The adoption activist demands an end to adopting children from abroad. The governing authorities assess whether the adoption system should be scrutinized.
Seven weeks old, Priyangika Samanthie was adopted from Sri Lanka to Molde, Norway. Even as a little girl, she asked questions about biological morality. She felt there was something wrong with the adoption.
I didn’t feel like I fit in. That’s what I’ve been looking for all along. I have been looking for my place, says the 30-year-old. She is featured in the documentary “The Way Home” on NRK.
Human trafficking Samanthie started hunting for her biological family at primary school and had almost given up hope when local people in Sri Lanka managed to locate her mother in Colombo. The reunion in 2014 was not at all like in the movies, where they came leaping at each other, and she had to get answers to everything she wondered about. In the city, she confirmed her feeling that foreign adoption is not unproblematic. She believes many adoptions involve human trafficking and fears that many may have false papers. Along the way, she discovered that her own adoption papers had flaws.
Several countries, including Sweden and Denmark, have started investigations into adoptions from abroad because there is a fear that the children have been stolen from their parents or bought by criminals. The Netherlands stopped all adoptions from other countries for a period after a report revealed abuse and corruption. But in April 2022, they started again with international adoptions. In the last ten years, Samanthi has interviewed 500 foreign adoptees for a book project. She believes that the Norwegian authorities must go through the paperwork for all the more than 20,000 adopters here in the country. – In the meantime, all adoptions from abroad must be stopped, and before one opens further, the government should prove that it is ethical, says Samanthie.
Minister for Children and Families, Kjersti Toppe (Sp), says that the question of investigation is on the agenda after the report from the Netherlands. The Ministry of Children and Families (Bufdir) has been tasked with assessing whether there is a need to review the adoption system.
Since 1954, Foreininga Verdensbarn has had around 7,000 children adopted from abroad to Norway – i.e. more than a third of those who have come here. They are not averse to an investigation. – We have nothing to hide. We are open to such an investigation, but do not see the need, says daily manager Young K. Kim. He believes today’s guidelines for international adoption are much better today than just from the late 1980s. Therefore, Verdensbarn believes that stopping foreign adoptions is an exaggeration. – We believe that all adoptees in Norway are legally adopted, says Kim. Nor is one of the two other adoption agencies in Norway, Adopsjonsforum, against scrutiny. – But we cannot see that it is a basis for a general investigation, says daily manager Nina Wang.
Even though Samanthi wishes she had never been sent out of Sri Lanka in 1992, she has had a good life with her adoptive parents, who are very grateful to us for speaking critically about adoption. She believes that adoptive parents are as big a victim as biological parents. She has a clear call. – Norway has many children in child care who must be taken care of. Nevertheless, a child is picked up from the other side of the globe who neither receives follow-up nor covers his rights. They are being let down twice – both in their home country and in Norway, says Priyangika Samanthie.
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We remove the myths about adoption.
Adoption Truth and Transparency Worldwide Information Network (AT.TWIN) was initiated in 2011. We are a unique activist organization that uses various mediums to fulfill its mission to find resources, scrutinize, investigate, critique adoption policies and procedures, raise awareness, and share diverse adoption experiences. Simply put, our goal is to create a place that gives a well-rounded perspective on the adoption processes and policies. Members include domestic, late-discovery, transracial, internationally adopted people, and families separated by adoption, from every continent.