Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) is the largest statewide human service agency in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. As such, it touches the lives of many, and through it all LSS talks about:
LSS now manages Children’s Home Society & Family Services (CHSFS), which in its glory days was the third largest adoption agency in the US. As the managing entity, LSS inherits quite a bit, including the CHSFS Korean adoption program.
The CHSFS Korean adoption program is a storied one. It has been instrumental in making Minnesota the Land of 10,000(+) Korean Adoptees. (I believe it’s more like 16,000 now.) The CHSFS Korean adoption program is also problematic. It has a dirty secret. For decades, CHSFS has sent millions of dollars to its main Korean agency partner – Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS). CHSFS has done so knowing the prejudice of the ESWS leadership, which dictates all things ESWS. You see, ESWS does not like to place children for adoption into the homes of African Americans or mixed couples in which one is African American (or even bi-racial). Placing Korean kids, at least from the perspective of the ESWS leadership, with African American parents is not “in the best interest of the child.” CHSFS, for its part, does not turn away potential African American adoptive parents. If African American parents express interest in the Korean adoption program, CHSFS has a conversation with them about the “idiosyncrasies.” CHSFS will advocate on behalf of African American parents if they decide to move forward.
Does the information sharing/advocacy absolve CHSFS? Absolutely not. The agency, through its longstanding partnership with ESWS, has for years condoned the racism of ESWS.
LSS now manages the CHSFS Korean program. As someone who once recruited potential adoptive parents for both agencies, I wonder how LSS, which serves a sizeable African American population, will rationalize the Korean adoption program’s existence within the context of the agency’s mission and vision. Will the money that comes in through the Korean adoption program trump everything else?
We shall see…