THIS THING OF OURS-ADOPTION

THE KOREAN WAR BABY

My name is Don Gordon BELL and I am one of the earliest of the first generation of KAD's (Korean ADoptees). The Korean War had been settled by Armistice three years before I left war-torn Seoul, Korea, on May 21, 1956. It was the first plane of twelve 'war babies' processed thru the Harry Holt Adoption Program. Read more of MY STORY on My Pages.
I grew up in a typical middle-class family of English-Scottish roots in greater Los Angeles, Ca, USA. Memories faded, Korean language was 'lost' and I did not know anything about the country of my birth until I met Korean Marines in Vietnam while serving with the US Marines. It was my first exposure to real Korean people. I was not completely aware of how prejudiced most Koreans thought towards a Half-Breed like me. I learned what "Tuigi" meant, a Korean word for a "Child of a Foreign devil". Oh, wonderful.


All my life I always had to answer the question: "What ARE you?" and I simply would tell 'my story'. It was not a big deal for me, for my Adoptive Parents had taught me that being an American meant that WE were from many countries. I never 'wished to be White' and just learned to stand up for my own identity. MY Identity was as an American, with mixed heritage. I did not know what being "Korean" meant but often wondered about my roots, and what my birth father's ethnicity. Mexican, Native Americans, and Spanish people would tell me that I had their 'genes' for sure. Little did I know they were right!

After college, I traveled to Manila and for ten years I lived in the Philippines. I was excepted as a 'mestizo' and fit into the former Spanish colony. I was a B-movie Character Actor,
working on international and local films, enjoying a 'crazy and wild' abandonment. Then a life changing experience gave me faith in a personal Higher Being. After walking away from the film business, I lived back in the USA, not sure of my direction in life finding work in construction, finish carpentry, door hanging, and many other jobs I'd like to forget.

In 1991, at 38, I attended a Holt Heritage Camp that was a great experience and really began my own journey of Adoption Identity search. I had never thought much of my Korean culture, though I always felt proud of being "HALF-Korean" and "half-Something".

In 1994 I came back to Seoul, Korea, with my church Vineyard Christian Fellowship, and was invited to stay with a church in East Seoul, for one year. I have lived here since late 1995- re-discovering my "Korean-ness", teaching English and telling my Adoption Story to thousands of Korean students of all ages, helping their understanding of Korean Adoptees. It is one of the issues that Korea is now facing, even for its own secretly adopted children, those who were adopted IN-Country by Koreans who desired a family but due to problems with Infertility secretly adopt.

I was a charter member in 1997 (first dozen members) of GOA'L (Global Overseas Adoptees' Link, founded by Ami Nafzger) and continue to be involved with the complex issues of This Thing of Ours-Adoption. Thousands of KADs have visited Korea over the years, searching for their culture and Some search for birth family. Seventy-five thousand have come, yet only 2,400 plus have found Reunion with Birth family, often with varying results. There are many complexities, many don't want to search concerned about offending their Adoptive Families. Each KAD must decide what they want to do, when to do it, etc.


At 61, I am still 'working thru' my Adoption Identity. Each of YOU need to 'work through' your own understanding and hopefully find forgiveness and healing. Read many different accounts and compare before coming to conclusions. I hope that you will learn what IS happening NOW, in the land of your birth, the Rep. of Korea (South Korea). (See Report Links).

Times are changing, the reasons for 'relinquishment for adoption' have shifted, but there continues to be a need for a multi-tiered approach and understanding of Adoption issues. Slowly, attitudes of Korean society ARE changing for the better. But, the majority continue to feel embarrassment and shame. Thus, Adoption is still shrouded in secrecy even for those who are adopted In-country. There ARE positive signs and movements of NGO's and KAD groups are advocating for the Unwed Mothers. However, two-thirds of pregnant women each year, continue to give up their babies for adoption. One out of four are sent overseas, YET three are secretly adopted in-country. The Myth that "Koreans don't adopt" is false, but they need to open up and hopefully change their shame to pride.


This blog is for EVERYONE, whether you are an Adoptee, Adoptive Family, Birth Family or involved in Adoption in ANY way as a professional, social worker, official, etc, from Korea or the world. We examine the complex issues and personal journeys that we, domestic and overseas adoptees, have to face and sort out in This Thing of Ours-Adoption. (Use the Ligit Search function (Left Column) to check for Posts on various topics, TransRacial, TranCultural, MultiCultural families, Domestic, Civil Code Law Adoptions, InterCountry Adoption, etc.)
I personally have come to a compromised, nuanced position on this thing of ours-adoption. I advocate a Multi-tiered Plan that tries to be balanced, realistic, fair to all.

