Being a single mother in South Korea is an experience you would not wish to encounter. In the 1980s children were sent for adoption abroad; 90% of them were from the unmarried mothers. The communities in South Korea have become too conservative to accept the presence of single mothers.
Testimony from Choi Hyung –Sook is evidence enough of what you are likely to face as a single mum in South Korea. Her family cut ties with her and bonding again has not been a walk in the park. She had to quit her job because of the underground talks.
According to Shannon Heit, who was adopted by American parents after her grandmother gave her out when her mother had gone to work, she feels it is disgusting to value other parents with more money to raise your child.
The Deputy Director for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family says the government has expanded its budget to create more awareness campaign to alleviate social prejudice against the single mothers.
Ironically, according to Heit, the government of South Korea offers twice the financial support to domestic adoptive parents than the single biological mothers.
There is a need for the cultural and government support to create a conducive environment for the single mothers to raise their children. The children need to be happy like any others in South Korea. Choi hopes that one day the society will appreciate the fact that raising the child alone is a personal choice.
Choi and Heit have taken leading roles in the awareness campaigns through rallies and celebrating the single women’s day.