Silence, Sorrow, and Separation

Silence, Sorrow, and Separation: Birth Mothers and Birth Searching in Children’s Literature

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Where is home? Is it with the families that raised us? For many adoptees of color, loving our parents or siblings does not prevent us from feeling that we are missing a piece of ourselves. As young children, we search in vain for someone who resembles us, who can show us our connectedness to the rest of humanity… All adoptees are faced with the dilemma of whether to search for our birthmothers and the possibility of another rejection if we do find them… Intensely emotional and unpredictable, our reunion stories have become fodder for public consumption, sparking curiosity and voyeurism. (Introduction to Outsiders Within, 2006, p. 11)

Being adopted is a passive situation. Looking for birth parents, by contrast, is a choice. (Marianne Novy, Reading Adoption, 2005, p. 2)

[ An important disclaimer: I am not an adopted Korean nor am I the birth mother of an adopted person. I am the daughter of immigrant Koreans. About 15 years ago, I began studying representations of Korean adoption in children’s literature for my doctoral dissertation. In 2009, I moved to Minnesota, the epicenter of transracial Korean adoption (Park Nelson, 2018), where I met my husband, who is an adopted Korean. As an Adoption Studies scholar, I prioritize listening to the voices of adopted persons and drawing from critical adoption studies.

My goal with this post is to amplify the voices of adopted persons and their birth mothers, the two silenced members of the adoption constellation. ]

“The fact that I lost my son permeates my being.” 

In 2012, I saw children’s book author Lois Lowry during her book tour for Son, the final book in The Giver quartet. Lowry spoke about how the death of her son during a flight accident was one of her inspirations for writing the book. She told The New York Times, “The fact that I lost my son permeates my being.” The NYTimes continues, “And that loss permeates ‘Son’ as well. It’s a book of longing in the guise of an adventure. Children will love it. It will break their parents’ hearts.”

That evening, I thought, “Son is a birth search story.” I asked Lowry if she had done research on adoption, birth mothers, and birth searching for this book, and she paused and replied that she hadn’t thought of Son as an adoption narrative. I knew then that someday I wanted to write about it. Though I have been researching representations of Korean adoption in youth literature since the early 2000s, I have not seen Korean birth mothers depicted with much depth and care (Somebody’s Daughter by Marie Myung-Ok Lee is generally advertised as an adult novel). This may be because American children’s books depicting Korean transracial adoption are primarily written by white women, and particularly by white adoptive mothers, who fail to “imagine” (Thomas, The Dark Fantastic) the experiences of Korean birth mothers.

 In 2019, I presented a version of this essay at the biennial congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (Stockholm). The theme of the congress was “Silence and Silencing in Children’s Literature” and my presentation was part of a panel titled, “Shattering Silences and Stereotypes in Transnational Adoption Narratives,” along with adoptees Shannon Gibney and Tobias Hübinette.

Birth Mothers and Adoption Discourse in the United States and Republic of Korea

The U.S. and Korea dominate in terms of both adoption practice and critical adoption studies (see Kim Park Nelson’s Invisible Asians, 2016, and Kimberly Mckee’s Disrupting Kinship, 2019). Korean transnational adoption began in the 1950s during the Korean War and escalated through the 1980s, when thousands of children were sent for overseas adoption. More than 200,000 Koreans have been adopted to countries outside of Korea, with about half going to the United States (see Tobias Hübinette for a history through 2004; see also Kim Park Nelson; Eleana Kim; Kimberly McKee; Elizabeth Raleigh). 

Birth mothers are often rendered invisible members of the adoption constellation. Specifically, many Korean birth mothers suffer in silence. In Virtual Mothering: Birth Mothers and Transnational Adoption Practice in South Korea (2016), Hosu Kim writes about how poverty, being widowed, abuse, rape, and the stigma of single motherhood lead many Korean women to relinquish their children; fathers are rarely held accountable. As American demand for adoptable children increased, Korea sent away thousands of children, turning a system that originally found families for children into one that found children for families. Social workers admitted to going to poor neighborhoods in search of single mothers and pressuring them to place their children for adoption. Consequently, for a while now, 95% of the children adopted out of Korea were born to single mothers; their “social death” (Orlando Patterson and Jodi Kim, cited in Hosu Kim, 2016, p. 9) is what renders children available for adoption. They are, as Lois Lowry writes, a “vessel.”