UPDATE: Living in the Philippines since 2010, at first teaching students from several countries as an Online Tutor, based in Makati, Metro Manila. I was working on a Digital Library for Online Tutoring or ELearning; developing an agritourism farm; and Overseas Retirement Care for foreigners needing 24/7 health care.

Then some 18 months ago, in July of 2012 I met with Andrew Leavold, a crazy film obsessed Aussie who helped "pull me back into film making".

WHEW! Lot on my plate. I have also been learning much about the Filipino society's very different viewpoints on unwed motherhood and adoption.

Latest: As of Sept. 2012, I worked on an Indie Film, "Baybayin, the Palawan Script", directed by Auraeus Solito, and international award winning Filipino director. I had a role in the film and explored my hobby as a STILLS Photographer. Currently I have quit all teaching, co-writing on an international film that will be done in 3D and CGI effects. I am back in the film-making business and I love it.

Adoption Discourse needs to hear YOUR VOICE. Every opinion, even opposing viewpoints will be posted and interaction invited by email and Comments have been activated again with spam filters!)
. Welcome, come learn, and share your thoughts.


KWB Notes on "Reviewing Issues on Unwed Mothers' Welfare Korea"

Executive Summary- May 2009

Reviewing Issues on Unwed Mothers' Welfare in Korea: Intercountry Adoption, Related Statistics, and Welfare Policies
in Developed Countries


InterCountry Adoption and Unwed Mothers

The current welfare status of unwed mothers and their children are closely related to the practices of intercoutry adoption in Korea. Expansion of intercountry adoption (hereafter ICA) in Korea during past decades has prevented the government from building sound infrastructure for unwed mothers and children. There are few studies reviewing the effect of ICA on welfare system for unwed mothers and children. 

Korea is the country which has sent the largest number of her children to foreign countries by ICA. As a temporary measure, ICA started after Korean War to save war orphans and mix-blooded children between US servicemen and Korean women. It is ironic that more number of Korean adoptees was sent to foreign countries during the period when Korea was attaining rapid socioeconomic development and moving vigorously toward a developed country rather than during the period when Korea was hit hard by war and poverty.

Though ICA started as a temporary measure, it has become institutionalized and expanded when there were not many war orphans and mixed-blooded children. Children out of wedlock have been the main source of supply for ICA since 1980s. Faced with social stigma and economic difficulties, most unwed mothers could not keep their children. In Korea where patriarchal lineage is strongly emphasized, families without a son wanting to continue the lineage have traditionally adopted a nephew. The adopted nephew maintains family relationship both with family of orientation and adopted family. The traditional practices also affect civil code articles on adoption.

There have been two tracks of laws for adopting children within Korea: Civil Code and Special Act relating to Promotion and Procedures of Adoption (hereafter SAPPA). The SAPPA is rooted in the 1961 Special Act to Promote Adoption of Orphans. Before the 1961 Act, people are adopted according to Civil Code heavily influenced by traditional adoption practices. The government needed a new law enabling orphans to be adopted across the national border. The adoption practices by Civil Code are very different from SAPPA. Traditional motivation for adoption is to continue patriarchal family lineage. Family without a son used to adopt a child of relatives. The adopted child keeps maintaining relationship with and rights to inherit from biological parents. According to Civil Code, adoption is not limited to children. Adults and even the married can be adopted too. According to Civil Code, adoption contract is made by mutual agreement of adoptee and adoptive parents. Adoptee less than 15 needs permission from parents or legal guardian. Dissolution of adoptive relation is accorded by agreement of the two parties. Adoption based on Civil Code is far behind in protecting the welfare of adoptee children

The 1961 Act was abolished and renamed as 1976 Special Adoption Act to cover both intercountry and domestic adoption. In 1995, it is renamed as SAPPA to strengthen the welfare of adopted children and to promote domestic adoption. Under the influence of Confucian tradition, family bond and lineage have been strongly emphasized in Korea, which consequently affect adoption law and practices. Despite the new special act for adoption, many are not ready to adopt abandoned and relinquished children even when they want adoption. High proportion of domestic adoption is presumed to be done secretly. Many adoptive parents report their adopted child as their birth child to administrative office


KWB notes this has become possible since Hojeok, the Family Registry system has been changed to Individual Registry recently. Previously Adoptive Parents were forced to include the birth parents on the Hoju-Father's Family Registry. 

