Rank #1: S3 Episode 1: The Adoptions
International adoptions were a rarity in the Marshall Islands until the mid-’90s. Then came an adoption boom of such intensity that the remote island nation suddenly had one of the highest per-capita adoption rates in the world. In just a few years, hundreds of children were adopted from the far-flung atolls — so many that it seemed like an entire generation was disappearing.
Now, two decades later, some of these children are beginning to search for answers about who they are and where they come from. Some, like 25-year-old London Lewis, have never known a single person from their native country. Adopted as an infant from the Marshall Islands, London’s journey home would begin with a Facebook post.
Apr 13 2018
Rank #2: S3 Episode 8: Family
When we started reporting this season, we expected it to be a story about troubling adoptions that happened in the 1990s. But it quickly became clear that issues with Marshallese adoptions were never fully resolved, they simply moved. To new counties. States. Adoption agencies. So we’ve continued chasing leads while producing this season. In this final episode, we’re going to get some answers for London Lewis about his birth mother, and and share some pretty big developments about adoptions happening today.
May 31 2018
Rank #3: S3 Episode 3: Springdale
More migrants from the Marshall Islands now live in Springdale, Arkansas, than any other place in the world. It’s a surprising choice for them, moving en masse to a small Midwest town that is about as different from their island homeland as you can get. London Lewis was born in the Marshall Islands, but he doesn’t have the resources to make that trip any time soon. So if he’s going to have a chance of finding someone who knows his family, he has to start here.
In 1986, as part of a treaty between the U.S.and three Micronesian nations, Marshallese were given the right to travel to this country with little if any immigration restrictions. But nobody anticipated the wave of migration that would follow. Or that the treaty would contribute to an adoption explosion from the islands.
Now, the migration has taken root in this quiet corner of Arkansas — where local judges say as many as nine out of 10 adoptions are of Marshallese children.
Apr 26 2018
Rank #4: S3 Episode 2: Missing History
Susette Lewis was excited when she arrived in Honolulu in 1992. And like most new moms, nervous. Uncertain of what to expect. She didn’t know that picking up her adopted son would be an alarming experience.
Her son, London, says he had a happy childhood, growing up in a big house in a town just past the Everglades. But he’s spent a lot of time searching for a connection to a culture thousands of miles from where he was raised.
And while he did a lot of research in college on American military history in the Marshall Islands, he wants a sense of what’s missing from Western textbooks.
Apr 20 2018
Rank #5: S1 Episode 2: Two Lives Collide
Christopher Deedy and Kollin Elderts had never met before Nov. 5, 2011, when a 3-minute brawl ended with Elderts dead and Deedy in handcuffs. How did a Native Hawaiian born in the islands and a white federal agent who’d just arrived end up on opposite sides of a gun?
Oct 20 2016
Rank #6: S4 Episode 1: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Nearly half of all Native Hawaiians now live outside of Hawaii. It’s a staggering number that raises questions about what Hawaii will be like in coming years, and how Native Hawaiians will carry their islands with them to far flung places.
May 14 2020
Rank #7: Offshore Postcard: Our Journey to the Last Wild Place
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument covers 583,000 square-miles of the Pacific — an area larger than all of America’s national parks combined.
But while millions of visitors flock to America’s national parks each year, access to Papahanaumokuakea is highly restricted. Many people — even in Hawaii — don’t know that this special place exists. Don’t know what it looks like. What it sounds like. What will be lost if rising seas continue to wash away its low-lying islands, or politicians chip away at the laws protecting its borders.
Experience this remote and wild place with Civil Beat’s environmental reporter, Nathan Eagle, and his wife, videographer Alana Eagle, on a trip that opened their eyes to the beauty — and fragility — of island life. And changed their outlook on the world in unexpected ways.
Jun 11 2019
Rank #8: S1 Episode 3: The White Minority
Hawaii is the only state where whites have always been in the minority. There is this idea that people in Hawaii are racist against white people, that they hate the federal government. So, with a huge diplomatic summit taking place in Honolulu, tensions were high the week that Christopher Deedy shot and killed Kollin Elderts. Blocks away from the McDonald’s where their fatal confrontation took place, tanks had taken over a local park and protesters were out on the streets. There was a reason Deedy and dozens of federal agents were in town. And there were a lot of people who wanted them out.
Oct 27 2016
Rank #9: S1 Episode 4: A Sinister Past
A privileged socialite. A Native Hawaiian wrongfully accused of rape. A ruling elite that favors whites. So begins the Massie Case. A story from 1932 that still impacts how some Hawaiians view the federal government. And Christopher Deedy.
Nov 03 2016
Rank #10: S2 Episode 1: Mauna Kea
Atop one of the world’s most sacred mountains, a battle over science, culture — and the future of Hawaii.
Mar 09 2017
Rank #11: S3 Episode 7: Reunions
There’s an entire generation of Marshallese adoptees like London Lewis asking questions about who they are and where they come from. And there are plenty of parents searching for the children they gave up, too.
These reunions aren’t always easy. Many families have been separated for years by not only distance, but also language and culture. Finding their way back to each other is a complicated journey that can lead to places no one expects.
But right now, our biggest challenge with London’s family is helping a reunion happen at all.
May 25 2018
Rank #12: S1 Episode 5: The White Menace
After a hung jury in the rape trial of five local Hawaiians, the family of the alleged victim looked for vengeance. They got it — by committing one of the most explosive crimes in Hawaiian history.
Nov 10 2016
Rank #13: S2 Episode 2: The Protectors
What is it about Mauna Kea that makes it so sacred to Hawaiians? So precious that people have pledged their lives, their liberty, to blocking further development on its summit?
Mar 23 2017
Rank #14: S1 Episode 6: Agent on Trial
Special Agent Christopher Deedy’s first murder trial begins in 2013. The stakes in the case were high. For Deedy but also for local prosecutors, who take an all-or-nothing approach to the case — placing all their chips on the table in a bid to lock Deedy up for life.
Nov 17 2016
Rank #15: Offshore: “Far From Home” — coming soon
This season, Offshore is taking a deep dive into the Hawaiian diaspora. Join journalist Kuʻu Kauanoe, as she digs into what is driving Hawaiians from the islands today. And tells some amazing stories about Hawaiians who left long ago.
May 10 2020