Saturday, 11 July 2015

Mindle Korea

Det är inte bara svenska Mindle som använder det koreanska ordet för "maskros" som namn på sin förening.

Även i Korea finns en organisation som kallar sig Mindle. Koreanska Mindle är organisationen för föräldrar som förlorat barn genom internationell adoption. Du kan också läsa mer om Mindle här.


Maskrosor: ogräs eller livskraft? 

Från min barndom har jag starka minnen av hur mina adoptivföräldrar förde en desperat och ojämn kamp mot maskrosorna i gräsmattan. Nåde mina föräldrar om de hade för många maskrosor på tomten, då protesterade grannar för de ville ha en grön gräsmatta utan ogräs. Exakt så ser många svenskar maskrosor som "ogräs", något fult som ska utrotas.

I Korea är synen på maskrosor en annan. Här symboliserar maskrosorna livskraft - de kan i princip växa och överleva vartsomhelst, och det är i princip omöjligt att utrota dem.

Även i Sverige ser många barn maskrosor som något vackert. Mina adoptivmamma berättade att hon som barn plockade maskrosor och gav till mormor, som snällt tackade för dem och satte dem i vatten. Långt senare förstod min mamma att hon gett sin mor "ogräs".

Jag tänker att den svenska synen på maskrosor på många sätt också symboliserar hur många adoptanter, anställda på adoptionsbyråer och till och med internationellt adopterade ser på ursprungsföräldrarna: som "ogräs" - som ska försvinna, gömmas, som något värdelöst.

Detta kan ställas mot den koreanska synen, maskrosor, är något vackert och starkt. Jag tänker att det nog är dags att ändra uppfattning och börja se ursprungsföräldrarna som något värdefullt i den adopterades liv. Vi föddes som våra föräldrars barn, inte som hittebarn utan föräldrar, och inte heller föddes vi som våra adoptivföräldrars barn. I adoptionstriaden finns det plats för såväl den adopterade som adoptivföräldrarna och vackra blommor i form av ursprungsföräldrar.


Photo taken at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, 2015. 

Not only Swedish Mindle uses the Korean word for "dandelion" as the name of their association. 

Even in Korea there is an organisation calling themselves Mindle. Korean Mindle is the organisation for parents who have lost a child/children through intercountry adoption. You can read more about Mindle here.

Dandelions: weed or viability?

From my childhood I have strong memories of how my adoptive parents were fighting a desperate and uneven fight against the dandelions in the lawn. The neighbours were not kind if my parents had too many dandelions in the lawn, because the neighbours wanted to have a green lawn without any weed and they were afraid that my parents' dandelions would move to their lawns. Many Swedes consider dandelions being "weed", something ugly that should be extincted. 

In Korea, however, the view on dandelions is different. Here dandelions symbolises viability - they can survive virtually almost everywhere, and it's almost impossible to extinct them. 


Even in Sweden many children consider dandelions as something beautiful. My adoptive mom told me that as a child, she picked dandelions for my granny. My grandmom put the flowers in a vase. Later on my mom realised that she has given her mom "weed". 

I am thinking that the Swedish view on dandelions in many ways also symbolises how many adopters, adoption agency staff and even intercountry adoptees themselves are looking at the parents of origin: as "weed" - something that should go away, should be hidden, as something worthless. 

In opposition to this, we can choose the Korean view, dandelions are something beautiful and strong. I am thinking that it is time to change opinion and start to seeing the parents of origin as something valuable in the adoptee's life. We were born as our parents' chuldren, not as foundlings or orphans, and we were not born as our adoptive parents' children. In the adoption triad there is room for the adoptee as well as the adoptive parents and beautiful flowers, i.e. the original parents. 



Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Vänligen stötta kampanjen för att hjälpa de ogifta mödrarna i Daegu