We have most commonly seen Korean birth mothers on Korean television shows as they are being reunited with their children. But these scripted reunions hardly allow birth mothers to speak for themselves (Kim, 2016). By individuating birth mothers and ignoring the larger multi-decade, multi-million dollar “transnational adoption industrial complex” (McKee, 2019), Kim writes that “the search and reunion narrative enforces a normative motherhood in which birth mothers remain disconnected from South Korea’s long history of transnational adoption and trapped in a sense of shame and guilt for their failure of mothering, and thus further discourages them from speaking about their experiences” (2018, p. 323). 

Birth mothers in the United States are also silenced. Ann Fessler says in The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Their Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade (2006): “… it is remarkable that so little is known about these mothers’ experiences even now, decades later. This silence has also kept many of these women from learning about one another and understanding that their feelings of grief and loss were normal…” (p. 12). Fessler  shares the stories of women who were, in the words of one woman, “told they must surrender their child, keep their secret, move on and forget” (p. 9). The women, who were mostly teenagers at the time of their pregnancies, were meant to just, well, forget and be forgotten. Fessler continues, “… none of the mothers I interviewed was able to forget. Rather, they describe the surrender of their child as the most significant and defining event of their lives” (p. 12). One birth mother said, “A lot of us are still suffering in silence” (p. 52).

Many children’s books are silent on the topic of birth parents and birth searching. However, we must discuss birth parents’ roles in adopted people’s lives, partly out of justice for the birth parents who are the “primary actor[s]” in adoption (Modell, Kinship with Strangers, 1994, p. 63), and partly out of the need to counteract the dominant images and discourse that diminish their roles or write them out of adoption stories (Kim 2007; Modell 1994, pp. 12, 61-90; Novy 2005, p. 13; Oparah, Shin and Trenka 2006, pp. 3, 12-13; Pertman 2000, p. 8, 11, 148-150). In youth literature, if Korean birth mothers are depicted at all, they are made into passive objects whose primary act is to give birth and then give away a child, or they are discursively written out of the narrative. They are likely to be deceased, drawing on both the social and actual death Hosu Kim references. 

Therefore, I am fascinated by the depth of character and compassion accorded to both the searching child and his grieving birth mother in Son.

Birth Mothers and Birth Searching in Son

Son (2012) is the fourth book in The Giver trilogy. In The Giver (1993), a child named Gabriel is born to a birth mother in a tightly controlled community. When the protagonist Jonas realizes that Gabriel will be “released,” a euphemism for being euthanized, for “failing” to develop properly, he takes him and runs away to Elsewhere. Son takes place when Gabriel is a teenager. The story is mostly about Claire, the woman who gave birth to Gabriel in The Giver. In Son, readers witness Gabriel’s conception, birth, separation, and search from Claire’s perspective.

I map Claire’s emotions and experiences to birth mothers’ testimonies in Fessler’s and Kim’s research. First, birth mothers are underprepared regarding pregnancy, birth, and relinquishment. Claire “had not known, until she both experienced and observed it, that human females swelled and grew and reproduced. No one had told her what ‘birth’ meant” (p. 27). Later, in a conversation with a fellow birth mother who had already given birth, Claire learns for the first time that the process might be “uncomfortable.” Fessler reports that “Most of the women [she] talked to had been wholly uninformed about sex and pregnancy prevention” (p. 45). Later, Fessler also writes, “These women were even less prepared and were completely taken aback by the intense feelings of love they had for their child at birth” (p. 180). Claire, who by accident is no longer taking the emotions-numbing pills distributed to each member of the community, experiences these feelings. 

Immediately after Gabriel was born and taken away, Claire thought, “… she missed it. She was suffused with a desperate feeling of loss” (p. 11), echoing Fessler’s observations that “moving on and forgetting was impossible. The full emotional weight of the surrender affected some immediately” (p. 187). Claire goes on: “… ever since the day of the birth, she felt a yearning constantly, desperately, to fill the emptiness inside her. She wanted her child” (p. 59). One birth mother in Fessler’s book shared, “The first few weeks at home, I cried all the time… I cried all night, but I didn’t let anybody hear me…” (p. 200). Hosu Kim likewise observes the “feelings of shame, guilt, lowered self esteem, and self-loathing as well as of depression, an emptiness…” (p. 204) expressed by Korean birth mothers.

Over time, birth mothers do not forget their relinquished children. Using the present tense, Hosu Kim writes about the “emotional devastation [the Korean birth mothers] are suffering over their lost child” (p. 169) and the “prolonged sense of unresolved grief” (p. 204) reflected in their online posts. Fessler reports that one birth mother said, “Even if my mind didn’t remember it, my body remembered. This really lives in your body” (p. 210). Similarly, when someone says to Claire, “You love your boy, though,” and even though it’s been years, she responds: “I loved my boy. I still do.” (p. 228). Again, the present tense indicates ongoing grief. 

