AFHK - Home


Please note that blogs are public and can be read by anyone on the internet, including any comments that you may make.
For private discussions with AFHK Members' only please join our Forums.
  • Wednesday, February 11, 2015 9:45 AM | Anonymous

    If you have good communication, interpersonal, and organisational skills, are aware and informed regarding the needs and experiences of adult adoptees, active in social media, groups, or other means of connecting with adult adoptees, then the Adult Adoptee Coordinator role may be for you.

    If you would like to generously contribute your time to support AFHK's outreach to potential adult adoptee members, facilitate connections between adult adoptees and other relevant parties, work with the Roots Tracing Coordinator, and much more... please get in touch with us at

    We look forward to working with you !

    read more about the Adult Adoptee Coordinator role here

  • Wednesday, February 04, 2015 11:37 AM | Anonymous

    As a charitable organisation, all of our work depends upon the extraordinary skills of our volunteers.

    Do you have accounting, finance, business, or quantitative experience or background, working knowledge of spreadsheet and accounting software applications, strong communication skills? Learn more about our Treasurer role.

    If you are organised, interested in locating resources and learning about adoption best practices, have strong interpersonal skills and communication skills? Learn more about our Newly Adoptive Families Coordinator role.

    If you are willing to generously share your skills and time, please get in touch with us at  

    We look forward to working with you!

  • Saturday, January 31, 2015 12:46 PM | Anonymous
    AFHK was honoured to host Cheryl Shanahan, Early Childhood Consultant, Play Therapist and Registered Teacher for a talk on Raising Resilient Children : Using Storybooks to Promote Social and Emotional Development.

    Cheryl shared a wide range of ideas for opening up discussions with our children on different topics, building their vocabulary around emotional experiences and fostering resilience through playful expansions of stories. She also reminded us all in the room the importance of story time and the value of allowing our children to choose the books they read, even if it is the 20th time in a row. 

    Cheryl is a natural and easy-to-listen-to presenter and we are very grateful for her generosity in sharing these concepts and practical ideas. I believe that every person in the room; parents, professionals, waiting parents and adult adoptees took away something encouraging, useful and practical.

    Virginia Spielmann
    AFHK Virtual Learning Coordinator

  • Saturday, January 24, 2015 9:21 AM | Anonymous
    The SCMP published AFHK's letter to the editor on Friday January 23 with the title "Help available for parents who adopt" in response to the case of charity boss Dr Nancy Chu Ping, who has been convicted of maltreatment of her four-year-old adopted son ("Charity boss punished for beating son", January 14). 

    Read our letter below

    "Help available for parents who adopting
    In response to the report on the case of charity boss Dr Nancy Chu Ping, who has been convicted of maltreatment of her adopted four year old son ("Charity boss punished for beating son", January 14), the facts given are brief, and we have no detailed knowledge of the true circumstances surrounding this worrying case.However, it does serve as a reminder that no matter who the parent is, adoptive parenting can be a challenge, as adopted and foster children have often experienced early losses and trauma.We hope that all adoptive parents have received and continue to receive education andpractical help to address the issues that surround our families.Adoptive Families of Hong Kong is here to help those touched by adoption in any way herein Hong Kong.We offer practical and emotional support to families and can be contacted online at
    Louise Garnaut, chairwoman
    Adoptive Families of Hong Kong"

    Read AFHK's letter in the South China Morning Post

    Read the referenced article published in the SCMP on January 14 with the titleBoss of children's charity convicted of beating her adopted four-year-old son with a stick
  • Friday, December 12, 2014 2:18 PM | Anonymous

    A great interview with Gary Stephens in the SCMP highlighting the importance of family for all children and the detrimental effects of long term institutional care.

  • Thursday, September 26, 2013 5:28 PM | Anonymous
    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
  • Thursday, June 06, 2013 8:40 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members and Friends,

    For our 20th anniversary year I think we must have suffered the wettest Spring and early Summer for many years!  Unfortunately the interminable rain prevented us from holding our Annual Picnic on 27th April and on our back up date of 4thMay. I know many of you and your children will have been disappointed but do not despair!  We hope September weather will be kinder to us so we plan to hold the Annual Picnic on Sat 21st September. Please put it in your diaries now!

    We hope that all of you who have registered will still be able to come but if not you will be refunded. Do pass the word around ~ we may attract even more families to join in the fun in September!


    Our 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner will be held on 7th November at Club Lusitano’s, Icehouse Street, Central. We will have a fascinating and empowering evening with the founders of AFHK kindly sharing their families’ Life journeys with us.  Please put the date in your diary and do invite family and friends to join you! Watch this space for more details….

