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An unwed mother receives less than $50 per month from the Korean govt to support her child. Adoptive Families magazine reported in 2012 that the average cost of an international adoption from Korea for Americans was about $38,000 adoption in a survey from 2010-2011. So, the cost of adoption is the same as the Korean government would give mothers if they collected that $50 for over 63 years. If we want to increase the amount of support so it is actually meaningful, we could say that the same money could give an unwed mother $500 for over six years to support her child.
Although the Third Annual Single Moms’ Day is not until May, we are doing an end-of-year fundraiser to get the ball rolling. We have also just gotten fiscal sponsorship, meaning donations from our American friends are now tax-deductible.
This year, May 11 will be on a Saturday, meaning we are going to try to have some big public events, possibly over multiple days if we can raise the money.
Some things we would like to use Single Moms’ Day 3.0 for:
- Invite a guest speaker from Australia, where they are having the apology for forced adoptions
- Showcase the Dandelions group (Korean adoptees’ families of origin)
- Pressure the ROK government to fulfill its responsibilities under international treaty obligations. We are still engaged in a struggle with the government to accept the Universal Periodic Review recommendations from the United Nations
- Artistic performance
If you send a check to our American fiscal sponsor, Give2Asia, they will mail you the receipt you need for your tax returns. You may contribute a gift of any amount and send to:
340 Pine Street, Suite 501
San Francisco, CA 94104
Please make the check out to Give2Asia and write KoRoot/Single Moms’ Day in the memo part of your check. Your gift will benefit KoRoot, TRACK, and KUMFA (Korean Unwed Mothers and Families Association) because we all share the bill for Single Moms’ Day. FYI Give2Asia takes 7% for administrative fees.
Sincere thanks to you!
The human rights framework is the core of TRACK’s philosophy and our compass for activism. When we understand human rights, what needs to be done is very clear.
We’d like to invite all who are interested in UN human rights conventions to study with us on the second Sunday of each month at KoRoot. (There is a mistake on the linked map: it is near Gyeongbokgung Station on the orange line – not “Gyrongbokgung” / 경복궁역 3호선). The language is English. Our first official session will be January 13, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. We will also use some time to brainstorm for the 3rd Annual Single Moms’ Day, to be held May 11, 2013. After our session in English, we will join the Mindeullae group of adoptees’ families of origin for bilingual Korean-English conversation over lunch.
To prepare for discussion, please print these documents and bring them with you:
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- 2012 Universal Periodic Review Joint_Submission
Other information of interest that you may wish to read on your own can be found on TRACK’s online library.
Please reply to Jane Trenka at email@example.com if you can attend! Studying together is free; please bring money for a modest lunch at a local restaurant (nothing fancy, just normal Korean food). Hope to see you there!
** Thank you to all the wonderful people who have made wishes come true! The gift drive was completed in four days this year. May your kindness be returned to you and your loved ones a thousand times over this holiday season.**
In cooperation with TRACK and ASK, KUMFA is once again organizing a Christmas gift drive for the children of Korean unwed mothers. By giving small, personal gifts to single moms’ children, we encourage the movement of child-rearing single mothers to grow in Korea. Of course, we also bring a little holiday cheer! Children will receive their gifts at an end-of-year party on December 15 in Seoul. Therefore, please select your gifts by December 10 in order to ensure that there is enough time to get all the gifts purchased, delivered, and wrapped.
Read on to see the wish list written by moms from KUMFA (Korean Unwed Mothers and Families’ Association), which advocates for the rights of unwed pregnant women, unwed mothers and their children in Korea. Thank you for your help! Continue reading
There’s still a mountain of work to do, but maybe tonight’s a good night to celebrate just a little. Wonderful news was released today by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare.
In a nutshell, we get this:
- All of Korea now knows that there are 18,000 KADs sent to the U.S. and 5,000 KADs sent everywhere else whose adoptive country citizenship paperwork was not sent back to Korea. The Koreans have requested cooperation from the U.S. State Department on this issue, and this has also been reported in the press release.
