Excepts from “In Defense of Adoption”, published in Korean Quarterly, fall, 2010
Allegations against ICA
“Allegations abound against ICA, and somewhat less against domestic adoption. Some groups allege that adoption agencies are engaging in child trafficking, which, if true, would be a criminal act. The idea of child trafficking suggests the adoption agencies have conducted fraudulent activities by forging documents to send children abroad solely for economic gain. While I do not deny that adoption agencies often had to make up adoption documents, I disagree that the intent of the agencies was done to increase profit. If any agency has sent children abroad for financial gain, then its activities are criminal and they deserve our contempt. However, I strongly believe that this was not the case; adoption services in Korea were developed for humanitarian purposes. In seeing the needs of so many homeless children, and knowing the obstacles that lie ahead for them as orphans growing up in a society with strong social stigma against them, adoption advocates have acted responsibly to find better opportunities for children to grow up in loving homes abroad.”
“In the old days, it was not unusual for the agencies to accept into their care many abandoned children who arrived with little or no information. In the absence of any information, often children’s names were assigned by the agencies.”
KWB Notes: On a number of websites in the Adoption cyberspace one will find strongly “implied and exaggerated claims” that suggest from their point of views that somehow Adoption is the “Great Satan” of life. Some have even publically claimed that 80%, yes, 80% of KAD adoptees who have come to GOA’L have had “Falsification of their documents beyond wrong Date of Birth”. At the recent IKAA Gathering in Seoul last August, this was presented with no documentation by T.R.A.C.K. at their session. I would like former Family Search director Mads Them, former staff of GOA’L to confirm these numbers. Also Sebastian Vanderlinden, the most recent Family Search director to address these claims. Witnesses were shocked and asked how they knew such “facts”. They can attest that the number 80% was indeed spoken by Tobias Hubinette. Such data MUST be investigated thoroughly and not just thrown out there. So, Mads and Sebastian, please give the KWB your personal email and please confirm or give us your own estimates of “Falsified documents”. The KWB will pursue most strenuously, sincerely, and vigorously if these allegations be true. WHY THE HORROR!!!
Hmmm, Stephen comes up with some possible reasons for “wrong data”:
“In addition to names, their date of birth and the place of birth were made up as well. There were many children who had no records at all of their birth origins. Children were found on the doorsteps of orphanages, police stations, markets, clinics, and churches. Some of those children had scribbled notes attached to their clothes with only names and the date of birth, but no other information could be found. It was very typical that children came into orphanage care with little or no information.
I, (Stephen) for one, did not know the date of my birth when I was first admitted into an orphanage at age six; the orphanage director made up a date. He did what he had to do to establish a portion of my identity that was missing. The orphanages and the adoption agencies in care of these children assigned names, birth dates, and other information about the children because having this information was a critical step before they could be adopted, either domestically or overseas. Can this be labeled as document forging? Can this be alleged as child trafficking? Clearly this is not the case.”
KWB Notes: Well!! When you combine this with the presentation at IKAA of the Adoption Agencies on the very same reasons that “Information on a child was made up” we discover WHY. It seems NOT to be understood by Anti-Adoption folks out in cyberspace that you cannot even process a child into FOSTER CARE or INSTITUTIONS without such basic Identity information.
OH, PLEASE, tell us good people, with 30,000 Abandoned, another 37,276 declared DISABLED, and approximately 12,000 MIXED-BLOOD, how many just might have had NO NAME, DOB, POB, etc. So if you as a KAD discover “Oh, my identity was assigned to me, oh boohoo” HELLO?! This was done in order for YOU to have a chance at life! Learn what you can, but remember that you must consider the circumstances of your birth.
Yet, in Korea there are more than our numbers who have been adopted IN
In many cases your birth father, plus siblings, extended family, MAY also know that you are OUT THERE. Sometimes they don’t give a shit, but most of the time they DO. The stories of Reunions are all across the Spectrum.
In most cases Birth Mothers gave us up in hope for our future. Keep that next to your heart, next time you wanna whine, because that doesn't help you find healing. Bitching is far more proactive than just whining. Join some of us in complaining and even demanding that the Korean government INCREASE services and financial support for Unwed Mothers who want to bring up their children. EVEN if her own family rejects her, she should/must have that as a viable option beyond Abortion or Adoption.
