Posts Tagged ‘international adoption after the Korean war’

Adam Crapser update

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

A refresher for anyone who has been following the saga of Adam Crapser, the man born in South Korea some 40 years ago, adopted at age 3 through Holt Children’s Services to one American family and later placed with a second, the Crapsers:

The situation with the Crapsers was perilous: “In 1991, the couple was arrested on charges of physical child abuse, sexual abuse and rape. They were reportedly convicted in 1992 on multiple counts of criminal mistreatment and assault.”

Adam Crapser was kicked out of the Crapsers’ house, and later convicted of breaking and entering to recover (“steal”) a Korean-language Bible and stuffed dog that had come with him from the orphanage. (Objects that were emotional touchstones for Adam and any child in a similar situation. Sacred to him!)

Later, Adam was convicted of assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. A green card application triggered a background check, when it was discovered Adam lacked US citizenship. No one in the adoption chain–Holt or either set of adoptive parents–had secured for him a Certificate of Citizenship.

Adam was deported to South Korea, where he doesn’t speak the language, and is separated from his American wife and 3 children. He was reunited with his birthmother, but (quote): “…he also expressed frustration over what he sees as a social stigma against adoptees here.”

Crapser is now suing the government of South Korea and Holt. He deserves to win. So many people let this man down.

Finally: Certificate of Citizenship. I’ve posted about it many times. Securing a Certificate of Citizenship is one of our non-negotiable responsibilities as adoptive parents. I know we all know this. But in case someone else needs a nudge.

AP photo by Ahn Young-joon


Adam Crapser update

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

As Korean adoptee Adam Crapser awaits deportation, his birth mother in Yeonggju, South Korea prepares to welcome him home.

From the November 16 article by Choe Sang-Hun in the New York Times:

YEONGJU, South Korea — Kwon Pil-ju is trying desperately to teach herself English before she is reunited in the coming weeks with a son she sent away almost 40 years ago.

“I have so much to tell him, especially how sorry I am,” she said, sitting in her bedroom, which doubles as her kitchen, in her one-floor rural home in Yeongju. “But I am at a loss, because I don’t know English and he can’t speak Korean.”

Her son is Adam Crapser, 41, a Korean adoptee who is awaiting deportation from an immigration detention center in Washington State because he lacks American citizenship, even though he has lived in the United States since he was 3 years old. Last month, an immigration court denied his final request to stay in the United States.


South Koreans have lamented their country’s international reputation as a leading baby exporter. But in a society that held deep prejudices against single mothers and children born outside marriage, and that shunned domestic adoptions, sending children abroad was often the best option for poor South Korean women. Adoption agencies solicited their babies, promising better lives abroad.

In recent years, however, some have returned to South Korea as adults, reporting adoptions gone wrong.


A Post by Holt adoptee #A-20

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

This comment by Don Gordon Bell appeared in response to my September 15  blog, “In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee Impressions.”  Born in Korea and adopted to the United States in 1956, Don Gordon Bell moved to South Korea in 1995. In my opinion, his thoughtful and long-term perspective on international adoption merits its own blog post. Learn more about Bell’s life story and insights into adoption at his website, KoreanWarBaby.

“I am Holt adoptee #A-20, was on the First plane from Holt Adoption Program, leaving on May21, 1956. I was a founding member of GOA’L which Ami Nafzger founded in 1998 and active since I moved to South Korea in 1995.”

“The film is powerful and yet as you say cannot answer many questions, which is true in most cases. Even the many Cha Jung Hee that [filmmaker Deann Borshay] Diem met (There are only so many names in Korea, 35 family names so many with same name) demonstrate that life is Korea would have been so different. One cannot change their past but instead deal with it. I have found that though the attitude of Korean society is slowly changing it is still a shameful and embarrassing thing (adoption) to speak about.” (more…)