Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I should preface this post with this: I believe that International Adoption from Korea should end. I believe that all mothers should have the right and opportunity to raise their own children and be supported in this when needed. They also should not be discriminated against. That said....

I am American. I have been raised with a worldview that, while it varies from person to person, has many commonalities with other Americans. Our nation from it's conception has been all about personal freedoms and liberties. We learn this from the time we are young children. Our country is all about the individual. And no matter what ethnicity a person is, if you are raised here, in a family that has its roots here, you grow up within that worldview and with that worldview. Our personal beliefs color this worldview to a point.

Our American or Western Worldview is VERY different from the Eastern Worldview. In most Asian countries, and in Korea specifically, the Worldview is about the family. It is based on Confusion beliefs. Everything is looked in terms of how it will impact/affect the FAMILY, not the individual. This is very hard for those of us with a Western Worldview to understand. It seems to us a violation of human rights. The individual has rights, as we see it, while the Eastern Worldview says no, it is about the impact of the individual's choices on the family.

This difference in Worldviews is, in my opinion, why there are so many babies who need homes in Korea right now. The Confusion belief system still runs strong. The Worldview is different. In Korea a young, unwed woman having a child affects the family. Her choices about keeping/raising her child versus placing it for adoption are seen as a family affair. From our Western perspective this is wrong, it should be about the rights of the mother, not her whole family and what they think.

This way of thinking is slowly beginning to change. Slowly. There is no way to take a belief system that has been held for thousands of years and expect to change it overnight. I commend the adoptees who are in Korea now working to make this change, but they are there with a Western/American Worldview. They are bringing the ideas of individual rights with them and are struggling to understand the notions of Confusion belief, of Korean Worldview.

It is hard to look at a belief system that seems so very wrong to us and accept that it is considered right by another group of people. And to keep in mind, as we work for change, that we cannot just impose our own Worldview and expect another group of people to accept it as right.

I wrestle with this - I want to see change, but at what point are we ethnocentric and imposing our own Worldview? How do we help make change in a way that is effective and at the same time respectful?