[The 60th Women's Policy Forum] Reality of Unwed Mothers and Support for Self-Reliance
Feb 24, 2010
at Korean Women's Development Institute
The article from 'Counselling Services of Adoption Agency Experienced by Unwed Mothers'
Interviewees : Five Mothers Who Changed Their Minds and Brought Their Children Back from Adoption Agencies after Initially Giving Them up for Adoption
case2 Current Residence - Goyang City | First Consultation with Adoption Agency - Eight Months Pregnant
Residence Shortly Before/After_Childbirth - Facility | Birth Date of Child - October 2, 2005
Ready-Made Maternity and My Child
I am 27 years old and raising my six-year-old son in Ilsan of Goyang City. I am in charge of employee education at a local company. On August 1, 2005, eight months into my pregnancy, I entered a maternity facility. My due date was in early October 2005. I had broken up with the father of my child and entered the facility to hide from him. My parents did not want me to raise the baby on my own and I was torn between keeping him and putting him up for adoption. After I decided to give my child up for adoption, I requested counseling with an adoption agency. A social worker came to see me at the maternity facility. During our first meeting, she asked me to fill out an adoption agreement form and memorandum for termination of parental rights.
The document required detailed information about the child's parents, such as their likes and dislikes. The social worker recommended domestic adoption, urging me to send my child to one particular couple whose blood types were identical to mine and my boyfriend's. I wanted to keep in touch with my child so I told the social worker that I preferred overseas adoption. However, the social worker continued to urge me to send my child to that particular couple, saying that our blood types matched and the couple had good, stable professions as pharmacists.
When I continued to insist on overseas adoption, the social worker began explaining its disadvantages. I felt that from the very first meeting, the social worker was bent on persuading me to give my child to a family she had selected prior to our meeting rather than taking into the consideration what I wanted. I met with the social worker for two more counseling sessions, but she spent most of the time during both sessions trying to change my mind.
I gave birth to my son on October 2, 2005, at 16:22 at a hospital adjacent to the maternity facility. I contacted the adoption agency the following day and the social worker came to the hospital between 10:00 and 11:00. She had me sign the adoption agreement form and the memorandum for termination of parental rights and took my child away. I also had to attest that I would assume all responsibility in case the child's father brought a lawsuit claiming his parental rights. The social worker emphasized that the adoption agency would be free from all liability if such a legal dispute arose.
I felt empty and hollow after sending my child away. I missed my baby so much that I decided to bring him back. On October 6, 2005, exactly three days after I sent him away, I went to the adoption agency to find him. The social worker at the agency insulted me, saying, "Do you want to raise your son as a bastard?" She also told me that I needed a letter of consent from my parents even though I was not a minor. After seeing how determined I was to recover my child, the social worker told me that the documentation process had not been finalized so I could take him after I paid a fee for keeping him at the facility. I paid a total of KRW 60,000―KRW 20,000 per day for the three days that he stayed at the adoption agency―and was able to hold my baby in my arms again.
I recall that rather than providing sincere counseling on child-rearing or adoption options, the adoption agency provided counseling with only the agency's best interests in mind. I am currently married to the father of my child and living happily with my son and husband.