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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
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 byFriday 7th SeptemberThank you

Sisters in Spirit

An account of the April 2018 London Reunion

The UK Hong Kong Adoptee Network gathered again on Saturday, 28thApril, 2018 in the Bishop Ho Ming Wah Association & Community Centre in the Church of St Martin-in-the Fields at Trafalgar Square.

Claire kindly ‘volunteered’ to do the write up for the website.  We are very grateful for her enthusiastic contribution.  The edited highlights are below:

With 14 of us, it was a quieter affair than previous network meetings in London.  Of course, we were delighted as ever to see Julia Feast join us for the first part.  We had four newcomers, so the smaller group may have been a good thing as it seems to me there’s something quite introverted about many of us.  Kate had created a loose plan to give some structure to the meeting.  Everyone was asked to introduce herself (no men on this occasion), and state one thing they would like to do or talk about.  Those topics formed the ‘agenda’ for the second part of the meeting.  During the introductions, we discovered that the four new members had come across the network in a variety of ways – through personal contact, signposting and googling.  They had a variety of experiences mirroring those we’re already familiar with: happy family relationships; confused identity especially at school; lack of sense of belonging; desire to search for records; desire to find birth family.

As regards things people wanted to talk about: root tracing was high on the list and it was a joy to hear an account of how one member had found her biological sibling. She went back to Po Leung Kuk and asked to see her records.  To her amazement, there was reference to a brother.  After a hesitant start with emails and

Skype contact, the two met face to face.  His adoptive family was Chinese American so he had managed to learn (or retain) Cantonese. We have been told that boys were often sent to America because it was felt the prospects were better; it was more common for girls to be sent to England and other Commonwealth countries. In America, there was a higher number of Chinese families, and they were prepared to adopt.

I gave feedback on my experience with DNA Mysteries– the last chance saloon for abandoned babies registered with Long Lost Family, the ITV series.  It has been two years for me with no results. With their resources, if they cannot help me, who can?  It turns out that the researchers like a challenge and have a particular passion for those of us who were abandoned.  Wall to Wall, the Long Lost Familyproduction company is planning a ninety-minute one-off special featuring foundlings whose birth families have been traced using DNA.  Last month they organised a Genealogist Gathering and filmed about thirty of us in the hope that enough of us would have success and that we could feature in the programme.  The vast majority were white British but there were a couple women of who had been abandoned in Nigeria and, crucially, four of us Hong Kongers.  Who knows if the DNA thing will result in anything.  We hope but we’re not holding our breath.

Every network reunion ends with a group meal.  This time we enjoyed a Thai meal at The Lemon Tree pub nearby.  Often this is where the real bonding happens and other friends and relatives join in. This is the time when the grizzly details of our personal challenges are exchanged with mutual understanding and a good dollop of humour.  Meeting one of the new members at the DNA Mysteries event made me realise that there are some of us still out there on our own bobbing around without support or comradeship.  We had no Mother’s Bridge of Love (MBL) or Children Adopted from China (CASH). However much we hope that the likes of Wall to Wall may find our families, we know that their priority is making a TV programme and our level of complexity may mean we don’t fit conveniently in their production schedule.  It may be that our only success will be through our own efforts. By far the majority of us will never find relatives but we continue to cherish discovering each other, Sisters in Spirit across the globe.


Claire Ling Chi Martin

27thMay 2018

Final Details for London Reunion

Saturday 28th April 2018

Chinese Community Centre opens at 12:45pm. There will be a setting up period of 30 minutes – the meeting will therefore begin at 1:15pm.

You can eat beforehand or bring a packed lunch with you to eat during the meeting.  There is a café in the building for your convenience.
Volunteers needed for the following setting-up tasks: 
  • Registration & Fee collection (£5 per adult)
  • Tea/coffee making –
  • Setting up chairs & tables
Volunteers need to be downstairs at the CCC for 12:45pm. 
We must vacate the room by 4.30pm, therefore the meeting will end at 4pm and we would appreciate it if all stay to help tidy up.   We will then go for an early meal together for 5pm.
Link below
New members: please be aware that non-adoptees attend our meetings. This includes spouses/partners; children; siblings; friends; special guests. Adoptive parents are not permitted to attend as our focus is to provide a safe space for adoptees but they are very welcome to join the meal afterwards.   Please let Debbie know if you are bringing family members or friends with you for catering purposes. 


2018 ~ Dates for your diary

(1) Saturday 28th April
Bishop Ho Ming Wah Community Association
Lower Crypt
St Martins in the Fields church
Trafalgar Square

(2) Saturday 22nd September
John Lewis Community Hub
Grand Central shopping centre – above New St train station

Cost: £5/head (children under 16 free)
Refreshments extra

More details to follow.