    A few bits of news from the Steering Committee:-

    • Louise Garnaut has now stepped out of Events  into the co-Chair role. Thanks Louis
    • Ember Goldstein, our Treasurer ,is now not leaving for Singapore, however she is taking up another role as Communications Officer after the summer once we have found a replacement treasurer.
    • If you are good with figures, are organised and feel you have time to commit please send us an email.  We need a new Treasurer urgently!

    As part of our Friday night at the movies series, last Friday May 31st, we screened Somewhere Between, a documentary film by Linda Goldstein Knowlton that examines what it is like to come-of-age as a trans-racial adoptee in today's America. It’s had rave reviews online & our AFHK audience & friends agreed with that. If you missed it you can find more information online at

    Before you pack your bags and head off for the summer please don’t forget that we have a few fun and interesting events to close our season:-

    Wed June 5th : A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Treating a Family with Attachment Issues, Trauma, and Special Needs.

    This is a Special Professional Case Discussion for those working with Adoptive or Foster Care Families, Children at Risk, and/or Children with Trauma or Loss.

    Frid 7th June Take A Breath: Brain-Based Strategies to Help Your Child Manage Emotion, Reduce Stress and Increase Optimism

    An inspiring workshop to help us all enjoy our family holidays more ~ held at our usual PSM Friday venue!

    John Shanahan and Justine Roche will discuss mindfulness and the underlying neurological processes that impact our emotions and behaviours. They will share strategies that families can use to help children increase attention, reduce stress and infuse family life with joy, optimism and mindful connection.

    Plus time for teens to let off steam and enjoy the sun and sea before we all split off to various parts of the world for our hols:

    Sat 15th June: Teen Beach BBQ, VRC Beach Club, Sai Kung 2-6pm HK$200 per person – they can bring a friend too for the same price.

    Please do check out the website for full details of each venue and register online!

    I would like to thank you all for supporting AFHK through donations, sponsorship, volunteering and participating.  All AFHK events and activities are made possible by a dedicated and passionate group of volunteers. If you have an idea for a new activity or event please consider joining our dynamic committee and be part of our success. WE WELCOME YOU!

    And finally, we cannot break up for the summer without recognizing the dedication and passion with which our Steering Committee members contribute to the success of AFHK. I would like to thank all my colleagues on the Steering Committee who work hard to ensure AFHK continues to hold events at which you and your family can find friendship, support and hopefully answers too!

    Have a wonderful summer!

    Mina Weight ~ Co-Chair and External Relations

    June 2013

  • Saturday, March 02, 2013 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Members and Friends,

    Welcome to the Year of the Water Snake, an auspicious year for AFHK as it marks the 20th Anniversary of our founding!

    To celebrate this milestone year, we will unveil a very special ANNUAL DINNER this fall, with surprise guests from AFHK's historic beginnings.  If you would like to get involved in the planning,  contact Celine Bonnel or Louise Garnaut. And if you have any pictures or documents from AFHK's history, please consider allowing us to scan or borrow them for the celebration.

    But first, the anniversary celebrations kick off with our Annual Picnic at lovely Victoria Peak Garden on 27th April. Don't miss it; there might even be a cake!

    We will also continue with our ongoing programme of -

    • MORE TEEN ACTIVITIES (plus CAS hours for those who help with AFHK events like the picnic!)


    • a new series of WEBINARS providing expert virtual content from around the world. (Last Friday's "Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens" with Debbie Riley was a big success. Among many words of advice, Debbie reminded us that the teen years are an especially important time to make sure our kids are involved with adoption networks and have the chance to be friends with other adoptees. (Hint, hint.))
    We will also continue in our ongoing efforts to advocate for adoptive families and children in the HK press and beyond. To this end, recently, we did file a letter to the editor of the South China Morning Post in response to this 4th February article, but the SCMP chose not to publish it. We have published it ourselves on our Web site and our Facebook page. (While there, please don't forget to "Like" us on Facebook!)

    All AFHK events and activities are made possible by a dedicated and passionate group of volunteers. If you have an idea for a new activity or event please consider joining our dynamic committee and be part of our success. WE WELCOME YOU!

    I am sad to report that Ember Deitz Goldstein, our Treasurer and more since 2008, will be moving to Singapore with her family this July. So, in addition to the volunteer positions already available, we now are in need of a new Treasurer. Please contact Celine Bonnel if you have such skills to offer. Details of this and other positions can be found here.

    Finally, but certainly not least, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to our donors and sponsors. AFHK have experienced tremendous growth, in numbers of members and donations, amount of donations and also in quantity and quality of programmes over the last few years. This growth would not be sustainable without the support of our generous donors and sponsors.

