The Korean War Baby is concerned about the orphans in Haiti on many levels. First and foremost is that they receive immediate needs through well established NGO’s with a history of working in the country. Care must be taken to connect a child with family that is able and willing to take care of them. The operative words though are both ‘able and willing’ to take care of them.
The US Department of State and Homeland Security are working to prevent the abuse of child trafficking and this FAQ’s from the US Dept. of State will show that every precaution is being taken.
Haitian Adoption Inquiries: FAQs
As a Korean Adoptee My Story(though of mixed-blood ONLY, ahem) the KWB was ‘saved’ from the post Korean poverty after the Korean War (children-of-war). The fighting had ended just three years before his departure from Seoul, Korea, yet as you all know the economy was devastated. His mother had brought him and his biological sister to the World Vision center where Harry Holt had just started Holt Adoption Program. Even in those early days Mr. Holt tried to keep records and photos of all the children they were receiving both mixed-blood and full-blood children separated, abandoned, or orphaned. Those of mixed-blood were considered to be Devil Child-Tuigi, children of YangKalBo (women who prostituted themselves to Foreign devils). His own wife, a Korean public servant who carries a gun, has been called that by her peers.
Contrary to some false or misguided claims, Harry and his wife Bertha KNEW that one day children would come back to visit their motherland. They kept very detailed records personally and Molly Holt showed the KWB the museum at Ilsan compound where he saw this:
Logbook started March, 1956.
The Korean War Baby was quite surprised to see his photo in a logbook and his number A-20, when he first came to Korea in 1994. It is the same photo taken by Dr. David Hyungbok Kim who was at that time working as a translator for Harry Holt. Harry trusted him to become the first Korean head of an NGO. His book can be found under the title “Who will Answer”.
Dr. Kim (A) met him in a visit to Holt International Children’s Services in Eugene, Oregon.
Both of these shots were taken same day! He was too happy so they gave him a Hershey’s chocolate bar THEN took it away. Notice the shocked look “What happened to the sweet stuff?” Common you have to reason that nobody would adopted a happy looking kid. It is a media thing that shows only that most folks are moved by images of sad, skinny, hungry, dirty, (fill in the blanks).
There was no ‘selling’ or trafficking of children going on then though a few cases have been and documented. The KWB positions on these matters is well documented on this humble blog. The reasons for Koreans sending children away over the decades are many and have changed with society changes. Presently every year more and more unwed mothers choose to keep their children, yet 2/3 are given up for adoption in domestic and InterCountry Adoption.
It does NOT always have to do with the nation’s economy but rather more the personal conditions of the birth family/mother. Blood matters to many still and therefore domestic adoptions are mostly done in secret. This is not a good thing because most children know in their spirit and sometimes DO find out as Late Discovery Adoptees. That is a double shock to learn suddenly that one was adopted.
The KWB believes that a multi-level approach is needed to keep a balanced policy to This Thing of Ours-Adoption.
Let us keep an eye on the Haiti situation and give what we can to the organizations we know can do the most and have a proven track record.