Notes from the Motherland


This is the building front of Eastern Social Welfare Services.  Note how the concept of motherland having a charged meaning is lost on adoption agencies…

Sitting in the lobby (they wouldn’t let me accompany my friend to review his paperwork) I saw two sets of near-retirement-aged caucasian adoptive parents, three foster moms with babies, three visiting Korean American adoptees, and an elderly Korean couple.   They all seemed really happy-go-lucky and unaware.  I am sure the building’s banner didn’t strike them as ironic at all…

Between the offices for Child Welfare and Post Adoption Services was a little conference room next to the waiting area.  In it was this display cabinet of souvenirs you can buy when you pick up your new Korean child.  What a poverty of culture in that display cabinet.  The hand embroidered handkerchief I had of Korean country girls playing on a see-saw I had as a child was also under glass…my culture, under glass…

In their brochure, entitled Love multiplies when it is shared, it describes:

Children Jacob’s of Home

ESWS takes care of children who were relinquished by single parents, divorced parents or financially instable families.

I ask, how do they help those single parents, divorced parents, or financially instable families?  Is removal of children the only option afforded these families?

Also in their brochure is:

Pregnant Single Mothers

ESWS operates facilities to serve the needs of single mothers.  ESWS provides professional counseling, various training programs and medical services for the expecting mothers.

I ask, what kind of counseling are they giving?  How much focus is given to help these mothers keep their babies?  Or are these services merely another tool to both appease critics and coerce vulnerable women in difficult situations?

This is the cover of ESWS’s 2009 brochure.  The irony of this image, too, escapes them.

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