Well, it has been a long time. I have been very busy, learning new things about websites, design, graphic programs, combining audio/graphic/text files, etc. I am living back in the Philippines, where I once lived for ten years, back in 1975 to 1985 when I worked in local and international films. I am divorced, again! Thankfully no children involved in either marriages. I guess that I was too late to really understand what it takes to keep a marriage together. Oh, WELL. "Too Late, Too late," cried St. Augustine.
For seven months I have been here in the Philippines, discovering that though many years (26) have passed since I last lived here, the Filipino people are basically the same, in the majority they continue to be open and friendly. Of course, there is the elements that prey on stupid tourists or conceited foreign 'devils' who consider their 'culture and technology' some how superior. I have met some of these in the streets of passion in Angeles City, the entertainment/sex tour capital of the Philippines. It is what it is...life goes on.
It is myself who has changed so much, some for the better, alot for the worse, LOL. I guess aging and maturity, plus realizing that life must be lived as well as I can, respecting all others if possible to the best of our ability, has produced many of these differences on my outlook of life.
When I left Korea last May, 2011, I explored across the USA, driving from Chicago, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennesse, across Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finall California. I met with KAD and family, lingered in Tennesse working on my biography book, then stayed with my Dad and my new step-mother. Throughout I met with many Korean Adult Adoptees and heard their stories.
It was a great time to re-connect with the land of my adoption, the great US of A. I had lived for 16 years in my mother's land, the "land of the morning calm", known as the Republic of Korea, or Da Han Min Gook. I had found that being of mixed-blood had good and bad consequences.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.Psa_69:8
I came across this verse from the Old Testament that really 'jumped out' at me. For after living in Korea and constantly hearing Koreans tell me "you don't look Korean at all" or that "well, you aren't REALLY Korean" and other choice bits, made me realize that my mother who gave me birth had indeed realized that growing up in Korea would have been almost impossible for me.
When people looked at me they saw a Westerner and a Native Speaker. Often students in group classes disappeared after I announced that my mother was a Korean. The majority, maybe 75 percent had no problem, and actually more and more of Korean society is accepting the Mixed-blood AND the Kyopos (Koreans who have emigrated to other lands and returned for a visit or to live and work). With 170,000 multicultural marriages and 120,000 offspring Korea is now waking up to the fact they are a NOT homogeous people. Welcome to the 21st Century and Globalization!
My identity will always be an American, of mixed-heritage but totally a 'red-blooded Yankee'. I saw across the cities and towns of America the diversity of the land, though we know that prejudice exists everywhere at least the majority of folks accept that an American is not a 'rich white' person as some would suggest.
Often across the cyberworld I read of Korean Adult Adoptees (some empasize that many of us are now adults) who complain bitterly that "they lost their culture, language, family" when they were adopted to other countries. This is true, but they seem to ignore the many reasons that mothers in Korea were pressured, even forced by circumstances to give up or relinquish their children.
Relinquishment may have been due to the child being a war orphan in the early period after the Korean War, with thousands of children on the streets. It may be because of children of "mixed-blood" a result of foreign 'boyfriends'; "a disabled person- premature, mental or physical disability"; one too many "females"; or simply a 'love child' born to an unwed woman. The list is long, and the reasons changed over the decades, with the limited research done it is obvious that most Korean women had little choice because of the lack of support from boyfriends who ran like a scared rabbit; pressure to have an abortion for unwanted pregnancy from their own families to hide the shame; lack of support from the government and social programs to support Single Motherhood.
The issues are complex and diverse, and no solution is simple. The facts are that each year thousands of children are born to Unwed Mothers and Korean society has not yet caught up with the idea that being Single Divorced or Unwed has a place in society. Within the last decade Divorce laws have given more rights to women for custody of children that they never had before. Society is moving forward, but it takes time.
