,
“You parents are so generous (for adopting you), they must love you very much.”
(You must guessed I’m adopted by my slant eyes being different of my parents’ round eyes)

You, my classmate friend, who confided to me that you were adopted too and you scolded me because I didn’t want to repeat after you that,
“We are more loved than other kids are because we were chosen.”

I hate love because to be loved means to be abandoned.

 

I hate love because of you.

You, the relinquishing mothers.
Your love requires too many conditions that babies/children can not fulfill: to be born be with the right gender or to be born at the right time (after you get your diploma, after you achieve your career…)
Your “unconditional” love  reminds me I was abandoned and rejected.

I hate love because your unconditional love means rejection and abandonment.

 

 

I hate love because of you.

You, my parents, who were once strangers.
When we were strangers, there was no love between us, there was only your desire for parenthood.
Your desire for parenthood have destroyed my family you. And then your love reduced my real parents to DNA and genetic strangers.

I hate love because your parenthood that requires love destroyed my family, the family that I used my family without adding the words natural, real, first, birth, biological or genetic to it.

 

 

I hate love because of you.

You, all adopters, who pursue pregnant mothers to procure their baby.
You who build your family on the destruction of a (natural) family.
You who build your happiness by destroying a mother-baby bond.
You who take advantage of the misfortune of others to build your family.
You who use the love a mother (“If you love your child, then,…”) to give up to you her unborn baby.
You who use love to imply that genes, DNA and biology don’t matter.

I hate love because love is means separation  (mother-child separation, family-child separation) and destruction (of family).

 

 

 

Bring My Sons from Afar, by Bertha Holt

I hate love because of you.

You, Harry Holt, who took advantage of the love of the mothers to procure their babies in the aftermath of the war.
You who put a clean break and forever between a heartbroken mother and her not yet weaned baby.

You, David Kim, who recounted to us your work with Harry Holt to save the war babies.
You who told us  that we (who were born 15 to 20+) were abandoned at places like the City Hall  but our mothers loved us and they stayed hidden and cried at the City Hall to watch us until we were picked up. (But I wasn’t a baby when I was supposedly abandoned and you never told me why your agency fabricated my story.)

I hate love because love makes me sad. Love makes me sad when I think of  the love of all the mothers who were/are given no other option than seeing their babies starving or abandoning them for adoption.

I hate love because love can be used to separate mothers and their child, and love can be used to sell children to strangers.

 

I hate love because of you.

You, Bertha Holt, who said, “All children are beautiful when they are loved.”
I’m the girl  K-6714 that your agency sold to a couple that needed a child to build a family.
Before becoming the holt product #K-6714, I had a family that loved me.
But you (your agency) tore apart my family (and thousands of other families) so that strangers could love me.
By using the word love to sell children who already have families, you have put the love of my family and a non-existing love of  a stranger who had never met me on the scale and you decided the love of the better off people superior was superior the love of my family.

I hate love because love makes me sad.
Love makes me sad when I miss the love of my real parents, the parents that I used to call my parents without adding the words natural, real, first, birth, biological or genetic to it.
Love makes me sad when I miss my family, the family that you destroyed, the family you reduced to genetics and DNA.
Love makes me sad when I think of the love of every parent who lost their children to adoption trafficking.

 

I hate love because of you.

You, the adoption agencies.

I hate love because love makes me angry.
Love makes me angry when I think of the adoption agencies  using the love of the mothers/parents to take their babies while making huge amount of money to sell them.
Love makes me angry when I think of all the people using the love a mother to convincer her to put her unborn baby up for adoption.

I hate love because you use the love of a mother to procure her baby, and then you use love to sell her baby.
I hate love because you dirtied the word love.

 

 

I hate love because of you.

You, the supposedly “forever” parents, who love their adopted children so much you give them up for re-adoption.
And you, adoption agencies, who use the word love again to sell them.

I hate love because loved means abandoned 2nd time.


I hate love because adoption is love.
I hate love because of you, Adoption.

Body parts are moved around the world by the thousands, from the poor to those who have the means to pay. The world of the international body trade is a world of legal and illegal commerce where the demand for organs outstrips the limited supply.” 

Replace the words related to “organ(s)” by “child(ren)”,

Children are move around the world by the thousands, from the poor to those who have the means to pay. The world of the international child trade is a world of legal and illegal commerce where the demand for children outstrips the limited supply. “

Any article about organ trafficking can easily be adapted into an article about adoption trafficking only by replacing a few key words.

