For nearly twenty years the Department of Health and Human Services and the adoption and foster care industries have used National Adoption Awareness Month as a marketing tool for placing children into permanent homes. However, little is publicized about the massive administrative failures and human rights violations committed daily by these agencies.
The time is now for foster care and adoption reform that will end the suffering and injustice for children and families!
In August 2016, the Green Party of the United States proudly adopted an Adoptee Rights plank into its platform. The plank highlights the need to eradicate political hurdles that have prevented long overdue improvements to adoption and foster care policy in the United States.
The Stein/Baraka campaign has heard from adoptees, former foster children and families personally affected by poorly handled adoption and child welfare cases. The foster care system has been responsible for removing children from their families as opposed to offering adequate preventive services that would ameliorate the need for removal. Children are often placed with foster families who are seldom adequately screened, trained and/or monitored, resulting in abuse and neglect of children while in state custody. Hence, the foster care system contributes to undue misery and ultimately to the pipeline-to-prison phenomenon for children of color in particular.
Adoptee rights advocates have been frustrated with elected officials who fail to assist with amending/repealing laws that in many states block an adult adoptee from having the basic human right of access to their original birth certificate (OBC) and/or medical records. These records contains vital information regarding health and families of origin. Currently only the states of Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Rhode Island allow full OBC access to adult adoptees.
Restrictive laws designed to keep children and even adults separate from their biological families actually serves to amplify initial traumas experienced by adoptees upon removal from biological mothers. In fact, adoptees are four times as likely to suffer from substance abuse and other mental health issues due to the denial of access to the truth about who they are and where they came from.
Denial of original birth certificate access is one of several injustices resulting from outdated state and federal policies that are punitive to adult adoptees. Of the tens of thousands of children adopted each year, many are international adoptions. The international adoption industry has historically been plagued with lack of oversight and improper vetting of adoptive parents. These factors have resulted in - and even encouraged - a culture of black market baby selling. Additionally, many international adoptees have experienced the ultimate injustice of never having had their naturalization papers properly filed by the agencies that facilitated their adoption or even by their adoptive parents. This means that adoptees who have lived their entire lives as Americans are denied their rights as citizens and not allowed to register to vote, get a driver’s license, or obtain full-time employment once they reach adulthood.
The tragic case of Adam Crapser illustrates how the international adoption industry and the legal system remain guilty of gross negligence and indifference to basic human rights. Crapser, a 41 year old married father of 3, was born in South Korea and brought into the United States where he was adopted by a white American family at the age of three. Yet, he is now facing deportation back to South Korea although he has lived his entire life in the United States and English is his only language.
In addition to being abusive, Crapser’s first adoptive parents never filed the required naturalization paperwork on his behalf and then abandoned him into the foster care system. Once in state custody, he suffered more abuse by foster parents and his paperwork was still not filed in order to finalize his United States citizenship.
At the age of 16, Crapser’s abusive adoptive parents locked him out of his home, forcing him climb into a window to retrieve personal items (rubber shoes and a Korean Bible) that were carried with him from South Korea. The family pressed charges of robbery against him, resulting in an arrest and sentencing of twenty five (25) months in prison. After his release from prison, Crapser went on to live a productive life, including getting married and having children.
During his adulthood Crapser’s employment opportunities remained limited due to not possessing proper citizenship paperwork. Then in 2012, Crapser was finally able to retrieve his adoption papers from his adoptive family and promptly applied for United States citizenship. This process ultimately triggered an Immigration and Customs Enforcement case and a threat of deportation!
Although there are clear extenuating circumstances in this case, the United States government is not relinquishing on its pursuit to unjustly deport Crapser. A man who is clearly an American citizen and whose rights have been violated numerous times by the United States government and a rogue adoption and foster care system.
The case of Adam Crapser is indicative of a failed system replete with indifference to human suffering and a government lacking in the political will to take responsibility for the role it has played in this ongoing malfeasance.
The Green Party and the Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka campaign call for full reform and transparency of the adoption and foster care industries. We thank the Adoptee Rights Movement for highlighting these unacceptable injustices and for making the connections between adoptee rights and the rights of communities and families worldwide who are being devastated by poverty, hunger, climate change, globalization, mass incarceration, oppressive governments, and war.
We call for a Green New Deal and for a true political revolution to democratize the United States government and end corporate rule as essential components in the fight to build a country and a world that truly improves the lives of all children and families!