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International Adoption - from Bhutan to Australia - My Story

International adoption is often in the news in Australia. From 6th to 13th November, Australians share stories of adoption as part of National Adoption Awareness Week. And often, it is a story surrounding a celebrity that catches our eye. Last week political journalist Malcolm Farr cleverly tweeted out: "She sits by the phone waiting for A-G Rob McClelland to call, it rings, and it's that bloody Hugh Jackman again" in reference to Deborah-Lee Furness addressing the National Press Club about the frustrating delays involved for international adoption for Australian families.

But there are many stories of adoption in Australia - each story carries with it an

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opportunity for parents, families, government agencies and adopted children to learn, to empathise, to connect, and to consider new policies. Stories of international adoption have their own special characteristics, just as this podcast does - Solomon Le Masurier, now 25 and studying for his PhD in Chemical Engineering, was born in 1986, the fifth child of a Southern Bhutanese couple living in Bhutan's capital city Thimpu. Tragically, Solomon's biological mother was diagnosed with a 'weak heart' and two days after giving birth, she died during a tubal ligation operation to prevent the danger of further pregnancies.

 

Solomon was soon fostered and eventually adopted by Australian missionaries - they returned to live in Australia with him and their other three children. In this podcast, you'll hear the story of moving from Bhutan to a dairy farming area in Victoria, to the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory and back again. And you'll hear about the challenges Solomon faced as one of the only "brown skinned" children in his first Australian school.

Adding to the complexity and richness of Solomon's story he also talks about connecting with his biological siblings, and the nurse who knew his Bhutanese family, and about coming out as gay to his adopted and biological families.

Listen to Solomon's experience of talking to an adoption counsellor, to an adopted friend and his ideas about addressing some of the challenges of international adoption. Solomon never once thought adoption had been a "bad thing" for him - he was given what he says was a "great life, and opportunities, nutrition, care, and education far beyond what (he) might have received in Bhutan."

But Solomon values the "reassurance and validation" to be had from connecting with similar stories. He explains that reading a particular book on adoption, and making gay friends have been:

    "two very good ways ... to not feel isolated as an adopted and gay person. Isolation - despite being surrounded by so many people, and 'relatives' and friends can be so painful and harrowingly confusing at times. "

*photo at top from amicusfoundation.org , Simtokha School and Orphanage
** Bhutan photo by Arun Abey - all rights reserved.
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