April 16, 2012

Support the 2nd Annual Korean Single Moms' Day

On May 11, 2011, Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea (TRACK) created Single Moms' Day to coincide with Korea's National Adoption Day to remind Koreans that there is another way that children born to unmarried mothers can have families: support the mothers so they can raise their children themselves.

The first Single Mom's Day included a conference hosted by Miss Mamma Mia (KUMFA)Korean Single Parent AllianceTRACK, and KoRoot, who are working together again this year to again host the conference:


Hosted by:
TRACK (Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea)
KoRoot
KUMFA (Korean Unwed Mothers and Family Association, Web site “Miss Mamma Mia”)
Korean Single Parents Association
Date: Friday, May 11, 2012. 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Venue: The National Assembly (Parliament) 국회위원회관Seoul, South Korea

If you need proof that grassroots effort can yield incredible results, take a look at the list of guests:
  • The National Assembly Women’s and Family Committee
  • The Korean Women Entrepreneurs Association
  • Korean Women United
  • Women’s Foundation
  • Korean Womenlink
  • The Ministry of Gender Equality
  • Korean Women’s Development Institute
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee
This is how real change starts. And you can help. Please share this information on your blogs, websites and Facebook pages.  You can also support the conference with your donation, easily made via Paypal. Western Union or wire transfer to TRACK's Korean bank.

To get an idea of what the conference is all about, download the booklet from last year's Single Moms’ Day and read a news report about the event in the Korean press.

I have been asked why I care about this issue (more like dismissed and criticizized when the asker is an adoptive parent). Why, people wonder, would I support a cause that gives approval to irreponsible behavior on the part of women and puts children into sub-optimal family situations?

That's adoption-speak, my friends, judgmental adoption-speak. When married women lose a spouse through death or divorce, we don't immediately jump to adoption in response. We only do so when the woman is young and unmarried, and we do it not because we know for sure that she won't be able to parent, but because we've been conditioned to this response. She's too young. Her life will be ruined. She'll be a lousy mother. She doesn't deserve to be a mother. Children need mothers AND fathers.

For every one of these, reality provides a different lesson, but in spite of this we never seem to stop to think that just a few years of support - financial, child care and employment - would get many women who are pushed to adoption to a point at which they could parent independently. I also think we spend a lot less time than we should challenging family pressure, which in my opinion drives a woman's decision to place a child at least as much as the desire of prospective adoptive parents to find one. Maybe more. Because at the end of the day, if babies weren't there, infertiles like me would be far more likely to foster parent or live without children than move to illegal trafficking and baby-buying.

Women are strong, they will and do survive as single parents. Helping them see that strength in themselves and giving them a helping hand is one of the most important things we who parent their children can do to restore justice to adoption. I encourage you to support this conference and the organizations who have made it happen.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've come to believe that family pressure and social stigma/discrimination against single moms and their children are even more important than the financial pressures many single women face. So many women who wish to parent their children will be ostracized by their families, including their own parents. And the fathers of their babies are almost always urging abortions. (I don't understand this desire to somehow punish pregnant single women while the single fathers seem to suffer no consequences. The Korean government doesn't even enforce child support laws---single moms have to sue the fathers in civil court and then try to collect.) I know as a foreigner that I certainly cannot change the attitudes of Korean society. But thinking back to our own disgraceful Baby Scoop Era, I think we have largely eliminated the discrimination against single women parenting their children because of the movement for women's rights in general. I can only hope that groups that advocate for women in Korea will also be able to cause some legal changes to happen to better protect single women and their children. I certainly agree that the Korean government could and should do much better in terms of financial aid, child care, and job training for single mothers.

Courtney (the one in MD)

Margie said...

Hi, Courtney, good to hear from you, hope all is well in your world!

I completely agree that this is a women's issue, but am not sure we've eliminated discrimination against single mothers. I personally think there's are racial, economic class and religious dynamics that intersect and drive the decision to place or parent in one direction or another. I don't understand it, but would love to.

Definitely believe we're way ahead of Korea on this - not at the finish line, but in better shape.