Saturday, August 1, 2015

Keeping Up Appearances for Summer Olympics of 1988

The official logo for the Olympiad of 1988

Due to the fact that Korea made a desperate attempt to better their image as a child exporting nation prior to hosting the Summer Olympics of 1988. They begun to make several changes on the intercountry adoptions from Korea as early-or late as in August of 1986.

I was born during the first few months of 1986 and conviniently enough just before the temporary ban of intercountry adoptions. My speedy adoption process surprised my second parents, I prefer second not new in this regard. My adoptive mum has told time and time again of how my APs had planned a day on the beach-of course they never went. A certain phone call took them both by surprise--- in just a week or two the Swedish couple would be parents to an infant baby girl.

I was probably one of the last infant adoptees to be adopted out from Korea to Sweden, (because of the Olympics preparations all adoption processes that already was started was finalized extremely fast) Korea wanted to finalize all adoption processes in a timely fashion before hosting Summer Olympics two years later. The urgency was dire since Korea also announced it would be hosting pre-Olympics later in that year.

My APs had prepared and planned to travel to Korea to pick me up on sight but since I was an infant no adoptive parents to Korean infants was allowed to travel there themselves. That used to be the norm prior to my adoption and a practice that returned some time later when Korea decided that they were unable to care for the orphans on their own.

What I did not know was that my birthfather had his signature forged and that the consent for adoption probably would have been dissolved if my birthfather had come for me sooner or if I had not been sent of as soon as I was. I now know that the reason for relinquishment was nothing more than a lie. I was not placed for adoption because I was another daughter to a large family in poverty. A family member bravely decided that I should be placed up for adoption instead of being raised within my family by my birthparents and with my older siblings. Perhaps it was a concious choice or perhaps said person did not understand what would happen once the consent form had been signed. It's likely that this person either believed I would remain at the adoption agency long enough for my birth father to reclaim me. Or maybe this relative was hoping I might not have been adopted at all, or if I had been adopted it would have been through domestic adoption and not intercountry adoption.

Fact is that since 1953 Korea has been responsible for relinquishing over 25,000 if not Korean children for inter country adoption. The three Scandinavian countries being Norway, Denmark and Sweden has accepted their faire share of KADs. Norway received 6,000 KADs, Denmark 9000 and Sweden got 10,000.

Of course I cannot change what has been done or change how my adoption happened, I would have liked to see some measures taken to hold the people that forged my birth father's signature on the consent form held accountable or at least punished for their action.

I know that I probably is not alone with this devastating experience and it's likely its still continues to happen. That infuriates me more than words ever could expresss... During this process my APs has acted exeptionally distant since as far as they knew they were protected by the law--- legally I was their daughter. It did not matter that my birth father never actually signed the consent form for adoption---someone else did it using his name. Which means that he officially had consented to my adoption and the relinquishment of his parental rights towards me.

The second agency that acted on my APs behalf had no idea whatsoever about any events that lead up to my approved adoption. My APs acted in good fate and trusted that the information in my case study was true. The problem does not lie with my second agency the problem was confined to Korea prior to my adoption. I would like to believe that had the second agency been aware of my situation at that time, my adoption would not have been approved. I believe that if that actually had happned my APs would still have been selected as prospective parents to another legally orphaned child.

Of course it was convinient for the agency that my adoption had been finalized when my birth father begun to visit the agency to try to reclaim me as his child. That was not possible since my birthparents would have had to pay a fee to gain me back or to legally dissolve my adoption. Since the child in question no longer was a citizen of Korea I suppose that process never was started. Instead the only answer to my whereabouts was that I was sent to Sweden.

I know that you can't change something that happened 20 years ago... at this point all I can do is raise awareness about this practice and to tell my story. Hoping change will come one day...