The maverick speaks about dual citizenship


Ok, this is against TRACK’s neutral party line but I was also told I could have my own opinions as a TRACK member, and so I’m choosing my own opinions (once again) over representing the organization even if they want to stay out of divisive politics.  The way I see it, I just do work for them…and they have a very specific role in documenting history and working on social justice anyway that’s pretty removed from all that stuff anyway.  So for this blog post, I’m not a TRACK member, but an individual exercising my freedom of speech.

This weekend I lent my phone to an adoptee so she could secure a job.  Big deal – I hate my phone and only use it to check the time anyway.  She asked Jane her opinion on  dual citizenship for adoptees.  Then she asked me my opinion on dual citizenship for adoptees.  Then, later that day I saw her asking everyone else their opinion on dual citizenship for adoptees.  And she comes from a country that doesn’t even recognize dual citizenship!  She’s probably asking more people about it as I write this.  Suddenly, I wanted my phone back…(I let her keep it – in retrospect I should thank her because her density made me write this post)

Reminds me of my dad, who would always ask me and my mom our opinions and then never do anything with them and would then go ask twenty other people.  Days later we’d hear, well, so-and-so is his friend and he thinks it’s a good idea, so I’m gonna do it…OK.  So why even ask us?

Did we think investing in a dozen model corvettes was a good idea?  No, dad, who’s going to buy those things later?  He bought a dozen model corvettes.  They promptly got stored in the attic, never to be seen again.

Did we think investing in a Norman Rockwell print was a good idea?  No, dad, it’s just his signature on a print – there’s too many of his prints floating around…He went to a gallery and bought a print of a drum major – probably the only Norman Rockwell print nobody will ever want to buy ever.  It looked strangely like him…

Did we think he should buy stock in an educational company his friend was starting?  No, dad, the guy isn’t a teacher or a businessman…He bought A LOT of stock and the “friend” absconded to another country.

Well, that adoptee isn’t the only one asking and ignoring my opinion about dual citizenship, but I think everyone is just so enamored with the symbolism of it that they aren’t thinking straight.  As if being a citizen somehow makes things (being sent away) better…I live here.  It wouldn’t make any difference.  Probably make me more vulnerable.

When I went and applied for my F-4 visa to come to this country and work unsponsored, they made me sign away any claims to Korean citizenship I might have had.  Never mind that I was also coming to search for family…Well, that just pissed me off, and that was before there was any talk about dual citizenship in the air (that I knew of.)  For the privilege of working for money in my motherland, I had to promise to never be a burden on the country that expelled me to begin with.  Nice, huh?

So now they want us back:  along with talented (read: English teaching) white foreigners who marry Koreans.  And what do we get that we don’t already have with our F class visa?  The right to vote.  The right to have a number to track our activity.  But everything else for us adoptees is the same.  Except with dual citizenship some of our benefits from our other countries might be arrested while we are here, as one citizenship has to take precedence, and it’s usually the one you’re living in.  And all the fine minutia of details about just what Korean citizenship might mean to us hasn’t been hashed out yet.  Korea thinks it will lure talented adoptees back to live here with this carrot, but it won’t change Korean attitude towards adoptees one iota, and Korean adoptees will leave at about the same rate that they arrive, just as they’ve always done.  And what about the Korean adoptee suffering from reactive attachment disorder and post traumatic stress disorder due to being shipped off to another country?  What if he applies?  What about the Korean adoptee with Downs Syndrome?  Just what does application mean?  A way to discriminate?

What I’m saying is this:  They shouldn’t have taken our citizenship away in the first place.  They shouldn’t have expelled us in the first place.  They certainly shouldn’t have forced me to sign away all claims on Korean citizenship when I came here to live.  And they most CERTAINLY shouldn’t make me APPLY for dual citizenship, when I WAS BORN ON THIS SOIL to KOREAN PARENTS, expecially after forcing me to give it up TWICE.  What kind of half-assed restitution is this?