There are many documentaries  about organ trade that are available on Youtube. Anyone who has a knowledge of adoption trafficking will easily notice that   international organ trade follows the same pattern as international adoption  trafficking.

Today, May 25, is International Missing Children’s Day.  So to remember and honour the children who are stolen for adoption, here’s a list of some amazing stories of adoptees who solved their own kidnapping cases and were reunited with their parents after being kidnapped as infants or young children.

Travis Tolliver – International adoption from Chili to the USA (Stolen at birth in 1973. Reunited in 2015)

Trevis Tolliver was stolen from his mother hours after his birth in Chile in 1973.  The mother, Nelly Reyes, was told that her newborn son had died  of a heart condition. She never saw her son’s body or received a death certificate. The newborn baby was adopted by a couple in Washington who had no knowledge of what had happened, while his mother was crying and desperately trying to find her son.
Travis and his adoptive parents believed he was abandoned. He tried to find his biological parents when he was in his 20s, but didn’t have the connection to make it happen. In 2014, he was motivated to find the truth for him and also for his two children after seeing several news stories about stolen children in Chile, including CNN’s Children of Silence. He was matched to his biological mother through DNA testing. Mother and son were reunited in 2014, after forty one years.

Read more at CNN.

Nicole Culverhouse / Irene Blanco – International adoption from Colombia to the USA
(Kidnapped at age four, in 1975. Reunited  in 2012).

In 1975, in Bogota, Colombia, 4 year-old Nicole Culverhouse was playing in the park with her brother Jose as her parents worked at a food cart nearby. Her brother ran to get a drink, but she stayed behind. While she was sitting alone, she was kidnapped by a woman dressed in black. She then was brought to an orphanage about an hour away where her hair was cut and her name was changed, within a month, she was adopted in a good-faith by a family in the United States.
After her adoption, she grew up comfortably. She always remembered her kidnapping and the loss of her entire family and national identity, but she didn’t know her real name.
She was happily married and had served in the U.S. Air Force, but her curiosity in her heritage and seeing her family again pushed her to begin searching. In 2011, she stumbled upon on a Facebook group called Adopted from Colombia where she met other adoptees who were in search of their biological families. Through that forum, she learned the 70th anniversary of Casa De Madre y el Niño, the orphanage that took her in. She and her friends of the group decided to return to Colombia for the anniversary. In 2012, Nicole contacted See Colombia Travel agency and asked for a listing of the parks in a one-hour radius of the orphanage.  Touched by her story, Marcela, a See Colombia Travel’s blogger, made their mission to not only to find the park, but to help her to find her family.
Eventually after months of searching, Nicole was finally reunited with her mother, father, brothers and the rest of her family.

More at: See Colombia Travel  (link1, link 2), NBC Latino, and Huff Post Latino Voices.

Marisa Bocanegra – International adoption from Colombia to the USA
  (Kidnapped at six weeks old in 1977. Reunited in 2014.)

In 1977, Marisa Bocanegra was adopted  at six weeks old from Colombia and grew up in Burnsville, Minnesota. Her adoptive family provided for her, but she never felt like she felt in. This led her to move out at 16.
Marisa knew next to nothing about her background, but she did know that she was from Columbia. In 2010, using the few Columbian documents she had, she officially took her birth surname, Bocanegra and turned to social media. She found a Facebook group dedicated to adoptions from Colombia. For the first time in her life, she related exactly to others. In 2012, she posted a note about her search. Two years later, in 2014, a private investigator read her entry and was able to connect her to her biological family.
It turns out that she had been kidnapped and that her family had been looking for her ever since.  Her mother, Ana Elsy Bocanegra Teuta, was offered an adoption form, which was common at the time for unwed mothers and she refused to sign it. But then a hospital worker returned with a blank sheet of paper and told her to sign while she was drowsy under pain medication. Teuta wrote a squiggly line, not knowing it would be used to sign her daughter away. After being allowed to visit her daughter once a week for six weeks at a foster home, where Teuta was told the child could best be cared for, Teuta came one Sunday only to find her daughter was gone. Only then did she learn that her signature had been used on manipulated adoption documents.

More at Forest Lakes Times.

Steve Carter / Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes – Domestic adoption USA (Reported missing when he was 6 months old, in 1977. Reunited in 2012).

