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Supporting Unwed Mothers in Korea Updated: 2009-03-09 12:00:00 KST

Supporting Unwed Mothers in Korea
Doctor Richard Boas from the United States is the founder and director of the 'Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network.' This is his sixth visit to Korea to meet with unwed mothers and to bring to light the difficulties unwed mothers face in society. He is also the father of an adopted Korean girl who says he has decided to address the difficulties unwed mothers go through when they have no other choice but to give up their child.

[Interview : Richard Boas, Founder & Director Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network] "Isn't it the right of any mother anywhere in the world, not just in Korea, if you choose to, you should be able to keep and raise her child[Interview : Richard Boas, Founder & Director
Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network] "70 percent of unwed Korean mothers or mothers-to-be, will relinquish their children to adoption because they fear without the love of their families, without the support of families, without the support from communities, and with very little support form their government and few services, they have no choice but to relinquish their children."

But there are special facilities helping unwed mothers. Aeranwon is one of them where Dr. Boas supports the facility financially to educate and support unwed mothers to become more self-reliant in raising their child.

[Interview : Han Sang-soon, Director Aeranwon] "According to the mothers saying, it enables to save at least five years for mothers to complete their self-reliance."

There were an increasing number of overseas adoptions following the Korean War.
However, the number has declined drastically as the government has encouraged domestic adoption.

Last week the 52nd Women's Policy Forum was held in Seoul to discuss ways to improve how unwed mothers are viewed and to promote support. And Doctor Mitchell who participated at the forum is hopeful saying Korea has a great chance to improve.

[Interview : Cheryl Mitchell, Professor University of Vermont] "I know that Korea has made this commitment to improve because Korea has signed the UN charters, on the rights of women and also rights of children, and I know that when Korea sets their mind to doing things, you do it well and do it fast, so I wouldn't be at all surprised that Korea may well-develop better system than the US actually, eventually for supporting unwed mothers."

A mothers' instinct to love her child is undeniable. And whether they are unwed mothers or not they still have the same degree of love for their child as all mothers do.

Kim Na-ri, Arirang News.
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