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via jane jeong trenka’s FB:
People, please stop making assumptions about how things are done or have been done in Korea. It is Korea — not the U.S., not a European country, not Australia — it is KOREA. Please ask for information, read it with an open mind, and then make your judgments.
It is assumed that Korean women make “adoption plans” for their children when in fact many children have been kidnapped by relatives and taken to adoption agencies, and women have been outright lied to about what adoption IS (they think it’s a study abroad program). We in Korea do not have adequate shelters for low-income homeless women and children. We do not have SNAP or WIC. There is still no enforcement of child support obligations for fathers, whether unmarried or divorced. Until very recently high school students were expelled from school for being pregnant. Until recently only a man could be the head of a household. Many children never legally existed in Korea until their adoptions because of this. This is how you can traffic children. This is why we study the situation and do not assume that everywhere is just like the U.S. Korean women do not “make an adoption plan.” They are coerced and forced into sending their children for adoption. Wait a minute, Korea is a lot like the U.S., Canada, the UK and Australia during the Baby Scoop era — FORTY TO SEVENTY YEARS AGO — and those mothers from that era who tragically and needlessly lost their children deserve to be listened to and embraced for the sake of everyone’s future. Marilyn Harper, from your attitude it seems like you might not like to hear this, because it kind of makes you complicit. However, if you dare to incorporate some knowledge into your thinking, perhaps you can be on the team for change instead of the continued oppression of vulnerable women in Korea and other countries. We need systemic change, not systemic oppression. That is what the American women decided, anyway. Why should women in other countries deserve any less? Why should American women be complicit in the continuation of their oppression? Just as in the U.S. there might be a few truly crazy moms every year, but when you see tons and tons of children up for adoption or being abandoned, it points to something that is systemically oppressive and violent to women, not just some random crazy ladies who don’t want their children.
As for calling people “adopterators” I can see why you would want to do that if a crime has been done to you by a specific group of people. Some adoptees who feel that a crime has been done to them by their first parents call them “birth person” or “sperm donor” or worse. I can see why they would feel that way. Critically thinking adoptees are often called “angry” and “bitter” and infantalized and generally insulted and dismissed. If one views the adult adoptee as tearing down the thing that makes them happy and construing that adopting a child was an unintentional act of oppression against their child’s own family of origin, and yet they believe themselves to be saviors, I can see why they would want us to swallow the grateful pill again and shut up. (Good luck with that.)
I feel like we should talk about issues and facts and welcome those who are like-minded, no matter what their identity is. I am more interested in belief than identity. Although one’s identity does have a tendency to sway people’s beliefs in a certain way.
Marilyn said: “Why should anybody expect to be supported because they get pregant, single or otherwise?”
You should expect to be supported because babies, who are innocent and helpless, deserve to be supported and the best way to do that is to support the child in their own family, in their own environment, in their own country. It is not a crime to be born into poverty and children should not be exiled either from their countries or their families simply for being born into a family that is without resources. If you do not want to live in a world where the logic of capitalism rules everything right down to the most fundamental and precious human relationship, you have to think a little bit in terms of the good of the whole of society, not “I am OK and fuck all the rest of ya’ll.” As Deb Bee said, babies come from mothers, not orphanages. The reason why we KADs do not open our own orphanage here in Korea is because we support mothers raising their children and would rather do volunteer work all day and all night to increase support for them to raise their children by changing law, policy, and practice, and meanwhile attacking the discrimination and ignorance of the general public (rather than doing the easy thing, which is opening a baby magnet and getting the $1,000 per month per child that we would earn running an orphanage or group foster home). Marilyn Harper, you have asked to be educated. You’re welcome.
Marilyn Harper and anyone else who would like to read what Korea is doing differently from the United States, please read this report.
If you are an adoptive parent with a child from Korea, I view it as your personal responsibility to know about the country that your child came from. I do not care if you like kimchi or not. I do care whether you know the socio-political context behind the society that created such a giant intercountry adoption program.
as a poc adoptee, let me tell you there is no better way to start your day than having to argue publicly with your white adoptive mom about whether or not the racism you experienced is valid.