At 35 years old, Steve Carter became interested in learning more about his biological background. He knew he was adopted at age four from an orphanage in Honolulu, but his birth certificate was created almost a year after his birth and on it, he, who has blond hair and blue eyes, was labeled as half-native Hawaiian.
In 2011, after reading  about Carlina White, (an Atlanta woman who discovered she was kidnapped as a baby from a  Harlem hospital after finding her own baby picture on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website, missingkids.com, and was reunited with her family),  he clicked on the website and he found an age-progression image made from a photograph of five month-old Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes who had been reported as kidnapped in Honolulu in 1977. The picture looked just like him as an adult. So he called the Honolulu police and the department. DNA test concluded that Steve was indeed the missing Moriarty Barnes baby.
His biological father, Mark Barnes, reported him missing after his mother, Charlotte Moriarty, took him for a walk and didn’t return. Three weeks later, Mark reported the pair missing. A short time later, Charlotte was found, but there was no trace of the baby. Charlotte was placed in a psychiatric hospital and then vanished after escaping, never to be seen again. He believes that before his mother was found and hospitalized, she put him in the orphanage under a different name, birthday, and she lied about the race of his father. After discovering his true identity, Steve/Marx got in contact with both family members.

More at: CNN, South Jersey Local NewsDaily Mail and on youtube.

Sunny Jo – International adoption from South Korea to Norway (Kidnapped in 1977. Reunited in 2000).

Sunny Jo was adopted from South Korea to Norway in 1977, at the age of 18 months. She was reunited with her biological family  with the help of GOAL., Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link, in 2000. She learned that she and her older brother had been kidnapped. At the time of reunion, her older brother (adopted to the USA) was yet to be found.

Sunny Jo’s journey is recounted in her memoir From Morning Calm to Midnight Sun.

Céline Giraud – International adoption from Peru to France (Stolen at birth in 1980. Reunited in 2004).

Céline Giraud was adopted from Peru by French parents at the age of 16 days old in 1980. She had a happy childhood in a modest and caring adoptive family. Her parents left her adoption record within easy reach and they gave it to her when she left home at the age of 18. They tried to inculcate Peruvian culture in her, but she showed no interest in her origins until she became a mother at 20 years old. In February 2004, she decides to track down her biological parents.  Her adoption file contains the name of her mother and her village. Her then Peruvian boyfriend’s father was police officer in Peru. It took him only a few weeks to find her mother and she learned the shocking truth: she was not abandoned, she was stolen from her parents by child traffickers and then sold on the international market of adoption. In April 2004, she went  to Peru to meet her family  who has never forgotten her.
Once the shock wore off, Céline tracks back and found 25  babies were stolen like her and adopted to France, Switzerland and Holland in the early 80s. In 1980, Cristian, the biological mother of Céline  pregnant with Céline. One day she heard on the radio an advertisement of a charity helping expectant mothers in distress. Delivery costs, food during pregnancy and clothes for the future baby  would be provided. Being very religious, Cristina considered this as a miracle.  At childbirth, they offered to put her baby in a nursery for free so she could continue working and they made her sign a blank paper for registration. She trusted them so much that she called them her guardian angels and she named her baby Doris after Dora, the couple’s daughter who saved her. Three days after the birth, she and her baby were separated. She didn’t see her baby again. Each time she wanted to see Doris she was told it was impossible: the baby was sick, children were quarantined, slum people were carriers of germs… After several unsuccessful attempts to see her newborn, Cristina went to the office of the organization, but she found a closed door. Her “guardian angels” had moved. She filed a complain for child kidnapping, without result.  In 1984, thanks to a local journalist in Peru, the scandal was exposed and a lawsuit followed.  The aggrieved mothers learned that their children had been adopted abroad – without obtaining the right to get them back. The traffickers who sold Céline were sentenced to 27 years of imprisonment. They had stolen and sold 24 other babies like Céline. But they were released on appeal after two years behind bars. The scandal was huge but it did not cross the Atlantic and stayed inside Peru.

More at La voix des adoptés, Alliance pour la démocratie et le progrès (blog), Le Parisien, RFI,  Le blog TV News, and Céline Giraud’s book, J’ai été volée à ma mère.

Cai Ruri – Domestic adoption China (Kidnapped in 1984. Reunited in 2014).

