#KeepUsHome Campaign Launched to Protect Adult Adoptees From Deportation

Adam Crapser and his family. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)
Adam Crapser and his family. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)

Last month, I shared with you Adam Crapser’s story. Adam was adopted at the age of 3 from Korea by two American families, both of whom subjected him to years of physical and psychological abuse. Now, Adam — who turned 40 last week — is senselessly facing deportation to Korea: a country on the other side of the world, that Adam does not know, and that is not his home.

Since Adam Crapser’s fight to stay in the only country he knows first appeared on this site, his story has taken off. Coincident with his first deportation hearing, Adam’s story was picked up by the Associated Press and has (finally) made it into major news outlets. Advocates for Adam partnered with 18MillionRising (@18MillionRising) to start a petition demanding that the deportation proceedings against Adam Crapser be dropped. Adam faces his second court appearance before an immigration judge — who will ultimately decide his fate — in June.

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?

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Deportation Hearing Begins for Korean American Adoptee & Abuse Survivor | #KeepAdamHome

Adam Crapser and his family. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)
Adam Crapser and his family. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)

After a month of increasing social media outrage over the plight of Adam Crapser, the Korean American adoptee and abuse survivor appeared in a US immigration court yesterday on what was also Crapser’s 40th birthday. His deportation hearing is being held in Oregon in front of immigration Judge Michael H. Bennett.

In 1975, Crapser was adopted from Korea with his sister. He was placed with two abusive foster families over the course of his childhood in the United States, including in the home of Thomas Francis and Dolly-Jean Crapser, who were charged with domestic and sexual abuse of nine foster children — including Adam — in 1991. Neither of Adam’s foster parents completed the necessary paperwork to obtain a green card for Adam, and for most of his adulthood also refused to give him his adoption papers so that he could pursue legal immigration status for himself.

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Pending Deportation of Korean American Adoptee Highlights Major Loophole in Immigration Law

Adam Crasper as a child. (Photo via Gazillion Strong)
Adam Crapser as a child. (Photo via Gazillion Strong)

By his own admission, Adam Thomas Crapser has had a difficult journey; but through it all, he has worked hard to create what he calls a “a semblance of a ‘normal’ life”.

In 1979, Adam arrived in the United States with his older sister as a transnational and transracial Korean American adoptee. Through most of his childhood — and through two placements — Adam was forced to endure unspeakable physical and emotional abuse. In 1991, Adam’s adoptive parents, Thomas Francis Crapser and Dolly-Jean Crapser, were arrested, charged and ultimately plead guilty to multiple counts of child rape, child sex abuse, and child abuse. Adam is a survivor of the Crapsers’ violence.

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.

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