Playing Cambodia Adoption Scandal

warning: Parameter 1 to video_params_v_get_params() expected to be a reference, value given in /var/www/ on line 407.

For a better life.

When I told Molly Holt that I had been abused by my adoptive father, she replied that it was still better for me to have been adopted: "…because you had a better life. You have an education that you wouldn't have had in Korea." she said. When I found my sister after 27 years of separation, she told me that I had not been abandoned but abandoned or not, it didn't matter because "you had a better life in Canada than in Korea." My friends who know that I have been abused also think that I was lucky in my bad luck because I had an education that I would not have if I had not been adopted.

When I watch this kind of video, it makes me think about the life that I would have had if I stayed in Korea. I lived in a similar poverty in Seoul.

During the first 5 or 6 years of my life, I confused the word "jip" (house) with the word "bang" (room). We were seven people living in a house with one room. We ate and we slept in the same room. I didn't have any toy. An electric bulb and a radio were all that I knew of the modern life. There was only one telephone in every neighbourhood and the one who had a phone was the owner of a store. Only rich people were able to have a television, black and white television.
A few months after the death of my mother, I lived in extreme poverty with my father and my sister. We lacked food. Once, we searched through garbage to find plastics to sell. My father never showed me to wash myself, I was dirty and I had lice in my hair and.

Now, I'm talking to the rich people such as Molly Holt, Lauryn Galindo, the adoption agencies, some adoptive parents (including my deceased adoptive parents), many prospective adoptive parents, and many other people…You rich people, you want to save the children from such poverty. Therefore, you remove children from their parents and you sell them to rich people living in foreign countries.

You gave me a new mother when I had not finished mourning my mother yet. You gave me a new father when I already had one. You removed me from my country; you took me away from my sisters and my brother. You wrote 9 years of my life in these few words: “unknown father, unknown mother and abandoned”.

You said: "To save you from poverty, to feed you and to give you a good education". You could have done all this without removing me from my country and my family. You could have done that without erasing my past. We only needed food and money for our basic needs, I didn’t need another family. You made money by arranging my adoption and thousands of other adoptions. What do you do with the money you earned by selling me? You just keep selling more children.

To try to understand your senseless and cruel action, I must put myself in the shoes of someone who has only known a life of wealth in the modern world. I must especially ignore the joy that I have known in poverty with my family. Yes, I said "the joy I've known in poverty." We lived seven in a one bed-room house but I remember all the attention I received from my family. I remember the words of encouragement such as "bravo, you do it well, you're so beautiful, you’re so cute…" It was very easy to make a child happy; if they gave me a chewing gum or one cookie, I was happy.
Even when I was living a life of misery in the countryside, I remember moments of joy in the nature. My stomach was empty but I was loved by my father. My definitions of wealth and poverty were very simple: for me, being rich meant having something to eat every day and being poor meant skipping some meals. I often felt rich because my father gave me permission to buy some chewing gums when he had money.

You were proud of given me everything that I've never had in Korea. You gave me candies every day. After giving me some chocolate, you told me: “What? You'd never eaten chocolate? It's terrible” No, I never missed chocolate in Korea. How can you believe that you can miss something you have never tasted before? You gave me foods and you felt generous but I missed kimchi every day.

I hated to see Barbie with so many cloths while many children in Korea had only one cloth to wear. I didn't want to live in this crazy country where even a car had its own room. The day I tried to go back to my country, you punished me and you laughed at me saying that I was a spoiled child in crisis. You said you almost died at the idea of losing me after three months. Meanwhile, my real father was dying from grief since he lost me.

After giving me toys, you asked me to play with them. I never asked for a toy. I only needed some stones or papers to play with. All I wanted was my brother to help me make a kite and my sister to draw my paper dolls; I wanted my nephew to play with and my friends of my orphanage. You gave me toys but you removed my siblings, my nephews and my friends. I had no joy playing with your toys.

 You also took away my language and my culture. After assimilating me to your culture, you often reminded me how I should be grateful for being saved from a life of poverty, a life of prostitution or a life of homeless people. You even came to tell me that I should be grateful for not having been aborted. You “saved” me from the poverty to put me in the hands of a pedophile; it's your definition of better life.