In 1984, Cai Ruru was only four years old when she was stolen from her grandmother’s home in the city of Ruian in Zhejian province, east China. Despite searching the area, Cai Ruri’s parents could find no trace of her. Although the grandmother died broken-hearted in 2010, her parents never gave up hope of finding their daughter and were some of the first people to register at a new country-wide DNA database in 2009.
Cai Ruri was sold to a new family in Putian, Fujian, who had wanted a daughter to complement the two boys in the family and gave her the surname Weng. Her adoptive parents believed they were adopting an abandoned child and paid out money thinking it would go towards speeding up the paperwork. At eight, Weng was told that she was adopted, but it was only when she was 29, in 2014, she decided to search for her real parents and she, too, gave a sample to the database.
A positive match was made  in the national DNA database for missing and abducted children and it was confirmed she was the missing daughter of parents Li Mianquan and Cai Juanjuan, born in April, 1984, and their only child.

More at: Daily Mail, Express and The Nangfang.

Tinan Leroy – International adoption from Haiti to France (Kidnapped in  1984. Reunited in 2002)

In 1984, Tina Leroy was four and a half years old when he landed on the French soil with other Haitian children adopted by French families. Before leaving for France, he was in a nursery, a place where parents could place their children for some time before taking them back.  In 2001, he was looking to track down his biological family since long. He had his original name and his birth place to do that. A friend, in France, was communicating through internet with a Haitian. She put them in contact together. By coincidence, the Haitian had  heard about him.  He was friend of his cousin who had told him about his story, the story of the little Manassé, his Haitian given name, who disappeared from the nursery he was in. He returned to Haiti for the first time in 2002. He learned the exact circumstances of his adoption: he had been kidnapped with forty children from an institution called a « nursery », where poor families can leave their children, for the time to get out of a distress situation, and take them back.  He met with 40 other mothers, victims of the same kidnapping who had gathered  to demand accountability from the Haitian government. They begged him to help them to find their children.

More at: African Child Policy Forum, La Coix, témoignage20 minutes and Tinan’s book, Magnitude 7.3.

Mariette Williams – International adoption from Haiti to Canada (Kidnapped in 1986. Reunited in 2015)

Marietta Williams was adopted  at the age of three, in 1986, by a Canadian couple. She was told that her parents had placed her in an orphanage because they were too poor to take care of her. Her adoption papers listed her name, place of birth, and her parents’ occupations as farmers. She tried years earlier to find her them, but the orphanage listed in her adoption papers no longer existed. Her family name, “Etienne,” is common in Haiti. And she knew of a town, Pestel, but had no online records to search. One day, she stumbled upon a Facebook page for Pestel. With the help of a translator, she posted a message online in Haitian Creole. Two weeks later, she got the contact number of someone who knew her parents. Through a friend who spoke Haitian Creole, she found out that she had four sisters and two brothers in Haiti. Her mother was alive, but her father, Berlisse, had passed away about a year earlier. And almost everything in her adoption papers was a lie. Her birthday was changed to make her younger, and a backstory was invented to make her seem more adoptable. Her parents signed no papers and were not aware of her adoption. She was adopted out of Haiti without her parents’ knowledge. She was stolen from her family twenty-nine years ago.

More at: The San Diego Union Tribune, For Harriet,  Mariette William and on Youtube 

Saroo – International adoption from India to Australia (Lost in 1986:  Reunited in 2012)

In 1986, Saroo was five years old when he got lost.  He was traveling with his older brother, working as a sweeper on India’s train, and ended up falling asleep. When he woke up 14 hours later, he had arrived in Calcutta, India’s third biggest city and notorious for its slum. The little boy learned to fend for himself. He became a beggar and ultimately he was then in by an orphanage which put him up for adoption.  He was adopted by a couple from Tasmania, Australia. Saroo settled down well in his new home. But as he got older the desire to find his birth family became increasingly strong. The problem was that as an illiterate five-year-old he had not known the name of the town he had come from. All he had to go on were his vivid memories. So he began using Google Earth to search for where he might have been born. In 2011, he found his home town on Google Earth. In early 2012, after 25 years of separation, he finally reunited with his mother in Khadwa.Unfortunately, the news was not good about his brother. A month after he had disappeared his brother was found in two pieces on a railway track. His mother had never known whether foul play was involved or whether the boy had simply slipped and fallen under a train.

More at BBC,  Saroo Bierly and on Youtube.

Luo Gang – Domestic adoption China (Kidnapped at the age of five  in 1990. Reunited  in 2013.)