According to 2008 adoption statistics issued by Office of Court Administration, only 49 out of total 1,306 cases based on SAPPA are reported to Court. It means that parents reported them as their own birth child rather than adopted child.do not want to have their friends and relatives know their child adopted. Adoptive parents Most domestic adoption cases collected by Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family are not reported to Court as adoption. It means they are adopted secretly. Adoption act regulating domestic adoption practices is not efficient in preventing secret adoption practices. Though attitudes toward adoption are changing favorably, it is still not well received among most Koreans.


KWB notes again that "it is still not well received among most Koreans" is quite an understatement. Recent changes make it EASIER to hide the CIVIL or DOMESTIC adoption.

In the mid 1970s, faced with domestic and international criticism, Korean government has tried to curb down ICA from mid 1970s and succeeded in increasing domestic adoption and decreasing ICA until Chun regime came into power in 1981. Chun regime did not try to reduce ICA and the number reached its peak in the mid 1980s. In 1985, 8,837 Korean children were sent overseas as adoptees, which constitute 1.35% of new-born babies. Korea drew international attention as she hosted 1988 Seoul Olympic and got harsh criticism for high incidence of ICA by Western media. After the game, it decreased by 35% within a year and by 54% within two years. The drastic drop indicates ICA could be easily affected by adoption related policy.


*Yes, Abortion rates increase during the same time. Domestic Adoption has steadily DECREASED over the last ten years. Check the Adoption Stats on "Pages" under the KWB headliner.
 
Adoption agency has played an important role in expansion of ICA. The motivation of adoption agency to maintain itself is related to high incidence of ICA in Korea. Various issues and problems of ICA have been raised regarding adoptee’s inconsistent records on adoptees, adoption fees, and adoption procedure without consent from biological mother. It is often reported that staffs in mother’s shelter run by adoption agencies have led unwed mothers to give up their children for adoption
*The KWB must note that Abandoned Children DO NOT have signed Consent from biological mother, HOW? Uh, it was abandoned. What of the CIVIL adoptions that ARE NOT COVERED on the Government's Domestic figures? Court records of children adopted suggest almost double the Domestic figures each year.  

After the Olympic game, many adoptees have visited Korea to find their mothers and family. During the period of late 1980s and early 1990s, 3,000 to 5,000 adoptees are estimated to visit Korea. Stories of family search among adoptees has frequently hit the air and been covered by media. In 1998, President Kim apologized for failing to protect them within Korea and sending them overseas. In 1999, the status of overseas Koreans and accordingly favorable visa status and benefits were given to them. In 1995 SAPPA, it is required to provide various service and support for adoptees in the form of culture, language, and family search program.

Watching family search program of adoptees and sharing their stories, most Koreans have felt strong empathy for them. Their stories have brought heightened attention to adoptees and related past of Korean society. But, public attention has seldom given to unwed mothers who are mothers of most adoptees. They have been silent and hidden from eyes of Korean society.

Government and most opinion leaders agree that ICA has to stop in near future and domestic adoption has been suggested as the alternative. They have not well recognized that top priority should be given to unwed mothers and their children. It is quite contradictory to worry about low-level of fertility while 1,250 Korean children were still sent overseas as adoptees in 2008. 


*Again the KWB notes that the 1,250 sent overseas as Adoptees in 2008 ICA are LEFTOVER from the Domestic and CIVIL adoptions. These also include the Special Needs children that only 3% are adopted by Korean families. In the 1995 to 2005, a ten year period, Domestic adoption of Special Needs were 179...ICA adoptions were 8,801.  That is roughly a 1 to 50 ratio...Just for 1995-2005- why this huge disparity? Hmm, could it be that Korean people don't want Disabled or Mixed-Blood children in society.


Who can blame a Korean woman, 95% of whom are Unwed, who is faced with such a decision on her own? She gave the gift of life by not aborting, then made the Choice to give up for adoption after weighing her limited options, not knowing if it would be here or overseas adoption. She perhaps was hoping that in another country a family would "Take by Choice" her child. Some folks suggest that the Adoption Agencies "tricked, coerced, even forced" women to sign away their children.  
 
