I was born in India on April 1, 1982 and adopted by a single US citizen mother in Utah that same year. I was one of eight children whom my mother had adopted, both domestically and internationally. I live with MS, suffering from PTSD due on-going and escalating trauma from interactions with ICE whom attempted to deport her to India, a country I don’t know and my attempted deportation was declared a human rights violation.

When I was eight, my adoptive mother passed away from cancer and I went to live with an older sibling. Being adopted and living through upheaval early in life was not easy on me but my siblings and I shared unique bonds and responsibility to look after one another. As a teenager, I became involved with drugs, later developing a criminal record for drug-related crimes. I served jail time and upon release on probation joined an outpatient program attempting to rehabilitate myself. Despite my life’s instabilities, I desired to turn my life around. But I never anticipated the devastating reality I discovered next; I was not a US citizen.

The federal government had incorrectly told me that I was a citizen based on the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). Shockingly, I soon learned I had missed the cutoff date in the CCA by less than a year and could legally be deported.

In 2012, the US government officially decided to deport me to India, my birth country, but as an adult a place unfamiliar to me. India’s government refused to accept me, stating that it was a human rights violation to deport an adoptee who was legally adopted as a child by a US citizen parent. India’s government was aware of my health condition and MS diagnosis, and they recognized that deporting me would be a death sentence.

Adoptees are not disposable. They are Americans like you and me. They deserve compassion and to be treated with dignity and respect. No more adoptee should be subjected to the traumas of immigration and the threat of deportation, it’s time to pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act.

Madeline’s Story, Utah

Updated on 2017-08-11T22:40:08+00:00, by Yongho Kim.