New report: Half of Norwegian foreign adoptees experience being discriminated against
22 November 2021

The report "Racism, discrimination and belonging among foreign adoptees" shows that half of Norwegian foreign adoptees experience being discriminated against.

On 15 November, the research report "Racism, discrimination and belonging among foreign adoptees" was launched. The report from NIBR shows that half of Norwegian foreign adoptees have experienced differential treatment due to their appearance or adoptive background.

NIBR has examined foreign adoptees' experiences of racism and discrimination, how they understand and define this, and what strategies they use to deal with situations where they encounter racism, discrimination and discrimination. In addition, the study has explored how foreign adoptees experience their belonging to Norway, to their country of birth and to the family in Norway.

- Most of the people we have spoken to emphasize the need to tell as soon as possible that they have been adopted, so that people will understand that they are not immigrants. Not because they themselves have anything against immigrants, but because they know that this group is met with discriminatory attitudes, said researcher Tone Maia Liodden during the report launch.

The researchers behind the report are Mariann Stærkebye Leirvik, Vilde Hernes, Tone Maia Liodden and Kristian Rose Tronstad.

- This report is a first step in mapping the extent of foreign adoptees' experiences of racism, discrimination and discrimination. The findings in the report show how important it is that this group is included in the work against racism and discrimination, says project manager and researcher Mariann Stærkebye Leirvik.


Priyangika Samanthie Kraggerud has studied the foreign adoption structure for over 10 years, and assisted in over 250 reunions of foreign-adopted / biological families. Throughout her adult life, she has been involved in the rights of foreign adoptees. Priyangika Samanthie Kraggerud is skeptical that the report will make any real difference.

What do you think about the fact that such a report came before the first time in 2021? (and not before)

- The report is not just several decades in arrears, but a research topic that is outdated. There is no lack of knowledge that adoptees and other sections of society experience racism and structural racism. Concrete proposals have even been requested. It is disrespectful to adoptees, their first parents, their adoptive parents and those who have paid with their lives that Bufdir can launch a report without a public apology and recognition of his own failure. The challenge is that generation after generation considers structural failure a "present" problem, and does not see it in a historical perspective, which is the foundation of the system's management of resources in adoptees' everyday lives, says Priyangika Samathie Kraggerud.

- Once again, the adoptees and their experiences are problematized, and not the system they are oppressed by. The findings reflect that we live in a colonialist era and in the consequences of previous abuses of power. That the global minority researches the global majority, and uses them as guinea pigs in a system where one must look forward to measures and alternatives is not a new phenomenon, she says.

- Resources are used to map symptoms, but do not go to the root of the problem

Priyangika Samathie Kraggerud believes that the angle of research should be on its own structure, who it holds, and what values ??it is based on. What steps must be taken to create an inclusive system, and what alternatives are likely to be developed in a system based on its attitudes towards society at large.

- One of the consequences is that adoptees are reflected in the global minority's statements that "they are not like other foreigners". A statement that stems from the fact that slave traders had an alibi in the home, and were discriminated against on the basis of their own way. I could draw historical comparisons and cite sources as to where the normalization of adoption comes from and the identity conflict created by it. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of reports like this being launched is that conversations and commentary in a historical perspective do not fit. The field is focused on perception, hurt feelings and the present, but to regard racism, discrimination and belonging as a purely nationalist and current topic while half the world lives its consequences is incomprehensibly ignorant, she says.

What do you think about the follow-up of foreign adoptees? Mandatory follow-up has been in demand for a number of years. Is this report a step closer? Will it help to raise these issues?

- I strongly disagree that one must set up a knowledge center in the field of adoption as of today. Personally, I think it would be to start at the wrong end, because one needs broader research and management of funds for tools that are in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Hague Convention, the Constitution and the field of research. This is based on the fact that the research and the researchers are based on diversity and see the value of it. Without knowing exactly where the shoe is pressing and the complexity, it will be impossible to create a post-adoption work that accommodates the whole person, says Priyangika Samanthie Kraggerud.

- If you base measures on a small proportion who contribute in banal research reports that are not based on intersectionality and anti-racism, it will cause even more harm than good, I think. Bufdir must recognize that a general model of a diverse humanity is not a sustainable model. It maintains the notion that there is a "right" human model. We simply have to, for the first time in history, create a more even system based on the diversity that exists in Norwegian society, she says.

Shockingly late

Daniel Abimael Skjerve Wensell was present at the launch. Among other things, he has been a board member of AiE (Adoption in change. Resource center for adoptees and their families). He commented on the findings and the way forward.

- Shocking that the report comes in 2021, said Daniel Abimael Skjerve Wensell during the launch.

The main findings of the report:

Nearly half have experienced or experienced physical attacks or threatening behavior rarely or occasionally, 5% say it happens often or very often

Those with the darkest skin color are most exposed to discrimination / discrimination

Most people experience discrimination in adolescence

The differential treatment takes place mostly from strangers, but also within the family or from relatives

1 in 3 have experienced sexualised comments, the data show that women experience this more often


Abroad adopters are a very complex group of people who have come to Norway during the last 60 years. This means that the adoptees are both young and well-adults. On the other hand, there is a clear predominance of young adults.

After the turn of the millennium, the number of foreign adopters has fallen sharply. In 2019, according to Statistics Norway, there were less than 100 foreign adoptions in Norway.

South Korea, Colombia and China are the three countries most adopted from. Adoptions from China have almost stopped completely in recent years. Colombia and South Korea are still among the countries with the most foreign adoptees.

Read more about the results on OsloMet research news .

The full report can be read here .

Statistics Norway on adoption.