Supporting adopted children on the journey towards self-discovery
We commend the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) for covering the Hong Kong-born adoptee reunion with Angharad Law's thoughtfully written article ("A search for roots", October 6). It is very gratifying to read a sensitive piece on the topics of adoption, adoptees, birth families and the need for each person to know him or herself by understanding where they came from.
As a non-profit society supporting adoptive families in Hong Kong, we believe in encouraging, rather than denying, our children the rights to know about and reconnect with their birth mothers and families if they choose to do so.
We see in these Hong Kong returnees the futures of our own children adopted from Hong Kong and elsewhere, and we want the roots-tracing process to be as straightforward and transparent as possible for them.
Unfortunately, though much progress has been made on this front in the past decade, we hear enough stories of frustration on the part of Hong Kong-born adoptees to surmise that more needs to be done by the Hong Kong government and relevant NGOs to ensure that adoptees have every opportunity to learn about and/or reconnect with their birth families.
As adoptive parents, we do not pretend it will be easy for us when many of our children begin the search for their birth parents (usually after the age of 25).
But, following on decades of research, as well as first-person narratives of adult adoptees, we know that the best way to ensure our children's inner strength, their sense of self, and, indeed, our own relationships with them, is to be honest with them about their history from the very beginning, and to support them on their journeys towards self-discovery.
In fact, one might same the same thing about parenting any child.
For parents who have questions about these or related adoption issues, we run a monthly support group ( in English, free of charge). Information can be found on our websitewww.afhk.org.hk
Mary J. Child, chair; Ember Deitz Goldstein, treasurer; Adoptive Families of Hong Kong