Two videos of orphanages

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.

13 thoughts on “Two videos of orphanages

  1. Some of the clearest memories I have of childhood are the effects that losing her children had on my mother. She was having trouble and it became the fatal blow that tipped her over into schizophrenia.

    That’s something that makes me wonder how I could have wandered into this as calmly as I did. I know what it is like to know that my mother lived in a subway tunnel at one point. It is a weight I have to force myself to avoid almost all of the time. Otherwise I would simply be crushed by it.

    What destroyed her was that loss. I am certain of this.

    Ah well, back to avoiding. :)

    the story of a Korean adoptee….she is similiar to you in some respects though she was not abused.
    She did try to learn Korean in college but was unable to do so..she did find her Korean family.

  3. Ed, don’t beat yourself up too badly. I spent forty years avoiding…it’s how we survive when we’re not strong enough to handle the truth. Let’s help others not make the same mistakes, okay?

    Chosunkin, I’m familiar with Ms, Borshay-Liem’s work. We asked her permission to use one of her films in the art installation. And she also has a sequal to that pbs Third Person Plural that was just released. I’m hoping it comes to Korea so I can see it…

    The sick sad thing (to me) is we don’t know how many stories like ours exist. If I hadn’t been sharp, I’d have accepted everything Holt said and gone on without any clue thinking there was nothing more.

    I talk to many naive adoptees who gave up and despaired any hope of any more information, only to discover they’d never really looked closely at any of the information they had and they just accepted whatever lies the adoption agencies told them.

    While Ms. Borshay-Liem and my cases might be unusual, I strongly believe that many of the search efforts by adoptees have been intentionally thwarted by the agencies and that unshared information does indeed exist for those frustrated adoptees as well.

    In ALL case files our identities are falsified with the orphan hojuk. In nearly every case file are fabrications. In most case files are type-o’s, errors, or falsifications. There has been historically little or no effort at preserving our original identity. And I believe there has been great effort at covering up how we were obtained, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the social histories of us “orphans,” as these stories are always twisted to make us more adoptable. For example, married parents struggling financially are replaced with irresponsible women who leave their families, etc. Children who were abducted and dropped off by interfering family members are listed as being abandoned by their mothers, etc.

    Adoption in Korea is all about the ends justifying the means.

    Most criminal behavior is about the ends justifying the means…

  4. I did read some of your archive material on this and your other site.
    but what confuses me is how did you expect to communicate with your Korean family where you to meet them?
    I am NOT knocking you..Korean was a difficult language to learn for me too ,,,it required a LOT of time and effort and I never was as fluent as some PCV’s,,,and most Koreans wanted to “practice” their english.
    So how did you plan to communicate?

  5. Peace Corps Volunteer..
    Before we deployed to Korea, we trained in the states for 16 week with 5 1/2 days of training which consisted of 30 hours a week of Korean language training and we were given money to hire private tutors when in country.
    After my group they trained in Korea.(.in country training) which i assume made learning the language easier.
    The State Department considers Korean a Cat 4 language because of the difficulty in learning to speak it, though its easy to read and write.
    Some vols became quite good, even went “native” others fell by the wayside. In my group we started with 75 and by the end of the FIRST year we lost 31…
    Korea was not one of the more popular assignments THEN (1970-1975)
    I spent three years as a PCV in Choungju and one lasy year working for the U of Hawaii ed Program teaching American Soldiers in Korea GED and CLEP courses.
    Your quest is noble and I wish you all the best.
    But I still MAY ask some “tough” questions in the be prepared………

  6. Well maybe I should join the Peace Corps to learn Korean then, as there is no way in hell I’ll ever have the privilege of devoting 30 hours a week for 16 weeks or to have tutoring subsidized. I’m lucky if I have an hour or two a week. Writing this blog doesn’t help. Yeah, maybe I should stop blogging…

    There are programs subsidized by the Korean government, but I don’t qualify due to my age. Neither do I want to study what those programs have to offer. Plus I have bills in the States I send half my paycheck to.

    I’d really you rather not ask tough questions (though we may have different ideas about what constitutes “tough”)as life is challenging enough here on its own. I’m not in this for everyone else’s edification all the time – that’s just a side product. I’m gearing down and want out.

  7. Peace Corps IS actually something I’m considering prior to retirement (if there is such a state) But it would hopefully be somewhere more less judgmental than here.

  8. No more Peace Corps in Korea though Thailand and Cambodia do have PV+CVS…But their languages are tonal and the writing is very difficult to learn.
    Assuming you wanted to stay someplace in Asia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s