no escape

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I find it amusing that as soon as I realize I need to distance myself from adoption to have a “normal” life, I suddenly start writing about adoption twice as much!

Part of this is because when there’s no pain, it’s obviously easier to write about it, and the other part of it is that behind the scenes, adoption has been invading my life to a greater annoying degree.

My last posts on adoptionsurvivor and  holtsurvivor has generated the most irritating yet typical adoptive parent responses — you know the kind — the ones who refuse to recognize their own entitlement or privilege and who insist on finding some justification socio-politically for it.  It drives me insane, their need to have their actions validated.  I don’t care if they acted in ignorance or made mistakes or were self-absorbed jerks in the past if they’re doing all right by their children now.  But instead of tossing the ball with their kids and reading them stories and doing fulfilling things for themselves like taking an art class or reading a novel, etc., instead of that they’re all over the internet trying to defend themselves.  If MY mom had spent so much time absorbed with adoption, I would have been nauseated being around her.  Seriously.  I’m glad she wasn’t obsessed with it.  I’m not glad she didn’t recognize my needs.  But I already felt enough like a social experiment and can’t imagine what the children of this new breed of hyper-vigilant parents must feel.  But I digress…

In addition to that, after posting my BBC interview on the teacher board, I got inundated with a) spleen-filled dissection from this one guy who likes to harass people and play devil’s advocate and b) very thorough inquiry from a lot of Caucasian people living here in Korea who are married to Koreans and fascinated by the topic.  Let’s just say it was A LOT of work, and I had to include references, links, etc.  They didn’t miss anything.  And it was exhausting.

Fortunately, as a result of that, my thinking has kind of crystalized a lot and I realized I’ve been framing these issues the wrong way, and the following is the result:


Why are the adoption agencies against improvements to social services for unwed mothers?  Shouldn’t an institution that purportedly cares about children be enthusiastic about preserving original families whenever possible?

Why does Holt International say they comply with the Hague Convention when they source babies from Holt Korea, and Korea does NOT comply with the Hague Convention or the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child?  Isn’t that deceptive?

Why does Holt continue to say children will die if they are not adopted from S. Korea?

How can Holt say there is no conflict of interest operating unwed mother’s homes when their primary operation is exporting infants?

Why does Holt have associations with over 22 hospital maternity wards?

Why does Holt call infants motherless and homeless when the children were not abandoned or found on the street?  When the reason they are orphans is because the majority of the children’s mothers were counseled into giving up their children.  And the mothers comply because with inadequate social services they have no real options left them.

Why does Holt spend government grants for Post adoption resources on adoption advertising campaigns?

Why do adoption industry CEO’s make six figure incomes?

Why does Holt continue to portray Korean children as products of a war-torn country?

How can Holt afford to support a touring rock band promoting adoption?

Why does Holt spend $600,000+ each year on adoption advertising when there are wait lists for adopting?

Why has Holt never had an exit strategy after their war relief efforts (their rationale behind starting international adoption in the first place) after the war ended?  It’s been 56 years intervening in Korean society…


Why does the government not have access to the identity papers of all Korean adoptees?

Why are those papers left in the hands of private agencies?

Why is there no third party oversight of adoption practices?

Why won’t S. Korea comply with international conventions concerned with ethics in adoption?

Why is the 13th ranking member nation of the OECD unable to provide adequate social services to its own people?

Why do Korean companies pay millions for cosmetic surgery for disfigured children in third world countries while disfigured Korean children sit in orphanages?

Why is disfigurement grounds for becoming an orphan in Korea?


How can there by any honor in preserving family honor by forcing your daughters to relinquish their flesh and blood?

What is more valuable, denying indiscretions and their outcomes?  or preventing the outcomes of indiscretions?


Why do adoptive parents (AP’s) and potential adoptive parents (PAP’s)  ignore all of the questions above?

How can Korea ever hope to establish their own social programming when international adoption agencies remove the government’s responsibilities?

Why do most AP’s not bother to even come to investigate the conditions and culture of the country their orphan came from?

Would you want to be raised a Caucasian minority by an all Korean family in Korea?

Can you not see that for each of the 200,000 children that have been sent out of the country, at least that many Koreans live with the grief of losing a child?

Do you really believe that many children were intentionally forsaken???

Shouldn’t the need for adoption programs in any country eventually become obsolete?  With Korea being the first and oldest source country, and model for all international adoption programs to follow, what does its long established institutionalization say about the marriage of charity and adoption?


