Australia recently has reached almost a zero level of Unwed Mothers giving up their children for adoption. Listen to this radio broadcast that interviews social workers, women who were unwed, some adoptees who have talked with their birth mothers and found that their mothers suffered over the years. The Balance of stories presented though is very good in that it shows a broad difference of cases, as it is in life. Even in this broadcast there are different ‘stories’ from different perspectives.
“Marilyn” complains that she was forced and treated like a criminal, she blames the doctors, social workers, etc. for being pressured as a young girl to give up her baby.
“Sue” gave up two children for adoption and has not found them, but calls the social worker who first spoke, a liar. Sue has not had contact with her own family since the birth of her baby. This shows to me that it was indeed the mother’s own family that pressured the Sue to give up her children for adoption.
Kathleen, given up for adoption, found her birth mother but after writing letters to her, her birth mother discussed it with her present husband and decided to NOT have contact with her daughter. This is a crushing story but is also TRUE in Korea, where most have seen on television many cases of Adoptees coming and searching for their birth family. Yet, to come out of the cloak of secrecy is a major thing that few can do.
One young man, adopted, related how when Australia changed laws giving permits to search and open records, that his birth mother wrote a letter to his adoption agency. He then responded and met his birth mother 14 years ago. THIS IS AN INTERESTING IDEA FOR KOREA. The KWB knows of some stories where adoptees or birth family have left letters and reunion sometimes takes place.
One mid-wife of 50 years has her own stories of babies still born and disposing them in waste baskets. She has been plagued with guilt. She has found some level of redemption and forgiveness in religion.
ON THIS NOTE: Even after ‘discovering’ one’s birth parents a new chapter opens up, with challenges for all. It is recorded that only 2,500 Korean Adoptees have had reunion with birth family. NOT all Reunions are happy stories, with some still cloaked in shame and embarrassment. This is a difficult course of action, costly in coming to South Korea, difficulty in communication, cultural misunderstanding. Yet, some of us WANT to do this, OTHERS may not want to upset their own Adoptive Family. It is a difficult choice for some, some may not want to find their birth mother/father/family. Each must deal with these questions in their own way.
In Korea we also hear mothers who have stories like this. The other ‘Shades of Gray’ of the Spectrum are across the board. ALL of these stories are personal and valid, though anecdotal they give only some snapshots. If someone were to make some kind of mathematical extrapolations they could invent Percentages- but the TRUTH is that there is NO definitive SURVEY of all the cases.
Yes, even in Korea there are cases on one extreme but also on the other. ALL CASES MUST BE CONSIDERED, Abuses must be stopped, such as the continued SECRET Adoptions. The coming Revisions of the Special Laws on Adoption are reported to combine all CIVIL CODE LAW Adoptions with Domestic (through Adoption Agencies) and InterCountry Adoption under the Hague Convention guidelines.
Let’s try to keep a BALANCED view of This Thing of Ours-Adoption.
Today is the Harvest Moon celebration of Korea called Chuseok. Think of your Korean roots today, contact an adoptee friend and tell them Happy Chuseok!!