[ Red Cross Roots Tracing Update ]

Posted on January 6th, 2014 at 1:21pm

So, yeah, no luck again. I Just got the call. I can’t fault Red Cross, they fought for my case and have gone above and beyond. Sadly they have no record of my birth mother in the USA even though the Red Crossed helped many of the Vietnamese refugees settle after the exodus.

There is a pattern forming and it’s the simple fact that the records have been lost to a time that didn’t have digital documentation. I’m pretty down to Earth about it… so now it’s just a case of taking the search in a new direction.

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[ British Red Cross Family Tracing & Research ]

Posted on September 5th, 2013 at 9:11pm

British Red Cross

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog about my roots tracing journey. I guess that often is the nature of roots tracing, it can be slow and over a period of time. Plus for me I do get a bit complacent and can take me a few weeks or even years to move onto the next step.

To get you quickly up to speed… I’ve been looking for my birthmother (and birth family). My birth mother was a Vietnamese Refugee Boat person that fled Vietnam to Hong Kong (HK) and was staying at one of the HK refugee camps. I was conceived and born in HK out of wedlock. Due her circumstances she felt she could not look after me as she was given an offer to resettle in the USA. Before today I had exhausted every lead I could in Hong Kong including the Social Welfare Department, HK Immigration, UK UNHCR and even found my foster family who also didn’t have any leads (though love been in contact with them again ^.^). While the Social Welfare Department was able to give me as much information they had on my adoption it was still a bit limited. In general the other organisations didn’t have records from that far back… shame so many paper records are culled/destroyed o_O.

It was only a month or so ago it was confirmed really there was no more paths to take in HK. I thought, hummm, what now? When I was looking on the AVI (Adopted Vietnamese International) website, which I ironically redesigned not that long ago, i found a post about the Red Cross helping Vietnamese refugees in the USA after the war. It was just a tiny little section saying:

“Red Cross Location Service

Red Cross Location Service has been able to reunite lost relatives including orphans with their birth parents from the Vietnam War. There special connection to Vietnam after the war was with their work in Vietnamese refugee camps. The American Red Cross provides tracing and location services in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, our Congressional Charter of 1905, and our obligations as a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Tracing is an American Red Cross “Must” service; all American Red Cross chapters and stations on U.S. military installations overseas are required to provide this service to their communities.”


For over 10 years now I have been following the pure “adoption” roots tracing path, getting in touch with the organisations that dealt with my adoption and doing all the obvious things. Continue reading

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[ My New Online Comic – Stray Thoughts ]

Posted on June 14th, 2013 at 2:53pm

Ops meant to update here soon, better late than never =P

In April 2013 the Adopted the Comic project I was working in collaboration officially came to an end. As the last comic was very restricted to the topic of adoption, I did a couple of comics for myself for on different topics. When Adopted the comic came to an end I decided that I should just formalise the new comic and finally lunched my new website at the same time as the end of the old project.

For any Adopted the Comic fans, don’t worry, I will still be doing adoption comics occasionally  and with that in mind that is why I launched the new comics with “Journey”.

So there you have it, Stray Thoughts Comics is born. =)

You can find the website here: www.geekyadoptee.com (now called Geeky Adoptee)

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[ Drawing on Paper ]

Posted on June 14th, 2013 at 11:01am

Since I got my graphics tablet all those years ago, I have hardly done any drawing on paper… almost to the point that I doubted I’d be able to draw on paper again so reliant I’ve become on computer. My friends kindly gave me a gift voucher for my birthday this year for an art supplies shop. So out of curiosity I bought some drawing ink, paint brushes, paper and some water colour pencils. Here are a couple of images I did… it fun to have a physical  piece of work for a change, but I doubt I’ll be able to tear myself away from my compter any time soon =P.


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[ Learn Thai – Book 1 – by Karine Jones illustrated by Jessica Emmett ]

Posted on March 11th, 2013 at 5:52pm

I can’t believe! The book “Learn Thai – Through Stories, Grammar & Exercises – Book 1” by Karine Jones has finally been printed and went on sell! It has been a great project.

We started out the project, both having no experience of publishing a book, but armed with Karine’s language skills (I think she knows something like 3+ languages), a thai language consultent and my experiences of drawing online comics/design experiences we set out on our journey.

Karine worked away with the script while I worked on developing the character and story pages. After many months of slog, Karine decided as the book was specialist  that she would go the self publishing route. So I stepped up and took on designing and typesetting the whole book ready for the commercial printers. I also wanted to disprove the misconception that just because a book is self published does not at all mean that the quality of the book compromised.

After months of throwing ourselves into finishing the book, my copy finally arrived in February 2013! =D As someone that has a been a long digital artist I had almost forgotten the feeling of holding an object in your hands.

A lot of lesson have been learnt about the publishing process and it really has sparked some hidden inspiration in me to a point I’m looking to focus on illustration full time =).

You can now buy the book from: kaweepublishing.com
You can see more examples from the book on my [Illustration] page.