Ogifta mödrar i Sydkorea möter enorma utmaningar när de vill behålla sina barn och uppfostra dem själva. Diskrimineringen mot mödrarna när det gäller möjlighet att få ett jobb är stor, kvinnorna skambeläggs av sin omgivning, och viktigast av allt - stödet från staten är mycket litet. Det är till och med så att ensamstående mödrar endast erhåller hälften så mycket ekonomiskt bistånd [barnbidrag] för att ta hand om sina barn som inhemska adoptivföräldrar får om de adopterar ett barn. Detta innebär att koreanska staten hellre betalar inhemska adoptivföräldrar dubbelt så mycket barnbidrag som de betalar ensamstående mödrar.
I Sydkorea har mödrahem för ogifta mammor drivits av adoptionsbyråerna i årtionden. Hos dessa hem kan gravida kvinnor få skydd och vård när de är gravida. Andelen gravida kvinnor som INTE ger upp sitt barn för adoption som bor på ett mödrahem som drivs av en adoptionsbyrå är 37 procent. Detta kan jämföras med att 82 procent av mödrar som bor på ett mödrahem som inte drivs av en adoptionsbyrå behåller sitt barn i stället för att lämna det till adoption.
Ogifta mödrar som lämnar sitt barn till adoption, men som senare ändrar sig och vill behålla sitt barn får veta att de är skyldiga adoptionsbyrån pengar för varje dag som de bott på mödrahemmet med sitt barn. Om de inte betalar, kan adoptionsbyrån vägra att ge barnet tillbaka till mamman.
Gravida mödrar frågas ut innan de tillåts flytta in på hemmet, och de utfrågas specifikt när de ringer eller besöket hemmet om de planerar att behålla sitt barn eller lämna barnet. Endast mycket unga mödrar vars föräldrar inte är stöttande och mödrar som troligen kommer att lämna sitt barn får flytta in på hemmet.
Enligt Single Parent Family Support Law får adoptionsbyråerna inte längre driva mödrahem efter 1 juli 2015, på grund av risken för intressekonflikt, det vill säga att det ligger i adoptionsbyråerna intresse att mamman lämnar barn för adoption.
Ogifta mödrar hungerstrejkar just nu framför stadshuset i Daegu. De försöker väcka uppmärksamhet och stöd från Daegu stad - Sydkoreas näst största stad [staden är självstyrande och lyder inte under Seouls styrning] för sin sak. Daegu har haft tre år på sig att förbereda stängningen av mödrahemmen som drivs av adoptionsbyråerna, men staden har inte förberett något alternativ för dessa mödrar.
Daegu city i Sooseong-gu, Hwanggeum-dong, kommer att öppna ett nytt mödrahem för ogifta mödrar, men hemmet kommer endast att ha plats för tre mödrar. De existerande mödrahemmen har plats för 35 personer. Mer stöd behövs för att hjälpa dessa sårbara kvinnor så att de kan stanna i en säker miljö för att förbereda sig för att föda sitt barn, och ta hand om barnet direkt efter förlossningen.
Dagens Sydkorea är ett ekonomiskt framgångsrikt land med tillräckliga resurser för att stötta sina svagaste medlemmar om samhället vill.
Vi som skriver under, stöttar KUMFA och alla ogifta mödrar i Daegu. Vi uppmanar Daegu stad att ekonomiskt stötta KUMFA i Daegu, och att genast ordna så att de mödrar som kommer att bli hemlösa när adoptionsbyråerna stänger sina hem har någonstans att bo med sina barn.
Du kan skriva under genom att följa denna länk! Vi är tacksamma för varje underskrift och hoppas att du vill uppmana dina vänner att skriva under. Tack på förhand!
Vänligen läs mer om KUMFA i Daegu här

Information in English


Unwed mothers in South Korea face enormous challenges in raising their own children.  Discrimination in employment is rampant, women are frequently shunned by their communities, and most importantly there is little government support available.  In fact, single mothers receive just half of the subsidy that adoptive parents would receive if these mothers gave up their children for adoption instead of raising them. 
In South Korea, unwed mother’s homes have been run by the adoption agencies for decades. Pregnant women can receive shelter and medical care while pregnant.  The percentage of mothers who DON’T give up their children in adoption agency-run homes is 37% compared to 82% in non-agency homes. Unwed mothers who give up their children but change their minds are told that they owe money to the adoption agency for each day that their child stayed in their facility.  
Pregnant women are screened prior to entry, and asked specifically when the pregnant moms call/come in if they plan to raise or relinquish their baby. Only very young moms whose parents are not supportive and those who are most likely to relinquish their children are admitted. Once the Single Parent Family Support Law is phased in at the end of this month, adoption agencies will no longer be allowed to operate unwed mother's homes due to this conflict of interest.
Unwed mothers in Daegu are now holding a hunger strike in front of Daegu City Hall. They are drawing attention to the issue that the self-governing city of Daegu (second largest city in Korea) has had three years to prepare for the closure of the unwed mother's facilities run by the adoption agencies, but they have done nothing to prepare something for the moms as an alternative. 
The city of Daegu, in Sooseong-gu, Hwanggeum-dong, is going to open the doors to a new unwed mothers' shelter with capacity for only 3 women.  The existing facilities have a capacity of 35 people. Additional support is needed to ensure that vulnerable women have a safe environment in which to prepare for the births of their children and care for them immediately after birth.
Modern South Korea is an economically prosperous country, with enough resources to care for its most vulnerable members if it so desired. 

