Unpacking the Pieces

Over the past several days, I’ve sat down, multiple times, with intentions of writing my third blog post. Each time, I sit with almost perfect posture, feet flat on the ground, and arms at a soft, ninety degree angle.  My hands and fingers are positioned correctly over the keyboard so that typing is effortless and efficient.  Then nothing.

The words aren’t forming!  Despite having so much to say, I am having trouble articulating my thoughts.  I remind myself- don’t overthink this.  Write from your heart, and the rest will fall into place. Or will it?

Anyone that knows me well knows that I value logic and rationality.  I despise inefficiency! Sometimes, these characteristics make it very difficult for me to take action because I must think everything through at least 15 times, especially when I’m writing.  You can imagine how nauseating it can be to re-read something you’ve written 15 times, only to later delete it all.

I want to make sense.  I want to take an extremely layered, complex, issue like social justice in Korea and its relationship to single motherhood and intercountry adoption, and have it make sense to those of you who are reading.  This is not easy.

I read an article today in The Korea Herald that helped give me a starting point in my attempts to dissect an extremely complicated issue.  Perhaps the most marginalized voices in relation to the intercountry adoption issue are the voices of the single mothers who are forced to choose between two undesirable outcomes.  That is, either give your baby up for adoption and suffer the consequences of that loss, or keep your child and live a life of poverty and ostracization in Korea. The choice is yours!

My eomma was given a false dilemma.  No real choice.  Only the choice to choose between two imperfect outcomes, with no consideration for any other possibilities.  In addition, social workers, doctors, and other “helping” professionals are telling you, at a very vulnerable time in your life, that your child, if put up for adoption, will certainly lead a better life than you will ever be able to provide. Simple, right?

And so, an estimated 200,000 of us were sent away to live “better” lives somewhere else, not in Korea.  But, what if there had been social support for single mothers?  I desire to create space for myself, the 200,000, and single mothers.  I desire to help redefine family.  I stand as a reminder to put family preservation first.

It begins with a conception in Korea, a pregnancy.  Then comes the whirlwind of societal forces, injustice, coercion, narrow-minded thinking, love, hate, pain, sorrow, selflessness, generosity, and love again.  Somehow through all of that, I end up, at 6 months old, on the other side of the world in a family that doesn’t share the same race, culture, or language as me.  I hope as I continue to write, I begin to unpack all of these pieces.

5 thoughts on “Unpacking the Pieces

  1. pashelly

    Despite the difficulty you had in writing this entry, it is indeed a good articulation of the entwined and perhaps tangled threads of the tapestry of your origins as a Korean adoptee. I hope you continue to take time for more reflections on this and the emotional impact.
    Thanks for writing about a hard topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy J. Smyth


    Thanks so much for your honesty in describing your struggle to find words–something you describe quite eloquently. I am guessing that a lot more is coming together inside you, underneath the surface. There is so much to adjust to when living in another country for the first time; and there are so many other layers given your own experience as a Korean adoptee, which serves to illuminate some of the impact of these social policies. Trust in your process, I’m confident that many more words will surface.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yunju

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on this very hard issue. As a person from Korea, I myself have been struggling with international adoption and single mothers’ issue. Many Koreans are so ashamed and have avoided this important for so many years. Now, a small but increasing number of single mothers decided to raise their own children despite stigma, economic hardship, and many many other challenges. I hope and believe that Korean society will confront this issue and invest its resources to support these brave young women’s struggle (I heard that a movement of single mothers and their network has just formed in Korea). Your work, including your postings on this blog, will help Korean society change into a positive direction.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. stacywlsn Post author

        Yunju, thank you for reading and commenting. I had the privilege of attending a workshop tonight where the director and several members of the Korean Unwed Mothers Families Association (KUMFA) spoke. I will write more about this in a future post but I wanted to let you know that there are organizations out there working towards eradicating the stigma associated with being a single, unwed mother in Korea. I agree with you, I am also hopeful and believe that Korean society will confront this issue and move towards offering support to keep families united.


      2. stacywlsn Post author

        Thank you, Dean Smyth! I’m honored that you’re reading my writing. I have to say that about three years ago, before any MSW training, I wouldn’t have been able to trust in this process. I probably wouldn’t have allowed for my professional work to intersect so deeply with my personal self. The ability to integrate the two comes from my development and growth as a social worker. Despite having difficulty finding the right words at times, I am excited to continue on this adventure!


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