Finally, readers learn that while Claire has been desperate to find her son, Gabriel has also been desperate to learn about his past. He asks Jonas questions such as, “What happened to the birthmothers? What happened to my birthmother” (p. 274) “Didn’t she want me?” “I’m going to find out” (p. 274). Laurel Kendall notes that “adoption self-help literature tells us that all adopted children think about their birth parents and some even construct powerful fantasies around them” (2005, p. 163). In the early 2000s, the Korean adoption agencies reported that about 2-3% of searching adoptees had reunified with their birth families. I can’t imagine the number is much higher now, but it may be skewed because while we hear about “successful” reunions, we hardly hear about the searches that do not lead to a reunion (see Palimpsest by Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom; Found in Korea by Nam Holtz). Gabriel’s desperation to find his birth mother resonates with research I’ve conducted regarding Korean birth searches, especially in reading the first person accounts of Korean adoptees in memoirs, short story collections, online, and in documentaries, as well as the stories I’ve heard and observed first hand from Korean adoptee friends and colleagues. 

#FlipTheScript: Centering Birth Mothers and Adopted Persons

Birth searching, grief, and loss on the part of birth mothers and their children seem fully realized in this novel written by and possibly featuring white people. It shows the reader how much birth mothers suffer as a result of having children taken from them. Claire is silenced, but she cannot suppress her sorrow in being separated from her baby. Readers see her grief, and we are encouraged to empathize and hope that Claire and Gabriel will be successful in their searches. 

In contrast, the actual sorrows suffered by birth mothers—whether Korean or American—who have their children taken from them or who are otherwise separated from their children, have their stories told in venues other than in children’s literature, and even within those venues, they are underrepresented. Adoptees are also severely underrepresented as authors in children’s literature; most Korean adoption narratives are written by white women, with nearly half by white adoptive mothers (Park, 2009). Similarly, adoptee Liz Latty observes that “The vast majority of children’s books about adoption are written by adoptive parents” that lead to a “dominant narrative of adoption [that] is one of unquestionable good, a one-time event, and win-win for everyone involved” (“Dismantling Whitewashing & Saviorism In Adoption Kidlit,” Books for Littles.) On Lost Daughters, adoptees write, “Whenever education is taking place about an issue or community, all voices of that community must be included. The world needs to hear adoptee voices included in the dialogue about adoption.” It is crucial that we #FlipTheScript and center the voices of adopted persons and birth mothers.

In 2019, I heard Celeste Ng talk about her 2017 novel, Little Fires Everywhere (now streaming on Hulu). As I did during Lois Lowry’s event, I raised my hand during the Q&A. First, I thanked Ng for writing the character of the birth mother in a way that included her back story, made her more human, and gave her an ending that so few birth mothers get in real life and in fiction. I then asked her what research she did on birth mothers, adoption, etc., before writing the book. Ng went into detail about her research, citing specific court cases where birth and adoptive parents wrestled for the right to parent a particular child. She, too, wrote her birth mother character in a way that encouraged the readers’ sympathy. Lisa Ko’s The Leavers (2016) similarly depicts an adoption, birth mother, and birth search; Lisa Ko is not an adopted person and writes about her inspiration for the story here.

Fessler observes that the birth mothers’ “grief has been exacerbated… because they were not permitted to talk about or properly grieve their loss” (p. 208). Hosu Kim says, “While information about the existence and experiences of birth mothers is seriously limited in the South Korean discourse on transnational adoption, the experiences of birth mothers is even less acknowledged in the adoption discourse in North America and Western Europe… birth mothers have remained treated, at best, as a symbol of a remote, unknown, and unfortunate past, and at worst, are assumed to be literally dead” (2016, p. 4). Kim also notes that when birth mothers meet adopted Koreans (not their biological children), “In accounting the circumstances leading to putting children up for adoption, and in their experiences with adoptees, the birth mothers are transformed into living documents. By sharing their life stories, at times too painful to remember, birth mothers breathe life into information that might otherwise remain unavailable or abstract to adoptees” (2018, p. 331). Shannon Bae extends the work Kim began, amplifying the “radical imagination and solidarity” between Korean adoptees and birth mothers that point to a present and future where neither of their voices are silenced (2018). 

