Call for help from Korean adoptees to share their adoption stories for a doctoral project on Korean adoption
My name is Youngeun Koo, and I’m a PhD candidate in Korean Studies at Tübingen University in Germany (please see my bio below). My doctoral research looks at the development of intercountry adoption from South Korea. For my research, I am looking for Korean adoptees who are willing to share their adoption stories, particularly their adoption circumstances in Korea and any relevant adoption documents. Below, you can find more information about my research and who I am looking for. If you have any questions about my project, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email:
My research
There has been growing and inspiring research on transnational adoption in the last two decades. But still, little is known about the history of intercountry adoption from Korea. My doctoral project looks into the issue of ‘children in need (yoboho adong)’ and the development of Korean adoption from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s.

I particularly focus on activities undertaken by key actors – the Korean government, adoption agencies and foreign aid organisations in Korea – to address the issue of ‘children in need’, and their relationship to one another over time. I want to develop a balanced and deeper understanding of how the child welfare system took shape, what efforts were made to support needy families and children, and how intercountry adoption expanded in Korea.

Why I need help from Korean adoptees
From March to December 2017, I conducted fieldwork in Korea. I collected government records on needy children and adoption, and carried out interviews with those who used to work in the adoption field from the 1950s to the 1980s.

In order to put the data I have collected into a more concrete context, I am hoping to learn about actual adoption cases. In other words, to better understand how intercountry adoptions were actually practiced, I am looking for Korean adoptees who are willing to share their adoption stories and records with me. For instance, I want to learn what steps were taken before the adoption, what documents were included, etc.

Who I am looking for
I am looking for Korean adoptees whose adoption took place between 1953 and 1990, and who might consider sharing their adoption documents with me. If you have further knowledge about the circumstances of your adoption than what your records say, I would also be very interested in speaking to and learning from you.
I fully understand that your adoption files are highly personal and might contain information that you don’t want to share. I will take every measure to protect the confidentiality of anyone participating in the research.

I am the sole researcher of this project, and any documents and information you share will only be accessed by me. Unless you specifically give me permission to publicly use your adoption documents, I will not use original documents in any publications that I create from this research.

If you decide to participate, I will also discuss with you the level of anonymity. Unless agreed differently, I will anonymise any personal information that can identify you in my thesis.

What’s next if you’re interested in participating
If you’re interested in taking part, please fill out the form below. I will then contact you via email to arrange a Skype call to further discuss my research and your participation.
If you have any questions on child welfare and intercountry adoption in Korea, I will also try to put them into context, however, I might not be able to give you satisfactory answers.
About me
I was born and raised in South Korea, but I moved to the UK in 2009. In London, I worked in NGOs that supported migrant and refugee children. My interest in migration led me to do a master’s degree in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford, where I wrote a master’s thesis on adoptee politics in Denmark. In February 2016, I moved to Germany to pursue my PhD. From March to December 2017, I was in Korea for data collection.
You can find more information about me here:
Your name *
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Email address *
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Gender *
Which country were you adopted to? *
Your answer
Year of adoption *
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How old were you when your adoption took place? *
Your answer
Would you be willing to share your adoption records for this research? *
Any comments (concerns or questions)
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