- Records will no longer be regarded as simply the private property of the agencies and will be moved to a facility for storage and microfilmed.
- There will be an expansion of post-adoption services with a budget nearly doubled in 2013 for programs including a “social house” for adoptees in Korea who have been deported and others who find themselves in emergency situations. There will be counseling and psychological services.
- They are moving towards ratifying the Hague Convention.
- As the Hague Convention dictates, they are regarding the preservation of the original family as the most important, followed by domestic adoption, then international, then institution.
- They are advocating support for unwed mothers.
- Expansion of cultural, language and mother country visitation programs. Support for reunion, translation, legal help, etc.
You can download the press release here: MHW announcement in Korean. Click on for my quick and dirty summary/translation.
The term “unwed mother” is a direct translation from the Korean word mihonmo. Unwed moms face more social discrimination than other single moms, like widows or women who have been married and then divorced.
What differentiates Korean unwed moms from unwed moms in other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries is their struggle to keep and rear their own children in the face of intense pressure to relinquish due to lack of social welfare support and social discrimination.
Human Rights Council Working Group
on the Universal Periodic Review
Fourteenth session / Geneva, 22 October–5 November 2012
Botswana noted concerns raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child over multiple forms of discrimination against children.
Brazil raised concerns over reports of social stigma and hardship faced by single mothers, which may lead mothers to relinquish their children. It hoped that the enactment of the 2011 Special Adoption Act will improve this situation.
Costa Rica … expressed concern at the discrimination of children of single women,
Germany … expressed concern over… the situation of single mothers and their children.
Hungary … requested information on measures to protect pregnant employees as well as to counter discrimination against single mothers.
Switzerland noted deficiencies in the birth registration system
Italy… raised concerns over reports of inadequate universal birth registration system,
Ireland noted the absence of a universal birth registration system in the Republic of Korea, which may give rise to children being secretly adopted between their birth and registration. It noted the results of a 2010 survey, which estimated that there might be as many as 17,000 undocumented migrant children were unable to access to medical care and other services.
The Netherlands … noted concerns expressed by the CEDAW Committee about disadvantages faced by women in the employment sector and the concerns from the CESCR on sexual harassment in the workplace.
Korean Government Responses
Regarding birth registration and adoption, the law was changed in 2008 so that an adopted child would enjoy the same rights and status as a biological child, and the problems in the past of registering a birth rather than an adoption were mostly corrected. Legal controls were also strengthened. Adoptions can only take place with a court permit. [NOTE: They are referring to regular adoption vs. simple adoption, NOT the birth registration. They are also not recognizing the widespread secret adoptions as a problem. –Jane Jeong Trenka]
60. The Government has been making thorough preparation for accession to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Child Adoption. For instance, international adoption previously overseen by private adoption agencies will now be overseen by the Government. The Government will also monitor closely the recently launched ‘court permit system’, prior to ratifying the Hague Convention. [However, the Government still does not have an adequate watchdog function over the agencies, and the adoption agencies are still the first contact for parents considering relinquishing. –JJT]
61. Under the Single Parent Family Support Act, support for childcare, education, and living subsidies are provided. For low-income single mothers under the age of 24 there are self-support and employment package programmes with counseling and training to enable the families to become financially independent and viable. Moreover, relevant laws and school regulations have been amended to help teenage parents stay in school. [STILL NOT ADEQUATE to provide a decent standard of living, too much emphasis on institutions – JJT]
