Many of you may have read the news from the Reuters/NBC investigation on "re-homing", a questionable method for finding new homes for children whose adoptions are dissolving. Their investigation focused primarily on uncovering the infrequent but disturbing use of re-homing over the internet, with children sometimes being handed over to individuals who were unknown and unscreened, and in the worst cases were predators. This sometimes occurred with little or no oversight by any agency, child welfare organization, or government body. For more information on this investigation, see:
The results of this investigation should have us all troubled and grieving for the experiences of these vulnerable children. It should also make us examine our own practices, as well as those of the communities we are a part of and the agencies we have worked with. Yet the re-homing controversy cannot be judged without acknowledging the tragic factors that contributed to it: the trauma and neglect of children, institutional care, under-preparation of parents, mismatches of expectation, difficulty accessing necessary resources and therapies, unavailability of qualified respite care, and a deep sense of desperation.
Every adoptive family dreams of providing a forever family for a child, but sadly, some families find themselves unprepared, misinformed, or overwhelmed with the needs of a child who has encountered trauma, neglect, or institutionalization. In some severe situations, families feel their other family members' safety is compromised. And worse yet, they find themselves feeling alone, ashamed, and without resources to face this situation.
AFHK would like to take this opportunity to encourage our families to please reach out for help from AFHK, other adoption-related organizations, or a knowledgeable professional if you find yourselves in this position. If you are encountering smaller problems, please take proactive steps to address those issues before they become bigger issues. If you are feeling isolated or paralyzed, please seek help. Though AFHK is not an adoption agency, we do have a number of resources and the membership of experienced parents and professionals, and our Monthly Parent Support Meetings are a place to share and learn from others. In addition, contact your adoption agency and ask them to assist you.
Historically, adoption has been perceived to be associated with various stigmas. It is important for all to remember that most adoptive parents are highly committed parents who want the best for their children at all times, and not all adoptive families encounter such severe difficulties. Whether our path to and within adoption is fairly simple or rather challenging, we must find our resiliency and support in this lifelong journey. AFHK will continue to advocate for well-informed training, best practices in adoption, and transparency about the risks as well as the blessings involved in becoming and being an adoptive family. We will continue to be a community that is active to inform and support others in the adoption journey, and to empower professionals to be equipped to support adoptive and foster families.
If you are someone who has support to give...if you are willing to be a parent mentor or to provide assistance for any of our ongoing efforts...please kindly consider sharing your time, talents, or resources with us. We are a volunteer-run organization, so we cannot do it alone, but, together with you, we strive to be a voice and a vehicle to see adopted and foster children and their families thrive in Hong Kong and around the world.
Together with you in the adoption journey,
Louise Garnaut, Co-Chair
Erica Liu Wollin, Professional Adoption Support Coordinator