Monday, February 15, 2016

Unwed Mothers In Korea

Unwed mothers who choose life should be encouraged and supported instead of discredited. This was the title of an article in the Peace Weekly. Unwed mothers are the women who have children without benefit of marriage. Many are the reasons for the situation but the common element is the courage  in not opting for abortion, and accepting the gift of  new life.

Their choice and courage should be acknowledged and supported, however the world sees it quite differently and in most cases even the families do not welcome the child, and they end up going to some institution.

In the article we hear about Miss Kim, 27 years old, who when she notified the parents they told her to abort, and if she chooses to have the child she was on her own. She had the child and cried. She did think of putting the child up for adoption but while nursing the baby she changed her mind, and decided to raise the child. Her future, however, was far from bright.

When her boy friend heard about the pregnancy that was the end of the relationship. At her place of work she was not able to tell her boss she was pregnant so she quit.

A survey of unmarried mothers showed that 33.9 % of them find economic problems the most difficult. 26.6 % mental confusion was an issue; 11.2 % the child's future, 10.7 % family concern, and 17.6% listed other issues. Lack of concern and support of the family of the girl is the main reason for the difficulties.

Most of the families: 38.2% want the girl to terminate the pregnancy. 20.7% tell the girl she is on her own, 16.9 % of the girls are asked to get the boy friend to marry, 35 % want the girl to have the child adopted. Instead of accepting the child most of the families of the girl try to avoid the issue and refuse to accept the situation. This is an indication of a cross section of how society looks upon unwed mothers.

One of the priests working in the Seoul diocese with these new mothers would like everybody to drop the term unwed mothers, and treat them all as mothers and help.

Koreans have difficulty adopting children because of the strong emphasis on bloodline, and the history of Confucianism and the way it has influenced society.  In the past it was one of the largest exporters of children to families overseas. This has changed greatly in recent years, and most of those adopted are the children of unwed mothers. There have been efforts to change the thinking on adoption and promote domestic adoptions. Adoption to families overseas is more difficult than in the past, and hopefully time will see a change in the numbers adopted domestically.

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