Friday, October 3, 2008

Acceptance of Korean International Adoptees in Korea

This article touches on increased political and social acceptance in Korea of Korean international adoptees:

In September 1999, over four hundred adult adoptees from across the United States gathered in Washington to discuss their problems and experiences. "The Gathering'' as it came to be known was addressed by Korea's first lady, the wife of the then President Kim Dae-jung. This indicated an important sea change. The adoptees' search for roots was increasingly welcomed by Korean officialdom.

For decades, the issues surrounding international adoption had been ignored by Korean media and public opinion. In the 1980s, it came to be seen as a national disgrace, which was damaging the country's international image. In the 1990s, Korean authorities and corporations discovered the political and economic benefits associated with them. Indeed, most of them had been adopted by successful middle- and upper-middle-class families and were given a privileged 'starting position' in their careers. Nowadays, many of them are successful and prominent ― or, at least, well on their way to becoming successful and prominent.

Thus it comes as no surprise that the long-ignored adoptees are now being courted by Korean government agencies. To some extent, this is explained by a sense of guilt they have toward the children who were abandoned in harsh times, but political and commercial considerations are definitely playing a major role in the recent change of policies.

In reading so much lately about Korean adoption, I see so many parallels that seem to be forcasting the future for Chinese adoption. I wonder how similar it will turn out to be?

The article also mentions that Korea now accepts adoptees as "Overseas Koreans," entitled to certain benefits including eligibility for a work visa. Does anyone know of special policies for "Overseas Chinese?" Are Chinese international adoptees considered "Overseas Chinese?"

When in Xiamen, we visited the Overseas Chinese Museum there. I especially liked this poem engraved on the wall:
The Green Leaf’s Attachment to the Root
Don’t ask me where to go,
my heart is attached to you.
Don’t ask me where to go,
my passions go with you.
I am one of your green leaves,
my root is deep in your soil.
Waving farewell in spring breeze,
I leave here and go far away.
Whichever cloud I dwell upon,
my gaze is always on you.
If I sing in the wind,
the song is also for you.
So don’t ask me where to go,
my road is full of memory.
Please bless me and I’ll bless you.
This is the green leaf’s attachment to the root.
– Wang Jian

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