The outpouring of narratives has revealed painful journey for self-identity and root among adoptees. Growing up in the society whose majority have different race from adoptees, they said they felt confused and marginal. Adoptees returning to and residing in Korea formed activist groups to advocate the rights of adoptees and unwed mothers. Advocacy for unwed mothers is first publically spoken by adoptees rather than themselves.   

Despite prevalence of social prejudice, the attitudes of unwed mothers toward themselves and their children have changed tremendously. Analysis based on case studies and materials on unwed mothers during the period of 1984 and 2009 shows that they have felt less ashamed of non-marital births, more openly expressed their love for babies, and are more optimistic about their future among recent mothers. Although most of them worry about how to earn their livelihood, their will to keep their children is strong. Abolition of patriarchal family registry, Hoju system decreases the importance of male presence to establish legal status of new-born baby. More economic opportunities are available to women nowadays than past several decades. One teenage mother even rejects marriage proposal of child’s father saying that it is not a good solution to fix broken relationship.

According to small scale surveys based on mothers residing in facilities, increasingly more unwed mothers want to keep their children instead of giving them up for adoption. The proportion of mothers who want to keep their children has increased from 5.8% in 1984 to 31.7% in 2005. *Recent updated figure from KWDI is that in 2009 it had reached 37%). It indicates that government should play an active role in providing adequate services for unwed mothers. Government services have been focused on shelters and residence providing services for the mothers who are close to delivery and care infants. The residence period of these facilities is limited to 1 or 2 years. Once they are out of the facilities, there is no way to trace where they are. Low-income unwed mothers with children living in community are supposed to get welfare payment based on National Minimum Protection Law. But, the welfare coverage seems to be very limited. 

The importance of welfare policy for unwed-mother family has been largely ignored. Despite the surge of women’s movement during the past two decades, there have been no self-help and advocacy groups for them.
Most adoptees sent overseas in recent decades are children of unwed mothers. They organized advocacy groups and have demanded government to improve welfare support for the mothers. Moral judgment against out-of-wedlock births has decreased among the public. The mothers themselves are also more concerned about how to make a living and support children rather than how to be perceived. Government should make efforts to provide adequate support and services for unwed mother family in community.


Related Statistics on Unwed Mothers

  It had been believed that Korean Population Census contains statistics on unwed mothers. But, it is confirmed through this study that it is not the case.
  *KWDI Feb. 24, 2010 ,  60th Women's Policy Forum highlighted this disparaging fact that questions must be asked to separate Unwed Mothers from Divorced Single Mothers/Widows. This will hopefully be fixed for this years  Census. UPDATE: Questions were adjusted to determine better the stats.


Misunderstanding arises from a cross table National Statistical Office provides. In the table showing the distribution of never-married household type by family composition type, the number of never-married household is broken down by mother-child or father-child family type. The combination of never-married household and mother-child family looks like family consisting of unwed mother and children. But, it is not. In the Population Census questionnaire, birth experiences are not asked to those women who answered never-married to marital status question. In sum, the 1995 Korean Population Census questionnaire is not designed to collect information on whether never-married women have a child and how many children they have. Therefore, it is impossible to figure out the number of unwed mothers based on Census.

Unwed mother is defined as a woman who is pregnant or have given birth without legal marriage. Mother in de facto marriage is not classified unwed mother. Despite the simple definition, figuring out who is unwed mother is very complicated matter. Marital status of a woman is not fixed and could change over her life cycle. Unwed-mother status disappears after marriage. Biological fathers of the children of unwed mothers are not necessarily unmarried. In patriarchal Korean society, many unwed mothers are one of many partners of a socioeconomically able man.

In the old Hoju system, the child is often listed in father’s family registry while living with its biological mother and supported by father. In this case, child and mother are in different family registry. Married, divorced, and separated women could give births out-of-wedlock and they are regarded as unwed mothers by definition. But, with their children within marriage, they are not unwed mothers. They can be both wed and unwed mothers according to couples’ marital status under which a child is born. In sum, it is almost impossible and unnecessary to count total number of unwed mothers matched the definition.

