Monday, June 20, 2011

Media coverage of unwed moms dramatically increasing

Yoo, Ji Young, staff member of KUMSN helps those of us who don’t speak Korean, keep track of the Korean news. A few days ago she sent us an email letting us know that there were over 50 news articles, radio or TV shows regarding unwed moms in May. AMAZING! The attention was generated in part by Single Mothers Day, observed on the same day as the government sponsored Adoption Day. As a sign of the times, there was more media coverage of the moms event, than the adoption event. You can see some of the articles on the KUMSN web site, for instance and . More articles can be found on our site at

Further coverage was stimulated by a forum hosted by the Institute for Gender and Law, at Ewha Women’s University addressing the legal protection of unwed moms. Papers were presented by international experts from the USA and Australia, as well as by Kwon, Hee Jung, Executive Director of KUMSN and other Korea experts. A press release regarding the forum can be found on our website at While none of the papers are available yet (check back in July or August, we should have links to them after the Institute publishes the proceedings of the forum), the forum itself generated more press.

Another big boost to media coverage was the Seoul Hanbumo Support Center campaign to find a new word to "name" unwed moms. Associated with the campaign there were 6 articles in the Seoul newspaper, over 1800 people participated in a related online forum and 1484 potential names submitted. Check out our upcoming July newsletter for more information and find out which name was selected!

It is wonderful to see how much attention is now being paid to the issues facing unwed moms. However, before we celebrate too quickly, it seems important to note that while attention may be the forerunner of change, it isn’t guaranteed. Unwed moms continue to face the same pressures for the most part – job discrimination, housing discrimination, pressure from family and friends to have an abortion or relinquish their child for adoption, insufficient government support, and the absence of responsibility by the baby’s father. So, while it is exciting to read all this coverage, and it is clear that a tipping point has been reached in terms of openly discussing the situation for unwed moms and their children, there is still a long way to go to shrink the hurdles they face. We know there are a number of proposed bills in the National Assembly to address the concerns of unwed moms and hear that the government may also consider changes in policies to better support the moms. We also know that a few private businesses and organizations have increased their involvement with unwed moms. KUMSN applauds all this activity. We look forward to the day when there just isn’t much to cover in the media, because the lives of unwed moms are like the lives of all moms, with the every day challenges mothers face, but nothing extra.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some thoughts from Evelyn Robinson

Evelyn is a relatively new friend of KUMSN and she has shared some thoughts with us, as a mother who lost her son to adoption in Scotland in 1970. She later moved to Australia and has been active in supporting moms who have lost children to adoption and advocating for better policies in there. She shared some thoughts with us. Read on.....

I first became involved with adoption in 1970, when I gave birth to my first son. I was told by many people that I should allow him to be adopted, because it would provide the best possible future for him - and isn’t that what every parent wants for their child?

Attitudes to single parenthood have changed enormously in countries like Britain and Australia since my son was born, which is one reason why those who want children are now looking to obtain them from further afield, in countries like Korea. Mothers in other countries are now being pressured the way I and many other unmarried mothers were, to allow their children to be adopted, because it will, supposedly, provide them with the best outcomes.

I was reunited with my son in 1991 and by that time I had become involved with other mothers who had also been separated from their children by adoption. I found enormous relief in finally being able to spend time with women who really understood what I had been through, because they had been through the same sort of experience. I am delighted to learn that groups now exist in Korea, to support mothers who have lost children to adoption.

My early experiences of support groups for mothers were extremely positive. These experiences led me to explore the ways in which mothers whose children had been adopted could be assisted and could assist themselves. Over the last twenty years, I have helped literally thousands of mothers around the world.

However, as time has passed, I have, unfortunately, witnessed a negative side to some of these groups. It has saddened me enormously to watch some of them self-destruct, as they lost focus and fell into the hands of people who were sometimes power-hungry, ruthless and/or dishonest.
To those members of mothers’ groups in Korea now, I should like to warn you to care for each other and for your groups and try to ensure that your groups remain healthy.

My primary focus has always been on assisting those who have experienced adoption separation to understand their experience, to acknowledge their loss and to manage their grief. I should also like to suggest that you encourage anyone who has been separated from a family member by adoption to take responsibility for their own well-being, just in case there ever comes a time when a group is no longer available to meet their needs.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


May the New Year bring you health and happiness, and may it bring better lives for the moms and their children. They are as deserving as any of us to have fulfilling lives.

Happy 2011!

Richard Boas, MD, President and Founder