Chinese Adult Adoptee Worldwide Reunion (CAAWR) was a one off reunion that took place in Hong Kong in 2010. The project has now ended. Many of the committee members from the CAAWR naturally kept in contact and HKAN was a natural progression from the CAAWR project (Find out more on the About HKAN page).
It was felt that it would be a shame to loss all the useful information from the CAAWR project site when it was decommissioned in 2013. So the CAAWR committee felt that it should be integrated into this HKAN website.
About the CAAWR
Due to the history of Chinese adoption, there is a big gap between the ages in Chinese adoptees. The younger generation tends to be a result of the one child policy and adopted from Mainland China. The older generation tends to be a result of adoptions in the 1950s & 1960s from Hong Kong. This means that a majority of adult Chinese adoptees tend to be from HK, but this will most certainly change in the not so distance future as the younger generation grows up. There are also very few intentional adoption made from Hong Kong now.
At the time of the the CAAWR reunion there were pockets of adult HK adoptee community groups out there in the world, but they didn’t intersect that much. This made finding other adoptees externally challenging. In 2009 in search of others, a number of HK adoptees connected online and decided that it would be great to have an adoptee reunion in HK itself.
The CAAWR committee was comprised of international HK & Chinese adoptee/orphan volunteers with diverse backgrounds and experiences. The goal was to come together to share, support and bond with other adoptees/orphans while tapping into local HK and international adoption organisations. It was a great event and the CAAWR committee would like to thank everyone that took part.
The 2010 CAAWR reunion was a milestone for many of the people that attended. Below is what happened (directed copied from the original):
Reflections of the 2010 HK Reunion
The 1st CAAWR Reunion, finally happened. We are so thankful for all the people that joined us, supported us and spoke at the reunion. The attendees ranged from mainly adoptees or orphans who had never returned back to HK to a handful who had visited or who had worked in HK as adults.
We are happy to report that the reunion went mostly according to plan. We wanted to share with you some of our personal reflections of the reunion.
Pre Official CAAWR Reunion
The official dates of the CAAWR 2010 HK Reunion was Wednesday, 29 September – Saturday, 2 October. However, a number of CAAWR Committee members and attendees actually arrived earlier. We thought it would be nice to also include the days leading up to the official CAAWR reunion.
“Going to Hong Kong was like coming home but being completely lost at the same time!” – Debbie Cook
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Fanling Babies Home’s Trip
Monday, 27 September 2010
Little Sisters Reunion
It often happens that adoptees search for other adoptees online. Early on in the planning process some of us at the CAAWR had hardly met any other adoptees let alone adult Chinese/HK ones. Along the way we slowly found others and we stumbled into a group of Hong Kong adoptees that were mainly based in New Zealand. They independently were also planning a reunion in September 2010 in HK. Thus, some adoptees attended both the Little Sisters reunion organized by the New Zealanders & the CAAWR reunion.
The Little Sisters Reunion began with a Monday session. Adoptees shared personal stories and experiences with each other, watched a documentary, had a meal and rounded the day off with a lovely trip to the Peak. We thank them for letting some of us attend their reunion.
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Despite the disappointing immigration office trip, it was time to turn attention back to the reunion and this was a chance for many of the committee to actually meet up in person for the first time and do all the last minute things that needed to be done. We won’t bore you with the details =:).
Wednesday, 29th 2010
Finally, the day had arrived! The event kicked off with introductions all around. For an icebreaker, Amanda led us through a step-in game which everyone thoroughly enjoyed as it was a fun way to learn a little about each other. Group photos were taken to remember this historic reunion.
David Youtz (Mother’s Choice) – A History
Wendy Blackmur (Home of Loving Faithfulness) – A reason
Wendy talked from the heart about her experience working in the orphanages. She really helped us understand the circumstances using the story of raising her adopted son as illustration of the challenges. She explained how the extreme poverty at the time meant that the birth of another child often meant one too many mouths to feed. While they couldn’t feed another baby, they did want the child to live which is why they put the babies in public places where they knew she/he would be found, like stairwells and public bathrooms. For the adoptees that knew very little about their backgrounds or reasons of relinquishment, Wendy’s first hand accounts were invaluable.
