Adoption and governmental apologies

I live in Canada now, and the recent news has been talking about the country’s senate’s hearings and report on the Baby Scoop targeted destruction of Indigenous communities here via adoption: [link] and [link]. Much talk about “healing”, and “moving forward”, etc. Australia did something similar 10 years ago [link]. I’ll hold off on adding my 2¢ just yet, but I’m curious to hear from adoptees what you think of such apologies. What is their value? What do they change? Do they allow for healing? What are your thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Adoption and governmental apologies

  1. No one has apologized to us. They apologize to our mothers. I guess the authorities figure we are just as well off with our new parents, so why apologize to us?
    I would like the US government to apologize to me, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m 55 and I will probably die before i see my OBC.

    An apology to me might help me feel better.

  2. I’ll believe they’re really sorry when they start to give out compensation for the past practices and when intercountry adoption is allowed to be included in these apologies of forced adoptions! In Australia, we tried to be included in the Forced Adoption Apology, but intercountry adoption was not allowed for political reasons. Imagine if Australia had included intercountry adoptees, from Sth Korea, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia .. it would damage their political relationships with these sending countries who already barely send any children to Australia because our foreign aid is minimal! I’ll believe our governments are sorry when they provide the much needed FREE search & reunion services to bring us back together with our families who have been separated by intercountry adoption. Our Australian government just took it away after providing if for free for the past 2 years! But .. at least there was SOME recognition of our needs, of the life long consequences. But .. the world and Canada has some way to go until any of these apolgoies mean anything. In my eyes, it is just the beginning .. the apology at least means we are starting to become listened to and validated. It is not reparation and that is what needs to happen for a true apology to have any meaning to those who have been impacted.

  3. I mentioned on Twitter how South Korea issued an apology but was received with mixed reactions because of its focus on S. Korea’s economic struggles as relinquishment reasons.

    While an apology is not unwelcome, one would be truly well-received if it was based on feedback and input from the adoptees long since sent away. Specifically, I’d like to hear, “We are sorry for the socioeconomic constructs that prevented us from caring for our own. We’re sorry for believing a Western family would be superior to ours. We are sorry for assuming the West would provide a wholesome, healthy outcome for our former citizens.”

    Automatic citizenship from our sending countries would be a nice bonus, as well.

  4. In 1998 the President of Korea apologized to international adoptees for his and the country’s shame.
    ” Looking at you, I am proud of such accomplished adults, but I am also overwhelmed with an enormous sense of regret at all the pain that you must have been subjected to. Some 200,000 Korean children have been adopted to the United States, Canada, and many European countries over the years. I am pained to think that we could not raise you ourselves, and had to give you away for foreign adoption.”
    Kim Dae-jung
    In Korea, an apology is a really really huge deal. It is a public eating of crow. It is a tool pulled out as a last resort, as a save when image might be irreparable or reputation is on the line. (everything about Asian culture is about saving face: appearing honorable) It is, sadly, more often a social construct than sincerely heartfelt. It is sincerely put forward; the sincerity based on sincerely wanting to get out of a tight spot. So it is often very effective…
    President Kim’s apology was such a tool. While he may have sincerely felt bad about it, he felt more badly about how Korea looked than for our experience. It was not for us. It was for them. His apology was empty words, because the next day they were still sending new little ones away because they weren’t willing to put their resources towards taking care of their own. And 20 years later they are still sending children away because they clearly have other priorities than serving citizens they consider problems.
    I have no love for the Korean apology. I do have love for Korean action once there is a will. The problem is, there is no will. Because it’s still got a colonial mindset.

  5. I am a Canadian BSE adoptee (1971, Ontario).

    Apologies without action are meaningless. They want to apologize to adoptees for having our identities stripped. Introduce legislation so that adoptees can annul their adoptions and reinstate their natural filiation.

    And these apologies are always directed at mothers. Adoptees are tacked on to their apology, and even when we are we’re referred to as the “babies”. Adoption, as an adult, has left me with no family or support, with falsified documents, and with no way to remedy being legally severed from my family without my consent. It affected me a bit more than being some mother’s “baby”.

    In my case my teen bmom wouldn’t sign the papers for four months as she wanted to keep me, so I was in foster care as my grandparents wouldn’t let me in their house. At any time during those four months my family could’ve come picked me up and taken me home. My adoption could’ve been stopped at any time. How is it the government’s fault that my grandparents were too ashamed of my illegitimacy to keep me in the family? Where is the apology from them?

  6. Governmental “apologies” tend to be ex post facto political statements carrying little-to-no meaning aside from that which is associated with following the social and political forms of the day. This, I think, is particularly true when one looks at an “apology” rendered as regards past colonial practices for which there is no true sorrow but as to which it is expedient to provide explanatory apologetic.

Adoptees, what do you think? We welcome your replies!

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