Luo Gang was born in a small town in the Chinese province of Sichuan. In 1990, at the age of five, he was kidnapped on his way to kindergarten by a man and a woman and taken to a far away city. He was given a new name and introduced to a new sister and new parents. At first he had assumed living with this new family would be temporary. But when he realised there would be no reunion with his parents, Luo made the decision to start rehearsing his fading memories, so he wouldn’t forget. Luo’s new parents never explained why he had been taken before they died two years after his arrival. Nor did the “grandparents” who raised him after that. Although Luo’s adoptive parents loved him and treated him like their own son, the desire to find his biological parents had always haunted him.
Back in Sichuan, Luo’s family grew frantic. The local police made no progress with the case and his parents searched him, handing out leaflets in neighbouring towns and placing newspaper adverts. But as the years passed and their savings dwindled, the distraught couple gave up all hope and adopted a girl.
Luo registered with a government website that had been set up to reunite abducted children and their families.  In October 2012, when he was 27, he turned to a website called Baby Come Home, a volunteer-run forum where parents and abducted children share details of their cases.  Luo posted details of everything he could remember – those memories that he had spent years rehearsing each night. The site’s volunteers quickly began to consider the clues. Next, Luo posted a rough map of his village that he drew from memory. The bridges. The walk to school through the rice fields. He thought that the newly built tar road could have been a motorway.
Over the following months, Luo’s case was discussed on the forum and volunteers posted names of towns for him to consider and slowly the search was being narrowed. Soon after he was contacted by a user who told him about a couple from a small town in Guangan city, Sichuan province, who had lost a son at the exact time he was abducted.
The area looked familiar when Luo looked for pictures online, and his suspicions were confirmed when he searched it on Google Maps. After zooming in on satellite images of an area called Yaojiaba, an overcome Luo spotted the two bridges he remembered.
Luo was finally reunited with his family, 23 years after he was taken from them.  After an emotional reunion, his mother said, “In the past years, I couldn’t help crying each time I thought about my son.”

Read more at: South China Morning PostBBC and National Post.

Sun Bin – Domestic adoption China (Kidnapped in 1991. Reunited in 2015)

In 1991, 4-year-old Sun Bin was taken by child traffickers from his hometown in Sichuan province and sold to a family who was desperate for a son, in Jiangsu province on the country’s eastern coast.  After his disappearance at vegetable market near his home, his parents stopped working to search for him and posted search notices around the area and Sun Bin’s mother traveled to other cities in Sichuan and neighbouring provinces.  They always told their daughter, who was born three years after Sun Bin went missing, that she had an older brother.
Sun Bin always thought he was adopted, but he didn’t know where his original home was. He had never asked his adoptive parents how he ended up with them. As he grew older, his wish to find his own family had become stronger and stronger. Sun Bin registered his DNA sample with  a national database in October 2014.  In 2015, at age 28, Sun bin was reunited with his father. But it was too late for him to see his mother again. She died from cancer in 2012.

Read more at: CNN and The Telegraph.

Anisha Mörel  – International adoption from India to Germany (Stolen at birth in 1992. Reunited in 2010)

Anisha was born in 1992 and was taken by the ‘Tender Loving Care Home’, because her mother Fatima could not pay the hospital bill.   Sister Theresa then had her adopted by a German couple. Fathima did not see her child for the next 28 years. ACT, Against Child Trafficking,  helped Anisha to retrace her mother.

More at The Times of India and on Youtube.

He Qingtang – Domestic adoption China (Kidnapped at age four, in 1997. Reunited  in 2015)

In 1997, He Qingtang  aged four was kidnapped outside his home. He was bundled into the back of a car and travelled by train more than 1,000 miles in two days until he was handed over to a new family in Fujian and given the name Zheng. His new family treated him like their own son but he always wanted to return home and he never gave up of seeing his parents again. After getting a job and becoming financially independent, he began the search for his natural family. Zheng approached police and told them that he remembered having been kidnapped as a child. The deputy head of Shenzhen CID said he ordered that a sample of Zheng’s blood be compared with the missing children’s DNA database. It matched with a missing child case from August 1997 when the child’s parents reported their son missing and Zheng, whose real name is He Qingtang, was reunited his family. His relatives told reporters that when he was abducted his father suffered a mental breakdown. He went missing for 10 days after the abduction and when he returned home he neither ate or drank for days on end. In the past 18 years they have been to almost every corner of China looking for their son. When asked what does Zheng plan to do he said that on one hand he had a loving adopted family in Fujian who had raised him for the past 18 years and on the other hand he had his biological family. 

Read more at Daily Mail.

There are more cases of reunion stories of missing children in the news…

 

 

 

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