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.)