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But in fact every program is distinct, and people are drawn to different programs for different reasons.Can you talk about the things that set adoption from apart from other programs?This was partly because Korea was the first country to really systematize intercountry adoption, in the 1950s and 1960s, and therefore had the most experience with it. At the very start of Korean adoption (the 1950s), most of the children being adopted were Korean-white and Korean-black (the latter usually went to black families).For some white adopters, the fact that the children were half-white helped to ease their racial difference; made them more “relatable” and desirable.As an adoptee who writes a lot about the subject I know more about adoption than the average person, but I was surprised by so many things when I read your book — including the extent to which the Korean government was really invested in promoting the adopting out of its children following the War.Sometimes there’s a tendency, when we talk about international adoption, to frame it as something do because we want to and have the money to do so. You have a country in total chaos and dire poverty after an incredibly destructive war, 100,000 (estimated) war orphans on the streets and in horrible orphanages — and then on top of that you have these mixed-race babies, or “G. babies,” children of Korean women and foreign military personnel (usually presumed to be American).This happens not just in Korea, but in other countries as well.I know sometimes social workers break up sibling groups in the interest of finding placements, but I was surprised that twins would be separated.

They were acceptable because although they weren’t white, they were also not black.Since Koreans see these children as belonging to their fathers, they decide this is America’s problem to deal with.And then you actually have Americans actually writing letters and saying they How were these adoptions presented and politicized in America? S., taking care of Korean children is first seen and presented as a way to pull a win out of an unpopular war that was considered to be at best a stalemate, at worst a loss. As time passed, this patriotic, often religious reasoning and language (evangelical Christians were deeply involved in the beginnings of Korean adoption) gave way to more general feelings of “we can break down racial barriers through adoption.” Some advocates of international adoption also saw bringing a child of a different race/ethnicity into their families as a way to bring in some culture, learn about the world, expose their biological children to other cultures and countries too, etc. I.s would hire local people, usually boys but sometimes men, too, to do work around the base. But there were also boys who became “mascots” — they were Korean boys who would do houseboy work, who also became emotional objects. I.s would dress them in pint-sized versions of their own uniforms and give them new names like “Bonzo” and “Sambo” (no kidding).At the same time you have a country that has been divided from its other half (North Korea) trying to establish — or reestablish — a sense of itself as a nation after decades of Japanese occupation (1910-1945) and then a terrible civil war. babies are not only a threat to Korean racial/ethnic purity and Korea’s sense of itself as a nation; they are also a symbol of Korean women having sex with foreign men (the mothers were assumed to be prostitutes).Part of South Korean nationalism is about bloodline purity. So these 1,500 babies represent a much bigger problem than their numbers alone, in the midst of other problems the government cannot address because there was no social welfare.Many adoptive parents went abroad to adopt in part because of the belief that the distance would prevent any future problems, like a birth parent appearing and wanting his or her child back.