The KWB wholeheartedly supports the NGO's that are bringing the issues up to the Korean public and government officials to know that every woman must have the option of keeping her child. (He does NOT support stopping ICA or In-Country adoption both Civil and Domestic since it is the WOMAN who must make decision to abort, keep, or give up the life that is growing inside her). A woman HAS the right to CHOOSE, and if she chooses NOT to be a mother, well we must let her do that. She is giving up her "right to motherhood". Counseling for ALL the options should be available to her. The KWB believes in a Multi-tiered approach to the complexity of This Thing of Ours-Adoption.
We who have been adopted from Korea are a special group of people that includes many nationalities where we were sent. In a sense we are a part of the Korean Diaspora in a unique way. No matter what country you grew up, you may have not 'fit in' because of your being "Asian" and even Mixed-Blood had similar experiences. We are in that sense all "Bananas" you know, Yellow outside White inside. Even if you spend years learning Korean language and culture you are still a mixture of the culture you were raised in and some Koreans will never think of you as Korean.
SO? Get a grip, know your limits, but go for it! Seek to 'Koreanize' yourself as much as you want, keeping in mind the limitations but to thy ownself be true and to heck with the few who will tell you "You cannot speak Korean very well". Don't get mad, just remember that a new generation of Koreans are actually MORE accepting of us. Even recent polls show that up to 70% of school children think Multi-cultural people in Korea are acceptable to them. THAT IS AMAZING. This shows Korea is SLOWLY CHANGING for the better.
So please, stop just whining that you were adopted. 'Grow a pair', 'suck it up', decide how far you want to go SEARCHING for instance. BE PREPARED for surprises, you might just get what you ask for. THAT may open a whole new thing to deal with. READ, READ, READ many different points of view, keep balanced and compare stories. For those who think, "Woe is me, I are adopted!" HEY, go back to the beginnings, ask yourself "WHY were you given up?" When you were born is very significant to WHY.
Some seem to think that Koreans should be ashamed that ICA continues just because they are now the 14th or 15th ranked country for GNP. For that reason they SHOULD take care of their own. But Koreans are NOT giving up children because of being poor anymore. THIS IS NOT VALID, WHY bring it up? They don't give up children for that reason, so this is a lame, moot, and outdated. The Society and Family however are not yet able to accept unwed motherhood, this is still a taboo. Making laws to encourage domestic adoption has not changed the hearts of the people either, but by presenting the stories of Unwed Mothers could help. Remember that the attitudes toward Unwed Mothers, adoption, foster care, daycare centers, etc. are still comparable to the West, say 20 or 30 years AGO. It will take time to see changes in Korea happen. BUT IT IS HAPPENING, sloooooowly. I will be 'gone' but many of you will see the day that ICA from Korea may cease because there will be no more need for it. THAT AIN'T NOW. (The KWB is sorry but he is a rude and crude, unlettered, proud former Marine, who shoots figuratively from the hip).
The Reasons for children being given up for adoption HAVE CHANGED over each decade, for instance since the late 1980 after the 1988 Olympics, the Republic of Korea (Known by many as South Korea) has tried to stop InterCountry Adoptions because of the embarrassment and shame. They set deadlines for 1995, then extended it again to 2012 after financial crisis in 1998. In the last decade though the average number of children born to Unwed Mothers continues to average 7,500 born each year to UNWED MOTHERS. The number of women keeping their children has increased from 11% to about 33% that shows the changing times and attitudes despite the hardships they must go through. The KWDI has records that in the latest ten year period over 50,000 women KEPT their child. WOW, but double that number GAVE THEM UP. This is the inconvenient truth.
To those who can only WHINE and PINE, I say 'HEY, GET OVER IT', seek counsel, get strong, BUCK UP, YOU KNOW YOU AIN’T WHITE so MOVE ON. Just deal with it. Go learn Korean Culture but remember you cannot replace the past. You will never, never be a Korean, SO WHAT? You are a unique person and not alone, find support, seek healing and forgiveness, get balance in your life. It is a Never Ending Journey but you CAN DO IT.