Therefore, I conclude with a call to break the silences that persist around adoption discourse, and particularly around birth mothers’ rights, grief, and loss. Their full humanity should not be relegated to fiction, but fiction may very well help us to have more compassion for birth mothers.

I deliberately chose Mother’s Day for my #31DaysIBPOC post. Today, May 10th, is also Single Parent Families’ Day in Korea (Bae). On this day and with this post, I honor the women who have lost children to adoption. Their stories matter.

Works Cited

Bae, Shannon. (2018). “Radical Imagination and the Solidarity Movement Between Transnational Korean Adoptees and Unwed Mothers in South Korea.” Adoption & Culture 6(2). 

Fessler, Ann. (2006). The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade. Penguin Books.

(2014). “#FlipTheScript.” Lost Daughters website.

Kendall, Laurel. (2005). “Birth Mothers and Imaginary Lives” in Cultures of Transnational Adoption, ed. Toby Alice Volkman, 162-181. Duke University Press.

Kim, Hosu. (2007). “Mothers Without Mothering: Birth Mothers from Korea Since the Korean War” in International Korean Adoption: A Fifty-year History of Policy and Practice, eds. Kathleen Ja Sook Bergquist, Elizabeth M. Vonk, Dong Soo Kim and Marvin D. Feit, 131-153. The Haworth Press.

Kim, Hosu. (2016). Birth Mothers and Transnational Adoption Practice in South Korea. Palgrave.

Kim, Hosu. (2018). “Reparation Acts: Korean Birth Mothers Travel the Road from Reunion to Redress.” Adoption & Culture 6(2).

Hübinette, Tobias. (2004). “Korean Adoption History” in Guide to Korea for Overseas Adopted Koreans, ed. Eleana Kim. Overseas Koreans Foundation.

Ko, Lisa. (2017). The Leavers. Algonquin Books.

Latty, Liz. (2019). “Dismantling Whitewashing & Saviorism In Adoption Kidlit.” Books for Littles.

Lowry, Lois. (1993). The Giver. Houghton Mifflin.

Lowry, Lois. (2012). Son. HMH Books for Young Readers.

McKee, Kimberly. (2019). Disrupting Kinship: Transnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States. University of Illinois Press. 

Modell, Judith S. (1994). Kinship with Strangers: Adoption and Interpretations of Kinship in American Culture. University of California Press.

Ng, Celeste. (2017). Little Fires Everywhere. Penguin Books.

Novy, Marianne. 2005. Reading Adoption: Family and Difference in Fiction and Drama. University of Michigan Press.

Oparah, Julia Chinyere, Sun Yung Shin, and Jane Jeong Trenka. (2006). “Introduction” in Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, eds. Jane Jeong Trenka, Julia Chinyere Oparah and Sun Yung Shin, 1-15. South End Press.

Park, Sarah Young. (2009). Representations of Transracial Korean Adoption in Children’s Literature. University of Illinois.

Park Nelson, Kim. (2016). Invisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences, and Racial Exceptionalism. Rutgers University Press. 

Park Nelson, Kim. (2018). “Korean Transracial Adoption in Minnesota.” MNopedia. Minnesota Historical Society.

Pertman, Adam. (2000). Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America. Basic Books.

Sjöblom, Lisa Wool-rim. (2019). Palimpsest: Documents from a Korean Adoption. Drawn & Quarterly.

Thomas, Ebony Elizabeth. (2019). The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. New York University Press.

Notes

Special thanks to Dr. Betina Hsieh, Erica Kanesaka Kalnay, and Dr. Kimberly McKee for providing feedback on this post. 

[ This blog post is part of the #31DaysIBPOC Blog Challenge, a month-long movement to feature the voices of Indigenous and teachers of color as writers and scholars. Please CLICK HERE to read yesterday’s blog post by Laura M. Jiménez (and be sure to check out the link at the end of each post to catch up on the rest of the blog circle). ]

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CFP Orphanhood, Foster Care and Adoption in Youth Media (ChLAQ)

Call for Papers

Orphanhood, Foster Care and Adoption in Youth Media:
A Special Issue of Children’s Literature Association Quarterly
Edited by Sarah Park Dahlen and Lies Wesseling

Deadline: November 1, 2014

This special issue of ChLAQ will focus on the different ways in which orphanhood, foster care, and adoption have been depicted in media for youth past and present. We also aim to take perspectives from birth countries and birth parents into account. We invite papers that both extend and disrupt existing adoption discourses, including but not limited to:

