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A Korean-born Mother's Perspective on Adoption

Letter to the Guardians of the UNCRC:

For most of my life I believed in the idea of adoption. I did not know I had a choice to believe otherwise. Now I believe it’s an antiquated and unnecessary practice and the idea has been used and abused by individuals who claim they are working for the children’s “best interest.” If one is really an advocate for the best interest of children, than one would listen to and be receptive toward individuals (families already separated) who have already mourned and grieved over the losses. If one is really an advocate for the best interest of children, one would consider progressive and enlightened answers in regards to child protection and care. Because of Against Child Trafficking, I have become aware of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, and I have become an advocate.

My trip to South Korea sparked my interest into knowing my rights as an adopted person. After much research thereafter, I discovered that since the adoption industry’s inception (a little more than a century ago), the mothers’ voice on the practice has been missing--in fact, their voices have been completely non-existent--especially during the adoption industry’s policy making. This floored me. The only thing I wanted to hear was my mother’s side of the story, and it was the only piece of the puzzle that had been completely left out of the dialogue. This is one of the reasons my sister and I started the Adoption Truth and Transparency Worldwide Network FaceBook Group. We wanted to hear from the mothers. We wanted to offer them a (non-judgmental) platform from which to speak. We needed the mothers to be included in the adoption community.
We learned that some mothers live in unnecessary shame and guilt. Some of them, to this day, blame themselves--decades after the event--caused by the stigma of losing their children to adoption. Many have not yet been able to release the trauma of losing their children. We learned that some mothers are angry. What they had been told by adoption facilitators were lies in a subtle and or forceful (yet legal) effort to obtain their babies for wanting couples in the name of adoption. Most of all, we learned that many mothers are uniting and becoming empowered. Because of the internet and social media, they have banded together, investigated and discovered the truth about adoption. My sister and I are pleased to be able to provide a space for which open discussion for families (separated by adoption) can come together and discuss the industry.

My sister and I advocate for mothers to let go of any shame and guilt. You deserve to be heard. Even if you had left your infant on a hospital doorstep or a drop box,* you should have been helped and not stigmatized. All mothers go through moments of fear, anxiety, and even terror when faced with becoming a new mother. Sadly, adoption facilitators, we have learned, have become masters of capitalizing on this quandary—so much so that they have kept the shame alive for as long as they can. One example is the way they have told adoptees that mothers do not want to be found. Mothers from the Adoption Truth Group have revealed that most mothers want to be found and many have worked tirelessly for adopted people to have open access to our birth certificates. When adoption facilitators speak for you to us (adoptees), about you, they take advantage of your voice again. They have been speaking for you—convincing the mainstream (and sometimes even you) that you don’t want your children when, in fact, the actions of aware and empowered mothers prove otherwise.
*For mothers who truly cannot accept the responsibility of motherhood even after counseling that encourages her (rather than dissuades), Temporary Guardianship is an alternative that does not void out a child’s identity or require documents that falsely state children are "orphans." Temporary Guardianship is also in accordance to the proper implementation of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child. Temporary Gaurdianship is a humane solution to a temporary problem.  

We encourage mothers (of adoption loss) to release any residue shame or guilt and share your side of the story—don’t let the adoption facilitator speak for you! You will find that it was not uncommon for mothers to have been heavily influenced, coaxed and cajoled by a money-making industry. The Girls Who Went Away, the book by Ann Fessler, showcases how mothers have been (unnecessarily) forced into the relinquishment of their newborns in the U.S..

Adopted people need parents (of adoption loss) to claim your authentic power and speak from an empowered self. No more hiding. No more shame. To tell you the truth, there is no way we could have survived what you have lived through--to make a decision in one’s life caused by self-doubt and then to be prevented from ever having contact with your child and stigmatized for the rest of your life, is an unjustice against you. You should have been encouraged and helped—not ceorced (overtly or covertly) into a situation that benefits wanting couples moreso than ensuring your own well-being and the life of your child.
As an adopted person who was told that I was an abandoned baby and believed this tale without question for more than thirty years, I ask that you please protect the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to the best of your ability. The UNCRC is the only protective measure that people like us –adoptees—have that ensures that we have a  right to our own family instead of being sent overseas and into the hands of strangers like adoption zealous facilitators are eager to do. It is a pure binding treaty that has been untouched by individuals and groups who benefit financially from the adoption industry. Some people profit from each adoption. They use children as commodities, but deny their actions or justify their actions as a “win-win” situation—sometimes they even claim that God told them to take action against the mother. They only see us "so-called orphans" as babies to be moved, but do not face the fact that we grow into adults and live a life-long sentence of wondering (about our first-family) and wandering the earth searching for them. Am I your daughter? Are you my mother? Father? Sister? Cousin?

