*Structural Violence* and *HERE*

So much to update, so little time. For now, some awesome reads:

Structural Violence, Social Death and International Adoption: Part 1 of 4 by Jane Jeong Trenka

Structural Violence, Social Death and International Adoption: Part 2 of 4 by Jane Jeong Trenka

Structural Violence, Social Death and International Adoption: Part 3 of 4 by Jane Jeong Trenka

Structural Violence, Social Death and International Adoption: Part 4 of 4 by Jane Jeong Trenka

Some quotes from Trenka’s article:

It has been estimated that there will be no more Koreans left in South Korea by the year 2305; there are not enough babies being born to replace the elderly who are dying.(1)

The Korea Times quoted the minister, whom it dubbed the “Minister of Ingenuity,” as saying, “It is obvious that my primary and ultimate goal as family minister is to lift the birthrate.” Yet this is the very same ministry responsible for sending up to 200,000 children overseas for international adoption (2), with 90 percent of the 1250 Korean babies sent for international adoption in 2008 being the children of unwed mothers.

It seems that the ministry is not interested in raising the birthrate by simply allowing the children who are already born in Korea to live there, or by extending the “choice” of raising one’s own child to everyone. Even while she talks about adopting the model of family-friendly policies used in France (where people no longer find it necessary to marry to have and raise children), the minister is interested in encouraging only married people to have children. Children who fall outside the “norm” of Korean society have been systematically shipped out ever since the end of the Korean War. (3)

Although there may be up to 1 million Korean family members directly affected by international adoption, these family members are rarely heard from(4); the adoption program that presumably “saved” children from miserable lives in Korea and that now “saves” unwed mothers from raising their own children has also rendered them socially dead in the process. These social deaths, accomplished by dis-embedding children from their families, exiling them from their country, and changing their names, birthdates, hometowns, and social histories, have been facilitated by the “justice” ministry and the ministry of health, welfare and “family,” as well as the adoption agencies’ web of orphanages, unwed mother’s homes, and the Korean healthcare providers who pressure women into relinquishing children and who have the power to cover up the adoptions. (5)

And FINALLY! It’s HERE: A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota !! From the Yeong & Yeong website:

Why HERE? Our story: Minnesota has one of the highest number of adopted Koreans, per capita, in the world, and yet there is nothing in our state’s annals to document this. This book was conceived to recognize the 13,000–15,000 of us who have immigrated to Minnesota, and to celebrate our existence, experiences, and perspectives, which are as diverse as our faces. We are everyday people, yet unique. We are girls, boys, women, men, babies, teens, and adults; singles, partnered, married, gay, straight, and transgendered; sons and daughters, mothers and fathers. We are a living, breathing part of Minnesota history. This book has no agenda—it is neither for nor against international adoption. We merely present the spectrum of our adopted community and how we have altered the face of Minnesota since the 1950s. Most important, we felt the urgent need to create this book as a resource not only for the present population, but also for future adoptees. After all, many of us do not have access to our Korean families and ancestry, and this book may provide the only touchstone many of us will ever have.

Congratulations to Kim Dalros and Heewon Lee for making this book a reality!

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