We, the undersigned, support KUMFA and all of the unwed mothers in Daegu.  We call upon the city of Daegu to financially support KUMFA Daegu and make immediate arrangements for the unwed mothers who will be homeless after the adoption agencies close the unwed mother’s homes.

Please follow this link to sign! 

Do you want to send stuff to KUMFA in Daegu?
Please feel free to post stuff for the moms and their children to

KUMFA

138-4, Samdeok-dong 3-ga
Jung-gu, Daegu
Korea
700-413 

More information

This campaign was started by an American adoptive mom who has a son adopted from Daegu. She believes that the best for the child is to stay with her/his mom if possible. 

The interview with the unwed which you can see if you go to the petition was made by Jane Jeong Trenka, the president of TRACK.

The Swedish translation was done by Swedish Korean Adoptees' Network





Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The adoption agencies' maternity homes are closing

Here is the latest news about the maternity homes in Korea. We would like to thank TRACK for the translation!

From next month, the unwed mothers' homes run by adoption agencies will close

From next month, when the amended Single Parent Family Support Law is enforced, the unwed mothers' homes run by adoption agencies will close their doors, but the facilities to substitute for them are insufficient and the unwed mothers will be forced out onto the streets in these circumstances.

According to the Daegu KUMFA, the Single Parent Family Support Law says it is best for the natural parents to raise their children and it is going to be enforced from next month, and SWS and Holt, which admit unwed mothers to their facilities on the condition that they give up their children for adoption, have to close their doors.

The city of Daegu, in Sooseong-gu, Hwanggeum-dong, is going to open the doors to a new unwed mothers' shleter, but the capacity of existing facilities is 35 people, but the one that Daegu is opening has capacity for only 3 at one time.

Here is the article in Korean!

Daegu KUMFA is now holding a hunger strike in front of Daegu City Hall. They are drawing attention to the issue that the self-governing city of Daegu (second largest city in Korea) has had three years to prepare for the closure of the unwed mother's facilities run by the adoption agencies, but they have done nothing to prepare something for the moms as an alternative. 




During a meeting with an unwed mom earlier this week, we were told that SWS is throwing out pregnant mom and unwed moms and their babies in the streets because they are closing.

Update:
Some people have asked how to donate. Below is the information!

For monetary donations (in Korea):
Daegu Bank 대구은행
504-10-209534-7
(overseas):
paypal: kumfa.volunteer@gmail.com (please indicate Daegu, i.e. write "for KUMFA in Daegu"). 
All contributions are welcome! Please and thank you!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

"Single parents fight against prejudice"

Feel free to read The Korea Times' article "Single parents fight against prejudice".

"Choi Hyong-sook, 43, a single mother and the head of InTree, an online community for unwed mothers, considered abortion when she became pregnant in 2005."


"When Choi revealed her pregnancy to her family, they tried to pressure her into having an abortion, saying, “How can you be so selfish? You can’t do this to your parents.”

After her son’s birth, she secretly put her baby through an adoption agency, but visited the agency and reclaimed her baby five days later.

Each year, social pressure pushes thousands of unwed mothers to choose between abortion, which is prevailing but illegal here, and adoption.

Only a few choose to raise their children alone.

Despite the government’s efforts to encourage childbirth, some births, like Choi’s, are still considered a social stigma amid a lack of support for single mothers."

´Mok Kyong-wha, head of the Korean Unwed Mothers’ Families Association (KUMFA), criticized the government for not respecting single mothers’ rights to raise their children in a comfortable environment.

“The government is worrying about the country’s birthrate, which is one of the world’s lowest. It’s ironic then that they do not support births from single parents,” Mok said. “They would rather support adoption.”

