Editorial from the Hankyoreh News

Stop intercountry adoption

The fourth meeting of the International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) is being held until Saturday in Seoul. Approximately 650 adoptees who have been separated from their birth parents are said to be in attendance. These adoptees were once neglected in the country of their birth, so it is sorrowful to have them come to Korea again out of a sense of longing. Repeating the talk about how we are “the same minjok” (people) or “of the same pitjul” (bloodline) only sounds like lip service in the face of their irreplaceable loss, since today as well, a few more newborn babies will board planes on their way to adoptive parents.

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5 thoughts on “Editorial from the Hankyoreh News

  1. “Instead of statements about how Korea is going to promote domestic adoption or work to improve how society sees adoption, there needs to be an immediate and specific way to end intercountry adoption.”
    But it is futile to even consider ending international adoption until measures to promote domestic adoption are in place. Japan severely restricts international adoption and adoption, period, due to parental rights. But that still does not addresse the fact that there are many Japanese children growing up in orphanages. Until the demand for Korean adoptions exceeds the demand for international adoptions, it is short-sighted to stop international adoption.
    “Stopping intercountry adoption is more about very basic human rights for children than it is about any grand slogans about how “we should bear responsibility for our own minjok.””
    Intercountry adoption equals human rights abuse?
    “Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child declares that “a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will.””
    But this is to suggest that children are forcefully taken from their parents in Korea to be adopted. That is not really the case. The parents make a choice to give up their children because they are unable to care for them.

  2. (jstele)
    And…even if not forcefully taken away, how is it really a “choice” to give up one’s child when there are no (or very, very few) viable alternatives? It’s not as if they have the world at their disposal and still “choose” adoption.
    I also feel that domestic adoption would be good for Korea, but then again, look at the track the US has followed. Domestic infant adoption is another corrupt industry here. It would be wonderful for Korea to work out ways for mothers and children to stay together, period.
    I’m willing to say that there is plenty of abuse going on within international adoption. I’m definitely not as researched on the issue as I would like to be, but at the very least, consider the financial aspect of it and know that it can’t be as based in altruism (if there is such a thing) as we would all like to think.

  3. Zoe,
    “And…even if not forcefully taken away, how is it really a “choice” to give up one’s child when there are no (or very, very few) viable alternatives? It’s not as if they have the world at their disposal and still “choose” adoption.”
    It’s not an easy choice, but still a choice.
    “I also feel that domestic adoption would be good for Korea, but then again, look at the track the US has followed. Domestic infant adoption is another corrupt industry here. It would be wonderful for Korea to work out ways for mothers and children to stay together, period.”
    I’m sure there are countries with less corrupt adoption practices than the US, perhaps Switzerland? Of course, no country is immune to corruption. For Korean families to stay together, so many things would have to change in the government and society. It is not just a matter of the parents having the means to support their children. There were cases of women who gave up their children to get married because having a child would be an “inconvenience” to their husband-to-be and new life. Some children end up in orphanages after their parents get divorced because neither parent wants to deal with the child. There is also a stigma to unwed mothers and children born out of wedlock. Some people don’t want to deal with that reality.
    “I’m willing to say that there is plenty of abuse going on within international adoption. I’m definitely not as researched on the issue as I would like to be, but at the very least, consider the financial aspect of it and know that it can’t be as based in altruism (if there is such a thing) as we would all like to think.”
    Sure, there is, but not all international adoptions are corrupt. People adopt because they want children for whatever reason, altruistic or not. They get the opportunity to raise a child.

  4. Choices… It irks me when people who’ve lived in privilege and ignorance try to say that the women who gave up their children ‘chose’ to give them up. One, it shows utter ignorance of how Korean patriarchy works. A woman did not (and still, in some cases/areas, do not) have a choice or a say in what happens to her child; if her husband or husband’s family deemed it necessary to give up a daughter in order to afford a future son, she had no choice. Sure, she can choose to leave the family with her child. If her own family could not support her, she could choose a life of panhandling and homelessness or even starvation for herself and her child.
    The goverment and society as a whole had a choice to lend a hand. The women themselves did not. For a woman to either be a single mother (widowed or out-of-wedlock) or choose to leave a husband in order to keep a child, there were no choices unless she was financially secure on her own, a rare occurance.
    Really, one should know all the facts before one starts talking about choices that women in Korea had/have.

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