Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Transcultural Adoption Is Not The Answer

Anonymous Very few families apart from sociopaths, willing give up children unless they are desperate.

South Korea was exporting adoptions en mass during the time I was adopted for many reasons.

1. They have very Confucius traditions and place loads of importance on lineage and adoption is taboo. Illegitimate children, children with a non-Korean parent, or children out of wedlock were heavily shunned as well as the birth mother and any of her family/associates.  So much shame was placed on anyone who did not conform to a traditional family.

2. Single mothers, adoptive families, and poor families have little social safety net/aid.  Social welfare didn't happen until 1977 and still today welfare spending is low (7.6% vs. the OECD average 19% in 2007) and income inequality is high.  Single mothers, illegitimate children and adoptive families are discriminated against.  Women have been gaining access to education and careers since the 1970-80's but there is still rampant wage discrimination with women making on average 39% less then men.

3. Abortions being illegal, contraceptives typically left up to men, and the KMA (korean medical association) scaremongering against the sort lack of overall reproductive rights empowerment.

Now since South Korea has become economically prosperous (With a large thanks to underpaid exploited female factory labor in 1960-1980) It's become somewhat of a national embarrassment for  South Korea to be a "baby exporter", so they have been pushing pro-domestic adoption and domestic adoption has been increasing, so South Koreans are capable of adopting within their own culture when encouraged.  The fact that many adoptees came back to Korea looking for answers and pushing reform probably helped as well.

In summary, I believe if you empower families and particularly women and mothers, the less babies you will need to "rescue" from poverty/abandonment. if you truly want to be selfless and do what is in the very best interest of a child, empower their family and homeland so that they can grow up in their own families and if that is not possible because they are truly orphaned, at least in their own culture.  There is too much science supporting the importance of mother and infant bond now, to continue pretending that adoptees are clean slates waiting for their adoptive parents to write on.

I see the growing wage inequity in the USA and Vice President Mike Pence's "adoption instead of abortion" stand and I really fear for the future of children and families from lower economic backgrounds here.  It highlights the problem with America's attitude towards adoption in general.  It's the rescue children from "poor origin" mentality that simply forgets the source of the problem often lies with the "poor family of origin". Gross wage inequality, and restricting reproductive freedoms is a perfect recipe to ensure that the poor can continue to breed for the rich.  If you can't afford children, you don't deserve them, however, if you're rich and infertile, you are entitled to someone else's.

But let's keep insisting it's all for the best interest of the kids, right?

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