Korean Adopted People to Norway Demand Justice and Truth
Prosecute illegal and human rights violations in the adoption process.
The Norwegian Korean Rights Group (NKRG) is an ad-hoc committee of adult Korean adoptees established to investigate the degree to which adoptees’ human rights are protected before, during, and after adoption.NKRG was formed voluntarily when all of us filed the case of the 2nd Truth and Reconciliation Committee through DKRG (Denmark Korean Rights Group) led by lawyer Peter Müller. NKRG will fight alongside DKRG with all Korean adoptee solidarity groups wherever they are in the world.
“We fight against the contempt for human values and widespread exclusion that pervades the entire adoption industry, a national and political cleansing movement based on race, gender, and social class in Korean society from the immediate aftermath of the Korean War until now.We are fighting the continuation of the adoption industry to protect our future children from going through what we went through. We are fighting to make a new generation of Koreans aware of the injustices that have been done to thousands of Korean children and their parents so they can help prevent history from repeating itself. We are a small ad-hoc committee of Korean adoptees from Norway representing different experiences and eras. The oldest of us came to Norway in the early 1960s, and the youngest adoptees came in the early 80s.”
Vår Benum (Lim Sook-hee) was privately adopted after passing through a Seoul nursing home, a hospital orphanage, and came to Norway on September 14, 1964 at the age of 13 months.
“I am of mixed race and I grew up believing that my Korean birth mother left me on the road. When I was 20 years old, I went to the doctor who arranged my adoption and found out that I stayed with my mother until I was 9 months old, and that my mother even brought me medicine from the hospital because I was sick and was on the verge of starvation. I finally had access to my orphanage papers in 2016 that included my mother’s name but were redacted. And it said that I was healthy and “brought” from my mother by a man who was described not by name but only as “bringing us a half-breed.” As I learned about the possibilities of systematic ethnic cleansing, document forgery, and child abduction through the cases of other adoptees at DKRG, I was able to see the history of adoptees in a new light. I want extensive research on international adoption for all adoptees and especially for their birth parents.”
Pål Nikolai Hagen (Han Seong-ho) came to Norway in December 1973 after working at Holt Children’s Services and Verdens Baan (Norwegian partner adoption agency).
“My first year I lived in a small town called Mo i Rana, just south of the Arctic Circle. These days I see myself every day in my two sons. It’s how we understand who we are through our relationships with the people we love. My motive for getting involved in this issue is to hold Korea accountable for the crimes against humanity committed against our biological parents over the decades by exporting countless children.”
Elin Netland (Kim Mi-ryung) was adopted by Holt and the Verdens class and came to Norway in March 1974.
“I am 52 years old, have two children, and live in Haugesund, a town on the west coast of Norway. I decided to join because this is a bigger issue that goes beyond myself and individuals. However, it is also an individual event that constitutes a society, region, country, and international community. These unfair, illegal, and human rights violations must be held accountable by those responsible. In addition, appropriate compensation must be made for the wrong done to the adoptees.”
Sølvi Helen Haugen (born child) was adopted through Holt and Verden’s class and came to Norway on October 10, 1978.
“I went to Holt in July 2005 and he confirmed that my Norwegian adoption papers were “other documents”. Holt did. Among other things, Holt knew the names and addresses of my birth parents, but denied me access. I want access to these documents, which is the main reason I presented my case to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But it is also about responsibility for children now and future adopted. I think this is more than just me and my identity. I started getting involved with this issue with my bachelor’s degree in adoptive family relationships. Through my thesis, I revealed that all subjects were exposed to psychological and physical violence within their adoptive families, and through my master’s thesis, I went further and dealt with transnational adoption in connection with human rights.”
Tone U. Shin (Kim Jong-ah) was adopted to Norway in 1978 at the age of 13.
“I’ve lived in Anyang orphanage since I was two years old. Just before entering middle school, I was told that I had a new mom and dad, and a Norwegian couple came to pick me up. I even received a middle school uniform, but I was sent abroad with strangers who couldn’t communicate in any language. I entered a middle school in Norway without knowing a word of Norwegian.I applied to local officials for access to my adoption case and requested another adoptive parent. Because I was abused by my adoptive father, so I felt I never had real parents. Through this, I came to know that I was actually fostered, not adopted. My adoptive parents applied for adoption twice, but were rejected both times, and then brought me to Norway illegally with the help of the Norwegian Korean Association (predecessor of Verdensbahn). It took me 6 years to be officially adopted. I found evidence that money had actually bought me, and I joined this organization to give justice and a voice to other adoptees who have suffered similar injustices.”
Uma Feed was adopted to Norway in 1983, when she was six months old.
“I’m an interdisciplinary artist and I’ve been working on the theme of my art for transnational adoption. For me, this is a matter of existentialism, belonging, and identity. For me, this is to find the truth and to expose the mistakes made by the government, which is at a huge personal cost. I think the only way to put an end to this practice is to let the public know the truth, and to let the public, society, and the nation decide for themselves.”
Last September, 283 overseas adoptees submitted an application for investigations to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to determine if there was any human rights violation at the time of adoption.
The number increased to 369 as additional applications were submitted on November 15 and December 9. During the authoritarian period from the 1970s to the early 1990s, an investigation was requested into whether human rights were violated in the adoption process of overseas adoptees adopted from Korea to Denmark and around the world and whether the government intervened in the process.
Fortunately, on December 8, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee announced that it had made a decision to initiate an investigation into the ‘human rights violation case during the overseas adoption process.’
This is the first government-level investigation decision in 68 years since Korea started international adoption. <Pressian> will continue to post articles from overseas adoptees who have requested an investigation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” (Editor’s Note) Norwegian Korean Rights Group.
Original article here.
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