|A group of overseas Korean adoptees has joined an online campaigning to protest President Moon Jae-in's controversial remarks during his New Year press conference that adoptive parents should be allowed to cancel their adoptions or change the child if they don't get along well. Kara Bos, or Kang Mi-suk, a Korean American adoptee now living in Amsterdam with her family, is participating in the campaign, promoting images of overseas Korean adoptees with the hashtag "#NotAThing." The other petitioners included Kevin Omans, Liat Shapiro, Cam Lee and Allison Park. Courtesy of Kang Mi-suk|
By Jung Da-min
A group of Korean-born overseas adoptees has launched an online campaign to demand an apology from President Moon Jae-in over his remarks during his New Year press conference that adoptive parents need to be allowed to cancel their adoptions or change the child if they don't get on well.
Commenting on the recent media focus on the death of a 16-month-old girl in last October following alleged brutal abuse by her adoptive parents, Jan. 18, Moon made the controversial remarks which critics saw as offensive to families with adopted children, and an infringement on such children's rights. Online petitions calling for an apology from Moon followed domestically.
Kara Bos, or Kang Mi-suk, a Korean American adoptee now living in Amsterdam with her family, also launched an online campaign with other Korean adoptees living abroad starting Monday, to demand an apology to the adoptee community from Moon, and a meeting with all parties involved to work collaboratively toward ensuring the safety of all adoptees.
"President Moon Jae-in's sentiments do not ensure or promote the safety of the children whose very lives the country's adoption agencies have been entrusted to protect," read the petition launched by Kang's group on the site change.org. The other petitioners included Kevin Omans, Liat Shapiro, Cam Lee and Allison Park. "The President must accept and understand the gravity of his words ― adopted children are human beings who should not be viewed as commodities."
Kang and Korean adoptees abroad have also engaged in social media campaigns with the hashtag "#NotAThing" to promote rights of adoptees.
"The time for change is now, as adoptees and allies of adoptees, we are all stakeholders in the process," Kang said in a press release. "We advocate not only for ourselves, but also for the children growing up affected by a flawed adoption system. We recognize our power and obligation to change the landscape for all future adoptees. They too should be given a chance to flourish resiliently like the beautiful mugunghwa, South Korea's national flower ― a symbol of resilience."
Kang, an activist promoting the rights of adoptees, is known for a local court ruling in which her request to be legally recognized as a daughter of her biological father has been approved. It was the first paternity lawsuit filed in South Korea by an overseas adoptee and she won the case 36 years after she was abandoned when was three years old.
Kang said she is also planning to petition to Cheong Wa Dae on its website. "We are still working on collaborating with domestic adoptees to finish that process, and also desiring to collaborate with all parties involved, including single moms and adoptive parents, to ensure that the adoption process is safe and secure for all current and future adoptees," Kang said.
Cheong Wa Dae had earlier provided an explanation of Moon's controversial remarks, with spokesman Kang Min-seok repeatedly stressing that Moon's true intention had been misconstrued. Kang said Moon was talking about a temporary foster period before a child is formally adopted, but critics said the presidential office's explanation did not make sense and was inappropriate.
Cheong Wa Dae was unavailable for a comment on the campaign.