124.9. Adhere to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption (France); Ratify the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Honduras); Accede to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Ireland);
124.10. Consider withdrawing the remaining reservations to international human rights instruments to which it is a party (namely to the CRC, ICCPR, OP-CRC-SC, CEDAW) (Slovenia);
124.11. Withdraw its reservations on Article 21(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Germany); Lift its reservation to article 21 (a) of the CRC (Ireland);
124.26. Increase governmental efforts to ensure that women, in particular single mothers, can have access, as men do, without any discrimination, to employment, equal pay and matrimonial rights, especially following an inheritance or a divorce (Belgium);
124.28. Combat discrimination against single mothers and their children (Brazil); Conduct national awareness campaigns to eradicate the discrimination against single mothers, in law and in practice (Mexico); Establish a governmental authority to support and advise single mothers and their children (Germany);
124.29. Improve the registration of children with a view to ensuring that the statelessness of children is prevented (South Africa); Revise the single parent family support law and introduce legislation to ensure that all children are automatically and legally registered immediately after birth, regardless of parents’ legal status and origin (Norway); Facilitate the implementation of a birth registration system to allow immediate registration at birth, independently of the status or nationality of parents (France); Provide for a full system of universal birth registration including immediate registration upon birth regardless of the parent’s nationality or status in the country (Ireland); Consider the possibility to introduce a system of automatic registration of children born in the country, regardless of the parents’ nationality or status (Italy); Revise the national legislation with a view to guarantee that all persons are registered at birth, independently of their migrant condition or the nationality of their parents (Mexico); Enact measures regarding the civil registration of children at birth in order to fight the possible traffic in human beings (Romania); Carry out a legislative review so as to ensure an automatic and legal registration at birth, while guaranteeing the protection of personal data and especially the right to access such data (Switzerland); Review its birth registration system to safeguard the human rights of unwed mothers and children by (i) ensuring immediate birth registration is available to all children regardless of the parents legal status; (ii) ensuring that the birth registration accurately indicates the biological parent(s) of the child; and (iii) taking steps to prevent birth registration of children by third parties, such as adoptive parents, that could result in the occurrence of de facto adoptions in the absence of proper judicial oversight, which could also put children at risk of being trafficked (Canada);
124.47. Continue the review of its international adoption system with a view to reform relevant legislation, and to bring it fully in line with the CRC; make the consent of teenage single mothers in the process mandatory; and adopt measures for all adoptions to be subject to the approval of a central authority with a clear mandate and responsibilities for the judicial supervision and the regulation (Honduras); Establish a national adoption centre and an obligation to register right after birth (Germany);
124.49. Implement legislation criminalizing sexual harassment in the workplace, and set up mechanisms to monitor the implementation of this legislation (The Netherlands);
정부는 2만3000명 해외입양인 국적 취득 확인해야
지난 8월 한 해외입양인이 강남의 한 은행을 털려고 한 사건이 한국언론의 헤드라인을 장식했습니다. 이 강남 은행 강도 사건 조사과정 중 발견된 것은 비록 이 해외입양인이 어려서 미국으로 입양되었지만 미국시민권이 없었기에, 미국정부는 그를 한국으로 추방한 것으로 밝혀졌습니다. 은행 강도 미수범인 그 해외입양인은 현재 한국의 어느 구치소에 수감되어 있습니다.
그는 미국에서 한국으로 강제 추방된 후, 한국어를 전혀 할 수 없고 한국에 대한 기억이 전무하며, 한국에 아무 지인이 없는 상태에서 살아남기 위해 몸부림쳤지만 그러한 몸부림은 실패했다고 면회를 갔던 제 지인들에게 고백했다고 들었습니다. 그 미국 입양인은 살기 위해서 대낮에 강남 한복판에서 은행 털기를 어설프게 시도했지만 그 시도도 물론 실패했습니다. Continue reading
INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION IS A TYPE OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION:
SAFEGUARDING THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN IN CROSS-BORDER MIGRATION REQUIRES ADDRESSING ABUSES IN INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION
Bruce Abramson and Ross Oke
Day of General Discussion:
“The rights of all children in the context of international migration”
28 Sept. 2012
Salle XIX, Palais des Nations, Geneva