So, it was just a matter of time before the nice posts of my life journey as an adopted person dwindles and the stronger opinions come to the surface. This week a Korean news site featured an article about a group of Korean Adoptees gaining their Korean citizenship back again.
First off, I would like to congratulate the first group of newly minted citizens. I appreciate the value of such an accomplishment watching and reading from the sidelines as my peers persevered to get our voices heard and acknowledge that Korea never left us even if we left Korea. I can appreciate the desire to be valued as a legitimate Korean person and nothing says that louder than being a citizen of that country.
I am left wondering though. Why no military service for those with only an “orphan birth registry”? Why the disappointment that scholarships to learn Korean will no longer be given to these new citizens? I suppose I am left wondering, why so much entitlement? It seems to me that for the group of adoptees who seek dual citizenship, they will have the rights and possibilities of every other Korean. I think that is pretty remarkable and to ask for any special dispensation feels disengenuous.
I had a client once who was not willing to go for her US citizenship as she could not raise her hand to vow to defend this country. I really respected her for taking this pledge to the USA so seriously. As a citizen we want what our country offers but should we not also embrace the laws and tenants of the place we call home? With the privelege of citizenship comes the duties and obligations, not more or less.
Up to now, I have come to respect the adoptee community in Korea who have fundamentally changed the way we look at international adoption worldwide. I don’t think that is an understatement. I have seen how their voices and relentless tenacity to be acknowledged by Korea has established resources, education, jobs and awareness in ways that are altering the way other countries are handling their adult adoptees who return. This community has been the safe haven for many who come to Korea to seek, find and connect. I have been grateful to my overseas Korean adoptee brethren. They have given me the confidence to send others who are still seeking into their capable hands. And with this issue, I understand the euphoria of getting something that was perceived to have been stripped away at a time when we had no choice. But to ask for more exceptions feels like we are asking for citizenship but not really. It feels like we are demanding of Korea to make up for the loss of a life but expect nothing in return? It feels like we keep asking. Is that even a fair question to pose?