All these things I have pondered for many years, as I have sought to understand This Thing of Ours-Adoption. One thing I have seen over and over is this: The spectrum of lives and how they each are finding their own Identity is across the board, from extreme to extreme. There is no "black and white", no right answers, no simple solutions. What has been, can not be changed. How each of us deals with our own lives must be done with careful research of other's lives from every part of the spectrum. Reading only stories of those who had horrible things happen to them does not represent the greater majority. Life in many "natural" families suffer from the same abuses and problems, having nothing to do with Adoption.
Certainly there are those who believe that Adoption is only wonderful and the "Christian thing to do". I disagree partially with this notion, for it tends to ignore the bond between a human being growing inside a woman's body. Even a Surrogate mother who is not biologically a fetus's genetic mother has this bonding, and science is finding this out only recently. Science has helped to create a human being, that a family may be, but that child also MAY have the desire to meet the biological 'parents'. These are the complexities that were never thought of when Sperm Donors later found out that dozens of their 'children' were born of their 'seed'. Some of them wanted to find them, some just don't care. Again the Spectrum of life.
All these things must be considered, in a balanced way because they cannot be undone, can they? Each must find their own answers, and deal with it. What I have found is that those on Extremes have turned into PRO and CON groups, some attacking the others with great hostility and anger. Some see simple solutions that would stop adoption from one country to another but they fail to view the current state of that society on Adoption and Orphan status. The other side extols the 'blessedness of adoption' and ignore the realities that a child/adult must face throughout their lives, the many unanswered questions.
"Why?" "What really happened?" "Do I betray my parents if I look for my 'other parents'?"
Many do not even want to know, loyality may cause them to not want to search. Again, there is a vast range of emotional feelings, thoughts, desires and positions. It is a life long journey, that may stay the same or suddenly change. When some adoptees have searched they found different stories, a few have found reunion but others have been rejected twice.
You who read this, you may be an Adult Adoptee, an Adoptive Parent or family member, a Natural/1st/Birth mother, or a social worker, adoption agency staff, government official, etc. The so-called Adoption Triad has extentions of many groups and in this day and age MOST of them should work together to find the best solutions for each individual person involved.
If Family Preservation of an Unwed Mother is possible then yes by all means; if the family of the mother is not willing then YES, a family that openly adopts within the country; but if not possible then YES, send the child to a family of another culture, making certain that international and local laws are followed. Every child deserves a home, and he or she should not have to grow up in Foster homes or Institutional Care IF A HOME CAN BE FOUND. I have the strongest disgust for those who blindly are against InterCountry Adoption (formerly called International Adoption) yet ignore the facts of a country's own ideas on Orphans/Adoptees. They scream "Family Preservation" yet there is no 'father', only a woman, a mother, faced with the realities of life. She must live with her 'decision' which may be pressured upon her by greed or those thinking it is best for the child. In certain societies now Single Motherhood is 'acceptable' but in many others it is unacceptable. We cannot 'make' a people desire 'to do the right thing' or 'take care of their own'. WHO are we to demand such?
On the other hand, corruption in Sending Countries Should/Must be exposed and governments of Receiving Countries follow the spirit of the Hague Conventions on the Rights of the Child and on Adoption. Not all adoptions have been forced upon mothers, and babies have not all been 'stolen'. Thousands of children were abandoned on the streets, because the circumstances the mothers still find themselves faced with cause them to make the decision to give up their child. Can society move forward and change? Slowly that is happening in some countries but more must be done. One-sided arguments that blame other do not solve the problems.
Children are born each day around the world in poverty, with no family, victims of war, mixed marriage, prejudices, subject to various religious and moral rules, the list is endless. The world is becoming Globalized yet we have still have our differences. How wonderful if we all respected each other...how we love the songs of peace and love. SIGH, but the realities of life in this world is not that because good and evil exist in the hearts of mankind. We can only try individually to do what we each think is right. I only wish I had learned this earlier in my own life and not made so many mistakes.
Well, enough for now. I encourage all of you to seek out what you can discover, remember to keep things in perspective, balance your viewpoint by reading many different writings by every part of This Thing of Ours-Adoption. Good luck and God (which ever one you may believe in) bless you and yours.
The Korean War Baby