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It Made Me Cry. Again.

June 18, 2012

It hurt when I heard it the first time.  In the spring of 2008 when I was in Korea to bring home Joy, my youngest daughter, I was told we were “lucky” she was referred out so young, before the effects of quadriplegic cerebral palsy were evident. Children like her, they said, were not considered adoptable and were not listed for adoption.

That idea was reinforced the next day when I visited Joy’s twin sister in an orphanage for children, who like them, have visible special needs. This orphanage was an amazing place to be a child with a disability; the kids were getting wonderful care.

But it broke my heart:  the nuns’ job is to get them ready for the government-run orphanage they would enter before kindergarten. These kids couldn’t afford the few extra years they needed developmentally to learn to do things like feed themselves. The nuns were there to help them push the developmental curve so they could survive.

Why? They were not adoptable for the same reason they were not growing up in their birth families: they were born with visible disabilities.

Today Joy is five and thriving in our family. Her twin sister is six (counting the Korean way) and is thriving in a Korean family. Another child I met in that orphanage that day is thriving in her family in America.

Today I heard it again. It made me cry. Again.

It doesn’t matter that recent changes in Korean law make it technically possible for families to adopt children like Joy even from orphanages. Korean agencies are reserving their government-limited number of exit visas for “healthier” kids.

Qualified families who have stepped forward seeking to adopt older, institutionalized children with disabilities have recently been turned down because an agency does not consider these kids valuable enough to  go home.

I am rarely blunt. But for once I’m going to say it like I see it:

Korea doesn’t seem to mind its kids growing up abroad if they have the potential to reflect well on Korea. You know, fulfill all those stereotypes: hard-working, obedient, great at math. Those kids can get an exit permit.

But to some in Korea, it is embarrassing when a child growing up in adoptive family abroad, looking obviously Korean, at age five still drools sometimes, is liable to sing “Twinkle” at the top of her lungs indiscriminately in public, and repeats grades starting in special-ed. preschool.

Joy’s is not the face Korea wants to present to the world. So Korea pretends that kids like her don’t exist by withholding the exit visa that allows them to leave the country. What the world does not see cannot lose Koreans any “face.”

This is Evil.

Children like Joy are made in God’s image. God does not make mistakes. This is what God promises:

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is in the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The LORD will reign forever.” (Psalm 146:3-10)

Please pray with me for these children in Korea who are not deemed of high enough value to be allocated an exit permit by their agency. I am praying for these children who have families: LORD, change the hearts of those in charge. Do not forsake these orphans. Vindicate the cause of the oppressed. Silence your enemies. Cause these children to come home.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2012 7:09 am

    Crying now too… Very sad that they would ever think that way. But it is true and really makes me hurt not only for the kids, but for the people who think like that.

  2. koreamom6 permalink
    June 19, 2012 7:44 am

    Amen. Tears for those precious ones.

  3. June 19, 2012 1:22 pm

    Thank you for this post. So important to remember how valuable each life is.

    I visited Lisa from One Thankful Mom and her family this past weekend, and we talked about you and how lovely your writing and heart is!

  4. Nancy Reber permalink
    June 19, 2012 7:16 pm

    Wish everyone in the world had a heart and determination as strong as yours …… We are so blessed! Thank you for bringing Joy home!!! We pray that one day all the waiting families will be so fortunate.

  5. Danielle permalink
    June 19, 2012 9:54 pm

    Adding my prayers.


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