    For a list of all the events and programmes that our sponors, donors and volunteers made possible last year, do take a look at “2012 Events at a Glance ”.

    On behalf of my colleagues on the AFHK Steering Committee, I would like to wish you all a very happy, healthy and fruitful Year of the Snake, and I look forward to celebrating our 20th Anniversary with you and your family.

    Mina Weight ~ Chair and External Relations

  • Friday, February 15, 2013 5:45 PM | Anonymous member
    N.B. This letter was never published by the SCMP

    Dear SCMP Letters editor,

    We write regarding “Hong Kong orphans subjected to racism in Britain: report” (4th February), which claims the British Chinese Adoption Study has “raised concerns about whether local organisations arranging interracial adoptions place enough emphasis on preliminary guidance”. We acknowledge the heartache of some Hong Kong-born adoptees placed fifty years ago in homogenous, white UK communities with little support toward building their own identities. While we believe the situation of transracial adoptees has improved dramatically since, we agree Hong Kong could do more to support adoptive families, both same-race and transracial, post-adoption, and we are working toward filling that gap.

    Adoptive Families of Hong Kong (AFHK) is a registered charity celebrating its 20th year as one of few organizations offering both pre- and post-adoption support to adoptive families, adult adoptees and parents waiting to be matched. It aim to provide access to the most current, relevant information on adoption-related issues. Readers may be interested to know other studies find the most important factor determining whether transracial adoptees experience racism is not the race of their adoptive family but rather the family's commitment to living as a mixed-race family and raising their children in diverse communities.  

    AFHK hosts a free, monthly Adoptive Parent Support meeting where we discuss these issues and many others, including talking with children about adoption, searching for birth parents, attachment and bonding, and issues adoptees face in the classroom. We also host social gatherings for our diverse community of families, encouraging our children to connect and find support in each others’ common experiences.

    Additionally, AFHK advocates on adoption-related issues. To this end, we would like to encourage the SCMP to follow up on its own 22nd July 2012 article by Elaine Yau, which stated that children with special needs “often languish in the adoption pool and grow up in institutional homes”. Why is it that most Hong Kong children with special needs who also need a family must go overseas to find one? Why is it that most Hong Kong children who are not adopted by age three must go overseas as well? This lack of local support for our most precious resource, our children, is a serious problem worthy of leading the news. We look forward to hearing more from the SCMP about it.

    Mina Weight, Chair
    Ember Deitz Goldstein, Treasurer
    Erica Liu Wollin, Psy.D., Adoption Resources and Support Coordinator

  • Wednesday, February 06, 2013 12:00 AM | Anonymous member

    Delays in adoption cause permanent damage to children

    I refer to the report regarding the experiences of children adopted overseas ("HK orphans 'subjected to racism in Britain'", February 4).

    The article was unhelpful and misleading about best practice for adoptive children. It failed to inform readers of the reason that Britain is reducing the importance of race in adoptions: black children are taking 50 per cent longer to be adopted.

    No one disputes that race matters - but delays in adoption matter far more.

    All adopted children are likely to struggle with issues of identity, including race.

    Adoptive parents need to be made aware of that process. However, children are still better off with permanent loving families of a different race than without any family at all.

    Delays in adoption cause unnecessary and permanent damage to children at a critical stage in their development. Such delays harm their brain development, as well as their ability to maintain healthy relationships and function in society.

    Long delays also cause a child's chances of being adopted to fall precipitously - to practically zero for those over the age of three in Hong Kong.

    The lesson of The Observer article and British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) study mentioned in your report is that parents should be prepared to help their adopted children deal with issues of race - not that race should be allowed to dominate the adoption process.

    No child should be left without a family simply because a perfect ethnic match cannot be found. I am grateful for the advances in training and support for adoptive parents, so that fewer adoptive families will face the experiences described in 1960s Britain.

    The children in the BAAF study came from orphanages in Hong Kong in the 1960s that were overcrowded and full of abandoned children, with little or no hope for adoption locally. I note that none of the children currently available for international adoption in Hong Kong have any chance for adoption locally, as almost all have special needs.

    Sadly, Hong Kong has not been very accepting of children with special needs. Very few of these children have ever been adopted in Hong Kong, and most will be adopted to the US.

    Our hope at Mother's Choice is that every child born in Hong Kong will have a permanent family, no matter what their race or special need, and that no child will have to grow up in an institution. Every child deserves to have a family.

    Alia Eyres, chief executive officer, Mother's Choice

Contact | Financial ReportsLegal | GPO Box 8896 Central Hong Kong | © Adoptive Families of Hong Kong

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software