If I had stayed in Korea, I would have had a life similar to that of my sister. My sister still lives in poverty but she is neither a prostitute nor a homeless. She is happily married and she is a mother of two children. I also had moments of joy with the “better life” you offered me but I've never experienced joy of being with a family again since you removed me from my only family.

 Robin Hood was known for robbing the rich to give to the poor. The poor only have their children. You rob the poor of their children to give them to the rich. And you make million of dollars by doing your "good" action.

The gift that keeps on giving

If adoption is a culture built on sensitivity, I think you did a brilliant job expressing  a very sore subject felt by many:

All I wanted was my brother to help me make a kite and my sister to draw my paper dolls; I wanted my nephew to play with and my friends of my orphanage. You gave me toys but you removed my siblings, my nephews and my friends. I had no joy playing with your toys.

Things can never replace people, but you put that simple phrase into something far more delicate, fragile... and human.  [wow....]

The poor only have their children. You rob the poor of their children to give them to the rich. And you make million of dollars by doing your "good" action.

[<still and breathless...>]

The mom in me...

I am always humbled when I read your words, Kimette.  I digest your every word, slowly and painfully.  You've known what
I have never known.  You make me see how important a family is for the child.  I understand, in my pitiful adoptive mom's
heart, how much you lost and how much more important it is to have your own family than to be given things in its place.
I am honored when I read your words.

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom


[About the video]

This 20/20 episode was featured in 2005, as the article below explains:

Woman at Center of Alleged Baby-Trafficking Ring Talks
to '20/20'

- In the first case of its kind, an American adoption
facilitator who helped more than 700 families adopt
babies from Cambodia will be sent to prison on charges
related to baby trafficking. In an exclusive interview
with "20/20's" Elizabeth Vargas, Lauryn Galindo talks
about the adoptions she arranged for American
Watch Elizabeth Vargas' full report tonight on "20/20"
at 10 p.m.
Although self-described humanitarian Galindo pleaded
guilty to charges of visa fraud, money laundering and
tax-related felonies in 17 cases, she says they were
merely errors in paperwork and denies having anything
to do with child trafficking.
But the U.S. government and some of the families she
worked with paint a much darker picture of Galindo's
activities and their lasting consequences. Now
hundreds of adoptive families are left with agonizing
questions: Were their babies really orphans, or were
they purchased from birth parents too poor to resist a
handful of American dollars? Did Galindo's criminal
actions in essence wipe out the true identities of
Cambodian babies, many taken away from extended
families, and did she possibly squander millions of
dollars in donations from adoptive families who
thought their contributions would aid Cambodian
By all accounts Galindo went to Cambodia with good
intentions. She is credited with setting up the first
U.S. adoptions from the country, and paving the way
for all the adoptions that followed -- thousands more.
Her clients were well-meaning couples who thought
that, along with adding to their families, they were
saving true orphans from a terrible life without hope.
In this hourlong expos&eactue;, "20/20's" Vargas finds
shattered families who say that what actually happened
was far less wholesome.
Vargas travels to Cambodia to trace the evidence in a
two-year government investigation. "20/20" chronicles
one adopted teen's wrenching journey back to her
birthplace, and discovers another child's real birth
family in a remote mountain town. In far-flung
villages and decrepit city orphanages, "20/20" finds
mothers who received money for their babies, the
middlemen who profited, orphanage directors who say
they were paid to lie about a child's true origins,
and evidence that some mothers had been coerced into
giving up their babies with false promises.
"These were manufactured orphans," says Judi Mosely,
one of the parents who adopted an orphan from
Cambodia. "They never should have been taken from
their families."
Galindo will now serve 18 months in prison. Cambodia's
real orphans have been left to suffer. Because of the
scandal, the United States issued a moratorium against
adoptions from Cambodia and most other Western
countries followed suit. There is considerable debate
about when and how it should be lifted. Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures 

  [From:  "U.S. Families Learn Truth About Adopted Cambodian Children", March 25, 2005,]

More about Galindo and her "errors in paperwork" and reasons for not checking if the children she was "helping" were indeed orphans, can be found here:


Pound Pup Legacy