Thursday, February 5, 2015

One Adoptees Response to the NY Times Article

Here is a response from my adoptee friend Sarah Kim, whom I met in Denver a month ago with her family.  Sarah is happily married to her husband Mike with three girls and a son on the way home from Korea soon.

Sarah (left) with husband Mike and their three daughters, Charlize, Darby, and Mikah

One Adoptee's Response to the NY Times Article by Maggie Jones
I did enjoy reading the article because I enjoy hearing about other adoptees experiences.  From the perspective of a Korean Adoptee, I could relate with many of the things the others said (i.e. the desire to find their roots, facing racism in an all-white community, the lack of understanding from parents, thinking I was white and then wishing I was).  I was able to find my birth family and have visited them twice in the last 12 years.  We continue to have limited “conversations” via Kakao Talk.  And like many others, my documents were “adjusted”.    

I appreciated Ms. Jones providing context on why adoption is relevant to her, all of our views are shaded by our own experiences.  This article is relevant to me because I have a shared experience with the people she interviewed and with her.  My family is in the process of adopting a little boy from S. Korea, we currently have 3 biological daughters. 
One of the adoptees in the article mentioned that adoptees leave their biological families, countries and cultures behind through no choice of their own, but all children come into their cultures, countries and families through no choice of their own.  We do not pick our families. 

I am conflicted about international adoption but believe it is a gray area and not black and white.  While we can debate the reasons why Korea sends children overseas, from the perspective of a child, I believe that every child should grow up in a family.  I am curious what some of the people in the article think will happen to the children that aren’t adopted internationally.

Sarah at 5 months old
I think there are still children that are being given up by their birth parents (just like in America where abortion is legal, there is financial assistance and being a single mom is not as taboo) and I am curious what is going to happen to the generation of children that are growing up in orphanages in Korea instead of with White families in America. My fear is that they will be a generation of orphaned children that will be less educated and with fewer opportunities than internationally adopted kids had and therefore less likely to have the tools to advocate for themselves and the next generation.  It seems like many in the article had a college education and beyond. 

I also appreciated Ms. Jones providing the perspective of adoptees that don’t feel strongly that international adoption should be halted in Korea.  I would have liked to hear more from them, but maybe, like me, they don’t claim to know what the right answer is, so it’s not as interesting to cover. 

I feel like this writing is scattered and I’m trying to stick to my main points, but I’m struggling. There are so many things to say and discuss on the issue that I could go on for a very long time (i.e. loss in adoption, addressing race and culture, feelings about birth family, the current adoption process, etc.). 

Most importantly, I am grateful that Mr. Jones is taking the time to share adoptees’ stories. I would challenge her to present another perspective of international adoption. I would like the world to hear from my perspective as well (i.e. Korean adoptees that found their “Korean roots” in the US and are adopting internationally) because I believe our experience is as valid as all the others she interviewed. I personally know 4 other Korean Adoptees (in addition to myself that have adopted or in the process of adopting). But there are more out there.

Sarah and her adoptive family on an outing


  1. Thank you Sarah for sharing your perspective. Like many things, with adoption we only hear from the very unhappy and dissatisfied. Never doubt that it is better to grow with a family than in an orphanage or foster care. It is a great tragedy that any child anywhere grows up without the love and support of a family when there are families who would welcome them in.

  2. Couldn't agree more Ellie's family!!

  3. Thank you Sarah for writing this. What a refreshing and encouraging response to a very difficult and multi-layered dialogue. As a Korean-American adoptive parent - I simply echo what Steve Morrison and others have already said, every child deserves a loving home.