there should be laws against this

Hey you Koreans — Abandoning kids is NEVER OKAY.
Then, now, ever.  Not here, or there – Not in Korea and Not in America.


More Korean Kids Ending Up in Foster Care

Click on the photo for the well-written and grim story.

I’m so angry…And NO this does not justify adoption!  What it justifies is NOT MAKING ABANDONMENT AN OPTION.   You make a baby, you gotta put in the time.  Responsibility comes with birth.  Period.

On the bright side, a little bird just told me some good news about a vote in the Korea Parliament, so there IS progress being made.

After this week, I just want to go to another planet and tend a rose by myself.

21 thoughts on “there should be laws against this

  1. And why am I SO PISSED OFF at the Korean American community and visiting Koreans? Because YOU’RE IN AMERICA NOW, Goddamnit.

    We don’t let African immigrants practice female genital mutilation in America just because supposedly it’s their culture. It’s a social justice issue and a feminist issue and it’s NOT CULTURE. It’s just plain WRONG.

  2. Cannot agree with you more on this Abandoning kids is NEVER OKAY. Abandoning kids is not part of the Korean culture. Its just an excuse made up by some people to justify their actions.

  3. If it is not part of the Korean culture, then what is it???

    A: “Korean excuse”. Yay!

    Only Koreans can say that abandonment/adoption is not part of the Korean culture or history.

    There is a Meetup group in Montreal for Korean Language et culture lovers. They talk about anything related to Korean culture and history (example: korean dramas, women’s condition in Korea). But they will not talk about adoption, because adoption is not part of the Korean culture.

    Yet I’ve picked randomnly 45 Korean dramas, about 50% of them contain an adoptee, an abandonee or and orphanee as a character.

  4. There is much higher rate of murder in the US than in Korea but I don’t think murder is an American culture. What I think is people doing bad things in US or Korea. The problem is there are some who justify it by making excuses like they were poor etc. I have a sister in law living here in the US who try to abandon her son but I made her take care of him. Rasing a child is hard work and there are some that neglect their parental duties because of the difficulties. I am glad that Korea is trying to pass a law regarding this problem. There are many reasons as to why Korea has a higher rate of abandonment such as lack of adequate social services etc but most Koreans would agree that abandonment is plain wrong.

  5. Typically Korean. Talk about adoption, and they will talk about murder or something else being worst in another country.

    1) Like the alcoholics who are in denial,

    Once Koreans told me they didn’t know anything about adoption. “I wasn’t aware… Not at all”

    2) Like the alcoholics lying constantly, saying they don’t drink anymore or promising again and again they’ll stop drinking tomorrow,

    From what I read about Korean adoption, 1996 was the deadline to end interantional adoption. It was reported to 2015, then they said it wouldn’t work.
    Now they are talking about 2012.

    From what I’ve heard:
    I heard a speach in 1989, saying Korea was too poor to take care of their children, but now they were rich, they will take of their children.

    3) Like the alcoholics making excuses,

    As above, Korea was too poor. Now it’s Confucian thinking faul, it’s the lack of adequate social services fault, it’s the Americans fault.

    In a letter (dated March 2, 1995) from Korean consulate in response to my request to go back to live in Korea, the Consul justifies with: “postwar situation which was alarming”, “devastated and desorganized” and “pitiful economic circumstances”.

    And the letter continues with: “Today, the situation of our country is quite different. Our economy is booming and the government is able to fully assume its responsibilities in every field” (it should go to number 2)

    Like the alchoholics avoiding the question of alcohol

    In 2003, I asked some Koreans the question: “why Korea is still sending their children now they are rich?” Nobody would answer me. Many of them laughed. One said he didn’t know. Another said, he heard about it on television.
    I kept asking, so the one who laughed said I shouldn’t ask that question or “they will not like you anymore.”

    Like the alchoholics pointing others’ problems, not to talk about alcohol,

    Finally, the one who warned me not to question said: “you, in America, you say ‘you’ to your father… You talk to your father like you talk to your dog. We don’t criticize you…stop criticizing us…”
    Then he said in a nicer voice, that Korea was helping poor countries, and he himself wanted to open a hospital in Korea.

  6. I think that what Myung-Sook is saying is that Koreans are the kings of hypocrisy. That what is culture or not is a matter of convenience. And they seem to be trying hard to put it in the culture category…

    This is true of all populations, this tendency. But the scale and the scope and subject matter of what can conveniently be written off by Koreans in general is stupendous. So many excuses…

    I do like you David: you are exceptional.

