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.