– the cultural construction of “adoptability”: constructions of children in need (deserving/undeserving children); of birth parents, foster parents and adoptive parents (deserving/undeserving parents)
– presence/absence of birth parents and birth countries in Western stories of adoption and fostering
– the genres of orphan narratives: the sentimental novel and beyond
– adultism and the hidden adult in orphan narratives
– the (ab)uses of children’s literature as a socialization tool in raising and educating adoptees
– representations of intercountry adoption in birth countries
– the politics of belonging; intersectional perspectives on race, class, nation, gender and sexuality in orphanhood, foster care and adoption
– the adoptees write back: adoptees’ perspectives on the cultural construction of orphanhood and adoptability
– the impact of narratives and visual art (action art, intervention art, etc.) on adoption laws, policies, and practices

Papers should conform to the usual style of ChLAQ and be between 5,000-7,000 words in length. Queries and completed essays should be sent to Sarah Park Dahlen and Lies Wesseling (chlaq.adopt@gmail.com) by November 1, 2014. The selected articles will appear in ChLAQ in 2015.

Adoptee Roundtable on MPR

In contrast to Monday’s MPR program on the decline of international adoption that was comprised entirely of non-adoptees (see my previous post on this topic), today’s MPR panel, brought about by vocal and articulate adoptees criticizing MPR’s choice of panelists, is comprised entirely of adoptees:

[Full disclosure: Kim and JaeRan are dear friends of mine. They are legit rock stars.]
 

My only criticism is this: Tom Weber focused the conversation on race and racism for 40 minutes. JaeRan Kim, Kim Park Nelson and Kelly Fern totally rocked it with their answers to his questions, but why didn’t he ask them on their thoughts about the decline of international adoption? 

MPR, International Adoption, and oh wait… where’s the adult adoptee on the adoption panel?

[update/note: for new readers, this is full disclosure that I myself am not an adopted Korean. I am a Korean American daughter of immigrant Korean parents. I am an assistant professor at St. Catherine University in the Master of Library and Information Science Program, and I study representations of adoption in children’s literature and adoptee information seeking behaviors. I consider myself an ally and advocate for adoptees and ethical adoption.]

Yes, it’s true. I blog mostly when I’m really annoyed. There’s a whole lot more to the background of international adoption than I can post here, but for a brief background at least on the Republic of Korea, check out Dr. Kim Park Nelson‘s “Mapping Multiple Histories of Korean American Transnational Adoption.”

Recently we have seen several articles regarding the “precipitous decline” in international adoptions; one reason for these declines is that there has been so much documented corruption, child trafficking, questionable behaviors, etc., in international adoption, so some countries have shut down their adoption programs – and rightly so. Countries have decreased the numbers of children they make available for adoption because they are trying to care for the children within their own countries, mostly by way of domestic adoption programs, which is a nice thought but fails to address the root problem of why so many children are being orphaned/made into “legal” or “social” orphans in the first place. Another reason may be that birth mothers are being incredibly brave and choosing to raise their children as single mothers. These are all valid and good reasons to decrease the numbers of children adopted internationally. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-adoption. Adoption is and should be a good thing and a great way for a child to find a home. But in recent decades the institution has spiraled out of control and created a market for children that has broken up many existing families. So I’m actually anti-unethical adoption. Anyway, back to the main topic at hand.

Today MPR had another program on the decline of international adoption . Here’s the panel of 4, as stated on the MPR Daily Circuit page:

  • (adoptive father) Dana Johnson: Professor of pediatrics in the division of neonatology at the University of Minnesota, founded the International Adoption Clinic
  • (adoptive mother) Maureen Warren: President of Children’s Home Society
  • Jodi Harpstead: Chief executive officer of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
  • (adoptive father) David McKoskey: Adoptive father, professional computer programmer and adjunct professor of computer science at St. Catherine University (full disclosure: David has guest lectured in my LIS7530 Internet Fundamentals and Design class – and done a fantastic job of it.)

