Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a transracial adoptee, and I live in the UK. Fortunately for me, this means that I have British citizenship (as a result of being adopted by British parents) and have had a British passport since I was a baby.
Meanwhile, my fellow transracial / intercountry adoptees in the United States do not all have similar privileges. In fact, 35,000 of them fell between the cracks when Clinton granted post hoc citizenship to adoptees in 2000. This act, the Child Citizenship Act, granted retroactive citizenship to adoptees born after 1982 (ie, who were minors in 2000 when the act was passed) but did nothing for the adoptees who were over the age of 18 at that time.
Let’s think about this for a minute. 35,000 – thirty-five thousand adoptees who were brought to the US as babies and young children and adopted into American families, and brought up as American and never learned or forgot their birth languages are not American.
Why does this matter?
Imagine for a minute that you don’t have citizenship of the country you’ve lived in all of your conscious life. Imagine there’s a country you were taken from as a child where you don’t speak the language, don’t know people there, and don’t “belong” to.
And imagine, because your adoptive parents failed to file the necessary paperwork in all the excitement of importing you that they left you completely vulnerable to being deported back to your country of birth. A country you don’t know.
Imagine that a racist endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan has just been elected President of the country you grew up in. A president who ran on a ticket of preventing immigration, deporting “illegal” immigrants, not to mention all the mysoginistic, homophobic, minority-hating extras.
Oh yeah, and you’re one of those “illegals” he’s talking about when he talks about deporting immigrants.
Because your adoptive parents forgot, or didn’t know, or couldn’t be bothered to file your paperwork.
This is what happened to a Korean adoptee called Adam Crapser this week. (I’ve already posted about Adam, who was adopted aged 3 and survived two sets of abusive adoptive parents, and whose crime was to break into the latter set’s house to retrieve his belongings from Korea after they’d kicked him out. Oh and his adoptive dad was later prosecuted for child abuse. Doesn’t this sound like he already had enough to deal with?!)
Adam is not the only one. 35,000 adoptees that Americans took into their families, treated well or badly, and didn’t bother filing paperwork for are now at risk of being deported in Donald Trump’s attempt at ethnic cleansing.
If this seems crazy and unjust to you, do something about it and join the campaign.
I am adopted. I am not less than. I do not deserve to be treated as less than a citizen – and I’m not, because I live in a country that recognises that adoptees are “just as much” as biological children.
35,000 adoptees do not.