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[ Contributor to the book Chosen – Living with Adoption ]

Posted on January 8th, 2013 at 3:54pm

Chosen - Living with Adoption book coverThe few times I have submitted work to adoption compilation books it’s often been visual work. In this case I decided to try something new and submit a written piece despite my unconfident with my dyslexia. The irony is I love to write and feel that I’m a creative person and writing is just another way to express that.

So I was delighted that my submission was excepted a few months ago for the BAAF book by Perlita Harris.

It can be found below:


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[ Small Adoption Interviews ]

Posted on March 22nd, 2012 at 9:32pm

As an adoptee, it not surprising that adoption makes a good “story”. It’s hard t decide when and who I do interviews with, cos in the past I have been disappointed with interviews i’ve done in the past. So learning the hard way I’m much more choosey about who and why I do an interview about adoption. I wanted to share two little interviews that I did which have come out recently.

British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) Blog

BAAF Blogspot websiteI did a short interview for the BAAF blog about being a transracial adoptee which was posed yesterday. It’s really nice to see a big organisation have such an active online presence both with this blog & their social networks.



Somewhere Between – a documentary film project

[ylwm_vimeo height=”390″ width=”684″]35426498[/ylwm_vimeo]


As part of their Kickstarter funding drive they have edited a small clip of the interview that I did with them at the start of my adoption journey. While i was cut (to my delight as i’m not a big camer person) for the main film, I’m not completely horrified to see myself here and glad that I didn’t say anything too stupid =P. Also it is the first time 1 of the 3 comics specifically commissioned for the film project has been show. Help support this great project by pledging before 11th April 2012 at the link below:


Related Links

Related BlogNational Adoption Week Film Competition

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[ Full Circle in the Chinese Adoption Community ]

Posted on March 12th, 2012 at 7:24pm

I have been lucky enough to be apart of both Chinese & Vietnamese communities and I honestly can’t believe I only started to seriously reach out to other adoption people 4 years ago in 2008. I have been quite retrospective lately specifically of my involvement in the Chinese adoption communities since my trip to Ireland in January 2012. I did a panel talk with a fellow UK adoptee member of Children Adopted From China (CACH) for the Irish-Chinese Contact Group (ICCG)  Chinese New Year of the Dragon event. I have been to Ireland 6 times since 2008 working with a few different organisations there, but this trip made me think back to the start of my journey…

… In 2008 I had gone to Ireland on a week long Ireland tour organised by ICCG in which I was part of a panel of teens & one adult Chinese adoptees from the USA. I was the only Brit in the pack. It wasn’t the first panel talk I’d done, but it was a very significate trip. When I went on that trip I was still so new to the community, I had different views about adoption and didn’t grasp the vastness of the topic and know many other adoption experiences… I prob still am learning in that respect. At the same time I was only 2 years out of uni. and still finding my feet in the world as a person, as an artist let alone as an adoptee. I also had only just started to feel conformable about calling myself Chinese being genetically Vietnamese and despite having been born & raised in Hong Kong for 16 years. To sum it up, I was young and bright eyed entering the adoption world with trepidation.

I find it funny to remember how existing but how lost I felt when I started out. But I’m also glad that I’ve not lost that sense of hope that I entered into the world of adoption with. There are a few differences. I feel that I have a better understanding of many more types of adoption “experiences” having been lucky enough to hear many people’s stories & lives from so many different backgrounds and age groups. I also have learnt some hard lessons caused by my own assumptions about both adoption and people. Adoption is a lived experience with ups and downs, positives & negatives, humor & seriousness… no one persons experience is the same nor can you make a judgement on adoption or the people touched by it based on only a hand full of stories.

It was refreshening for me on this Ireland trip to spend time with both my fellow UK adoptee and with the teen adoptees of ICCG (YAPs). It is illuminating being able to see how the new faces of UK & Irish Chinese adoptees are taking on and develop the challenges of the lessons learnt by the past generations of adoptees as they tred the ground towards young adulthood. I very much hope that a sense of balance can still be taken forwards and that adoptees no longer have to hide their thoughts be that sad or happy when it comes to adoption. I wasn’t able to to spend as much time as I would have liked with the YAPs, but I hope they know that I was touched that they allowed me to hang out with them for a while and let me glimpse into a small part of their lives, despite being a married “old” 29 year old =P

This really takes me to another part of this “circle”… my time with the adult Hong Kong adoptees. In 2009 I became a committee member with the Chinese Adult Adoptee Worldwide Reunion (CAAWR) which a small group of Hong Kong adoptees meet up in HK in 2010. Sadly I couldn’t afford to go, but the experience allowed me to find a world of adult Chinese adoptees opening up infront of me. I stepped down from the committee in 2011 to put some much needed focus on my freelance art work though I still remain closely on the pulse of the Chinese adoption communities and i know i will always be involved with them in some way. In April 2012 will be one of the twice yearly UK Hong Kong Adoptee Network (UK HKAN) reunion lunchs. This time it will be in London at the BAAF and great as BAAF are working on a Chinese/HK Adoption study at the moment and have really come at a great time in the development of the HK adoption community in the UK. The HK adoptee community in the UK are picking up steam and it’s interesting that despite being of mainly a generation above me, mainly are also just starting to research out to others. It shows it’s never too late to start your adoption journey.

