Monday, May 23, 2011

Current Status - A Nice Trip to Korea and Back, Well Almost.

I am currently writing this during my work related travel.  I have grounded myself at a hotel to sit down and finish off the letter to a Korean Government official regarding intercountry adoption.  The letter is too long I believe, but cannot cut out any portion of it.

I have come back from Korea, and what a trip it has been.  The National Adoption Day was attended by well over 1000 people, the next day MPAK had an adoption celebration in Kwachon City, the next day I traveled down to the city of Busan, where the city invited me to speak in front of their city workers.  I spoke for eighty minutes.  I had ten minutes left over for Q&A.  It was such an honor to speak to them my adoption experience, my values, and my work on behalf of homeless children.  Much like what I did at the Forum where I spoke on 'giving back'. On Sunday I gave a testimony at a medium sized church in Chungjoo.  Then I went back up to Seoul.

One of the open days, there was a meeting at the MPAK office with a Government official at the MOHW, representatives from all three big agencies, some came from KCARE, and of course me and Mrs. Han represented MPAK.  There were couple of professors of law that attended as well.  It was about running some public service announcement (PSA) using children's images to tug the hearts of Koreans to reach out and adopt the babies featured.  So the concern on the table was on commercialization of children, with potential implication that children's rights are abused by the PSA. 

Apparently there were some in Korea that were admantly opposed to it, and the MOHW wanted to bring all the concerned members of the adoption community and hear their opinions.  It didn't take long for all of us at the meeting to come to the conclusion that PSA would better serve children by finding homes for them.  This was going to be much like the "Wednesday's Child" program in the US where a homeless child or a sibling group of children are featured at many news stations across the country, and this method has been successful in finding many homes for needy children.

So the MOHW decided to run several children's PSA which is one minute long each.  MPAK worked with the adoption agencies and other organizations to produce the one minute PSA for 30 children, and 50 more were planned. But when the Minister of MOHW took this case to the Blue House and showed to other ministers what her plan was, there was no support for her plan from the other ministers, that argued about abusing the privacy rights of children.  So this PSA idea went nowhere.  It was a devastating blow for many children whose voices have been drowned out by ignorant leaders of the country, that probably have not even adopted one child.

What they haven't considered was that to put a child through an institution for eighteen years, ruin his/her life by not cultivating full capacity that a child could have (due to having no family), forced out of the orphanage when they turn 18 with a very little education and very little motivation, most of these children would struggle through their lives in Korea.  This is even much greater abuse to a child than a mere one minute PSA. What good is the privacy rights when the lives of children are ruined by blocking their rights to children? We are talking about one minute of PSA, which most people would not even remember of think about.  We only need one family for the child.  Compare this to the 18 years of delayed growth and suffering by a child who couldn't appear in that one minute, the only time a child might have a voice to say he/she is in need of a family.  Sigh.

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