As a follow up to my previous article, “Adoption: how it changes lives”, I thought I would publish a piece I wrote about International Adoption in regards to negative restrictions on adoption in South Korea. Later in the essay, I wrote about why I want to use journalism to report on adoption and understand the issues currently facing adoption. I hope that by writing my previous article and posting this writing, I am able to help bring awareness to the fact that adoption is something to be encouraged, respected, and valued. Furthermore, adoption has forever changed my life for the better. I deeply believe that once everyone learns to appreciate and be accepting of adoption, our world will be a more diverse and wonderful place to live.
So without further ado-
Adoption is an issue that resonates deep in my heart. For adoption is what united my sister and me when my family received her from China 12 years ago. Since then, my sister has become my best friend, my inspiration, and someone I can not imagine life without. Therefore, when I read the article “The Ethics of International Adoption” I was grateful for the response and truth it conveyed on the meaning behind adoption after adoptees from South Korea began working to restrict adoption from their country.
In the article “The Ethics of International Adoption” by Steven Conn, he responds to the New York Times article, “Why a generation of adoptees are returning to South Korea” by Maggie Jones and the issue of adoptees trying to increase restriction on international adoption from South Korea. Conn explains how diversity is expanded through adoption. He refutes Kim Stoker’s message that children should not be taken from their homelands and that international adoption is wrong. Conn’s argument brought up the fact that, “according to the World Health Organization, 10 million children under the age of 5 die from violence, malnutrition, disease or some combination the three every year… [and] ending the practice of international adoption will arguably make it just a little bit worse.” Furthermore, I find Stoker is missing the understanding that adoption is not about taking a child from their family, but giving a child a family when their birth parents cannot care or raise them properly. Therefore, I find the attack on adoption and a potential ban harmful to the children who would miss out on joining a loving family. In addition, I find it harmful to the families who wish to open their hearts to adopt children and provide them with a loving home.
I also appreciate how Conn addressed the issue of how the activists in South Korea are portraying adoption in a negative light when writing, “There is a throw-away line in Jones’ piece that brought me up short. The new anti-adoption law has been successful in reducing the number of children adopted from South Korea, Jones reports, and then she off-handedly notes ‘since the law was passed, the number of abandoned babies has increased — though whether that’s a direct result is unclear”’ However, Conn writes that while the activist do not want to admit it, “the results are quite clear elsewhere around the world.” That as international adoption decreases, abandonment increases. This supports the argument that without the ability to allow international adoption, babies are being more often abandoned. This, I find, is a much greater issue because now more children are being left in terrible situations without safety or love.
This story impacted me for both my direct personal connection and also because I feel a need to understand why some adoptees oppose adoption. I want to report on this issue in order to understand what happened to these adoptees that made them oppose their adopted families and what caused them to feel such resentment that they would allow other South Korean babies to be abandoned instead of brought into loving homes. Additionally, I wish I could report and speak to people on both sides of this issue so that adoption can be better understood and respected. I believe once people open up their heart to adoption- and especially international adoption- they open their heart to diversity and acceptance. This same diversity and acceptance my sister and I have learned, has reinforced our inseparable bond. Being each other’s sister has shaped how we appreciate the differences in others and I believe is part of the reason I so desperately want to understand why there are anti-adoption activist in South Korea. I hope to raise awareness on the true purpose of adoption and help give future orphans homes and families.
Journalist are capable of provoking conversation regarding people’s views and unintentional biases. With this in mind, more discussion and social action is necessary in order to protect the children who can and currently benefit from international adoption.