Many outside the adoptee community are surprised when they learn that this country can and will deport international adoptees. Yet, that is exactly what could happen — and has already been happening — for an untold number of adult adoptees.
Most Americans — including many prospective adoptive parents — assume that international adoptees acquire automatic US citizenship with the completion of adoption paperwork. That is simply untrue. The citizenship of international adoptees is dependent upon whether or not their American citizen parents have separately sponsored their petition for US citizenship, even after adoptees have already begun life in America.
Many have characterized Adam Crapser’s struggle as an immigration reform issue. To the extent that changes to immigration law that grant automatic citizenship to all transnational adoptees would protect adoptees like Adam, this story does intersect with immigration law and the immigration reform lobby. However, in my mind, Adam Crapser’s story is less about immigration reform; to me, it is mostly about adoptee rights.
For me, the calculus is simple. Adam Crapser’s fate symbolizes how we — as a country — choose to treat our adoptee brothers and sisters. Do we choose to welcome adoptees fully as members of our personal, political, and national families? Or, do we choose to reinforce the disparaging narrative that even in their adopted countries and families, adoptees still don’t quite belong?
Consequently, for his entire adult life, Adam Crapser — now married with three children — has been forced to live as an undocumented American. On April 2nd, he faces a deportation hearing with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE plans to deport Crapser — a Korean American adoptee — to Korea, the country of his birth but to which he has no ties.
“It’s a travesty that the promise hasn’t been kept for individuals like Adam Crapser,” said Vollmers, “who in my mind is a victim of the inadequacies of the broken U.S. adoption system that doesn’t necessarily serve the individuals it says it cares about the most.”
Outraged, many readers have been asking what they can do to help Adam stay in America and receive documentation.
I’ve got great news: a social media campaign has now been launched to try and #KeepAdamHome.
Adam’s life bears the scars of that torture and what it took to survive; but, Adam has emerged today as a married father of three, with a fourth child due in May. He is, by all accounts, living that “normal” American life.
Yet, that’s not how the federal government sees it. In January of this year, the Department of Homeland Security served Adam with deportation papers. In just one month, Adam will face a hearing regarding deportation to a country he has never known.