‘An Adoptee Returns to South Korea, and Changes Follow’

This is a NY Times article about Jane Jeong Trenka’s work in Korea.  Go read it.

By then, South Korea was beginning to change its stance on adoption. As the country became the world’s latest economic miracle, the government slowly began to whittle down the number of international adoptions that many saw as a national shame. Still, experts say the government was unwilling to take steps many felt were needed to shift the country’s mind-set until it was forced to by Ms. Trenka and her fellow adoptees, who were joined in their campaign by unwed mothers. They tirelessly lobbied lawmakers, wrote blogs, held protests and filed complaints with the human rights commission.

*                                 *                                 *

The returnees’ leadership was instrumental to changing the way South Korea viewed adoptions,” said the Rev. Kim Do-hyun, director of KoRoot, an advocacy group for Korean adoptees.

[I was taken aback by the contrast between the great head on this article (“An Adoptee Returns to South Korea, and Changes Follow”) vs. the head on the letters to the editor (“A South Korean Adoptee, Caught Between Two Worlds”). Personally I think the “caught between two worlds” thing is cliched and overdone to death, and is reflective of the way white people think about folks of color. Additionally I was greatly annoyed by the letter writers (adoptive parents all) and their bullshit, and you are therefore warned that this link may cause extreme aggravation.]

7 thoughts on “‘An Adoptee Returns to South Korea, and Changes Follow’

  1. Want to get more aggravated? Check out the blog for the third letter writer, Katie Jay. [website redacted]

  2. Hi Leesa, although we sometimes seem to seek out aggravation, we try not to publicize such sites on the blog. Thanks for your understanding. Especially since that particular post is called “Transracial Adoption: It Beats Being Smothered to Death.”

  3. Leeson is incorrect as we don’t know the percentage of Korean adoptees who experience ethnic dissonance. Jay is also wrong in claiming that South Korea is restricting international adoptions due to “national pride.” The article clearly states that the reasons are prejudice against unwed mothers and familial pride (family bloodlines). Bulman makes the best point, namely that the government should be facilitating cultural change and not simply economic coercion. I would add that the economic incentive could and should be the catalyst for national attitudinal change toward children of unwed mothers.

  4. Seriously? Don’t know percentage? In this racist Southern part of the US- if your kids are not being acclimated with their race and culture – there will be a problem- whether ur adopted kids share with u or not. How many adult adoptees have to write books and blogs about how they feel before their feelings r no longer discounted!!!???

  5. Jane is one of the most courageous people I have ever known of. She changed my mind and my life and ultimately the life of my children as well. I am very proud of her work to change Korea.

  6. I’m amazed at how much change Jane Jeong Trenka has helped enact. I’m particularly hopeful about the child-care stipends and potential to change stigma against single mothers. That said, I can’t say I’m happy that the law “requires mothers to live with their babies for a week and receive counseling about the option of keeping them, before they relinquish custody.” To me, that seems as creepy and paternalistic as requiring women to see ultrasound images of their fetus before they’re allowed an abortion.

  7. Hi Ed,

    I totally agree with you! I have followed Jane’s and TRACK’s work for some years now and have supported TRACK financially. I have also known Jane personally for a while.

    This summer I had the great opportunity to spend some time with Jane. I am very impressed with her hard work. She is continiously working to improve the mums’, the adoptees’ and the adoptees’ birthparents’ rights.

    Everyone who supports the adoptees’ and our parents’ rights to access our paperwork should thank Jane for her hard work. She does not only support us as a group, but also on a personal level. She spent 2 weeks this summer to help me with my birthfamily search and I am sure that she was the only reason to why I could meet the person who found me and took me to the hospital.

    The adoption authority and the agency did very little to help me, while Jane did everything possible.

    I really hope that APs and adoptees understand how hard Jane works and I hope that you all consider donating some money to TRACK so they can continue their work.

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