Cinderella Shall Go To The Ball: Birmingham Reunion 2017

Hi All

Please confirm your attendance.  Thank you

As many people can’t make it to St Ives, we will be holding a Brum meet, so you can go to the ball!

Date: Saturday 25th November

Venue: Tba – will be in or close to city centre

Cost: £5 per head (children free)


It’s ages away yet; but, when we send final reminder, you do need to respond if you plan to attend so we can plan accordingly.

Do feel free to confirm now. Email Debbie at



HKAN Personal Stories

Chungwen came to the last London meeting in February to briefly explain her project and had a very good response from those who attended.

Here is an outline of the project:

In order to gain funding for the project Chungwen needs to get clearer idea of numbers interested.
If you are interested in participating or have any questions regarding the project, please contact Chungwen directly.

The project is to record personal journeys of a group of women who were brought over as children from Hong Kong via International Social Service UK in the 1960s and early 1970s to be adopted by families in the UK. Apart from the adoptees, the project also aims to explore the following:
1. the experiences of their adopted families, i.e. parents, siblings, etc.
2. background research on the children homes in HK, and the stories of Mildred Dibden and Lucy Clay, etc.
3. their journeys from Hong Kong to the UK (via BA)

Main outputs of the project:
1. individual stories
2. background research of this part of the history
3. community & volunteers’ participation
4. public awareness (format can be a documentary, exhibition, performance, etc., which is opened to discussion)

It is not a social research but an oral history project, samples can be viewed from the British Chinese Heritage Centre (
Chungwen Li

Ming-Ai (London) Institute
1 Cline Road
London N11 2LX
Tel: +44 (0)20 83617161

Autumn Meet Up – RSVP required by return

This year, the Autumn Reunion will take place in St Ives, thanks to Laura Tan’s brilliant offer to organise the meeting.   Laura is currently dealing with a family emergency so we are getting the ball rolling to start with. 
Reunion Dates: Friday 29th-Sunday 1st October.
Location: St Ives
Venue: TBA


Due to the distance, we assume many of you will want to stay over for at least one night. 
We are exploring accommodation options including dormitory in a local hostel or even a camping barn. 
In order to secure this, we must have numbers by FRIDAY 28THAPRIL. 


Laura will investigate group accommodation based on the confirmed bookings at that point. 


Of course everybody is welcome to attend the Reunion – but anybody who confirms after 28th April will have to arrange their own accommodation.   And, just to be clear, Laura is only dealing with people who wish to take up the option of group accommodation – she is not sorting out individual hotel bookings! 


It is highly likely that Laura will need to take deposits from people – please be prepared to pay a deposit anytime from early May. 


Please RSVP asap, and before 28th April if you wish to take up the group accommodation option. 




Sent from Debbie Cook IPad Pro
( 瑞芬 Sui Fan )
Founder of the UK HKAN group


Reunion Gathering Saturday 18 February 2017

HKAN Reunion ~ London

Date:​​Saturday 18th Feb 2017
Time: ​​1pm start
Venue: ​Bishop Ho Ming Wah Association & Chinese Community Centre, Lower Crypt, St
Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ

Followed by private tour of British Airways exhibition: “80 Years of Connecting HK to the UK” at the China Institute, Gerrard Street.

The exhibition has been curated by Chungwen Li, Dean of the Ming Ai Institute, and includes a special section focusing on the Hong Kong adoption programme

Cost:​​£5 per person donation to the Chinese Centre + £1 refreshments (children free)

Chungwen Li will give a talk on “Chinese community in the UK”, lead a private tour of the exhibition at the China Exchange in Chinatown (, and present a project/research proposal on “our group” which will depend on funding and interest from us. She would very much like to undertake research into our personal journeys here, exploring archives in HK of the orphanages and those who would have been part of our early lives as we made our way to our new life in the UK.

Chungwen will be asking for any adoptee who would like to be involved in this project to let her or Jasmine know. This is different from the academic research Julia Feast did as it will be more personal to us. This will be a unique and exciting project, enabling us to understand a little more of our early life in HK.

As usual, we will finish our reunion with a meal – tba.

Early confirmation essential
Our hosts will require a list of attendees for security/fire evacuation purposes. We also need to know numbers for catering and to book the restaurant. We anticipate a good attendance at this meeting, but it can be difficult to find a restaurant capable of accommodating large numbers especially at short notice. It is therefore essential to confirm your attendance ASAP and no later than Saturday 17th December. Email confirmation to:

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