The reason why we want to know the number of unwed mothers is to figure out the amount of resources to support unwed mothers raising children under economic difficulty. It is easy and feasible to estimate the number of unwed mothers through child related statistics. Birth statistics including number of out-of-wedlock births and non-marital birth rates are presented in Table 1.

According to Table 1, the number of out-of-wedlock births has reached its peak in 1994 and decreased to the lowest in 1997. Korea was hit hard by economic crisis, which notably affected marriage and fertility behaviors of young people. Since the 1997 recession, the number increased to 7,774 in 2007. Non-marital birth rates have ranged from 0.6 to 1.6 during the period of 1989 and 2007. The rate is extremely low compared to other OECD countries. According to a survey funded by Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family, Affairs, the number of abortion among never-married is estimated to be 143,918 cases in 2005. That is 95.7% of total out-of-wedlock pregnancy resulted in abortion.


<Table 1> Number of Births by Mother’s Marital Status   
(Unit: Person, %)

Year
Total
In Marriage
Out of Wedlock
Unknown
Non-Marital Birth Rate
1989
639,431
634,270
5,161
0
0.8
1990
649,738
643,585
6,151
2
0.9
1991
709,275
702,014
7,259
2
1.0
1992
730,678
722,374
8,304
0
1.1
1993
715,826
707,021
8,799
6
1.2
1994
721,185
711,904
9,272
9
1.3
1995
715,020
706,247
8,748
25
1.2
1996
691,226
684,890
6,290
46
0.9
1997
668,344
664,148
4,196
0
0.6
1998
634,790
630,362
4,428
0
0.7
1999
614,233
608,155
4,716
1,362
0.8
2000
634,501
627,336
5,540
1,625
0.9
2001
554,895
547,779
5,330
1,786
1.0
2002
492,111
483,152
5,184
3,775
1.1
2003
490,543
480,110
6,082
4,351
1.2
2004
472,761
463,245
6,116
3,400
1.3
2005
435,031
425,653
6,459
2,919
1.5
2006
448,153
438,735
6,805
2,613
1.5
2007
493,189
483,275
7,774
2,140
1.6







     Sources : Korean National Statistical Office. 2008. Vital Statistics. 

Note : Unknown includes infant dead and the abandoned. The sharp increase of unknown from 1999 is possible through efforts to investigate the number of the infant dead through additional survey. In Korea, birth is legally identified through report to administrative office by parents or relatives. The infant dead with fatal disease from birth is less likely to be reported.  
   
The KWB wonders what happened to the number of UNKNOWN in the year 1999? It was perhaps the results of 1998 figures, just after the '97 Financial crisis hit and caused large increase of older children being abandoned by families, both parents. (Did InterCountry Adoptions do this?
 
"With every new family created by adoption, another family gets torn apart." From "Resilience" film synopsis. KWB asks Is this True or Hollywood Hype?

NO, Not every adoption caused a "family" to be torn apart. What about the 37,276  Children with "Disabilities" now called Special Needs...were they 'torn apart from a family? NOT at all, but certainly the mother, who was faced with prejudice and scorn already for being Unwed and pregnant with a Bastard child HAD to CHOOSE to relinquish/Give up for CIVIL/Domestic/ICA adoption OR ABORT. She was rejected by her boyfriend/lover/victim of rape/incest and her own family. Korean Society would always give her and her child dirty looks and say ugly words to them. If her child was Mixed-Blooded all the issues apply as well. Some Stats say 5,487  or up to 12,000 mixed-blood children have been adopted.

BUT Adoption was not the CAUSE, it did not tear a 'family' apart. NOT in THESE CASES. If a child is abandoned in the streets, has it been "torn from it's family?"




<Table 2> Destination of Out-of-Wedlock Births: Adopted, With Mothers, and Unidentified                         (Unit: Person)



1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996

Out-of-Wedlock Births
7,259
8,304
8,799
9,272
8,748
6,290

Adopted
2,758
2,717
2,980
2,913
2,699
2,822

With Mother
472
548
590
630
604
440

Unidentified
4,029
5,039
5,229
5,729
5,445
3,028


1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002

Out-of-Wedlock Births
4,196
4,428
4,716
5,540
5,330
5,184

Adopted
3,082
3,338
3,622
3,706
3,862
3,708

With Mother
298
319
391
476
586
839

Unidentified
816
771
703
1,358
882
637


2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
-

Out-of-Wedlock Births
6,082
6,116
6,459
6,805
7,774
-

Adopted
1,778
1,863
2,048
2,241
2,656
-

With Mother
1,299
1,622
2,048
2,157
2,464
--

Unidentified
1,319
987
1,247
1,747
3,014
-
Sources : Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family 2008. Total Number of Adopted Children
within and outside Korea
  Estimated Number of Children raised by their own Mothers
Unidentified Children = Ⓐ - (Ⓑ + Ⓒ)
          Note : is estimated based on previous survey results. The percentage of unwed mothers wishing to keep their children is 5.8%, 7.2%, 8.3%, 8.6%, 11%, and 31.7% each for 1984, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005.

