[Letter to the editor]Why don’t more Koreans adopt?

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[Letter to the editor]Why don’t more Koreans adopt?


The letter from Kim Stoker (Dec. 31, 2007) about the plight of Korean orphans adopted by Westerners made me ask a different question: Why won’t more Koreans take care of their kids?
What happened to the baby in Indiana and the little girl in Hong Kong is tragic and everyone’s hearts go out to both of them. But I can’t figure out the reasoning that these things happened because the children were adopted by foreigners.
If one Korean child adopted by a Korean family has ever been mistreated or hurt, then this argument isn’t valid. Does Ms. Stoker believe that domestic violence doesn’t ever happen in Korean homes? These tragedies aren’t specific to societies anywhere in the world; unfortunately they happen everywhere.
As for my question about Koreans taking care of their kids, I really want an answer!
We have four biological children. We have lived here for four years and adopted our son from a local orphanage about two years ago.
He was five when he was adopted. Where were the Korean families with good incomes and a stable life to offer him in the four years he was in the orphanage? If they had children, adoption probably never crossed their minds; if they didn’t have children, social and family pressures probably are the reason they don’t adopt.
We know a childless Korean couple who wanted to adopt, but their parents would disown them if they did because they would be polluting their bloodline.
So I guess the best thing for these kids is to grow up in orphanages here. But even the best orphanage is not good for kids.
The directors of the baby homes don’t get to pick their own staff; the state appoints them and they aren’t all nice to kids. The kids constantly hurt each other and scratch each others’ faces, leaving them scarred by fear and jealousy.
Tell me how a kid who grows up with no parents and has a scarred face is going to make it in Korean society after leaving the orphanage. Our son asks me questions like, “Mom, am I in trouble if I get sick? One of the mean ladies at the orphanage said I was bad if I was sick.”
Or he says, “Once, a lady came to look at the kids and she said I wasn’t cute so she didn’t want me. Why did you want me?” I can’t believe I have to help my son undo so much garbage put into his little mind under the care of his own people.
Now that he is adopted, I can tell that some Koreans are genuinely happy to see that he is with a family. We have been thanked for adopting him. But others stare at him and talk about him behind their hands like he is in the zoo. I really want an answer to my question above.
It’s true that every Western family isn’t perfect, but as for compassion for the needy and open-mindedness toward our families, we do have it.
When Korean society takes care of its orphaned kids by adopting and loving them, not just putting down Westerners for doing it, maybe they won’t have such a big population of kids who need families and need them now.
Lara Lynn Lewis, Yongsan, Seoul
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