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Mon, December 6, 2021 | 17:09
'Vincenzo' and adoption myth entrenched in Korean society
“Vincenzo,” a Korean TV drama starring Song Joong-ki, centers on the story of a Korean adoptee who becomes a mob lawyer, after being raised by an Italian mafia family. Despite being adopted to Italy at a very young age and spending most of his life there, he arrives in Incheon International Airport speaking perfect Korean and manages to integrate seamlessly into Korean societ...
While experiencing 'han,' we need to reintegrate 'jeong' into our vocabulary
We adoptees are the embodiment of “han,” a term that could be described as an “internalized feeling of deep sorrow, grief, regret and anger.” Sharing this feeling makes us so very connected to our ancestors. As adoptees, besides what we carry genetically, we are spiritually very Korean.
Secrets of birth: Multiple layers of falsehoods in Korea's birth documents
The Netflix documentary, “Wonder Boy,” chronicles the journey of Olivier Rousteing, a transracially adopted French designer, to uncover his true identity.
Rewriting my adoption story truthfully
My citizenship is American but America is not where I was born. My birthplace is Korea, but Korean is not my culture. My culture is American, but my American family does not share my race. My racial ancestors are Korean, but I do not know who they are.
Imagining equality between Koreans and overseas adoptees
Overseas adult adoptees have resettled in Korea since the mid-/late 1990s but not before the early/mid-2000s was there a critical mass return. I doubt that Korea was ready for this influx and we might not have been quite ready for Korea either. My motivation for resettling in Korea was largely driven by a general interest and curiosity about this mythical-like place: a countr...
The problems we face while helping adoptees' search for families
I'm a representative of “Banet,” which began in 2018 as a small group of women volunteering to help overseas adoptees search for their origins. The name derives from “banet jeogori,” a type of clothing worn by newborns in Korea. We chose this name after seeing black and white photos of an airplane filled with children - all of them wearing banet jeogori and destined for overs...
What does Korean law say about adoptees' right to information disclosure
While there's been much discussion on the challenges of guaranteeing adopted people's “right to origins,” there's been little talk about the specifics of Korea's current legislation on the matter.
Intercountry adoption is about human rights, not charity
I'm often asked by Western diplomats, “I know Korea had a problem with that issue in the past but is it still relevant these days?” Korean civil society and human rights groups have demonstrated a similar depth of understanding, “Wasn't that the legacy of the military dictatorship? With democratization, hasn't that already changed?” Rather than addressing the fundamental flaw...
Intercountry adoptions 1985-92: A numbers game for Korea's national image
Over a seven-year span (1985-92), the number of transnational adoptions from Korea fell by 1,000 annually, dropping to a level not seen since 1970. Despite the absence of any meaningful reforms in child welfare or legislation, this decline represented a dramatic shift that satisfied many, including Western policymakers, who assumed that the root problems of transnational adop...
The unrestrained expansion of 'child exports' during 1980s authoritarian period
Shortly after the assassination of Park Chung-hee in 1979, Chun Doo-hwan led a successful military coup that would see Korea's authoritarian leadership period continue until 1992. The tumultuous political change that has come to define this period also influenced the politics of intercountry adoption. Throughout Chun's rule, the number of children sent for adoption experience...
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