Unwed Mothers who Kept their Babies
  5.8% - 1984
  7.2% - 1998
  8.3% - 1999
  8.6% - 2000
11% - 2001
31.7% - 2005
37% - 2009 *Latest Figures from KWDI


KWB Asks: What are these 
UNIDENTIFIED 3,014 numbers?
Could they be CIVIL Code Law Adoptions?


<Table 3> Estimated Number of Unwed Mothers Raising their Own Children- by Children’s Age in 2009
(Unit: Person, %)
Age of Children
Number
Percentage
0 Age 2 and below
2,464
15.6
0 Age 3 and below
4,621
29.3
0 Age 5 and below
8,291
52.5
0 Age 7 and below
10,429
66.1
0 Age 13 and below
12,939
82.0
0 Age 15 and below
14,173
89.8
0 Age 18 and below
15,783
100.0


Table 2 shows the destination of children of unwed mothers. 2,758 children are adopted domestically and internationally in 1991. The statistics on the adopted are provided by Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family. 899 children of unwed mothers are adopted within country and 1,859 outside country in 1991. 472 children are estimated to live with their own mothers in 1991. But, we cannot figure out specifically where 4,029 remaining number of children are located. Estimated number of unwed mothers raising their own children is presented by children’s age. In 2009, there are 2,464 unwed mothers living with children aged 2 and below and 15,783 unwed mothers with children aged 18 and below.  

Table 4 presents expected location of unidentified children of unwed mothers. They are expected to be adopted domestically, in foster care, or in institutional care. The adopted should be reported in court to gain a legal status. The court record on domestic adoption is supposed to include all domestic adoption cases kept in statistics of Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family. But, 96.2% to 97.5% of the statistics are not reported in court. In 1991, 2,568 cases of adoption reported in court contain only 2.5% to 3.8% of domestic adoption statistics of Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family. Unidentified children of unwed mothers could be placed in domestic adoption reported in court, in foster care, or in institutional care. If more detailed information on children in the three types of care is available, we can figure out more specific number of children unidentified in each type of care
 
<Table 4>  Expected Location of Unidentified Children of Unwed Mothers by Year

(Unit : Person)

1991
 1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
Unidentified
4,029
 5,039
5,229
5,729
5,445
3,028
Domestic Adoption Reported in Court
2,568
3,061
4,227
2,791
2,043
2,010
Foster Care
999
1,212
943
927
505
727
Institutional Care
3,414
3,122
2,940
2,953
2,819
3,161

1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
Unidentified
816
771
703
1,358
882
637
Domestic Adoption Reported in Court
2,248
2,572
2,713
2,777
2,864
2,423
Foster Care
1,209
2,353
1,249
1,406
3,090
2,177
Institutional Care
3,917
5,112
4,683
4,453
6,274
4,663

2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
-
Unidentified
1,319
987
1,247
1,747
3,014
-
DomesticAdoption Reported in Court
2,198
2,562
3,154
3,890
3,853
-
Foster Care
2,392
2,212
2,322
3,101
247
-
Institutional Care
4,824
4,782
4,818
4,366
3,245
-

Source : Domestic Adoption Reported in Court : Office of Court Administration. 2008. Justice Yearly Book Foster Care and Institutional Care : Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family. 2008. Statistics on Children under Protection.
  Note : Only 2.5% to 3.8% of domestic adoption cases in statistics of MOHWF are reported in Court records. 96.2% to 97.5% of them take the form of secret adoption in which the children are reported in Court as biological children. 

KWB Notes: Domestic Adoptions reported in Court were 3853 - 1388 (were considered Domestic-processed through 4 Adoption Agencies) = 2465 What does this number represent, where did they come from?


