This is shamelessly copied from Jane’s blog, without permission. On this occasion, two months into the anniversary of the beginning of the Korean war and me thinking about Korea, war, and orphans, I remembered this post and thought it an appropriate time to bring it to your attention. Jane’s post below:
::Welcome to Geon Orphanage::
I think this video is really well-done. It gives factual information about the kinds of Korean children who live in orphanages today, and it shows a modern orphanage. It appears to have been made by a younger white male English speaker, most likely an English teacher here.
Now, the following video by Holt International visually invokes the Korean War, stressing that terrible period of time as if it still exists. I think it is a common tactic for adoption agencies involved in Korean adoption to keep hammering on the Korean War forever and ever, which is why so many adoptees and adoptive parents are surprised to see a very modern Korean when they get here. Of course, the narration is overly sentimental, designed to grab at heartstrings instead of shedding the light on the harsh realities of the barriers that Korean single mothers face in being able to raise their own children.
End of Jane’s post.
If you double click on the Holt video, the comments on that last video are pretty astounding as well. I just wish I had video footage of the unwed moms and their kids together. If people saw that, they might truly be disturbed about Holt’s video above…
ADDED: Most children living in orphanages today are there because their parents are having difficult circumstances due in no small part to crappy social services. Many of the stays for these children are temporary. On the flip side, I don’t have any statistics, but I’ll risk saying that ALL of the children who aren’t handicapped in the International adoption programs are infants with living parents. I’ll also speculate that most of their mothers don’t REALLY want to give their babies away. But, like Choi Hyun-Sook, when your brother insists he watches you sign over relinquishment papers, and when you investigate and there are no adequate social services to help you, and all of the adoption agencies tell you your life will be destroyed if you keep your child and don’t offer to tell you about any alternatives, then it’s no wonder these babies are given away. The coercion is omission. The loaded gun is social pressure. The only choice is no choice.
So are we “helping” or “saving” by signing on for the Korea adoption program? Or are we adding to the pressure? Adoption agencies call it relinquishment, but I call it exploiting the vulnerable, which can also be called theft.
And how does it feel to have given away your child under these circumstances? Go to Ae Ran Won’s old English web site and click on Writings to find out.