Have you ever experienced the following conversation (or something similar)?
You: I’m a Korean adoptee
Stranger: (eyes widen) Oh, you must feel really lucky. Do you think you’ll adopt kids, too?
You: I gotta pee. (beeline for nearest exit)
In my personal experience, I have observed that there is a common belief among some non-adopted people that because you are an adoptee, you automatically favor adoption as a way to create a family. It’s like this weirdly adapted theory of pay-it-forward. Luckily, I also know a lot of critically thinking adoptees who look at adoption with a wider lens and support the idea of family preservation as way to create a family. See the thoughts of a few kick-ass adoptees below:
Let’s address the root causes of adoption from and within South Korea, and act according to the precept that family preservation is a top priority. Currently adoption is treated as the presumptive solution, counter to common sense and multiple internationally recognized documents regarding the best interests of humans. If you’re able, please donate to support single mothers.
People often ask me if i’m against adoption 100%.
I’m not against adoption 100%, but I’m against it in any case that the mom was coerced or not given a real “choice” as to whether she could raise her own child.
The word “choice” is a tricky one. It’s often used in discourse about sex-related labor, often in the case of “comfort women” with whom I also volunteer. It’s often used to excuse human rights violations, violence, discrimination, or injustice against women, POC (people of color), and oppressed classes because they “chose” to work there, or do that, or go there, etc. We have to be critical about the word “choice”. Choice doesn’t mean that no one had a gun to your head.
In Korea, even though unwed moms go to adoption agencies and sign papers – we have to be critical about whether or not they really have a “choice”. When we consider that unwed mothers are pressured to get abortions (96% end up getting abortions) up until 8 months of their pregnancy. When we consider that many of them are kicked out of their homes and thereby forced to go to unwed mothers’ facilities during their pregnancy. When we consider that roughly half of the unwed mothers facilities in korea are run by adoption agencies. When we consider that the percentage of mothers who DON’T give up their children in adoption agency-run homes is 37% compared to 82% in non-agency homes. When we consider the fact that unwed mothers who give up their children, but change their minds are told that they owe money to the adoption agency for each day that their child stayed in their facility. When we consider that one mom told me that after she went back to get her child from the adoption agency, they showed her photos of the adoptive parents in the US and their house and kept telling her how much better the child’s life would be in the states AND that she would break the adoptive parents’ hearts if she took back her child and eventually made her WRITE AN APOLOGY TO THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS before they would give her back her child (psychological warfare, anyone?). When we consider that there’s no real legal way for unwed mothers to claim child support from the father of the baby. When we consider that companies practice discriminatory hiring practices and won’t hire unwed mothers. When we consider that even unwed mothers who run their own businesses suddenly lose all their customers when they find out they’re unwed mothers. When we consider that the government gives an unwed mother a measly 50,000 won [about $44 USD] per month to raise her baby but gives adoptive parents 100,000 and child welfare facilities 1 million won [about $878 USD] per month per child.
When we consider all of these things, do these women really have a “choice” at all?
So back to what I originally said – I’m not against adoption 100%, but I’m against it in any case that the mom was coerced or not given a real choice as to whether she could raise her own child. When we really start to calculate what percentage of adoptions are done under these conditions … well, then I think I’d have to say then that I’m against it for the most part, right?
Via The Wall Street Journal (featuring Renegade in Adoption Jane Jeong Trenka):
“If you think that adoption is the right answer [for children from single mothers], then you assume something about the mothers,” Ms. Trenka said. “You’re assuming that she is incapable of caring for her own child, that she is not deserving of support and that she is somehow not quite fully human.”