Thursday, December 27, 2007

Link to blogger - Ethnically Incorrect Daughter - in depth info on Jade

Ethnically Incorrect Daughter posted this in depth posting on Jade, the now 8 year old Korean girl, who was adopted, when she was a 4-months old infant and 7 years later was handed over to the Hong Kong social welfare by her adoptive parents.

Art project by Kim Soo Ja reminds me of the alienation of walking the streets

The work of this Korean media artist, Kimsooja (as she likes her artist's name to be spelled)intrigues me and reminds me of the feeling of alienation, growing up in a country and culture, where I represented something foreign and different - like a blunt object sticking out. Kimsooja calls her video art project "Needle woman".

Needle woman in Havana, Cuba

Needle woman in Sana', Yemen

Needle woman - in Jerusalem, Israel

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Heart beat lights up hundreds of flashing bulbs - art project by Lozano-Hemmer

This post has nothing in specific to do with adoption or Korea.. except for the fact that the artist, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is represented by, which used to have a sister gallery in Seoul (but don't see the adress on the website any longer?)

I just find this art project intriguing..

Quoting " - Rafael Lozano-Hemmer:
Pulse Room consists of 100 to 300 incandescent light bulbs that flash according to the heart rate of visitors, which is measured with an interface. The resulting effect is not unlike those complex patterns found in minimalist music like Steve Reich or Glenn Branca, where similar but not identical sequences go in and out of phase to give synchronicities, arrhythmias, syncopes, etc. The theory of Cybernetics was first formulated in the National Institute of Cardiology in Mexico City to explain self-regulation in the heart. Here, biometrics provide feedback parameters to create a turbulent light matrix. The piece is inspired by Roberto Gavaldón's movie "Macario" from 1960, where the protagonist has a hunger-induced hallucination where each person is represented by a faint candle in a cave."

...must be pretty awesome to stand there.. and feel and see the wonder of one's own heart beat!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Adoption Quilt Pattern - Korean Child

Just found this site.., and at first I was amused, thinking it to be a prank, but it seems to be earnest in it's effort to offer ideas on how adoptive parents can enjoy knitting, broidering or making a quilt as a welcome gift to their adoptive child.

It's mainly the wording that struck me as somewhat odd!

Need something to do to occupy the long days awaiting word that your child or grandchild is approved to travel (or will soon be on his or her way?)

Quilt your own "Welcome Home" heritage wallhanging!

Approximate finished size: 14" x 30"
- Skill level - Intermediate

Each pattern includes the child design and general instructions on putting the quilt together plus a bonus opening greeting card page. The embroidered panel will contain your child's name, birthdate, birth province/country, and homecoming date.
Fabric/Color - this is your personal choice. But we recommend you try to use color schemes and/or fabric native to your child's country. Please note that we sell patterns only. We do not sell fabric or complete, ready-made quilts."

I don't like Christmas, I love Christmas, I don't like Christmas, I love..

Warning - here comes a Christmas spoiler!

I can't be angry at my mother for not being my Korean mother!

This realization just came to me as lightening strike after once again having emotional outbursts and miscommunication with my mother - as often it turns especially intense around Christmas evening coming up with all it's 'traditions' of hurt feelings(more or less succesfully surpressed, words from a love gone sour, guilt and other emotional debris. Christmas has for as long as comes to my memory been like walking the thin ice, i.e. it looks beautiful from outside and intentions may be glorious, but after 1 or 2 hours in the same room, cracks in the ice appear and accusations begin and wronged emotions take the better of us.

One Christmas evening, when I was in my early 20'ties, I was thrown out of the house by my late father, because I spoke my free oppinion on employing young women and their rights to take leave of pregnancy before birth. My father founded an international business empire, which btw was inherited solely by their biological son, my 'brother'. I was told that if I couldn't "behave" (i.e. spoke against my father's statement) then I could leave..which I did.

Other beautiful memories include, one Christmas, again in my twenties, where I wanted to sing a few Christmas carols (I can't remember ever having sung together with my family) and my mother said, "Well, that didn't exactly sound nice!". I got hurt and wondered why a mother would say this and was reminded again how I have never felt 100 % acknowledged as a child, a young woman, nor as an adult..and probably shed a few tears to which my mother would respond, "You're always spoiling a nice evening".

I know that someone might think, it probably wasn't this bad..

But my point with sharing this is, that I have this childish anger pattern that only my family can ignite! where I start saying things that I'd never say in a calm state of mind, when I act out of pure anger - actually not related to what they might have said.

And I suddenly see that this anger may arise from a surpressed anger from when I was a little baby or little girl - I'm angry at them for not being my Korean family! (no matter the issue that started it off).

I've spent Christmas evening alone one time, been celebrating it in an ashram (nicest ever, singing Christmas carols from all over the world), been inviting friends home (one of the second nicest Christmas evenings ever).. but most evenings have been shared with my 'family' - and 1½ week ago, I was invited by my brother for Christmas evening with my mother.

And I said yes - And this year - maybe due to the many years of trying so hard to figure it all out - and realizing this funny bit of mind-stuff! - it turned out as one of the Christmas evenings, that I love. Seeing my aging mother joyful and my little nieces being so spunky and sweet (and spoiled), well, how couldn't I love it. Being reminded of my brother's struggle with a disease that is making it difficult for him to run, to play, to be a father to his children and a strong husband to his wife - compassion and best wishes for his life lit up in my heart.

And thought it may sound like a clichée, I am again reminded that it is compassion and love among people, that connect and create family ties.. as well as blood relations, I guess..

South Korean lawmaker pushes for stricter regulation of international adoption - Korean response to the case of "Jade"

Thanks to Made in Korea blogger for the link!