Unwed dads are mainly invisible in Korea

According to a Population and Housing Census conducted by the National Statistical Office, there were 18,118 unwed fathers in 2010. The number is expected to be more than 20,000 this year.





Note 1: There is a group for child rearing single dads in Korea, Adam Che. This group has participated on Single Moms' Day earlier.

Single Moms' Day

Several unwed parents’ organizations, including InTree and KUMFA, staged a street parade on Sunday, opposing National Adoption Day and defending their right to raise their children. The parade was the fifth of its kind.

Some 70 single parents participated in the event with volunteers and activists marching from Seoul Plaza to Cheonggyecheon, central Seoul.

Note 2: On May 11th the fifth Single Moms' Day took place. Single Moms' Day was started by returning adoptees, but is mainly organised by the single moms' organisations from 2015 and onwards.

Note 3: Hyong-sook is not an unwed mom anymore as she recently married her boyfriend, meaning her son now has a dad and a stepdad.

Mindle is supporting the unwed moms in Korea

Mindle believes in single moms' right to raise their own children. That is why 30 per cent of the money Mindle is raising, is given directly to KUMFA.


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

‘Single Korean women avoid gynecologists’

A recent news article in The Korea Herald states that single Korean women avoid gynecologists because they are afraid of being discriminated.

"The majority of Korean single women choose not to seek medical help even if they experience symptoms of gynecological disorders including STDs, as they fear social prejudice against unmarried women who are sexually active, a study showed on Monday."

"Of 1,314 unmarried women surveyed by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHSA), 53.2 percent said they have experienced symptoms, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain. However, almost 57 percent of those who developed the symptoms chose not to see a gynecologist."

"Also, of 708 teenagers surveyed by the think tank, 42.1 percent said they had experienced such symptoms, but only 23.5 percent of them chose to seek medical help. The women who didn’t see doctors either took no action or purchased medicine such as antibiotics at a pharmacy."

"More than 50 percent of the surveyed adult women and 64 percent of the surveyed teenagers said people would “think oddly” of single women who visit gynecology clinics."

"Researchers said parents and teachers should be educated on young women’s reproductive health to tackle the issue, and more preconception care ― medical treatments one receives before getting pregnant ― should be covered by the national health insurance."

Women are discriminated as usual...

While it's good that KIHSA acknowledges the problems with discrimination of single women, they seem to lack focus on the men's responsibility of sex education, preventing unwanted pregnancies etc. The situation is unlikely to change before the men are required to take responsibility too.




Thursday, 5 March 2015

Struggling single mothers find a bit of support, and comfort, in Gwangju facility

Single and unwed mothers in Korea are still facing a hard time!

Feel free to read the article

[Reportage] Struggling single mothers find a bit of support, and comfort, in Gwangju facility

" Experts say single mothers in S. Korea suffer stigma, and should receive increased state assistance"

“How are you going to raise him?” she recalled the father asking.


He suggested putting the child up for adoption instead, but Kim did not want to give the baby up.

In Feb. 2013, she moved into Pyeonhanjip with the SWS‘s help.

“I don’t have contact with my ex-boyfriend,” she said. “It‘s tough, but I’m going to raise the child on my own.”

Pyeonhanjip is a facility where single mothers and their infant children live together. An expansion to the thirty-year-old building last June has left it a much cheerier place. A two-story structure measuring 500 square meters, it has 13 rooms divided into family units. It has 18 residents: eight single mothers and their children. The living room and kitchen are shared, with each adult resident taking turns cooking each week. Support covers daily essentials, items for the babies, and day care costs. The building also has a separate learning room, library, and play room.

“Mothers typically live here for up to two years, with up to two six-month extensions available under special circumstances,” explained Gi Se-sun, the facility‘s 45-year-old director.

Another of the facility’s goals is to help young mothers survive on their own. Customized education services are available, including preparations for qualification and certification exams. Kim earned a story-telling certificate and studied beauty treatments.

Ms. Lee, 25, is a former resident who stayed at Pyeonhanjip from Oct. 2011 to May 2013. Today, she lives with her five-year-old in government-subsidized rental housing with assistance from the Gwangju Metropolitan City Corporation. Each month, she draws 800,000 won (US$727) in Basic Livelihood Security Benefits."

[...]

