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Disrupting KinshipTransnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States$
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Kimberly D. McKee

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042287

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042287.001.0001

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Generating a Market in Children

Generating a Market in Children

(p.19) Chapter 1 Generating a Market in Children
Disrupting Kinship

Kimberly D. McKee

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores the transnational adoption industrial complex’s origins, paying careful attention to South Korea’s lack of support for unwed mothers and low-income families and the manufacturing of orphans by orphanages and adoption agencies. Korean families’ abilities to parent are curtailed by androcentric legislation concerning Korean citizenship, societal stigma against unwed motherhood, and limitations to women’s labor force participation. Orphanages and adoption agencies facilitate adoptees’ social death in the creation of new birthdates and names, among other natal details. Adoptees are also constructed as interchangeable with documented cases of adoptees being sent in place of another child. The chapter ends with a discussion of contemporary South Korean adoption policy and government overtures to adoptees as they return to the nation that previously cast them out.

Keywords:   low-income families, unwed motherhood, orphans, social death, orphanages, adoption policy, labor, androcentric legislation

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