By Kim Young-gyo
SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) -- A recent incident, in which a Dutch diplomat in Hong Kong drew public fire for abandoning a South Korean-born girl whom he adopted seven years ago, was yet another indication to a South Korean lawmaker that the international adoption program from South Korea must eventually be banned.

Ko Kyung-hwa, a first-time lawmaker with the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP), has been working in defense of potential adoptees, and pushing for stricter laws on the international adoption of South Korean children since she started her career in parliament in 2004.

혻혻 "The incident shows only a part of the unfavorable side effects that can be caused by international adoption," she said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Friday, claiming that a child is best cared for by the biological parent, or at least within the birth community.

혻혻 A Dutch diplomat couple found themselves earlier this week at the center of an international controversy for giving up their seven-year-old ethnic Korean daughter, whom they adopted at the age of four months.

혻혻 Raymond Poeteray, 55, who has worked as a Dutch diplomat for more than 20 years, and his wife, Meta, adopted the girl they named "Jade" while stationed in South Korea. In May 2007, they put her into a foster care in Hong Kong, where they are now stationed.

혻혻 "We need to earnestly study international adoption. Yes, we do hear a lot of success stories of adoptees, but what about those who failed to adjust to their new environment? Do we ever hear from them?" said Ko. "The government does not even have any follow-up documents or reports on what happens to the children after they were adopted."
South Korea, the world's 11th-largest economy, has been criticized both at home and abroad for its low rate of domestic adoption. Government figures show that there have been about 87,500 domestic adoptions versus 158,000 international adoptions since the Korean War ended in 1953.

혻혻 It was after the Korean War that Christian organizations first founded international adoption agencies in Korea, motivated by the poverty of many Korean children whose families were devastated by the war.

혻혻 International adoption rates from South Korea grew in the 1970s as the country industrialized, and peaked in the 1980s. From the 1990s until the present, unwed mothers have been under intense pressure to relinquish their children.

혻혻 "This case, though rare, could have happened at any time. Why are we still sending our own children to foreign countries, when we are capable of taking care of them ourselves?" she said.

혻혻 She also urged her colleagues to pay more attention to the adoption issue, saying a revision bill that she and some other lawmakers submitted in November is pending, but is not likely to pass during the regular parliamentary session, which is to end in December.

혻 혻 "The bill is first aimed at limiting the number of international adoptions to the minimum, by allowing it, for example, only when a child needs special medical care (only available) in foreign countries."
More practically, however, the reform bill is aimed at preserving biological families, rather than just stopping international adoption at once, she said.

혻혻 "The most important thing is to keep those families together: the bill, when passed, would enable single moms to have a four-week period to give deep thought to whether she really needs to give up her child. Many women I met had second thoughts after they let their children go abroad," said the lawmaker.

혻혻 Stressing the need for financial support for single moms who want to raise their children themselves, the biological fathers must be held legally liable for their children, she said.

혻혻 "It would also allow internationally adopted children to go back to their biological family and regain their relationship, if, and only if, the adoption was irrevocably dissolved," she said.

혻혻 Under current South Korean law, the adoption of Jade cannot be formally dissolved by the Dutch couple, as the child is still a South Korean citizen. Moreover, the status of her residency is uncertain; she was never naturalized as a Dutch citizen, nor did she officially become a resident of Hong Kong. She goes to school in Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese and English, but not Korean.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Couple adopted 4-months old girl while in Korea : 7 years later they left her with the social welfare in Hong Kong

Upon recent media coverage this story has caught the attention of lots and lots of adoptees within the international adoptee community. In short, it concerns a Dutch diplomat couple, who turned over their now 7-year old adoptive daughter of Korean bloodline to the Hong Kong social welfare, where the couple is presently stationed.

G.O.A.L. has issued this press release on behalf of the international adoptee community.

Adoptee community condemns relinquishment, demands accountability from Korean, Dutch governments

December 12, 2007 – The global adoptee community condemns the disruption of an adoption by a Dutch diplomat couple. The couple adopted their Korean daughter as an infant in 2000 while stationed in South Korea.

In 2004 they were transferred to Hong Kong, and in May 2007 they relinquished the daughter to Hong Kong social welfare. The girl’s residency is now in question, as her parents failed to give her Dutch citizenship.

Many adoptees in Korea, the Netherlands and worldwide condemn not only the abandonment, but also the laws and practices –- or lack thereof – that resulted in such a tragedy.

A child is not a returnable product: Adoption is a lifelong commitment.

G.O.A.’L demands a thorough investigation by the Korean and the Dutch governments into this case. Many details of the case are still unclear, leading G.O.A.’L to suspect that standard legal procedures may have been ignored in this adoption. If it is found that this adoption was indeed illegal, the Korean government must pursue all possible measures to punish the wrongdoers without regard to “diplomatic immunity.” The results of the investigations must be made public and reflected as changes in Korean, Dutch and international laws."

About G.O.A.L.:
Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link (G.O.A.’L) is an adoptee-run organization located in Seoul, Korea. G.O.A.’L has been working for Korean adoptees and their rights since its establishment in March 1998, and is a registered NGO under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, registered non-profit organization with Seoul Metropolitan Government and also receives support from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

For more information, contact Dae-won Wenger +(82) 2-325-6585 or


First of all, I'd like to ask the Dutch couple:

1. What actually happened?

2. What happened since you've decided to leave your daugther in a foreign country?
and without a citizenship?

3. What were your thoughts on how she'd adjust to the loss of her family, the people she'd been growing up with and attached herself to as her parents?

4. What is your understanding of the term, "adoption"?

5. What were/are your experiences with children and the prerequisites on adopting a child?

6. Would you like to stand up and share your side of the story to the international press? Or should we wait and get the story from the girl, whom you named - Jade?


And I thought "Jade" associates with something very precious...