Sunday, February 05, 2006

more evidence of the american century

If America is such a bad place, and our education system is "falling
behind", then why are wealthy parents in other first world nations
sacrificing their children (giving them up for adoption) to get a US
education? Because they have more faith in the US system than any
other on the planet. This behavior is an extreme example of what my
grandparents and parents did for their sons: surrender them to the US.
Further evidence that this will be the American Century....

By Aruna Lee

A growing number of South Korean parents are paying retired couples in
the United States to adopt their children. The Korean parents say
teaching their children English is a priority, as are other factors,
including avoiding compulsory military service for young men and
gaining the prestige of an American education.

One out of three South Korean parents are willing to send their
children abroad for the sake of a better education, according to a
study by the Center for Korean Education Development in Seoul,
published in the Korea Times of Los Angeles. In the past, parents
would ask relatives living in the United States to adopt their
children, but more parents are now seeking out Caucasian families who
are strangers to them.

The Korea Times told the story of a Korean woman in Los Angeles on a
work visa and employed as a nurse. She wished to bring her two teenage
children to the United States from South Korea and paid a retired
American couple to adopt them.

In a report in the Chosun Daily in Seoul, a cosmetic surgeon wanted to
send her second-grade daughter to America because she says the U.S.
school system is better than the one in South Korea. She says her
daughter often comes home late after studying extra hours at a hakwon,
or private school, in Seoul.

South Korean children typically begin preparation for strict college
entrance exams as early as grammar school. "When I see my daughter who
is always tired from school, I really want her to get an American
education," the surgeon said. "The only thing that works for the
situation is to find someone who can adopt my daughter, and I'll pay
all expenses for her for the future."

Putting a child up for adoption in the United States allows South
Korean parents to skirt normal immigration procedures, a drawn-out
process with no guarantee of approval. Parents generally seek retired
American couples, whose own children often have left home and who now
have room to spare. The American couples receive a sum of money in
exchange for adopting a child and providing food and housing. Couples
receive more than $30,000, with additional payments as necessary to
cover room and board for each child they adopt.

In return, the child gains legal status in the United States, as well
as the privilege of attending American schools. The Korean birth
parents relinquish all legal claims to their children, sending them
instead to grow up in a house with people they have never met.

"My neighbors, both of whom are retired, have already adopted three
young South Korean kids," says a resident of Los Angeles in the Korea

Despite the benefits, some young Koreans adopted in this manner have
shown signs of emotional distress, reflected in their schoolwork and
behavior at home. Before being adopted, kids meet with social workers
in the United States where they must clearly state their preference to
live with their newly adopted parents.

Peter Chang, who heads the Korean Family Center in Los Angeles, says
kids like this "often grow up feeling betrayed by their parents."
Chang says he is becoming increasingly concerned over the negative
psychological and emotional effects on young Koreans adopted this way.

A parent who is putting a child up for adoption has to realize that
the school system in America not only looks at education but also the
emotional well being of the kids," says Kyung Sook Lee, a reporter
from the Korea Daily in San Francisco.

Jeanie, adopted by American parents, wanted to return to her family in
South Korea, according to Jung Sik Shin, a Korean lawyer in a report
on the Korean-language version of Jeanie was told, however,
that she could not leave the country because she had not yet received
her U.S. citizenship. According to U.S. immigration laws, a child must
remain with his or her adopted parents for two years before he or she
is eligible for legal status in the country.

Korean parents must also be prepared for rampant adoption fraud, says
Kristi Kim, an immigration lawyer in an interview in the Korea Times.
She points out that brokers, or those responsible for introducing
Korean parents to prospective American adopters, have been guilty of
unscrupulous practices.

For example, two years ago, a factory owner in South Korea, gave
$40,000 to a Korean pastor in the United States to help find adoptive
parents for his son already living in Florida. The factory owner had
hoped to help his son gain citizenship in the United States and
continue his education there. Yet, after paying the agreed amount, the
pastor quickly disappeared without providing any assistance to the
owner or his son.

Six months later, the owner learned his son was already ineligible for
U.S. citizenship through adoption, as he had passed the age of 16. His
son remains in the United States illegally, unable to return home to
visit his parents.

In a similar case, a 14-year-old girl flew from South Korea to the
United States, where she was to meet a broker hired by her parents to
bring her to her adopted home. Upon her arrival, however, the broker
failed to appear after having received a significant payment. These
are the risks, however, that many South Korean parents are willing to
take to have their children living in the United States.


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