Since the end of the Korean War, an estimated 200,000 children from South Korea have been adopted into white families in North America, Europe and Australia. While these transnational adoptions were initiated as an emergency measure to find homes ...
for mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the war, the practice grew exponentially from the 1960s until the 1980s. At the height of South Korea's "economic miracle," adoption became an institutionalized way of dealing with poor and illegitimate children. Most of the adoptees were raised with little exposure to Koreans or other Korean adoptees, but as adults, through global flows of communication, media and travel, they came into increasing contact with each other, Korean culture, and the South Korean state. Since the 1990s, as infants continue to leave Korea for adoption to the West, a growing number of adult adoptees have been returning to seek their cultural and biological origins. In this fascinating ethnography, Eleana J. Kim examines the history of Korean adoption, the emergence of a distinctive adoptee collective identity and adoptee returns to Korea in relation to South Korean modernity and globalization. Kim draws on interviews with adult adoptees, social workers, NGO volunteers, adoptee activists, scholars and journalists in the U.S., Europe and South Korea, as well as on observations at international adoptee conferences, regional organization meetings and government-sponsored motherland tours.
Number of pages: 320
Date of publication: 14/01/2011
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