"Finances are the biggest problem for the single mothers, most of whom are out of contact with their families after giving birth. According to figures from the Korean Statistical Information Service (KOSIS), there were 9,332 unwed mothers (a category that includes single mothers and those in common law marriages) nationwide and 395 in Gwangju in 2013. Seven hundred of them, including 17 in Gwangju, had abandoned their children or were otherwise unidentified. State financial support to single mothers amounts to just 100,000 to 150,000 won (US$91-136) per month. A recent study on single mother health, conducted by the Seoul Foundation of Women and Family as part of a health support project for single mother households, found 63 out of 96 single mothers, or 84%, to be earning less than one million won (US$910) a month."

#BuildFamiliesNotBoxes

ASK Los Angels has restarted the campaign #BuildFamilesNotBoxes to support unwed moms. Please learn more about the campaign here!


 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Support the campain #BuildFamiliesNotBoxes

Mindle supports unwed moms'r right to raise their own child. Please consider supporting the campain
#BuildFamiliesNotBoxes.

Lär dig mer om problemet med babyboxen här. I artikeln står det felaktigt att barn med okända föräldrar inte kan skickas för utlandsadoption. Det är inkorrekt. Barn som har okända föräldrar adopteras från Korea till andra länder. Detta gör att vem som helst kan dumpa ett barn i babyboxen mot föräldrarnas vilja, och sedan skickas barnet utomlands.

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In light of The Drop Box’s release in theaters throughout the United States this week, Adoptee Solidarity Korea-Los Angeles (ASK-LA) is reaching out to ask for your help to revive KoRoot’s #BuildFamiliesNotBoxes social media campaign this week starting on Monday, March 2nd. Despite the good intentions of the Baby Box, it ultimately encourages illegal abandonments, separates unwed mothers from their children, and creates a population of “orphans” who will never have access to their personal and medical histories. Moreover, the rationale behind the Baby Box inaccurately conveys the idea that unwed mothers have only two options: killing their babies or anonymously abandoning them in the Baby Box. The majority of Korean women who have given up their children for adoption have cited economic hardships and social stigma as the reasons for relinquishment.

We wish to revive the #BuildFamiliesNotBoxes campaign because we believe every person has the right to family. We fully support the meaningful activism and advocacy work that unwed mothers, single mothers, adult adoptees, and their allies are doing in Korea to promote family preservation. Furthermore, we believe that unwed mothers have the right to raise their children with dignity and should be provided with greater financial and emotional support to do so. The Baby Box is not the only option. In the case that unwed mothers cannot raise their children, we advocate legal relinquishments and ethical and transparent adoptions.

How can you help?
-Forward this to your friends, families, communities
-Post this image and copy/paste the above statement on your Facebook page
-Change your profile to the attached “BuildFamiliesNotBoxes image
-Share your story and thoughts on Twitter #BuildFamiliesNotBoxes
-Like ASK LosAngeles’ Facebook page.

**Relevant Facts and Statistics

1. Since the 1990s, over 90% of children who have been adopted within and overseas from Korea have been born to unwed mothers.
2. According to a New York Times article (2009), nearly 96% of unwed pregnant women in Korea choose abortion. Of the approximate 4% unmarried women who give birth, about 70% are believed to give up their babies for adoption.

3. According to Korean Women’s Development Institute (2012), a mere 15.6% of 213 unwed and single mother respondents received support from their children’s fathers.

4. Fathers are legally responsible for financially supporting their children. However, in order to hold fathers accountable, mothers must locate the fathers, establish paternity, and enter into a long litigation process, which, in most cases, does not result in a ruling favorable to the mother.

5. According to a survey conducted in 2013 among unwed mothers, 34% of mothers listed economic hardship as a reason for relinquishing their parental rights.

6. Between December 2009 and February 2014, 383 babies or children were left in the Baby Box. Of these 383 babies and children, 120 of their parents returned to the Baby Box to reclaim them.

**If Not the Baby Box, Then What?

1. Give unwed and single mother families more than 70,000 won ($63USD) a month.

2. Enforce child support obligations for fathers through Single Parent Law revisions.

3. Revise Family Registration Law for privacy so that only unwed and single mothers can access their registries.

4. Establish laws that make it illegal to discriminate against unwed mothers in the workforce, etc.

5. Create an agency that provides counseling for unwed and single mothers so that women are correctly informed about the Special Adoption Law, their options, rights, and obligations to their children.

6. Make family preservation the main goal.

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Want to learn more about the babybox? Please read this article!