    In the grand scheme of things I like Korean people and Korean culture, but I am not proud to be Korean. Here is that adoptee thing again, where we must consider Korean-ness due to sharing the same ethnicity but no longer truly being Korean. This epidemic of lamely ascribing all their untended ugly cop-outs to Confucianism or culture or the victim mentality that they clutch to their bosom is not becoming or endearing, and NOT something I like being associated with.

    That there seems to be a bottomless well of excuses is the concern. It is as if Korea has given themselves license to never grow up or take responsibility for their actions. That they’re exporting this behavior in their insular replications of Korea elsewhere on the planet is really sad. It seems Korea is once again a leader in global adoption practices. Quite the distinction.

  7. Getting back to what Myung-Sook was saying about abandonment being Korean culture.

    I think it’s more complicated than that. I see portrayals of abandonment more as a collective guilt and as a proof when they whine about how tough their lives are. Poor us. See what we are reduced to?

    If you look up the definition of culture, depending on the dictionary, there are one or two of the many types of citations in which it could classify as culture. It certainly is being passed off as culturally acceptable.

    I too get sick of it being explained away. If I question anything here in Korea, the kind of response I get is, “please understand my culture.” Well, I don’t understand. And I don’t accept…

  8. Wait a minute, (reading this comment thread again) you’re saying abandonment IS Korean culture?


    That’s just so f**k’d up I can’t even wrap my head around it.

    I would like to believe that’s not true, but I’m really not sure anymore.

  9. For example. I have seven blood siblings. Three are half, two from my mother and one from my father.

    Five of us were taken from our mother by force and lived in foster homes. One was relinquished and was adopted, another relinquished, foster care, then adopted and only one lived with both of her natural parents for her entire childhood.

    From my point of view, this is a very common thing in this country (the US). I don’t see anything Korean about it at all.

  10. They weren’t taken by force. They were abandoned because they were inconvenient!

    “Although she was given custody of the child, the
    30-year-old divorcee said her daughter would prevent her from ever being able to remarry and start a new family.”

    and “Kim made the decision to give her baby up “for the sake of my education.”

    While there are some private adoptions in America that parallel the latter example, America typically stigmatizes the parents who choose abandonment, and most children in foster care are there because the state has deemed the parents unfit, and not just because they’re inconvenient.

    The above two quoted examples are endemic in Korea and the cause of the bulk of the 200,000 Korean adoptees.

    ADDED: I’m sorry to hear about your mom: she sounds like a menace to society. Even though I defend the horrible position unwed moms find themselves in Korea, I also recognize that, just like everywhere, a few of them are just bad seeds…

  11. I’d like to add that I have come to decide that Myung-Sook is right. I’ve just been in denial all this time, feeling that I needed to discount that abandonment was part of Korean culture in order to continue fighting. However, the sick thing is that it really does permeate everything here.

    I do believe it is a new phenomenon, post-war, and that it was jettisoned into the Korean psyche by the self-promoted cult of Holt.

    Did you know that Bertha Holt received a STATE HONORED FUNERAL when she died? Probably why Molly walks around wearing hanbok…so a little canonization dust will guaranteed decorate her path wherever she goes. Koreans who helped Holt give away Korean children and who continue to help give away Korean children speak about their involvement with this process with pride. I set them straight whenever I meet one.

    And, as I found out with my class of highly educated and thoughtful Korean teacher conversation class, send the baby away is the defacto response to even the most compelling story of mother and child in hard circumstances. SICK.

    I, too, have been horribly disturbed by the prevalence of this topic in film. So disturbed I took to entering into a spread-sheet every film I watched on, and also that has been mentioned adoption on The list is too huge…and I don’t watch Korean movies or dramas much.

    I am convinced that the whole revisiting of this pain validates their conviction that they are the most suffering people on the planet. I am so sick of Han…

    But, what Myung-Sook showed me is that even though this is part of contemporary Korean culture now, it doesn’t mean it’s good, right, or can’t be changed.

    Fortunately, Korea IS adopting the Hague Convention and that means legislation will soon follow to at the very least protect the identities of Korean children. About freaking time…

    So, I will clarify my position. I like most Korean people individually. I hate the Korean collective. I like traditional Korean culture. And I hate, hate, hate this post colonial culture of capitalizing on being exploited by imperialists in order to support an easier path to self promotion through the abandonment of women by the expulsion of their children.

    Forgive the redundancy, but I’m going to post this comment, as some people don’t read the comments.

