Remember when I posted this video of Choi Hyung-sook, a single mother in Korea and founder of KUMFA?
Apparently I missed the New York Times article from two years ago, which profiles Hyung-sook and explores the growing trend of unwed Korean mothers parenting their children, defying cultural norms and the stigma of unwed mothers.
The fledgling group of women — only 40 are involved so far — is striking at one of the great ironies of South Korea. The government and commentators fret over the country’s birthrate, one of the world’s lowest, and deplore South Korea’s international reputation as a baby exporter for foreign adoptions.
Yet each year, social pressure drives thousands of unmarried women to choose between abortion, which is illegal but rampant, and adoption, which is considered socially shameful but is encouraged by the government. The few women who decide to raise a child alone risk a life of poverty and disgrace.
Nearly 90 percent of the 1,250 South Korean children adopted abroad last year, most of them by American couples, were born to unmarried women, according to the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs.
KUMFA is currently fundraising in an effort to maintain their space for unwed mothers, HEATER. Kevin, over at Land of Gazillion Adoptees has written a great post about it, so I’ll direct you to his blog. Please consider supporting KUMFA’s work to support Korean mothers who hope to parent their children. This is the first step in reducing unnecessary adoptions.