Dear Adoptees Without US Citizenship, we’ve been Lied to!
The minute our adoptive parents took us into their arms and declared we were “theirs” we entered into a world of change. For some, not a large amount of change. But for others, a “whole new world”.
As an international adoptee without US citizenship, I was lied to. When the US allowed my adoptive parents to legally adopt me from Haiti, a promise was presented. My life as a poor little black kid would now be different. I would have new opportunities, I would have plenty of food to eat, I would speak a language that would hopefully get me a job, I would be connected to people who would, by virtue of adoption, pass down all the rights and privileges they assume as American Citizens.
They can’t give me the white privilege they have because it does not work that way. But at least they can keep their promise of giving me the rights of being a U.S. citizen.
On a personal and individual note, my adoptive parents didn’t care enough to make the effort to make me a U.S.citizen. They were told they had to go back to the US for a period of time until I was naturalized, and then they could return with me to whatever country they chose to raise me in.
“You were not a priority at the time.” My adoptive father says with little to no emotion in his voice. “You were not important.”
“You were a foster kid” he continues to say before I stop him.
It is sad that I have to explain to my father that I was legally adopted by him and I have all the papers to prove it. I am NOT a foster child. He did not just have legal custody or guardianship of me, I had HIS last name and this makes a huge difference.
STOP LUMPING ME IN WITH THE OTHER CHILDREN YOU COLLECTED.
But he still does not get it. He still sees me as a foster child, because I never was really his child.
“Your father didn’t want you…it is I who wanted you…” my adoptive mother says for the millionth time. She tells me that he never really wanted me anyway. God put me on her heart and she had to convince him to keep me.
She was a collector.
Several years after my adoption she went in search for more children who would take care of me, because I was a “problem” at the time. So she basically put out a verbal Ad searching for poor families wanting to give up their children.
Low and behold, she found MANY and decided to take in twins. In her mind, they would cure my eating problems. Never once did she stop and think that not having food in the orphanage was the cause of hoarding and eating out of the garbage can.
Not once did she offer to get me help from a psychologist or a therapist. “We don’t have good ones here in this country” she would say as an excuse. But yet they were millionaires, so why not spend some of that money taking me to the US for therapy instead of Botox on the face and lavish travels to Europe and other parts of the world. Why not use some of that money to heal my lazy eye?
No….none of that would do.
See, it looks good to have a child who is not “well” because you get recognition and notoriety. She loved the attention. So she took in more and more and more and more children. Children came and went, she didn’t even know their names, didn’t care to learn them properly and often confused them with us.
Was this the “better” life they promised us?
No. Leave me in the orphanage, I prefer to stay with people who really want to get to know me, help me be part of my culture.
APs who adopt overseas are so blind to the reality that we may not have wanted to be adopted in the first place.
And the US is at fault for this. They let Americans adopt kids without thinking about the well-being of the child. Part of the well-being of the child is security.
Citizenship offers security. Did you know that there are over 18000 adults who were adopted as children who were not given US citizenship after their US citizen parents adopted them?
This is a U.S. problem. Yes! The parents should have filed, they should have taken the proper steps. But why make it more complicated than an adoption process? Why add another layer?
When a biological child is born overseas, the parents fill out a form and BAM their child is American. But when an adoptee is adopted overseas, there is so much red tape.
Here’s the thing. It’s not a shame that APs didn’t file for citizenship for their adopted children, it’s a SHAM that the US does not see us as part of them; therefore treating us like biological children.
It’s a lie and a Sham.
We are promised a better life, security, and the rights of our adoptive parents but are not given it when we are adopted and often we don’t even find out we are not citizens until we become adults.
For me, I learned I was not a U.S. citizen very early. I could not travel to some places with my parents, I needed a visa to get into the US. I needed a student visa to go to college. I had to stand in immigration lines for hours to be admitted; often missing my next flight to my final destination. I was searched, I was detained for forgetting to have my SEVIS (a document proving I have the right to study in the US) on me “at all times”. I could not work without special permission, and that special permission cost money to get. I could not get financial aid, I could not vote.
I could not call myself an american.
And yet, my passport had my father’s last name and BOTH my parents were born in the US and spent over 18 years in the US.
My father worked in the Peace Corpse.
Their biological children had US passports AND Haitian Passports. Are we not as good as biological children?
Adoptee515 captured the essence of what is the present state of adoptees without citizenship via indentation and I have inserted my own experience as well:
The 14th Amendment’s section on equal protection says “the laws of a state must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances.” The country that processed my adoption asserts something to the effect
[the adoption decree that] the same rights of the parent-child relationship afforded to those of birthright are now bestowed on the adopted child. Clearly this type of language in a court-issued document can lead the parents and the adoptee to assume this is all-inclusive.
We’re adopted children/adults, not iPads, cars, and collectible Cabbage Patch dolls.