A Korean Adoptive Mother Speaks Truth

It’s a very big deal when Koreans adopt because of the importance of family bloodlines. It makes news.  Adoption is stigmatized, shameful and kept a secret to save face for everyone. This lengthy article goes into great detail about a Korean family; a pastor and his wife who adopted and the earth shattering events that led to this decision in their lives.  The father was very much interested in adopting but the mother was not emotionally ready. Then a loved one passed away and that changed their view of the world and opened their hearts to reconsider adoption.  They adopted in 2004 and since then the adoptive mother recently published a book about the new “universe” that was created with the adoption of Hee Eun. The adoptive mother, Kim Kyung-ae talks openly with a journalist about their lives as an adoptive family. This is breaking huge barriers and social norms in a society based on dynasties, patriarchy, ancestry and bloodlines. Even with all that formidable pressure, Kim Kyungae comes across as extremely well read and sensitive to the adoption issues within Korea and internationally. She speaks as a Korean adoptive mother, so we get a firsthand glimpse on adoption from inside Korea. What is even more amazing about the article is the forthright and candid commentary on her views on adoption overall. Those statements are noteworthy and translated below. 

“Mom, adoption is both sad and happy.” – Hee Eun

“Hee-eun came to my home with her own past, present and future, her own colors, her own pains and joy…..We chose to have an ‘ open adoption ‘ without secrets. Efforts to answer our daughter’s questions honestly.

Kim Kyung-ah said, ” Sometimes I feel helpless when I think about the issues concerning adoption. I only adopted one child. The complicated number of adoption issues, the large numbers of children who are adopted internationally and the lack of support for single mothers.

The Korean adoption issue is more complicated than I thought. Adoption can also be a form of “child abuse” because it is a violation of the original family and it is an involuntary decision done to the child. 

Korea was not responsible at all before 2012 and left the [domestic] adoption entirely to private agencies. The state neglected the children it should be responsible for and take care of. Korea will suffer from the fallout and serious consequences in the future. Even now, when an adoptee tries to find his biological parents after he has grown up, he is often unable to find them because the records at the time were falsified or didn’t exist “

Kim Kyung-ah speaks at lectures and writing activities to break the prejudice surrounding adoption. 

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