As usual, there are no adult adopted persons on this panel. There is no shortage of adult adoptees in Minnesota who are adoption professionals, activists, etc., that could have balanced out the perspectives and experiences represented by this panel. Earlier this morning when we learned that this program was happening, adoptees encouraged one another to call-in with their comments in order to get their voices heard. Here’s my (almost) live blogging of what went down:

What MPR talked about:

  • The declining numbers in international adoption
  • The continuing “need” for international adoption (never mind that the number of global “orphans” are conflated and inaccurate)
  • How open adoptions can change the landscape of contemporary adoption
  • The impact of the Hague Convention on international adoptions
  • How they would prefer the safety of children over volume… but when the volume increased so quickly… that attracted a lot of different agencies and operators… and there “might have been some safety and care sacrificed.”
  • The goal is to get the number rising again so children can be placed (which I read as “and also so that our finances can stabilize”)
  • They actually talked about adult adoptees who are now professionals: “Particularly adult Korean adoptees that are influencing the arts, that are influencing adoption, that are very interested in contributing to all walks of life in Minnesota” (except even though they are influencing adoption, we haven’t invited any of them to this panel).
  • That there’s a “special place in heaven” for the families who open their homes to a child. She needs to read David Smolin’s “Of Orphans and Adoption, Parents and the Poor, Exploitation and Rescue: A Scriptural and Theological Critique of the Evangelical Christian Adoption and Orphan Care Movement.
  • That prospective adoptive parents need to be patient because small delays are just that – small delays in the long run.
  • Kevin Ost-Vollmers called out MPR for not inviting adult adoptees to this panel, and MPR answered that the program focuses on the drop in adoptions and therefore they invited people who work at agencies, and rather, that adoptees could call-in with their comments. I’m not sold on this answer, as I think they need to address the root of the problem – that adoptions may happen at the expense of exploited/misinformed families, and that watching out for them should be a major priority for anyone concerned about building/maintaining healthy families.
(Some of) What call-ins from the audience talked about:
  • 1st caller: adoptee and adoptive father
  • 2nd caller: adoptive mother of Korean daughter: “adoption has really opened our family up”
  • 3rd caller: domestic adoptee who adopted internationally
  • 4th caller: domestic adoptee whose wife is adopted, father is adopted, brother is adopted, and is the adoptive father of 2 children from Ethiopia. Thinks CHS is a great organization. Drives him crazy when people say “Your girls are so lucky. We’re the lucky ones!”
  • 5th caller: asked about the role of infertility in the adoption process
  • 6th caller: KEVIN OST-VOLLMERS! Korean adoptee, blogger and adoptee activist called out MPR for not inviting Korean adoptees to the program!!! And asked another question about culture and whiteness, but I didn’t catch the whole thing because I was so excited that he actually got through the phone lines. I’m so not satisfied with MPR’s answer.

What I wish MPR had talked about:

And let’s not forget so-called “well-intentioned” Christian organizations that want to expedite and process international adoptions without following established legal procedures. Consider what the Idaho churches tried to do in Haiti after the earthquake: http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_14338123

That’s all, just some real life adoptees, birth parents, (and adoptive parents, although their stories get PLENTY of airtime already), and their real life stories. It gets better, right, MPR? Can we extend this conversation and add another program that features the voices of adult adoptees/adoptee professionals?

2012 July 11 update: As a follow up, check out the following:

2012 July 12 update: Tomorrow, this is finally happening:

Research Request for Participation

Transnationally Adopted Koreans’ Information Seeking Behavior
REQUEST FOR PARTICIPATION

Introduction
My name is Sarah Park and I am an assistant professor in the Library and Information Science Program at St. Catherine University, and I am researching the information seeking behaviors of adopted Koreans. My main research question is: how do adopted Koreans go about seeking information regarding adoption and birth histories, what are some barriers, specific needs, and resources available to aid in this process? The goal of my research is to understand and frame the information behaviors of adopted Koreans, as well as analyze and highlight the needs, resources, and barriers related to information seeking.

I invite you to participate in this project of advancing knowledge about search experiences through an interview about your own search experiences. The interview will take approximately one hour and be audio-recorded. All data will be kept strictly confidential, secured behind passwords and locked cabinets/offices, and destroyed upon completion of the project.

Participant Requirements

  • Adopted Koreans age 18+ who have conducted a birth search.

If interested, please contact Sarah Park
651-690-8791 Office
spark@stkate.edu

This project is funded by the St. Catherine University Carol Easley Denny Faculty Research Grant. For more information about Sarah Park: http://sarahpark.com

Adoption: Annual Report FY 2010

FY 2010 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions (December 2010)

http://adoption.state.gov/pdf/fy2010_annual_report.pdf

Some highlights:

  • With 863 adoptions, South Korea ranks #4 behind Russia (1,082), Ethiopia (2,513), and China (3,401).
  • California received the highest number of adoptees: 850. The economy must be doing better.
  • The US sent 43 children for adoption, mostly from Florida state (27), and mostly to Canada and the Netherlands.
  • The economy of transnational adoption: agencies charged a high of $62,000 for a Convention adoption.