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I’m a dick: Part 3-A

A fellow adoptee recently requested that I “[b]ring back Dick!”  Who am I to say no?  The “Dick” that brought you this and this is here again, and I have some stuff to get off of my chest, beginning with the following two ideas I’d like you to ponder, dear reader.

Many Korean adoptees are hoodwinked by US adoption agencies.

It’s safe to say that most Korean adoptees interested in reconnecting with their families in South Korea are unaware of the free/VERY inexpensive services offered by GOA’L.  Why?  Because US adoption agencies don’t talk about GOA’L with KADs or their families.  Rather, US agencies, working in conjunction with their South Korean agency counterparts, offer “services” that can cost KADs well over $1,000, most of which go to ESWS, SWS, and Holt (Korea).  You see, US agencies want to keep the South Korean agencies happy.  After all, happy South Korean agencies are much more apt to send more referrals of children to the US agencies, and more referrals equals more money from pre-adoptive parents for US agencies.  And you know what’s interesting about referrals/Korean children?  The children eventually grow up, and some of these adoptees decide to seek out their roots.  When they seek out their roots, most of them, generally uninformed about GOA’L, contact the US agencies that facilitated their adoptions…

You get the point.  KADs are the gifts that keep on giving.  We are special.  We are perpetually commodified.

Many pre-adoptive parents interested in adopting from Korea are mislead.

During what most US agencies call “adoption information meetings,” agency representatives offer the following types of info to individuals interested in adopting from South Korea.

  • The Korean adoption program is well established since South Korean adoptions have been going on for so long.  Our agency works with incredibly experienced and respected partners on the Korea side.
  • The program is established, straightforward, a relatively fast process, and rarely offers surprises.  Because of this, the Korean program is very appealing and remains popular.
  • Korea is a thriving country, but the social stigmas placed upon single mothers remain strong, and domestic adoptions have yet to take hold.  So, there remains a great need for international adoption to insure that all of the country’s children have permanent loving homes.
  • If you decide to travel to Korea to pick up your future adoptive child, you’ll enjoy the experience.  Korea is very much of a modern country and a wonderful place to visit.  There’s so much to do there.  You’ll also be taken care of throughout your stay.
  • Becoming a Korean adoptive family connects you with a thriving community of adoptive families, children, and adult adoptees who are eager to help support families like yours.

Doesn’t all of this sound so wonderful?  Who wouldn’t want to adopt after hearing all of this, right?  I kid of course.  The picture painted by these neat little bullet points doesn’t even come close to telling the full reality.  For years now a growing number of individuals have been asking why ESWS, SWS, and Holt (Korea) have existed so long.  Wasn’t their original goal to end the need for international adoption?  And what about the US agencies?  Would agencies like Holt (US) or Children’s Home Society & Family Services (CHSFS) ever mention this so called “counter narrative”?  Would Dillon International say anything about the fact that many within the ranks of ESWS, SWS, and Holt are old misogynist pigs?  Would Spence-Chapin Adoption Services ever disclose the fact that there is documented evidence that shows illegal, morally unethical, and coercive behavior on the part of the Korean agencies toward women?  Unfortunately the answers to these questions are no, no, and no.  To do so would go against the US agencies’ bottom lines.  To do so would implicate them in the ongoing marginalization of single mothers in South Korea.  To do so would be to admit the longstanding deception that they’ve been selling to pre-adoptive parents.


Okay, dear reader, I’m going to stop here for the time being since I’ve talked a ton of smack.  However, please know that there’s much to share, share, share from my time as an adoption agency person.  I’m happy to do it, regardless of what the agencies decide to throw at me when I present at the JCICS shindig this spring.

(I’m a dick, Part 3-B forthcoming.)

12 Comments on I’m a dick: Part 3-A

  1. WOW! Thanks for sharing this information that ALL potential adoptive parents must hear!

  2. Exposing the adoption industry is an important part of adopton reform..keep up the good work Kevin!

  3. Thank you for reviving ‘Biggus Dickus’. I paraphrase another Dick before I say more in order to clarify, “Well, I am not a gay.”

    I love Big Dicks.

    Big Dicks who, like yourself, state their dissatisfaction, angst and disgust in clear language, verbalizing and giving voice to what so many adoptees (trans-cultural/racial/national or otherwise) experience.

    At this point in life, I am trying not to be cruel to my 93-year-old A-dad (A-mom died some years ago) who is slowly on his way out. Still, I felt like tearing his head off after he let me know I was adopted under the belief system of, “Kill the Indian to save the man” (he’s old and his thoughts are leaking out). Add to that revelation his recent comment, “You kinda look like an Indian… it’s your hair” (I’ve been letting it grow and it is getting close to the length it was when I was a teen), I realize he never saw “me” as an individual who did, and always will, “look like an Indian”.

    I realize how deluded he has been, and how he and my A-mom passed their delusions on to me. Delusions reinforced under a system of lies that cuts adoptees off from all biological and cultural heritages associated with their phenotype (lies that in my case included information that my birth mother was a Korean – they met her before I was born and she was not). Delusions passed on to the little pieces of property owned by those who try to “save the children”. Delusions those “saved” waifs have to live with their entire lives.

    From my perspective, it seems one should not be expected to be happy about the lies associated with being a “thing” shuffled to and fro on the seas of societal and financial commercial markets. If any “saving” might be done, it would seem be best effected at the societal level, and one of the first steps should be to save the mothers by assisting them to raise their children…

    Since I am about to write out some very intemperate statements, I will again simply state my thanks.

    Keep the good work up; keep the Big Dick coming!

    • Thank you, Brent! As an Asian man, I can tell you that “Biggus Dickus” doesn’t come close to describing me. On a serious note, I’m sorry to hear about your experiences with your adoptive parents. Unfortunately, there are many of us who have similar experiences, but there are many of us who don’t. However, I’m happy to hear that you’re growing out your hair! So am I…

      Thanks again, Brent, and I’m sorry that your comment got caught in the spam folder.

  4. I will speak on behalf of ECWS headquarters in Seoul… I am going through/went through my birth family search with them over the past 6 months – plus a couple years of email communication. Everything they provided for me was absolutely free-ECWS post adoption found my birth family, made all the necessary contacts and helped me reunite with my bio grandma last month : ) I agree there is a lot of corruption in adoption agencies but I’d really like to vouch for ECWS and making my dream come true. BUT the difference for me was the fact I’m living in Korea for a year and have had a native speaker help me this whole time. For those of you looking to reunite with birth family, I really think this is key. Having a native Korean constantly make phone calls, translate, and be there for support was the best thing for my birth family search and I hope other adoptees can have this option when they go their own search.

    • Thanks for your comment, Caitlin. Your thoughts are well taken, but most Korean adoptees can’t do what you did or have the resources that you found. With that said, I’m pleased to hear that you’ve been reconnected with your grandmother!

  5. Seriously, were you in the room when we went to our information meeting about adopting from South Korea? That is just about exactly what we were told.

  6. Thanks also for the information about GOA’L. Tucking that away for the future.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Harry Potter Has Nothing on Me | Land of Gazillion Adoptees
  2. Renegade in Adoption, John Raible, Wants to Hear From You! « Land of Gazillion Adoptees

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