I didn’t realize how strong and thick my armor against racism had grown until the day I realized I didn’t have it anymore. We were parking outside the Seward Cafe, and a man walked right up to our car and said, “Chinaman, This is my country!” and although I used to be able to just brush it off by thinking, “What a crazy freak!” this time I could not because I have lived 9 years in Korea without people being racist against me (although they are to other people), and because of that I have lost my skills to deal with street racism, and those words hurt just as much as they did when I was a kid, before I had accumulated 30 years’ worth of armor and mental acrobatics to protect myself from everyday life. This happened the day after I got my receipt checked at the door at Walmart and my bag emptied to make sure I wasn’t stealing anything, which was the day after exactly the same thing happened at exactly the same Walmart. Living with discrimination erodes a little bit of your human dignity every day. The fact that we need so much armor to get through the day, and that we have to teach our children to act for the sake of safety rather than the sake of their dignity, and the fact that if I had a child, my child would have seen me targeted and humiliated rather than talk back to that man because I was concerned for my safety — makes me so, so angry.
a thread soon formed with people adding their own experiences with racism. and i added my own comments with some of my experiences with racism growing up in the states, including a reference to a racist question that my uncle (mom’s younger brother) used to ask me every time i saw him:
i remember kids (and even a TENURED PROF AT MY UNIVERSITY) making gibberish noises imitating what they thought asian languages sounded like, yelling at me to go back to my country, pulling back their eyes at me, i had my own uncle asking me where he could “get two little girls like you” every time i saw him, i had people asking me if my vagina was sideways way before i even understood what that could even mean, i had people giving me weird “compliments” like “pretty as a lotus flower” or crap like that, people asking me if i was chinese or japanese, which was still better than the many people who called me a chink and jap. my sister said she had a little girl follow her into a bathroom stall to see if hers was the same… this is just off the top of my head. (and for reference, i lived in maryland, tennessee, indiana, and illinois)
i should mention that i’ve already written (here) about my uncle and his insistence on asking me this question every time i’ve seen him and how i was finally able to tell him to get stuffed at the age of 30.
what is not included in that previous post is that even AFTER that visit when i made my displeasure with my uncle’s question clear, my mom asked my uncle to repeat it in front of jinwoo (as a cute family story!) on my next visit when i went with him to the US and he met my family for the first time. this is how oblivious my white parents are to racism and their dismissive attitude toward my clear expressions of boundaries as it relates to race.
so after i brought it up again in that comment, my mom responds:
Ur uncle loves u and he was never making fun of u.
i think carefully for a full twelve minutes on how to respond. i am basically boiling angry at this point, but part of me thinks i should address this privately, not publicly. but i decide no. i can’t just allow this to stand publicly. i’m tired of being the accommodating one, it has clearly gotten me nowhere so far. still, in an act of enormous restraint, i only answer:
how do you still not recognize that as racist?
to which my mom responds, flat-out:
It was never racist.
oh ok, thank you white mom for invalidating my feelings on the racism that i experienced. this time i think for a good thirty minutes. i do not want to publicly thrash my mom but i have made my decisions about not continuing to sugarcoat discussions with race with my family anymore. and i answer:
mom, i’m not going to keep arguing with you about this publicly. if you don’t think that was racist then that’s deeply frustrating. did he ever ask that question to anyone else but sharon and me? (i.e. my white brothers and sisters) no. does that mean i think he’s a horrible person and i hate him? no. does it mean i’m going to pretend it wasn’t racist and humiliating every time i heard it? not any more.
no word from her (either publicly or privately) since then. my guess is that she is feeling sorry for herself and won’t initiate contact for awhile. still trying to decide if i should call or text her for the holidays.
you handled this beautifully. big props.
Nobody wants a band of kids that is already a family unit.
They are trying to integrate you into them, not be integrated into you.
So why are you telling people you have not just one — but two or three siblings? Say goodbye to them and send the youngest ones off to fend for themselves.
They probably won’t even remember you later.
Maybe you can find them in adulthood through Facebook if you’re sentimental.
Be an orphan.
Do you really expect to be adopted you if want to maintain ties with your birth family?
People fear your mother showing up at their front door. That is why they like to adopt kids from as far away as possible!
"I am a poor orphan. I am a poor orphan."
That is your new mantra, and do stop talking about your mother.
Not only should you obliterate your memory, but you should also ask your social worker to burn any records that suggest you may have difficulty making adults feel loved and needed in exchange for a home.
Adoption is not about what you want. It’s about what adopters want.
Get it straight, kids!
— From international adoptee’s Jane Jeong Trenka’s brilliant satire, “How to stop languishing and get yourself adopted.”
OECD statistics show that the child poverty rate in the U.S. is nearly double that of Korea, with 20.6 percent of American children living in poverty, as opposed to only 10.5 percent in Korea.
Moreover, there were 400,540 children separated from their parents and living in the U.S. foster care system in 2011. Of these children, 104,236 were eligible and waiting for adoption, and another 58,000 lived in institutions.
On the other hand, there were only 16,523 Korean children living in institutions at the end of 2011, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
So why do we insist on sending our children away to live with foreigners? Who brainwashed us into believing that everything is better in America?…Korean adoption agencies owe American children an apology. For every child they send there, they steal a potential home from an American child. How sorry they should be for hurting American children in that way and for being complicit in the lie that international adoption ― in the way that it is currently practiced ― is a service that puts children’s needs in any country first.Jane Jeong Trenka for the win. Again.