Last year, in May of 2008, I met a Korean student who told me that she had been adopted domestically. Her name must remain secret because some of her relatives do not actually know that she was given up for adoption. I will call her 'Marie' because her story is very similar to a Korean Folk story called "Abandoned Princess" or "
‘The Seventh daughter’ were considered especially bad luck, because she was considered to be cursed with special psychic powers or fortunetelling abilities. She was also born in the year of the Horse, very inauspicious for daughters!
A famous legend is known, from the Shaman religion, of a “seventh daughter of a Neo-Chosen King who “Threw away his unlucky seventh daughter”. Her name was Princess Bari and her name literally means “Thrown away or Abandoned Princess”. The Mudang priestesses sing her sacred song, a Muga, to help the souls of the dead into the next cycle of life.
The reason that 'Marie' and her story surprised me was that I began to learn about Domestic Adoptees, In-Country adoptions that I would soon find out numbered in the ten's of thousands. I asked many fellow adoptees just how many Domestic Adoptees there were and no one seemed to know. Molly Holt then told me, "more than 80,000 plus 20,000 Private adoptions, like the Dutch diplomat and his wife, who gave up their Korean girl after bearing 'natural' sons."
In May of 2008, just one year ago, I had pretty much given up finding my birthmother but now "just when I thought I was out...they pulled me back in!" as Al Pacino would say. I became so caught up as I began to get up to speed on the Adoption situation in Korea. I had not even gone to GOA'L meeting since getting married, missing several yearly GOA'L conferences. I learned that more than 87,000 Domestic Adoptees, NOT counting perhaps 20,000 plus Private Adoptees undocumented by the government, are living in the country and 85% of them DON'T KNOW that they were adopted. Korean people still prefer to keep it a secret. I knew Korea had adoption within the family but had no idea there were so many. Molly Holt first told me of these domestic adoption numbers.
Then I read Tobias Hubinette's book, "Comforting an Orphaned Nation", and learned about the Korean's governments repeated attempt to get Korean people to adopt children that are not of their lineage. In 1973 after 'Dear Leader' Kim Il Sung accused the Southern government of 'selling children' the ROK (South) started a program that all government officials SHOULD adopt a child.
There have been many attempts to change the society's views on adopting a child that is not of their bloodline. Dr. David Hyungbok Kim in his book "Who Will Answer..." reports that in 1955 the Adoption Laws of the Republic of Korea stated that a child could be adopted only from a related family member. A Family Registry lists the family name and the region, such as "Kim Hae", means that only a child with the Surname of Kim from the Hae region could be adopted. If the child had the name Kim from another Kim line they would NOT be able to even adopt. Dr. David Kim was the man who told me about my sister and I. He lamented that the thousands of children separated from their parents from the war could not be LEGALLY adopted by Korean people.
To find out late in life that you were adopted is something I cannot imagine. I found websites on Late Discovery Adoptees Late Discovery - Home from America that told the stories of the 20% of adoptees in the USA that are NOT told that they were adopted. Some found out in their forties and fifties, after their parents had died, discovering adoption papers hidden in desks or file cabinettes. For the last year I have studied, joined one group after another, read from every part of the Triad-Adoptive Parents, Birth Family, and Adoptee. I have saved hundreds of documents from newspapers, book reviews, websites from all aspects of the controversy. I wanted to find out the truth, hear from every voice, even the 'angry, hurt, abused, unhappy adoptees'. I needed to hear the Good, Bad, Ugly, Sad, Happy, Successful, ALL of it before I could come to my own conclusions.
'Marie' found out when she tried to give blood for one of her parent's surgery, the nurse bluntly told her. "You Can't give blood...your blood type doesn't match either of your parents. Are you Adopted?" This was only a few years ago.
"Marie never expected to find out she had even one sister, but six? One day a surprise call came from one of them, the sixth sister, who had searched for her, the long lost sister who had been given away to be adopted.Marie had been the unlucky seventh daughter.
Marie was born the same year that my first child was born, my own daughter, born after a wild Christmas holiday with her Filipina mother. Have I shared that yet? For that story please go to Korean War Baby "Tale of Two Women".
The Korean War Baby has met several times with Mission to Promote Adoption in Korea (MPAK)Korean Adoption - Mission to Promote Adoption in Korea (MPAK)
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