COVID-19 A message of support – We will get through this

Dear Members it is with great regret and sadness that we have had to cancel any reunions this year – it would have been our 10th anniversary!

These are unsettling times and COVID-19 is clearly impacting our personal and professional lives, and those that we love. I wanted to wish you, your loved ones and fellow colleagues safe passage through this difficult period.

Please take care, stay positive and find sometime for having fun and smiling. It is challenging operating under the current restrictions; however, I am confident we will get through this, together.

Going Back Home Adoptees share their experiences of Hong Kong Gathering

Research by Kit Myers, Amanda L. Baden & Alfonso Ferguson

(Please allow link to download as it comprises of about 33 pages.)

” Kit says, “He had learned a lot from everyone’s experiences and thoughts and are excited to be able to share that knowledge with other people, especially other HKADs, transnational adoptees, and the larger adoption community. The themes and takeaways that emerged from your experiences and insights will be beneficial for a lot of people. We sincerely thank all of the participants who helped make this study possible”. 

ABSTRACT

This mixed-methods study examines 20 adult Hong Kong Adoptees (HKADs) with an average age of 53.7years who attended a Gathering of HKADs in Hong Kong. It has three elements (pre- and post-Gathering surveys and an interview). All participants engaged in two of the three parts of the study, while 14 of those 20 participated in all three parts. Survey data for the HKADs revealed significantly increased comfort with their Hong Kong identities following the visit to Hong Kong. Interviews with 20 attendees yielded themes sur- rounding reasons for attending; experiences and emotions; and the challenges and benefits of the gathering and return- ing to Hong Kong.

http://www.hkadopteesnetwork.com/uk/talks-docs-more-info/going-back-home-adoptees-share-their-experiences-of-hong-kong-adoptee-gathering/

Moments, Memories & Looking for Mama

by Claire Ling Chi Martin 25.9.19

We UK-based Hong Kong Adoptees enjoyed an action-packed London re-union on Saturday with 3 speakers and a new venue.  Around 25 of us assembled in Bush House, the old BBC building in The Strand.  Meeting rooms aren’t what they once were: London space is worth your weight in gold so multi-use is the mantra and we were confronted with a cupboard full of yoga mats.  Fortunately we were rescued by the student staff at King’s (the new occupants) who transformed the room into something more familiar with tables and chairs.  Hot water was a challenge too far on a weekend but we adoptees are adaptable and ingenious so microwaves and Costa runs saved the day.

Kate got us into the swing of things as usual with an exercise to spark our increasingly murky memories.  Raffle tickets randomised the order of contributions rather than tiresomely working our way round the room.  Anecdotes ranged from babies to tractor rides and it was a brilliant way of discovering something new about each other.  Sharing fond memories of moments with adoptive dads was particularly poignant as a number of us in previous meetings recalled that we were scared of men when were first introduced into our new UK families.  My father told me he couldn’t go near me for first 2 days without me screaming my head off.

We welcomed the two Julias.  Julia Feast, the independent adoption consultant who wrote about the Hong Kong Project, joined us again, and we thanked her once more for bringing so many of us together after decades apart.  Julia Bell, the DNA detective, came to talk to us about how she’d traced her mother’s birth family and developed the skills to solve the most difficult, and, in some cases, notorious and high profile birth searches.  She has been key to helping Long Lost Family with some of their most dramatic discoveries and gives hope to foundlings with no name and no means to access records.  She was honest about the challenge for those with East Asian heritage – 90% of the 30 million people on DNA databases are deep-rooted Americans.  She also de-mystified some of the lingo and talked us through the end-to-end testing process and what the Dickens to do with the results once they’re through.  Julia B gave tips on how to contact our closest matches from out of the blue without putting them into a tailspin and scaring them to death.  Crucially, she offered the means to access the type of DNA kits most suited to us, on-going expertise and the prospect of meeting again as a group to compare results.

I discreetly (hopefully) updated the group on my Long Lost Family-sponsored trip to Hong Kong and gave the game away on reality TV filming methods.  I trod the same path as those who had gone to our birthplace before and recounted my experience of the local press appeals and what a couple of our American adoptee friends charmingly refer to as The Dumpster Tour.  I recalled the frustration I felt on discovering that there was no record of me in Po Leung Kuk, the orphanage where I had convinced myself I had shared a room with Laura and Joanna.  I have been told that the episode featuring my search will be aired in March 2020 and I undertook to keep everyone posted when the date is confirmed.

Laura thrilled us with a vibrant and entertaining account of how she holed up in Hong Kong for 3 months and sniffed out leads under the guidance of an extremely determined Winnie Davies of Look 4 Mama fame.  She shared her success with the group and showed us pictures of her recently discovered birth family.  In the process, she helped them find and unite with a brother that had been sold to the village chief.  They had been scared of taking the leap and they were grateful for their fearless new family member.  Interestingly, some of them are still extremely wary of further discoveries – a sentiment which gives us an insight into why some Hong Kong families are reluctant to come forward – never mind that it’s still illegal to abandon children and they risk falling foul of the law.

Julia Bell was able to reassure us that our data is safe if we test our DNA.  She has recommended a reliable and secure provider that has the best matches for us.  Without giving too much away, we’ve discovered that 3 of us have a distant DNA match with a mixed race teenager in Cornwall.  My Hong Kong trip made me realise the scale of abandonment and the size of our birth families.  This increases the likelihood that we’re related to another Hong Kong adoptee.  The more of us that test, the likelier it is that we’ll identify patterns to help us.

We staggered up the road to Bill’s on Kingsway for food, fellowship and photos.  It had been a full-on gathering and this was our chance to socialise.

