Stories about adoption have made the headlines and are receiving increased visibility. While topics surrounding adoption are openly discussed - from agency vs. independent placements to finding biological parents - most of the discussing is done by adult professionals and the courts, with adopted kids rarely sharing their thoughts.
In 1986 (the last year statistics are available), 104,088 children were adopted. Indiana's adoptions in that same year totaled 3,791.
How do kids feel about being adopted?
Children's Express spoke with four local adoptees from South Korea.
KYLE, 9: I was born in Seoul, Korea. I was adopted when I was 3 months old.
When I was about 6, a lot of people made fun of me because of how I looked. I looked different from them.
When I came home, I talked with my mom about that. She told me about my parents and how I was adopted. I asked her why was I adopted. (She said) it's not because they didn't want you, because they couldn't take care of you.
DANNY, 10: (When I found out that I was adopted,) I wasn't sad or nothing. I just felt regular.
JENNIFER, 11: I was adopted when I was almost 2. (I don't know why I was adopted), but I don't think it's because (my parents) didn't want me. I think it was either because they were too young or they couldn't support me and they knew that I could have better home somewhere else.
I don't know how I found out. If you look at my parents, they don't look like my parents. I guess I just found out like that . . . At first I didn't know (how I felt), but then my parents told me that I guess they thought of me as more special, extra special.
ELIZABETH, 16: I was born in Seoul, Korea. I came to America when I was 5 months old. . . . my birth parents sent me to an adoption agency and (the agency) just placed me in their hands. . . . Well, I think I asked them and then they told me the whole story.
On adoptive families
ELIZABETH: (One word to describe my family,) maybe kind of like the Brady Bunch. . . . I guess 'cause my parents aren't divorced or anything. . . . My favorite part is probably that we are so close. We really don't think about it. We never really bring up adoption at all, like during everyday life. I think our family is a lot closer than most families.
DANNY: (One word to describe my family is) loveful.
ELIZABETH: I am curious in a way (about my biological family) but in another way (finding them) would be like a can of worms that you wouldn't know what to expect. I might not like it. I might not want to know.
(If I could go back to my original parents,) I don't think I would because I like America.
KYLE: Yes, I'm very curious (about my biological parents). . . . I don't really know where they are - if they're dead or alive.
No (I would not go back to my biological family). It's really hard. I don't know how they would be, but right now my parents are very, very nice to me. And so I really, really love them.
JENNIFER: I'm happy with my parents.
I guess I think of (my adoptive parents) as my parents, because they ARE my real family, but they aren't blood. I guess the thing I like the most about them is that they treat me the same.
ELIZABETH: Most of my friends (know that I am adopted). Some of them that I see at school really don't know unless they see my parents.
My older brother is Caucasian, but he's still adopted. My younger brother and sister are both Korean, and they are adopted.
I get told a lot that I look like my little brother and sister. And my sister one time got told that she looks like my mother. We kind of laugh it off. It's no big deal.
The girl who said my sister looked like her mother just didn't really know what to say because she knew that she was adopted and was just kind of stuck (about what to say).
JENNIFER: I had one person I felt like acted (sorry). I didn't feel really bad, but I thought that I should be treated regular.
Worst thing about adoption
ELIZABETH: (The worst thing about being adopted is) that a lot of people don't really accept it in America. They think it's really different. I think . . . even though I have the parents I have, in some ways it might have been better if I had my real birth parents. . . . (I've experienced prejudice) but not about adoption, just because I'm a minority.
KYLE: The worst thing for me is people making fun of you. . . . Kids I don't even know call me names. . . . We're the same as them. I wish they could see that.
JENNIFER: They just don't know. . . . I guess they're embarrassed. But as I got older and stuff, I just keep trying to turn (comments) into jokes. 'Cause one kid asked me why my face was so flat. And I said, "Well, I iron it every day." And he laughed and I laughed.
Thoughts about Baby Jessica
ELIZABETH: I think it's right emotionally (that they want the child back), but I'm not sure. I think if they maybe think about it closer, I don't think it would be right. Because it's like butting into someone else's business, and that's a thing of the past, even though they are their blood children. . . . It might be like invading somebody else's life where they were a thing of the past.
KYLE: It's like if you pay for something and then the people want it back, they can't do that. I trade cards and if someone would say they want it back and it's not fair.
JENNIFER: You have no right to take your kid back.
KYLE: If you are adopted, you should be treated as an American. I mean I'm as American as they get. I was here when I was 3 months old. I talk like an American. Yes, I feel good about (adoption).
JENNIFER: I think adoption is good. I wish there were more of (adopted kids) around or closer to me. But also, I think the adoption process is too hard, because when I was adopted . . . the adoption agency lost my papers that (my parents) had filled out for hours and hours. They had to go through that process all over again.
DANNY: (If I was to give advice to a child who just found out that he or she was adopted I would say,) "Don't be scared or anything like that. Have fun and stuff."
ELIZABETH: I'd probably tell them my story of how I was adopted and try to console them in any way.
JENNIFER: Tell them they are just as regular as anyone else and that if anybody calls them names or anything, it really doesn't matter.
EDITED BY: Erica Bellamy, 12