Friday, March 1, 2013

North Korean adoptions

babies (Wikimedia Commons) 
Exactly 2 months ago, the US passed a bill that would allowAmerican families a possibility to become parents by giving them the opportunity to adopt a (North) Korean child. Yes, the needs of those children might be very desperate and I am not saying that they are not entitled to receive whatever help they possibly could get. They have a right just like any other child to get a chance to grow up in a nurturing, healthy and loving environment.

But since I am an adult Korean adoptee, (born in South Korea) I am worried and a bit guarded to see exactly how this bill work once it's implemented. For you to understand my reasons for objecting or approving this legislation, I suppose it is vital I explain why I feel like I do.

Officially in my "social study" presented and compiled by the adoption agency, it said that I was an "orphan." "Orphan" means that the child in question is "parent-less," or lacks the financial support from a parents as well as has insufficient care. I grew up knowing of my birth family in Korea, while other adoptees were not aware of anything about their parents, such as if they were married. Mine were married since 17 years prior to my birth, and I was not my parents first child.  I was there youngest at the time of my birth.

Korean adoption begun in the 1950's as a result of War, and Korea began sending orphans overseas to be adopted by American families. Now we enter into 2013, 60 years after the war ending, and Korea still practices adoption.  Although the numbers of international adoptions has decreased with an extended waiting period. This would be more so if South Korean government preferred family preservation or domestic adoption before inter-country adoption.

I decided to initiate a birth family search in my teens.  Through that year long experience, I became friends with other Korean adoptees who were in my situation. From that I learned, many discrepancies came from adoption. Far too many times, I have heard heartening stories of fabricated documents, false information, replaced identified and even switched identified and switched children. These are--or used to be--the practices of South Korean adoption agencies. Will the the world once again become victims of lies because of a need for easier adoption placement?

Forgive me if I am a bit cynical but I think there may be two possible, different approaches by (North) Korea.  Either they will begin to mass-deport thousands upon thousands of small children and orphans in the hopes of getting a piece of the cake.

We send them away now under the pre-understanding that we expect them to support us later.


This bill could be fruitless.  There may be several prospective adoptive parents that technically are approved for adoption. But they might be forced to wait in limbo since the law really isn't doing much. This could be a way for the Kim Jung Un to receive more aid by adopting this seemingly more "open" approach, which also would fit well into his new policy of ending violence with South Korea.