Deported, Not Forgotten: Mike Davis
The final in our interview series with Mike Davis is now available.
Mike Davis was deported to Ethiopia in 2005, leaving behind friends, a family business, and most painful of all, his wife and children. In this interview, he is able to see his wife and one of his sons for the first time in many years. They discuss the emotional, financial and personal impact that years of separation have caused.
Watch the full interview:
Joy Lieberthal Rho, an international adoptee, social worker, therapist, and co-founder of the non-profit organization IAMAdoptee, interviewed Mike on November 9, 2021.
Help us support deported adoptees. 100% of funds go directly to deported adoptees to help with financial hardship as they fight to return to the U.S.
2022 Also-Known-As Adoptee Excellence Scholarship Winner
Also-Known-As is thrilled to announce the 2022 winner of its annual Adoptee Excellence Scholarship.
This year, we received one hundred and seventeen applications—the highest in the scholarship’s history—from across the country, each of a high caliber. Candidates were internationally adopted at various ages and from fourteen countries: China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Nepal, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Uganda, and Ukraine. We were deeply moved by these young adoptees who have pursued personal and academic excellence, as well as distinguished themselves professionally and in their communities. We were inspired by their stories, which include but are not limited to making positive decisions and pushing forward through tremendous personal circumstances; demonstrating compassion for peers and others in need, both within and outside of their community; collaborating in amazing and innovative ways that reached beyond simple leadership; and engaging others while creating new programs and opportunities to address people’s unmet needs—including those of their fellow international adoptees. It was truly a privilege to be able to get to know each candidate, and we feel honored that they were willing to share their stories with us.
Comprised of international adoptees, members of the Also-Known-As Scholarship Committee carefully reviewed each application to find candidates that best exemplified the scholarship’s mission: to honor an adoptee student whose integrity, drive, and leadership has led them to serving others while pursuing a life of purpose and significance. Led by Also-Known-As Board member Katie Mantele, the Committee sought out applicants who, while facing and exploring their own adoptee and racial identities—as well as the complexities and nuances that accompany them—have also used their unique experiences to help others find their own voice and place. This process proved to be extremely thoughtful and thorough; no two candidates were the same, which made the Committee’s job both exciting and difficult. Also-Known-As would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Emily Brillon, Nathan Ferch, Isabelle St. Clair, Adam van Eeckhout, and Margaret Yannopoulos for their empathy, care, and dedication to each and every applicant.
Please join us in congratulating our 2022 Also-Known-As Adoptee Excellence Scholarship winner, Jin Oakes (he/him)! An inspiring candidate, Jin exemplifies an outstanding sense of resilience combined with a profound and humbling empathy. He was adopted from China and raised in a small, predominantly white town in New Hampshire, and is currently an undergraduate student in Massachusetts working towards a Bachelor of Arts in History and Asian Studies. He hopes to earn a PhD in a related field after graduation with the ultimate goal of establishing a permanent museum at the Smithsonian dedicated to Asian and Pacific Islander American history since one of his passions is getting “the stories of Asian, Pacific Island, and Hawaiian Americans out there.” He is also a skilled photographer, musician, and scrapbooker.
In 2018, Jin found a community of other adoptees through the online group Subtle Asian Adoptee Traits. As one of the group’s earliest administrators, Jin helped establish a welcoming and warm online space for Asian adoptees all over the world and, at the same time, learned from others, shared his story, and made new friendships. This experience taught him the importance of community, dialogue, and how to connect with others whose lives and experiences differed from his. It also demonstrated his long-term commitment to other adoptees and the importance of having a space like Subtle Asian Adoptee Traits for those who may not have a community of their own.Apart from his academic achievements (including graduating as his high school’s valedictorian), professional goals, and community involvement, Jin’s determination to assert who he is on his own terms is nothing less than a portrait of strength. As international adoptees, we know that identity is complex and more times than not, requires the audacity to take up and make space for ourselves and others. For Jin, his transgender/LGBTQ+ identity is just as much a part of him as are his adoptee and Asian identities. It wasn’t until late 2021 when he decided to fully and proudly embrace who he is, despite being unaccepted by those closest to him. With the support of his friends and his partner, he continued to persevere and embrace his true self: Asian, adoptee, and transgender. He reflects that “the support in real life and online made me realize I didn’t need to be afraid. I could just be me—and that was enough.”
Congratulations, Jin! We are ecstatic to recognize and celebrate you with the awarding of this scholarship. During these extremely challenging and unpredictable times, adoptees like you and your fellow applicants serve as fine representatives and beacons of hope for a brighter future. We applaud the example you set for adoptees across our country and wish you all the best for the years ahead.
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