Wonderful Reunion 21 Sept 2019

By Yvonne Gee

Wonderful to spend the day with these lovelies yesterday at our HKAN meet up. Fascinating accounts by two members of their recent search for family members in HK.

It’s been ten years since Julia Feast first wrote, inviting around 106 of us to participate in her research project, examining the long-term impact of trans-racial adoptions, some fifty years after the formal adoptions by British families had taken place. Around 75, participated which is a rare and high response rate. The survey explored the impact the adoptions had had on our lives (how it may have impacted our personalities; life choices; and mental health) both as adults and as children growing up in a different culture and the various family environments into which we’d been placed.

There had not previously been any research examining the long term impact of adoptions on adult adoptees, so this was a first and therefore significant for social science observers. Also really significant for us, as many of us were unaware that there were many others who’d also been ‘exported’ from HK to be placed with UK families.

In the main the research found that we’d fared pretty well, despite some of the circumstances and difficulties some had encountered and had to overcome.

HKAN Reunion 21.9.19
Group Picture

Reunion 21st Sept 2019

DateSaturday 21st SeptemberTime: 11am – 5pm;

Followed by group meal at Bills restaurant Venue: Kings College London Students Union, Bush House, The StrandAgenda: 

Julia Bell will talk about using DNA to find birth relatives; Laura Tan and Claire Martin will describe their experiences of finding birth family.   We will also share/map the resources we have, and discuss a potential network project. 

Cost: £5 per person (children free); everyone covers their own costs at the group meal
If you have already confirmed your attendance, there is NO need to reconfirm.If you wish to attend the meeting and the meal, please let us know asap


Polite note to anyone attending for the first time: Our primary focus at the meetings is to provide a safe space for adoptees to come together, share experiences and information, support each other in roots searching, and generally socialise with others with a shared start to life.  You are may bring spouses/partners, children, siblings, friends. Adoptive parents are strictly barred from attending.  Journalists, film makers, researchers and other professionals are not permitted to attend our meetings except as invited guest speakers; however they can join us for the group meal by invitation of any adoptee member. The Network does not purport to be a voice for Hong Kong born adoptees. Anyone who approaches the media or other organisations for support acts entirely in their own capacity. 


WE NEED TO UPDATE THE UKHKAN DATABASE – RESPONSE REQUIRED If you wish to remain on the UKHKAN database for all purposes, please reply to this email ‘All purposes’If you wish to remain on the UKHKAN database for all purposes except meetings, please reply to this email ‘No meetings’If you wish to be removed from the database altogether, please reply to this email ‘Remove me’.


Thank you for your attention, and we look forward to hearing from you and hopefully seeing you in Sepember. 
Kate Gordon & Sue Jardine pp Debbie Cook

Reunion Date: Saturday 21st September 2019

Please keep this date in your Diary for the next reunion in London

HKAN Meeting – LONDON 2019

Date: Saturday 21 September 2019

Venue: Kings College London Student Union (KCLSU)

Address: Bush House, South East Wing, 300, The Strand, London, WC2R 1AE

KCLSU is opposite the old station.

https://www.kclsu.org/about/contactus/

Room: tbc

Arrive from: tbc

Agenda

Julia Bell to talk to us about her work as a DNA detective.
Julia Feast – Consultant
Claire Martin to talk about her Long Lost Family journey experience to Hong Kong
Possibly there maybe another who will be talking about his mothers experience working in Fanling Babies Home tbc

Other

Early dinner booked for 5pm/5.15pm

Bill’s Holborn
42 Kingsway
WC2B 6EY
bills-website.co.uk

Pre order of food. 48 hours in advance

More details will follow

Celebrate Chinese New Year together

Saturday 16th February 2019

At The Chinese Community Centre, Birmingham.

Gathering from 11am. Start 12 noon or when everybody is present

Cost per person for the venue is £5

(Bring your own lunch if you want.)

Tea & Coffee will be available at £2

A Dim Sum meal at the Chung Ying will be booked for 4pm

Cost approximately £15 – £20

As this is the last day of the Chinese Festival, we need an early response so that we can book.

 

Please reply to Debbie to confirm your place on hkadoptees@btinternet.com

 

 

 

 

Birmingham Meeting 2018

A small group met in Birmingham at the John Lewis Hub. We celebrated the Mid-Autumn Chinese Festival in our own unique way – with Celebration chocolates and lunch at the Edwardian Tearooms where we shared moon cake. We rounded up the day with a visit to the Shakespeare Memorial Room at the Library of Birmingham.

UKHKAN Birmingham Meetup – “Last Orders”

Still trying to decide whether to come to the Birmingham meetup on Saturday 22nd September?  Can you let me know if you do wish to attend by Friday 7th September.
We have 10 people booked to attend so far including a new person.  Who would have thought there are still Hong Kong-born adoptees out there seeking a sisterhood.  
Venue: Community Room, John Lewis, Grand Central (above New St train station)
Time: Officially 12pm, but I will be there from 11am
Programme: 
12:00 – 2pm – Group activity & discussions –  earlier start if everyone is there
2pm – Group lunch*
3pm – 5pm – Exhibitions at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and/or Library of Birmingham – or whatever else people prefer
5pm – Mid Autumn Festival performances in Chinatown – the performances end at 8pm with fireworks.  I have to leave at 7pm
 
* lunch – I propose to book a table in the Edwardian Tearoom in Birmingham Museum.  Lunch will be approximately £10 per person + drinks.  
 
Please note there are no drink making facilities in the community room so you will need to bring your own.  There is a Boots and M&S in New St station plus loads of cafés and restaurants which do takeaway drinks. 
 
If you have already confirmed your attendance, no need to reply.  If you haven’t confirmed and would like to attend. please email Kate kagey62@gmail.com byFriday 7th September.  Thank you