I was born in Korea and named Hong Soon Keum. When I was 5 years old, I was adopted and came to the U.S. Here, I became Susan Gourley. I also became a daughter, sister, cousin, and a part of the community that was now my home. I did not have American citizenship by birth, but through adoption, I acquired both a family and the nationality of my adopted country. Continue reading “Share Your Citizenship Story!”
When most people think of adoption, they picture children. But adoption is a lifelong experience. And just like everybody else, adoptees grow up too.
In our focus to serve children and families, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that being adopted doesn’t stop at age 18. Adoptees grow up. They become husbands and wives, doctors, teachers, businessmen and women, parents and grandparents. They work, travel and play. And, sometimes, they have questions they can’t answer without assistance.
Part of my job at Holt is to help adult adoptees discover their background. I speak with and email hundreds and hundreds of adoptees from many different countries now living in the U.S. I provide them with file copies, citizenship assistance, historical and cultural information, and for some, I help determine if a birth search is possible. It’s a part of my job that I enjoy tremendously. Continue reading “The Story Behind The Photo: Adoptees Grow Up Too”
In November 2015, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced Senate Bill 2275 — the Adoptee Citizenship Act — which will provide automatic citizenship to internationally adopted individuals who were never naturalized and are not currently U.S. citizens. This issue has been a priority for the international adoption community for years, and was intended to be resolved as part of the Adoption Bill of 2000, which provided automatic citizenship to adoptees up to the age of 18 years. The intention was to revisit this issue with new legislation, but then fallout from the terrorist attacks on 9/11 created a more restrictive view of new immigration legislation. The bottom line is that adoptees over the age of 18 did not receive automatic citizenship and today they remain vulnerable to deportation, despite being raised in the United States to U.S. citizen adoptive parents.
The Adoptee Citizenship Act (S.2275) is a bold and courageous initiative led by Senator Klobuchar that will complete the opportunity for all international adoptees to become citizens. Additional co-sponsors are Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senator Dan Coats (R-IN), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). We are grateful for their support, but we need more senators to co-sponsor the bill for it to be successful. Today, we encourage you to urge your members of congress to become co-sponsors of this critical legislation.
At this time, there is no corresponding legislation in the House of Representatives, so your requests are only to the Senate. We will keep you informed on the status of this issue in the House.
Adoptee and family testimonials about Holt’s post adoption services.
A Q&A with Holt adoptee Kim Lindebaum
Why did you contact Holt’s post adoption services department (PAS)?
Over the last couple years, I’ve had more of a desire to learn of my early years and was especially interested after reading Dr. David Kim’s book, “Who Will Answer…” I then had the opportunity to travel to Korea with my daughter and family this past spring and decided I needed to know as much about my early years as I could find. So that was when I searched out Holt’s post adoption services.
Who did you speak with, and how did they help you?
Debby Hanson was my contact and we corresponded several times as I wanted to visit a couple of Holt’s facilities while in Korea. Debby was able to make the arrangements for me to visit Ilsan Center, where I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and hug Molly Holt.
What made your experience meaningful?
For me it is the “coming full circle” of who I am as a first generation Korean adoptee, with the opportunity of making my first return trip to my homeland and reading the autobiography of Dr. Kim, who uncovered so many of my hidden feelings by pointing out the facts of Holt’s early years.
Would you return to Holt’s post adoption services department or recommend to other adoptees for services?
Yes, if anyone isn’t sure where to begin and may have unanswered questions of their early years, or want to see what is in their adoption file, then I would encourage them to make contact with PAS either by email or telephone. They are most helpful and very compassionate to my feelings.