Adoptees Advocating for Citizenship and Equality

Some Intercountry Adoptees lack citizenship and could face deportation

The Child Citizenship Act guarantees citizenship to most international adoptees, but the law only applies to adoptees who were under the age of 18 when the law took effect on February 27, 2001. This loophole denies citizenship to adoptees who were age 18 or over in February 2001, even though they were legally adopted as children by U.S. citizens and raised in the United States. Without citizenship, international adoptees face many barriers, such as having trouble applying for a passport, license, or student financial aid. In some cases, they have been deported to the country in which they were born, where they generally do not have family, know the language or customs, and have little chance of surviving.

Introducing UnErased: The Deportation of Adoptees in America

More than 35,000 adult adoptees in the United States spent their entire lives completely unaware that they lacked citizenship and faced deportation. Their stories deserve to be heard in their own words. Their stories deserve to be UnErased. UnErased: The Deportation of Adoptees in America, co-produced by Focus Features and Treefort Media in support of the film, BLUE BAYOU. Written and directed by Justin Chon, and starring Justin Chon and Alicia Vikander. In theaters September 17th.

1. Don't Give Up

Crystal Moran is a hardworking mother of five who has lived in America since she was just three months old. But in 2016, Crystal’s life was turned upside-down when she was confronted by ICE agents over her immigration status and deported to El Salvador. Stuck in an unfamiliar and dangerous place, she has to fight to return to her home and family in the United States. This is Crystal’s story.

2. Southern Boys

Joe Nugent lived in Texas for almost 50 years. Mike Davis was a small business owner in Georgia with a wife and kids. This episode profiles these two men, whose distinctly American lives were shattered when they were forced to leave the country they’d always called home. This is Joe and Mike’s story.

3. A Mother's Fight

Anissa Druesedow has fought to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles her entire life. So when she was deported to Panama in 2006 - with no family or source of income to help her - Anissa knew that there were no limits to how far she would go to make sure her daughter was taken care of. This is Anissa’s story.

4. Seeking Redemption

Susan Williams’ troubled childhood took her down a path that ended in imprisonment. But after rediscovering herself in prison and serving her time, she is deported back to South Korea - a place she hasn’t been since she was a child. While dealing with the unexpected challenges brought on by her deportation, Susan fights for a second chance at life and family. This is Susan’s story.

5. A Day when Everyone is Home

Kristopher Larsen spent much of his life struggling with the after-effects of trauma he experienced as a young adoptee. After getting his life back on track, Kristopher must now fight a deportation order that would separate him from his family -- and he’s using his experiences to help other adoptees in a similar situation. This is Kristopher’s story.