1. Understanding the Environment
While it has been customary for Korean adoptee organizations outside Korea to have only one organization per geographic area, Seoul is home to three adoptee-run organizations. This has understandably been the cause for some confusion. However, it is customary and acceptable for Koreans in Korea to simultaneously be members of many organizations, each having their own function. Likewise, this cross-membership is common in the adoptee groups in Seoul. Adoptees who participate in TRACK are welcome to participate in any or all of the other organizations, each of which has its own purpose and activities.
2. Adoptee-run Organizations in Seoul
TRACK is the newest of the adoptee organizations, and was intentionally formed around the activities of GOAL and ASK in a complementary way.
TRACK is an organization advocating full knowledge of past and present Korean adoption practices to protect the human rights of adult adoptees, children, and families. We belief that birth families and adoptees need rights, recognition, and reconciliation with society in order to fully contribute to a strong Korean society. Improving the human rights of adult adoptees, children, and families requires multiple approaches. Therefore, we conduct projects in the following:
History: Reconciling the truth about adoption’s past
Laws: Instituting change for future generations
Outreach: Increasing society’s knowledge of the adoption community’s history and struggle for human rights
Research: Creating an alternative body of knowledge that can be used to establish a truth and reconciliation commission, writing adoption into Korea’s modern history.
Access: Representation of the adoption community in revisions of the adoption laws and translation at government proceedings
Funding: One hundred percent of TRACK’s funding comes from private individuals. The vast majority of those individuals are Korean citizens. The core TRACK team consists of adoptees, Korean citizens, and overseas Koreans who have returned to Korea. TRACK pays no salaries; all work is done on a volunteer basis. Anyone who supports TRACK’s mission is welcome to attend biweekly volunteer meetings. Donations go toward basic costs such as printing flyers, street campaigns, meeting expenses, etc.
Note: A common misperception about TRACK is that it is “anti-adoption.” That is incorrect. TRACK is a history and information project that aims to investigate the full truth about the Korean adoption system, and trusts that informed people can make their own decisions about their personal beliefs. We are pro-transparency.
It is also notable that under the current South Korean presidential administration, truth and reconciliation work is not encouraged. Therefore, TRACK’s activities during this presidency will focus on building a grassroots movement that includes public outreach and education, as well as making systemic changes to ensure adoptees’ right to information about themselves as we move toward our goal of a truth and reconciliation commission in the next presidency.
Statement of Cooperation
TRACK seeks to work in harmony to tackle the many tasks and challenges that face our evolving community. We understand that our work is complementary to GOAL and ASK, and that there is room for everyone at the table. TRACK unites with various organizations for some projects, and we do others of our own interest independently. We encourage cross-membership for adoptees, as this creates synergy and closer relationships. We recognize that each unique organization has made already made contributions, and look forward to cooperating with GOAL and ASK in the future on various projects that are beneficial for all.