Phyllis Lee (SWD) & Anita Ng (ISS) – A Process
They both spoke together as a panel representing both domestic adoption (Social Welfare Department) and international adoptions (International Social Services). After hearing about the history and reasons for adoptions in HK, to finally get an insight into the pre-adoption and post-adoption processes was extremely useful. Paper work, roots tracing, record recovery and ID card applications were all hot topics.
Thursday, 30th 2010
Nancy and Amanda led an open discussion in the morning. Nancy shared some of her personal experiences including reliving the abandonment and how she tackled these difficult issues and Amanda shared her birth search and finding her birth mother. The more formal part of the reunion came to a close with a discussion of what the next reunion could be like, when and where to hold the reunion.
Po Leung Kuk
Interview by Reporter for South China Morning Post
As adoptees, there is always anxiety when it comes to the media. A few from the CAAWR were interviewed for the South China Morning Post (an English language newspaper in HK). The question always arises, how much are you willing to tell a reporter? It was not the most optimal time or place to be interviewed. We were late to the interview because of the Po Leung Kuk tour and the hotel room was tiny and cramped. It was a shame that we were too tired to talk all that coherently but we appreciated that the newspaper was interested in our stories.
Dinner hosted by Adoptive Families of Hong Kong (AFHK)
Many of us made it to the restaurant despite a classic HK sudden down pour. It was wonderful for AFHK to host a dinner for us at the American Restaurant. AFHK had reserved five tables (10 each) and we were asked to split up so the CAAWR adoptees could intermingle with the adoptive families from Hong Kong. There was quite a variety of food including pigeon (for the brave) and plenty to eat. It was a fitting way to end the day with a sumptuous Chinese banquet.
Friday, 1st October
Mother’s Choice Birthmother Session
Mother’s Choice has facilities to help single girls and their families facing crisis pregnancies. With the help of an interpreter, 10 of us from CAAWR and several birth mothers from Mother’s Choice listened to a birth mother share her personal story of relinquishing a child which moved most people to tears at various times. This session was very profound for everyone, especially as a birth mother viewpoint is not something many adoptees get to hear and we thank the speaker for having the courage to talk to us. After the session was over, David took us on a tour of Mother’s Choice and we got to see some of the babies in one of the rooms.
Dinner and Fireworks
Saturday, 2nd October
Trip to Big Buddha on Lantau Island
Many of the adoptees/orphans that attended are continuing to process the 2010 trip. We know we only covered a fraction of unique experience that everyone had in HK.
If you were involved in the event, we invite you to leave a public comment below, or you can contact us if you think there is something major you think we missed or want to be “quoted” .
We want to thank everyone again for their participation and hope to see everyone at our next reunion! And for those who couldn’t make this reunion, we hope you see how much fun we had and can join us at some of our country reunions as well as our next official CAAWR reunion!
“Who would have thought that here we are most of us in our 50’s have another truly amazing family of sisters (some brothers too)! I am so eternally grateful that it was possible to meet so many of our sisters in Hong Kong at the Reunion last September. For me it is a new and exciting chapter in my life and I shall treasure the time I had getting to know my new found sisters and that will remain very close to my heart.” - Debbie Cook
“Even though I was not able to make it to the 2010 Reunion, just being a part of the committee and being part of this has been a life changing, intense but rewarding experience. Hope to meet you all one day =).” - Jess Emmett
Local/International Partners & Support 2010 Reunion
We would like to thank all the people and organisations that have helped us make the 2010 reunion a reality:
Mother’s Choice - www.motherschoice.org
Holt International (USA) - www.holtinternational.org
Families with Children from China (FCC of Greater New York) USA - www.fccny.org
International Social Services Hong Kong (Intercountry Adoption) - www.isshk.org
Social Welfare Department HK - www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/
Adoptive Families of Hong Kong (AFHK) - www.afhk.org.hk