Adoption facilitators do not want us to find you. There’s a risk that the truth will be revealed if we do, although very recently (and after considering the voices of empowered mothers) many “ethical” adoption agencies have changed their campaign to make appearances and therefore gain public approval. They would like you to think that intercountry adoption is “in the best interest of the child” or “child protection” and they will continue to use adoption rhetoric claiming that “every child deserves a family,” until someone calls them out on it. 

As one with experience, I’d like to be “stuck” with my own family—the one I was born into. I do not approve adoption. To erase a child’s identity without that child's approval (falsify birth records, “legally” remove us from our own family of birth—a family and country in which they deem incapable of raising us—to a foreign one they deem “capable”) has hurt thousands of families left behind.

For every family they decide to help, another family is hurt. Are my (unknown) elderly Korean parents now languishing and withering on the streets of Korea? Who will take care of them? Will you?
My Korean family is just as important to me today as the so-called “loving forever family” agencies had sent me to forty years ago. One thing that agencies do not consider is that babies grow-up and develop  the ability to think. Why am I not permitted to know or have access to my family? Why should the agencies social workers have the right to know the identity of my family, but not give me that same right?

As someone who has been taken from my Korean family and issued a legalized false document “Certificate for Orphanhood,” I should have a say in this matter. Where are the police reports proving that my parents had been searched for? Similar to how US adoptees have falsified birth certificates, adopted people from South Korea have a false document, stating that we were "orphans," placed in our file by Holt. This false document was a "legalized" requirement so that they could process us overseas and charge a fee.
Beware of adoption facilitators who have for many years manipulated their way into the law. They have reworked UNCRC's description to benefit themselves and in the name of “protecting children.” To those who have been unnecessarily removed from families, adoption is not adult protection. What about when the child grows-up? Please do not allow strangers access to children. With the bloodgates left ajar, they have demonstrated that they do not control themselves. With more than 4000 adoption facilitators in the US, there is fierce competition between them. Every person yearns to be a “savior,” fiercely motivated by the hope to be accepted into the gates of heaven. Even my adoptive father who has read the bible cover to cover thirty-four times knows that separating families is not the way to enter win God’s grace.

Many couples flaunt the idea of children from Africa, South America and Asia. You have no idea what it is like to be used as a life-long charity decoration. If you did, you would stop the insanity. Facilitators target the children and abandon the children’s families. Poor parents are unable to fight back. I have for 40 years adored the adoption agencies and their facilitators. But now that I know how some have operated (within their organizations), I am siding with the voiceless. Please promote the UNCRC because everyone else has ignored it or manipulated the whole story of adoption into something useful for themselves. Issues that I believe need to be addressed are:
  • US ratification with United Nation Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),
  • Adoption policies and procedures should be re-examined from the viewpoint of families of adoption-loss, which includes scrutinizing the Council on Accreditation and Joint Council on International Children Services,
  • Include and place priority on the voices of families adoption loss: Adoption would not be considered “child protection” but more along the lines of cultural genocide, child trafficking, human exploitation, and an UNCRC violation against vulnerable first-mothers, first-fathers, first-families and children and other members of the first-family (like aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents),
  • Re-examine the need for adoption from secrecy to total transparency,
  • Correct the adoption documents given to the adoptive parents for children who were claimed to be orphans by agency facilitators, when in-fact the children were not orphans,
  • Follow and endorse the investigational work of Against Child Trafficking (ACT),
  • Redefine the word “orphan” back to its original meaning,
  • Ensure (or enforce) that the US respect that all other countries (except Somalia) have ratified the UNCRC,
  • Act as UNCRC Guardians ensure proper implementation of the UNCRC (without the interference of adoption lobbyists, special interest groups and adoption beneficiaries),
  • Create a place for adoptees to report adoption abuse and the right to revoke their displacements (which happened without their consent)
At the moment the UNCRC Guardians are interlinked with adoption agencies who have the agenda to ignore the UNCRC even some self-professed critics of adoption insist that adoption is not forced cultural and family genocide upon innocent children. Families of adoption loss believe, however, in the proper implementation of the UNCRC. For we have experience: for every family helped by adoption, another family is hurt. History has demonstrated that for every family built by adoption, another family is separated.

I believe that children should have a right to their "own" family--not "a" family or "any" family like the agencies have used in their rhetoric to obtain the rights to children and create laws to sanction their business. 

*credit needs to be given to the Against Child Trafficking Team for their expertise and insight into the issues concerning separated families worldwide.