Adam Crapser, the 43-year-old adoptee who was deported to South Korea in 2016 after spending most of his life in the United States, is now suing the South Korean government and the agency which processed his adoption.
Adopted by an abusive couple in 1979 when he was three years old, Crapser was deported at age 40.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Crapser said he and his sister were first sent to an abusive couple in Michigan who abandoned them both seven years later.
He narrated that he ended up with Thomas and Dolly Crapser, who allegedly physically abused the children under their care. The couple would later be arrested on charges of physical child abuse, sexual abuse, and rape in 1991.
Crapser, who earlier got kicked out of his parents’ house after an argument, pleaded guilty to burglary after he broke into the home to retrieve a Korean-language Bible and a stuffed dog that came with him from the Korean orphanage.
It was this conviction of “unlawful possession of a firearm and assault” that would haunt him years later.
As an adult, Crapser was able to turn his life around and raise a family of his own. He also opened a barber shop and an upholstery business. However, his green card application triggered a background check which eventually led to him being served with his deportation paperwork in 2015.
After leaving behind his wife and children in the U.S., he has since been living in Seoul despite not knowing the language.
“It’s heartbreaking. A lot of the depression that I deal with, a lot of the hopelessness that I feel at times is attributed to the separation from my family that I created and not being able to be actually involved in their lives every day like I was,” he told the Associated Press.
Crapser revealed that he has been struggling with intense anxiety and depression in his new environment.
After much contemplation on his unjust displacement, he decided to file a landmark lawsuit against South Korea’s government and a private adoption agency, Seoul-based Holt Children’s Services.
Crapser’s lawyers filed the 200 million won ($177,000) civil suit at a Seoul court on Thursday. Crapser is suing South Korea for its lack of oversight during the ‘child export’ frenzy, and the private adoption agency over negligence since the parents he ended up with never filed citizenship paperwork for him.
According to Crapser, he and thousands of other Korean children were sent to the United States and other Western nations without accounting for their future citizenship is due to the government’s gross negligence.
South Korean adoptions reportedly exploded as a business during the 1970s and ’80s in which many children were removed from their families during what was dubbed as a “child export” frenzy.
The lawsuit is now highlighting the shady practices of adoption agencies which allegedly benefited from the government’s lack of oversight. The agencies became notorious for their aggressive child-gathering activities and fraudulent paperwork as they competed to send more children abroad more quickly.
Crapser’s case is also bringing attention to the current status of possibly thousands of South Korean adoptees in America whose parents may have similarly failed to get them citizenship, leaving them potentially vulnerable to deportation.
In fact, several others like Crapser have also been deported back to South Korea after parents neglected their child’s green card responsibilities. There are also thousands of other adoptees currently in the U.S. who remain without citizenship and can be put up for deportation at any moment.
Featured image via YouTube / Time