So to me, even the symbolism of this Dual Citizenship thing falls flat on its face.

Korea should REINSTATE every single one of us adoptees as citizens.   Each. and. every. single. one. of. us.  Categorically.  No application necessary.  Just reissue us our travel certificates, only this time don’t cross out “upon the bearer’s return.”

ADDED:  Oh, and it seems the only real hesitation on most adoptee’s parts (other than the laziness of having to apply) is the reluctance to sign up for military service (which will probably end up being at a desk somewhere.)

You know, I think that’s a very good litmus test.  Everyone (male and female) should be proud to serve their country when needed – or sit at a desk for two years when not needed.  I’m not always proud of my country, but I’d serve if we were under attack.  But Korea?  You threw us adoptees away.  Why should we risk our lives for you?

So the reality is only females are going to apply, and the other reality is that it’s just a gesture and they aren’t really going to live here.

I just wish everyone would shut up and stop gushing in excitement over this piece of paper which means nothing – not only to Korea but really for themselves as well.  It’s just a booby prize to shut us up.

Now – give us our records, give us repatriation programs, give us some REAL restitution and stop making more orphans, and then I’ll consider whether being a Korean citizen is of value or not.

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16 thoughts on “The maverick speaks about dual citizenship

  1. Hint: few governments exist for the benefit of the mass of the population. So no surprises here.

    Your real crime is not being born rich. Pay the price.

  2. “Reinstate every single one of us adoptees as citizens” How are you going to prevent Korea from having all male adoptees to serve in the military and you do know why you had to renouce Korean citizen when you recieved your f-4 visa right?

  3. Most of the adoptees, male or female, who have entered the country are ALREADY KOREAN CITIZENS. Because Korea doesn’t have a live birth certificate, any record of us on a Hojuk covered in dust in some gu office somewhere shows that we were Koreans. EVEN, I might add, the fake identity Hojuk we are given indicates that we were born on Korean soil and that we have Korean blood.

    So if I’m a male and I come to visit for a month, I’m ALREADY a Korean citizen not serving my country. So instead of making people APPLY for something they already had, or forcing us to give it away when we choose to reside long enough to make a buck, Korea needs to recognize our involuntary exile status instead. In a very real sense, we already served our time. We have paid dearly for the country’s gain.

    And stop exporting children. That would solve the new problem of people voluntarily exporting their children in fake adoptions to avoid conscription.

  4. If she does recognize involuntary exile, gives repatriation, restitution and records do you honestly think male adoptees will return to serve in the military? What percent of male adoptees you think will return to serve? I think near zero percent. I agree that there has been bad tranracial adoption but don’t you think there was time, not now when this was necessary?

  5. My sentiment is we already served our country by saving the country billions of dollars in social programming. Involuntary exile could substitute for time served.

    However, since all Korea would scream about that, military service would probably prevail and the percentage of male adoptees returning to serve in the military would be/is the same as with dual citizenship, which is also going to be near zero percent. But at least citizenship would be honest and accurate and not just a p.r. gesture that adoptees grasping for any bone will embrace.

    Discussion of the necessity or not of transracial adoption will make any discussion of citizenship spin out of control, as it’s an on-going debate adnauseum elsewhere, so I’m going to let that lie.

  6. Yes maybe you are right that adoptees may have save this country billions of dollars in social programming. So lets say Korea kept all her orphans then what do you think these people would be like growing up in a society that describe them as shame and are subject to great discrimination? Do you truly think those people would have recieve proper education, care etc or are these people better off in the u.s where the culture has a different view on orphans and can recieve proper education, care etc.? If you add biracial orphans the problem really compounds. Therefore I am not sure Korea owes adoptees as much as you think.

  7. Who are you, anyway? Have you even read anything I’ve been writing the past year? I have said in the past and I’ll say it now, that I’m not an orphan. I had family, and if international adoption wasn’t in Korea telling Korean parents how all their problems could be solved if they gave away their children, then I’d have lived a sometimes hungry, sometimes desperate, but family-centric and emotionally secure life. Neither were my friends raised in orphanages orphans – they had family too.