So as I sit between my Ireland trip and the UK HKAN London reunion I find myself thinking… wow! It’s been a busy 4 years. And really thinking what an exciting time this is for Chinese adoption community. I stand on the edge of the new & the elder generations of Chinese adoptees and I do hope that in the future the gap between the  younger and older generation mat start to blur into a single community… there’s still time =).

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[ National Adoption Week Film Competition – Sliver Winner ]

Posted on November 2nd, 2011 at 11:37pm

Every year the British Association of Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) run National Adoption Week (NAW) on November. Every year I’ve always wanted to be involved it in some how, but never figured out how to do so. When I found out that they would be running a short film competition for the first time on their Facebook page I jumped at the chance especially as I’m someone that always has advocated adoption expression through creative means.

The brief was to the make a 2min film about “what adoption means to you”. That actually was a tough one to answer for me adoption is all I’ve know, a family, love, a whole and balanced life with all it’s ups and downs and pain and laughter, how do you possible sum up “life” in 2 mins? With the support of my parents and sister I have been able to explore the really hard questions about adoption in a safe space… which is why in the end I decided to entry a video I’d made a few years ago, Row Your Boat, which I feel really does ask those hard questions about war, diaspora, hope & even the morality of adoption itself. You can watch it on my [Video Art] page.

I was completely chuffed when I found out that I was one of 6 short listed film entries. Last night was the National Adoption Week film competition awards ceremony in London. I have to admit I was really nervous, not cos I was thinking about weather I’d place, but that I would be in a room for of people involved with BAAF which is an organisation I’ve had such great respect for since I heard about them so many years ago. I don’t know why I was so nervous because it was a warm, overwhelming and touching night and I was so touched to meet so many lovely people, including BAAF staff, investors/supporters, adoption champions/partons and especially the fellow film makers. I wished there been more time to talk to everyone, but hope that I will in the future.

I have been an artist since 2000 and been working on adoption art since 2003. So to find out that I was the Silver Winner of the first NAW 2011 Film competition has been one of my proudest moments, and what a way to support transracial adoption, adoptee voices AND National Adoption week! =D

There was a great variety of  the great short listed films and you can see the entries here:

Here is the BAAF blog page about last nights National Adoption Week film competition awards ceremony:


Related External Links:

British Association of Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) website – www.baaf.org.uk
National Adoption Week website – www.nationaladoptionweek.org.uk
BAAF Facebook page – www.facebook.com/BAAFAdoption
BAAF on Twitter – twitter.com/baafadoption
BAAF Blog Spot –  corambaaf.org.uk
Banbury Guardian (Article about me being shortlisted) – www.banburyguardian.co.uk

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[ Foster Family ]

Posted on October 27th, 2011 at 12:51pm

I have been as curious about my foster family as much as I’d be interesting in root tracing my birth family. I even did a whole art project explore my foster family, on [Sock Bunnies] page.

After receiving my adoption papers last year, I’d followed up with HK social services asking if it might be possible to find out details of my foster family who I was with from 5months-12months. They were also an ex-pat family living and working in HK at the time, like my parents. Earlier this year they told me that they had sent a letter to my foster family’s last known address, but since they had not heard a replay in many months it was very likely that their address from the 1980’s would not be correct.

I was seriously disheartened. Before there always seemed like hope, but yeah, I felt sad that I prob. would never know.

As a last ditched attempted I phoned my parents, who had very briefly meet my foster family at the time, and asked them to dig deep into their memories for anything information even if tiny. They had always known the last name, Corby, which they told me long ago, but I’d never find anything fruitful from an Internet search in the past as without a first name is pretty difficult. However this time they remember what job my foster father had at the time.

So, having nothing to lose I spent a few days searching the internet for clues… for anything. I thought I might be on a lead, a possible first name. I came to the last company that this person might have worked for. I was scared but I wrote to what seemed like a dated old email, but wrote all the same.

How do you start an email like that!!!?

I basically started out along the lines of “Errrrr… don’t suppose…”.

The email bounced straight back. Sign. I only had one thing left to do, I emailed the company it’s self and asked if someone had worked for them with that name, though I made sure not to say why I was trying to find the person and to pass my details on if they did. They emailed me the very next day saying basically “Yes, here’s his email.” Ok this is the bit I feel bad about, cos there is a reason there is data protection, plus there was no way of knowing in the slightest it was the same guy.

After two weeks I gave up on the idea of getting a reply, and believed I’d had the wrong person. Then I woke up to find not one but two emails. The first saying that it was indeed my foster father. The second was from my foster sister, the one that had given me my name.

Since then I have been in contact with my foster mother, who now lives int he UK and stay in regular contact with my foster sister who still lives in Hong Kong!! I hope I’ll be able to meet them in person some day =D.

I found out how I got my name and have heard little stories here and there about my time with them. For me it was touching to know that even though I was only there for a short time but I was their family for that time and to know I wasn’t forgotten. For me, they now just feel like extended family and I’m glad to have them back in my life.

I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. I still continue to (slowly) search for my birth mother but I have find some peace.

Also my sockbunnies.com/about/ website page for my foster story and photos given to me by my foster family when I was adopted.

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