Tuesday, March 01, 2005

overseas adoption of Korean Children

The Herald has an interesting article about overseas adoption of Korean children. Apparantly, there's a lot of it. [I cannot link to it. Somewhere...Blogger. Korea Herald...there is a problem. Here is the url - I had to break it into two lines make the margins fit:

I have a good friend named Vicky, in her mid twenties, who was adopted by an Alaska couple when she was about 20 months old. She was a high school student of my sister's and when I got married and my sister was making her arrangements, she asked Vicky if she wanted to join her. On a Sunday in December I got married and the next day, Vicky visited the adoption agency that her parents had used. I really don't know who had the bigger day; me with my wedding or her, learning about her parents. Since then, she has returned to Korea a few times and met some English speaking relatives. She has had to walk a difficult road; managing her excitement over her biological family and keeping her adopted family firmly in her heart. Ah, I think I may have miswrote that. She clearly loves her adopted family and knows the sacrifices they, like any good parents, have made for her. Her excitement over learning about her biological parents has made her adopted parents a little uh, concerned, I guess.

So far as I know, the adoption agency Vicky's parents displayed exemplary ethics but according to the article some agencies are not so above-board:

...from the 1980s and even more since the 1990s, the
absolute majority of children who are nowadays sent to
foreign countries are born by young and unwed girls
attending high school or college. These young girls in
their teenage of early 20s, often from a middle-class
background, are locked in secretly at maternity homes
belonging to the adoption agencies as soon as they get
to know that they are pregnant. At the maternity
homes, they are persuaded to relinquish their children
to save the honor of their families and in reality to feed
the adoption agencies' need of a steady supply of
children for overseas adoption. In other words, a
combination of patriarchal attitudes and economic
greed lies behind today's overseas adoption from
Korea, and thus the rights of both women and
children are completely ignored.

There is a lot about the Swedes in the article as the author is Swedish and wrote his PHD dissertation on the subject. As a random connection in my head:I think the backstory for the lead investigator in the movie JSA was that she was an adoptee from Sweden.

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