    There are far too many people who will rationalize the separation of parent and child based upon what is “proper” or upon their colonist ideas of what is an “opportunity.” And by siphoning off what is shameful or subject to discrimination, there’s no opportunity to become compassionate, generous or multi-cultural. That’s called cleansing and it’s not better in the long run.

    Korea doesn’t OWE me anything, and I don’t OWE it anything. But I certainly am not going to be allow myself to be exploited by them after they’ve thrown me away. So don’t stick this piece of paper in front of my face and tell me they are doing me a favor by giving me something that was mine to begin with. It’s insulting.

  8. Sorry I was not saying that you are an orphan. I was using the word orphan as a general term to describe many aspect of oversea adoptions and meant no insults. I am fully aware that you are not an orphan. What I was trying to say is that Korea is not totally at fault in all the cases. Some of the blame must go to the parents or family. I am aware of unwed mother giving up their child. In this case the mother or mother’s family is more at fault than the system for worrying more about “social stigma” than the child and mother. Same goes for biracial adoption.

  9. Who am I you asked. I am trying to learn all aspect of adoption through your blog and others, films, research paper etc. I am not trying to pick a fight only trying to learn.

  10. The arguments you raise are the dogma international adoption agencies use to justify the continued canvassing and exporting of Korean children and children all over the world. The adoption solution is part of the punitive system that perpetuates the stigmatization and discrimination we supposedly condemn. Likewise, when we offer no assistance to economic disparity yet benefit from its conditions, then we criminalize poverty and become exploiters.

    The current system was set up with outside intervention, so I don’t blame the families, as shocked and horrified as I often am at the callousness evident in the attitudes of some who must live with those decisions, but that callousness is understandable.

    Regardless, all of us adoptees were born on Korean soil to Korean parents, whether we are talented or in rotting in jail, or balanced or suicidal, or attending Ivy League schools or on welfare. They can shuffle the paperwork in an honorable way, or they can do it in an insulting way. They can continue the discrimination, or they can recognize what they’ve done and evolve.

    Personally, It doesn’t affect me at all. But I do resent being asked to be grateful for this “opportunity,” and I’m quite amazed at how knee-jerk the adoptee reaction has been. I guess that shows how very forsaken they all feel, if they’re going to be grateful for something so paltry.

  11. I agree with you that the adoption policy we currently have is from outside intervention. I also agree with that when we give no assistance to those of economic disparity we are criminalizing poverty and are exploiter. I think after the Korean war when adoption started because of war orphans, Korea was not in position to fund social programs and had little choice but to accept outside intervention. I think that modern Korea is no longer a poor country and can fund social programs today however the change is slow to come. Perhaps you and I are talking about the same thing but of different period of our country’s history.

  12. “I think after the Korean war when adoption started because of war orphans, Korea was not in position to fund social programs and had little choice but to accept outside intervention.”

    International adoption always begins in the guise of aid to countries on their knees. But real aid would be helping them fund social programs and NOT taking their children.

    “I think that modern Korea is no longer a poor country and can fund social programs today however the change is slow to come.”

    Change is easy. Look at the other countries that put an end to international adoption. You just say no more new social orphans. And you adopt out who’s left and care for those that aren’t, and it is finished.

    The only thing slow to come here in Korea is powerful adoption agencies being allowed to continue screwing a country over because a couple individuals profit.

    Korea as a nation and as a people really need to have more pride and start taking care of one another.

  13. Drink? Maybe.

    Why do you want to know about adoption? Ugh. I don’t want to be an expert on adoption.

  14. Oh, and for clarification I wasn’t insulted by being called an orphan – I hope I’m never that nit-picky! Instead, I was insulted by the inadequacy and emptiness of dual citizenship being offered as restitution by the Korean government…rant directed to the government…

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