**Are these CIVIL Adoptions reported in Hojeok as natural births by Korean Adoptive Parents keeping the adoption SECRET?




Welfare Policies in Developed Countries

It is similar to Korea that the number of single parent family is increasing in advanced countries. But there’s no need to provide benefits for unwed mothers because divorce and cohabiting is prevailing. Nevertheless there’re many policies for unwed(single) parents for their relatively strong needs for income, housing, employment and childcare.

Advanced countries have diverse policies for supporting unwed mothers and their children. There’s no need to differentiate unwed mothers with others, for they don’t differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate birth in Sweden. Moreover, Swedish social benefits are so universal and generous that there’s no need to provide extra benefits for single parent families except childcare support system. Although French social benefits are less universal than Swedish policies, those family policies are very advanced and there’re many kinds of benefits for single parent.

The UK has many kinds of special benefits for single parents. It’s characteristic that it has special supporting policies and service programs for teenage unwed parents because of the increasing rate of teenage unwed parents. Australian government abolished children’s allowances and enacted childcare tax benefit and benefits for single parents. Those policies are very similar to other English Speaking countries such as the UK. Japanese social policies for single parents and unwed mothers are similar to Korean policies. Very few policies for unwed mothers are very residual and those prejudices for unwed mothers are prevalent.

The Development of policies and Movement for unwed mothers and their children: Examples of Australian CSMC

Australian Council of Single Mothers and their Children (CSMC), which was established by unwed mothers who decided to raise their children in 1969 when there was no policies for them. CSMC, is self-help group for unwed mothers and their children. CSMC moved to reform and enact social policies to advocate unwed mothers.

The Council of Single Mothers and their Children responds to the wide ranging needs of single mothers in a variety of ways: providing support and advice to single mothers and those who support them, assisting with provision of material aid, providing information to single mothers about issues affecting them via website, newsletter and resources on specific issues, facilitating connections between single mothers to overcome isolation via email, conducting and participating in research, presenting talks and lectures to community groups and students, advocating for single mothers and their children in the media and participating in a range of community and government committees.

Implications for Korean social policies for unwed mothers and their children

Firstly, there needs to extend income maintenance policies targeted for single mothers due to the insufficient benefits for them in advance although it’s desirable that universal and comprehensive policies for families should be developed.
Secondly, self-help group or supporters’ organizations for unwed mothers and their children should be organized and actively operated for their empowerment like Australian CSMC considering Korean Prejudice for the unwed mothers.

Thirdly, special programs for unwed mothers and their children should be designed, for the need of unwed mothers and their children is different from other (divorced or widowed) single parent families. British Sure Start Plus can be good example of such programs. Finally, they should develop the policies for unwed mothers to continue education and employment besides the income maintenance policies.

Example of Case management for teenage unwed mother – ‘Care pathway model’ of the United Kingdom

‘Teenage Pregnancy Support Service’ is a comprehensive service program for teenage parent, in which case managers(social workers), nurses, education mentor, counselors, tutors, and health professionals work together at related settings (such as children’s center, school, drop-in health center). This service program will be a good practice model for benchmarking in our community center, drop-in center, family service center and health center for unwed mothers and their children. The process of this practice is as follows:

Before birth
  • Access to confidential advice and information
  • Support for decision-making 
  • Support from teenage pregnancy advisor and access to multi-agency 
  • Common assessment
  • Access to dedicated midwife and ante-natal care 
  • Multi-agency support for client’s education and care 
  • Accessing ante-natal support from the children’s centre and involving the father 
  • Reviewing client’s support in school 
  • Provision of alternative education and care out of school

Supported birth: supporting client’s birth and breastfeeding and providing information

After birth: supporting raising baby
  • Post-natal support and advice for clients and their parents 
  • 8 week post-natal check and continued support for client and baby 
  • Return to school 
  • Sex and Relationship Education 
  • Support for client to remain in education 
  • Taking part in teenage parent group 
  • Review of clients and their babies’ progress 
  • Support for post-16-education 
  • Information, advice and guidance from Connexions 
  • 8 month review 
  • post 8~12month review

The Korean War Baby has the entire report in Korean with this Executive Summary at the front. He has been given permission to publish on his blog this from KWDI. If you would like to get a PDF file CHECK Adoption Reports LINKS on left column or contact the KWB at koreanwarbaby@gmail.com





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