‘Mommy’ comes home

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‘Mommy’ comes home

Lee Young-ju, 50, a teacher at an elementary school in Denmark, has been teaching Korean language and culture to Korean adoptees for three years. Known among the adoptees as “Mommy,” Ms. Lee visited Seoul this month to attend the 2004 KOWIN (Korean Women’s International Network) conference.
“Sending Korean babies to foreign countries is giving up the future of Korea,” she said. “I have heard Danish people say they bought a baby a Korean prostitute threw away. I felt deeply insulted and saddened.”
She talked about Koreans’ indifference toward orphans, as well as the urgent need for sex education and social welfare for young single mothers. According to Ms. Lee, there are about 150 Korean immigrants in Denmark, while Korean adoptees number more than 9,000.
Ms. Lee went to Europe 29 years ago to meet her Danish pen-pal and ended up settling there. She now has a 27-year-old daughter and a 24-year-old son. After getting married, she studied hard to become a teacher. She often invited Korean adoptees to her house to introduce them to Korean food and culture.
“The Korean government must train teachers to teach our culture to Korean adoptees abroad. This is more necessary than boxes of toys,” Ms. Lee said.
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