Banner design by Helena, portrait by Eva


Saturday, March 31, 2007

Adoption/Babies in Korea

Korea is a developed nation, but is traditional in many ways. There's social stigma attached to single mothers, and adoption is shrouded in secrecy. Blood lines are important, not just among the wealthy. For this reason, most Korean orphans are adopted by Western families.

My student told me about a priest, a friend of his family, who found a baby in a basket at his doorstep. He and his wife felt a vocational duty to raise the child. Adoptive fathers usually seek a child with the same blood type. Luckily for him, the baby's type was the same.

The priest and his wife moved to a new neighborhood to present the child as their own own. It is common to move, especially when the adopted child is already 2 or 3 years old. Some women who adopt a newborn or use a surrogate will go as far as faking pregnancy for 9 months.

Although increasingly accepted, unwed mothers are isolated in Korea. They cannot be proud of the sweat and tears that go into raising a child alone.

Interesting Fact: As I've mentioned, there is a 100 Day celebration in Korea. Babies weren't exposed for fear of infection so, on this day, the baby was introduced to extended family for the first time.

Only the boys are photographed nude. Families take pride in their son's little winky. One woman in my class, the 3rd girl in her family, wasn't photographed because her Mother was ashamed not to give birth to a boy.


Anonymous said...

why is/was the infant mortality rate in korea high?

Ed said...


Eva Karrin McKinnon said...


Thanks for the laugh. Just trying to keep the site PG! ; )


Current stats (South Korea)--

Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 6.16 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 77.04 years
male: 73.61 years
female: 80.75 years (2006 est.)

It was high for obvious reasons: babies are succeptible to disease-- there was a lack of medical services, poverty etc. The country was war-torn.

Anonymous said...

I haven't experienced discrimination in my family while growing up, but there are many women who grew up in discriminating family atmosphare. I myself learn those things by reading Korean site(Daum -miznet-people pour over their stories on the site)

These days many mums prefer to have a daughter because of changing society.

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