  12. “I think that what Myung-Sook is saying is that Koreans are the kings of hypocrisy.”

    No, Suki.

    I said this as Kimette, using the screen name of Myung-Sook.

    I, Kimette, made a parallel between the behaviour of the alchoholics with the alcohol and the Koreans with the abandonement/adoption.

    The alcoholics have no problem with alchohol. Koreans have no problem with abandonment/adoption.

    If Myung-Sook was still alive, from what I remember of her, she would tell you:

    “Don’t ever criticize our country. Koreans are not racist. How dare you talk about adoption?”

    And she would tell you that in Korean or maybe in a bad English with a Korean accent.

    I’m sorry Myung-Sook for using your name.
    Please remember that I’m not Myung-Sook. I’m not Myung-Sook anymore. I’m not a Korean. More I learn about Korea and Korean culture or whatever Korean, more I’m aware that I’m not a Korean anymore, I’m not Myung-Sook anymore, and I will never be again a Korean.

  13. Duly noted.

    This is why I don’t go by YungSook. The first time Jane called me that, I recoiled in horror. I have no idea who that person was. I’m glad my memory of her is small, almost as if she didn’t exist.

    I am only allowed to be Leanne here in Korea: a person I’ve never been before. And I am forgetting who Suki was. There is an interrupted person here, and she has no name. And no country.

  14. Korea has high suicide rate, high divorce rate and also high abandonment rate.

    i can say as my baby and i are facing that situation.

    I am non-korean who married korean guy. he filed me a divorce just becoz of a small fight. the worst, he and his parents rejected a baby and sent me home once they learnt that it’s a baby girl. They did not want to take any more responsibility even though they are very rich and have BIG shipyards in Korea.

    *****Think carefully before marry and have kids with Korean guys******

  15. Barbaric. I am so sorry you had to experience this. I also think that Koreans in that level of society are even more apt to preserve these prejudices. There remain a lot of conservative Koreans who would like to preserve the stigmatization of women as a mechanism of morally controlling society.

  16. there are laws to protect this women and her child as well as some form of compensation. sk is not some muslim country. i feel bad for this women but all korean men. sigh!!

  17. I know, David…(there, there)

    I think in many countries the majority must bear the stain of a few. However, in patriarchal countries the percentage of men who abuse their privilege is of course going to be higher. It’s going to take a lot of time and correcting individuals like this before you can stop sighing…

    Of the big 3 East Asian countries, it seems to me that Korean men have the recent reputation of being kinder and gentler, due to the popularity of Korean dramas where the nice guy wins the girl. And I also think this is changing the ways of a lot of Korean guys, because women’s expectations are getting higher.

    However, it’s going to take some time before men here truly respect women, and the current respect is often superficial. Btu there are many signs of hope.

    I am not educated on Korean law regarding immigrant wives, but I know that a lot of gains have been made – but only recently. Maybe they were too late for this girl, and we also can not discount the uphill battle of taking on the family of a powerful shipping magnate, because connections do have a way of influencing outcomes…

    I also recently read an article (I am terrible about saving these things, as I’m trying hard to make adoption NOT my life) about the rise of half Korean orphans in countries like Thailand and the Philippines, due to women getting married to Korean men and then being rejected and sent back to their countries with children in tow and no means to support them.

    Enforcement of deadbeat dads in divorce where even both parties are Korean nationals is supposed to be dismal, so foreign brides really don’t have any hope to collect.

    And you know that this is a major part of funding welfare for American moms, so it’s no wonder there’s no money for Korean social services since penalizing men is not very high priority

  18. “Maybe they were too late for this girl, and we also can not discount the uphill battle of taking on the family of a powerful shipping magnate, because connections do have a way of influencing outcomes…” Very true in most countries but korea is still a face saving society. if you can not get legal enforcment than she can threaten with public enforcement such as going to the media etc. she can even do that in her home country. in today’s internet world, news travel very very fast especially in korea. i just did not appreciate her generalization because for every one asshole out there, there are more decent ones but of course decent ones don’t make the news. on the subject of equality, i think you are right also. it is getting better in korea as more women enters the work force. certainly better than when i was in my 20’s. one thing about korea that i have said before is that change can happen very quickly and i think the change on equality is happening quickly. in fact, i think korea will have a woman president before usa.

  19. I have to disagree about going to the media – she’s not an actress, he’s probably not famous, and she’s not Korean = probably nobody cares and it’s probably her fault.

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