This adoptee is constantly accused of not being objective, which is ridiculous, because it is impossible for an adoptee to be objective about adoption.  Objectivists merely report.  Subjects understand on a deeper level, and history shows us that major shifts of consciousness have followed policy changes instigated by those who have been subjugated to injustice.

Despite whatever bad and good feelings/experiences this adoptee has had, this adoptee is still a rational / logical being, and logic tells this adoptee that the adoption solution is no solution at all.

Until adoption industry pressure on this society is curtailed, and until law is enacted to preserve families and the civil rights of adoptees, and until PAP money stops perverting politics and driving market forces, the Korean people will never get a real opportunity to evolve or grow into their civilized potential.

I need to strengthen the part about Questions to ask Korea, as that’s not thorough enough or clear enough, but I’m pretty happy with it.  I also realize that all my many blogs/compartmentalizations have many different gems for people exploring the topic of transracial international adoption, but that those things get eclipsed by my personal story and voice.

Now, the personal made public is/has been my gift to those who can, unfortunately, relate to it.  But it also is a target for those who want to dismiss any of my arguments, saying that I can’t be rational because I have “an axe to grind.”  Or I’m a worse case scenario.  Or I’ve probably got issues.  To which is say DUH!  Of COURSE I have an axe to grind!  I believe in justice!  And of course I’ve got issues!  I’m human!  I have emotions!  And maybe I AM a worse case scenario – but none of those are mutually exclusive from my emotions being like any other abandoned person / exiled person / assimilated person / discriminated person / made-to-be grateful person.  THOSE are all there too, and my being all of the above means I’ve had to sort through and organize a lot more thoroughly than most others do.  I might just be on to something.

So what I’m doing is making a new blog to just treat the generic topics.  I’m taking the best of/most generic from my blog posts and the new site will hold those as reference material, as well as posts like the one quoted above.  And it’s going to be called, Ask an Adoptee.  And other adoptees are welcome to guest answer if they want.  It is NOT a dialogue.  People can ask a question, the adoptee will answer, and they can comment amongst themselves, but I wash my hands of it once answered, and won’t suffer any abuse nor get into a debate because frankly, I don’t have the time.

Anyway, I just realized that even if I wanted to, (which I really do!) I can’t turn my back on all of this crap.  I just will have to find a way to balance things better.

On the way home tonight, in a taxi, a narrator speaks in Korean over a sappy music track and I KNEW it was going to be about adoption.  And then I hear a familiar voice.  Molly Holt speaking in her distinctive voice in near perfect Korean.  And then I hear them talking about Hole-tuh.  And I’m sitting there trapped in this car being forced to listen to what I know is a nauseating characterization of how much Holt cares about orphans…cue sappy music again.

Well, I turned to the taxi driver and said, ” Hole-tuh.  nanun ibyeong-a.  I HATE Hole-tuh.”  And we arrived at the station and I got out.

No rest for the weary.

4 thoughts on “no escape

  1. Excellent work, thank you so very much — your work is not unnoticed and it is very much appreciated!

  2. I sometimes worry about that for myself – I don’t want to be the obsessed parent.

    Then I find myself running from the park with the boys because we launched that really big rocket and have no idea what house it landed on and I realize we’re okay for the moment.

    That must have been so bizzare to hear Holt’s voice on the radio. Or should I ask is it THAT common? You have to fight a PR machine? Last I saw of the Holt tape we were given granny Holt was reminding me to teach my children about some religious thing or other. It creeps me out to this day.

  3. Thanks, Sarita, that means a lot to me…

    Ed, you may be a >little< obsessed, but at least you're not on the defensive. You recognize that things need to change for the better and aren't willing to stop progress if it doesn't justify your own actions. That shows a maturity that most AP's haven't gotten to/ refuse to go to.

    Also, I recognize there are many gaps that need to be filled and self-education is necessary for transracial families, but too often at some point the child gets lost in the pursuit. Privilege is, however, by its very definition mutually exclusive from ever truly knowing what the other's experience can be like.

    I'm not really sure how pervasive the PR is. I have seen photos of babies in the subway, advertising for some adoption agency, advertising on the overhead storage on buses, been trapped with adoption agency loving taxi drivers, occasionally see something on t.v., that HOLT donation gum machine when we went out to noraebang. I don't get out that much so it's weird to run into it as much as I do. I'm sensitive to it and run into it at an alarmingly high rate.

    Ed, I hope the rocket didn't land in a yard guarded by a pit bull! Have fun with your kids and be there for them.

  4. You’re my hero!! This post is great. Glad you’re starting Ask an Adoptee, I think it will do a lot of good. Just don’t get drawn in by derailers. Love you

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