This week's links include two stories of Korean adoptees who received unexpected information about their birth families, and two stories of international adoption corruption.
1. This story is a good example of how we cannot always assume that children are voluntarily relinquished for adoption. This is not the first time I have heard that a woman leaves her child with the father and either the father or the father's family member places the child for adoption. In fact, I personally know two Korean adoptees where this is what happened.
From the Harrison Times: A long journey to the past.
Willie Whitescarver — once known as “Jo Kyung-Nam” — is flying
back to his native South Korea this month for the first time since he
left in 1957 as a 2-year-old. He’s going to meet his birth mother, whom
he hasn’t seen in 52 years.
The story of how the little Korean boy ended up in an orphanage
is a complicated one. According to Choi Chun-Hak’s letter, she was
married to a man who had been married twice before and had three sons.
After their marriage and the birth of their son, now known as Willie,
Choi’s husband’s second wife came back to live with her husband’s
family. Choi, who “wanted to become a worker for God,” was
uncomfortable with the situation, and left Willie in the care of his
father’s family while she went to school to study theology. At some
point, without Choi’s knowledge or permission, Willie was taken to an
orphanage, and Choi was not able to locate him and lost track of her
little son for 52 years.
From Front Page Africa: Freedom at Last: 37 Liberian Kids Survive Illegal Adoption; Trafficking Denied
|Members of the Liberian National Police take children freed from the West African Support Network Thursday.|
Liberian children who have been kept at the West African Children
Support Network (WACSN), an adoption agency for several months without
access to their parents in violation to a Liberian government
moratorium on adoption have finally gained freedom through the efforts
of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Save the Children, Don
Bosco Homes, the United Nations Children Fund and other local and
international agencies as they are now in the care of Don Bosco Homes
after been released Thursday.
Children have been placed in the temporary care of Don Bosco Homes, a
local children rehabilitation center for care until they are reunited
with their families.
3. From the Irish Times comes this story about the arrest of Vietnamese officials for fraudulent adoptions.
province of Nam Dinh have been sentenced to jail for arranging over 300
While the vast majority of
adoptions from Vietnam are legitimate, there have been question marks
over some unscrupulous operators after the US embassy in Hanoi last
year accused the Vietnamese authorities of failing to properly control
the country’s adoption system, and said it had found evidence of
corruption, fraud and baby-selling.
266 babies from poor families to be adopted, many by parents in France,
Italy and the US.
4. Last week I wrote about "motherland" tours. In this link, reporter Jenny Hurwitz and her sister, both Korean adoptees, go to Korea on one of these tours and experiences the heartache of looking at their adoption files.
From the Times-Picayune: Reporter returns to orphanage, learns truth about birth family.
From the Helsinki Times.
Personally, I would like to see more information about this study. What
age were the participants? I'm actually quite skeptical.
else I see often in studies of international adoption in European
countries is this common theme of how international adoptees are seen
as being "better" than immigrants. I find that piece quite disturbing.
There is an article in the Laura Briggs/Diana Marre anthology titled "We do not have immigrant children in this school, we just have children adopted abroad."
Children who are adopted to Finland from abroad grow up identifying
themselves as Finnish, according to new research. For adoptees whose
appearance sets them apart from native Finns, growing up different can
be a trying experience. The study also found that, in general, Finnish
attitudes towards international adoptees are more positive than towards
“In group interviews, some adopted youths even said that their
cohorts considered being adopted as a cool thing,” says researcher
Heidi Ruohio, whose study on the experiences of international adoptees
in Finland was published by the Family Federation in August. She also
conducted in-depth interviews with adult adoptees who have grown up in
full article is here.