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“1:48 – voices from within the korean diaspora”
guest: Kim Park Nelson
reporting by: kim thompson
interview conducted by: Steve Hatherly for TBS radio in Seoul
“Kim Park Nelson is an assistant professor of American Multicultural Studies at the Minnesota State University at Moorhead. Her research explores the many identities of adult Korean adoptees, as well as the cultural, social, historical and political significance of over 50 years of Korean adoption to the United States. Her recently completed Ph.D. research is titled “Korean Looks, American Eyes: Korean American Adoptees, Race, Culture and Nation.” She is the lead organizer of the Second International Symposium of Korean Adoption Studies which will take place in Seoul on August 3, 2010 as part of the International Korean Adoptee Associations Gathering, a week- long conference for and about Korean adoptees. She born in Korea and adopted to the United States in 1971.”
This is a report that will air once every 3 weeks and will feature korean adoptees who are artists, activists, and philosophers.
I will do the reporting and through the suggestions of others as well as my own contacts bring on different voices from within the adoptee community who live both in Seoul and abroad. For the time being it will air as a regular report that is featured on the “Steve Hatherly Show”
The reason that I’ve named the report thus is due to this fact (which I extracted from an article by Jane Jeong Trenka )
“since 1953 about 200,000 korean children have been sent to the west for adoption. with korea having a population of approximately 48 million this means one in every 48 korean citizens is affected by adoption. this show will feature some of those 200,000 who have returned home.”
HOW TO BE A PART OF SUPPORTING THIS SHOW:
It is to our knowledge the first consistent featuring of a report like this on the radio. Your comments and feedback and listening participation are vital. PLEASE make sure to email Tim Alper at TBS radio with your support for the show and tell him how you heard it (either live or on my blog)
Tim Alper: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have guest or topic suggestions please email me (Kim Thompson) at: email@example.com
* The purpose of this show is to feature the voices of Korean adoptees
According to The Globe:
The number of foreign children adopted by Americans plunged more than a quarter in the past year, reaching the lowest level since 1996 and leading adoption advocates to urge Congress to help reverse the trend.
China was the No. 1 source country in 2009 — but U.S. adoptions from there dropped to 3,001, compared with 3,909 in 2008. China has been steadily cutting back the numbers of healthy, well-adjusted orphans being made available for adoptions; a majority of Chinese children now available to U.S. adoptive families have special physical or emotional needs.
Johnson also said all parties who have tolerated corrupt adoption practices bore some of the blame for the dwindling numbers. “People in the practice of adoption worldwide have made ethical blunders that have cast a shadow over intercountry adoptions,” he said. “It’s highlighted how difficult it is for some of these countries to adequately supervise the adoption process, and led some countries to decide it’s just not worth the effort.”
Thomas DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, predicts 2010 numbers to hover just below 10,000. That is a tremendous difference from 1985, when Korea alone sent away 8,837 children for adoption.
As well, the fact that the majority of children being adopted from China have special physical or emotional needs will have major implications for post-adoption services, and will likely shift the nature of discussion regarding Chinese transracial adoption, and possibly representations of transracially adopted Chinese children in the media.
The tapering off of some countries probably means that another outlet will widen; it’ll be interesting to see how Ethiopia changes in the coming years, and what the transnational adoption of Ethiopian children, as opposed to the domestic adoption of black children, implies about the racial, cultural and national preferences of (mostly white) adoptive parents. Related, what does it mean that adoptive parents are willing to adopt special needs children from China, but not so much special needs ethnic children in the United States?
So… is it “worth the effort”? As Jane Jeong Trenka asks, was her American education worth the cost of losing her homeland, birth family and Korean culture? (She asks this in her memoir, Language of Blood, but forgive me, I can’t give you the page number because I don’t have the book with me).
Who decides what’s “worth the effort”?
Read the article here.
Today’s post is just because I’m feeling warm and fuzzy. Enjoy ^.^