Adam Crapser, a Korean American adoptee is being deported because his adoptive parents made a mistake. Yes, re-read that sentence. As inane as it sounds, it is true.
Earlier this month the US government placed this stay at home dad in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma Washington to be deported to South Korea, a country he hasn’t seen since he was adopted by an American couple at the age of three.*
He does not speak the language, know the customs, or have any way to earn a living in South Korea. America is his home. He was promised much when he was adopted by an American Family 37 years ago. They let him down. The US government is now also letting him down.
This is wrong my friends, so very wrong. It is also an embarrassment to anyone who claims to support children’s rights.
Our children grow past the adorable little blue t-shirt with bangs hanging in the eye and big sister’s arms protecting them stage. They grow into real life adults who face real life adult problems. As a country, we owe them the protection of citizenship regardless if their parents screwed up.
Congress recognized the problem and tried to fix it in 2000 by passing the Child Citizenship Act, which granted automatic citizenship to children adopted by U.S. citizens. However, they left a loophole by not making it retroactive to children born before that time.
I blogged about this case before, but truthfully I really didn’t think they would deport him. Yes, it’s happened before—no one knows the exact number but Kevin Vollmers, Executive Director of Gazillion Strong, knows of at least 45 other cases of adoptees being deported to India, Brazil, South Korea and other countries. But surely, I thought, when it is brought to the government’s attention, they will realize their mistake and stop. How could they not?!? This is so very clearly wrong.
Adam was adopted at age 3 with his older sister by an American family who turned the children in to foster care 6 years later. He was separated from his sister, bounced around several foster families for about a year before being adopted by an abusive family (convicted of child abuse and sexual abuse in 1992). Neither adoptive family filed the paperwork to obtain his citizenship.
He was kicked out at age 16, got in trouble with the law, served his time, turned his life around, obtained his GED, got married, and applied for a green card on his own in 2012. In a sad twist of fate, it was his application for citizenship that triggered the background check that ultimately resulted in his deportation hearings.
The specifics of Adam’s case, while tragic, are not really the point. All international adoptees adopted before 2000 are at risk for deportation, being unable to vote, get student loans, or social security.
This case makes me want to scream and cry at the same time. For the love of all that is holy, what is our government thinking?!?
2 Things You Can Do
Sign a Petition to be presented to legislators to try to stop the deportation of Adam Crapser. (It literally took me 30 seconds to sign these two petitions.)
Get Your Child a Passport. If you have adopted internationally, no matter when, get a passport for your child even if you have no plans to travel outside of the country. A passport is the most easily recognized document of citizenship. It can help your child prove his citizenship to anyone who questions it in the future.
When we adopt our kids we tell them it is forever; we tell them that blood does not make a family. We tell them they are ours and that America is their home. We should not deport our children. Adoption means more than that. America is better than that. #stopdeportinginternationaladoptees
Other Creating a Family resources you might enjoy:
- Rescuing the Rooftop Folks: International Adoption Neither Saint nor Devil
- Ethics of International Adoption & the Orphan Care Movement
- Slippery Slope of International Adoptions: Cultural Misunderstandings Abound
*I haven’t been able to verify that Adam has been placed into the Detention Center, but from my research I believe it to be true.
Image credit: www.cbsnews.com; Adoptee Rights Campaign