Searching for Birthfamily
There are various methods possible. But all depend on the amount of information you own.
- In case you have full information such as full name, birth date and citizen ID: it will be easy to locate the family through one of the organizations (such as GOA'L etc.) or through Korea Adoption Services. You can also contact Police Officer Geonsoo Lee directly.
- In case you only have partial information it will be more difficult to locate the birthfamily.
- In case you have no information at all, it is best to use media.
A search consists of following levels:
- information gathering: try to gather as much information as possible from your adoptive parents, from your local adoption agency, from your Korean adoption agency or an organization such as G.O.A.'L.
- Depending on above numbers you can already try to assess your chances. However there is no guarantee whatsoever even if you seem to have all information.
- Register with an organization you trust.
- Make a visit to Korea. Go visit your Korean adoption agency and verify if the data is the same as you already have. In case the information you received has more information than previously known, you can grade your chances according to what is written above.
- Visit G.O.A.'L or similar organizations and register with their database. Since G.O.A.'L had been around for such a long time (almost 20 years) G.O.A.'L also owns a big number of adoptee files
- Visit the orphanage, police station, community center etc., create flyers and hang them at boards where it is allowed.
- Every quarter in a village has their village chief who usually resides in the village.
1. For those who create a new profile or FB page:
keep your search profile separate from your private one keep your private identity secret (meaning your adoptive name etc.): this one is important. Since there have been cases where Korean nationals contacted adoptees and posed as a biological parent, eventually scammed the adoptee for money, it is important to protect your personal identifying information. Create a new email address just for that profile. Use only your Korean name in the search profile (even if it's just a given name) - Write your entire profile in Korean (think about the target group: you'd like to let know Korean nationals who may be your biological family. Therefore it's most effective if you write everything in Korean. Get a Korean friend to translate everything for you). rather create a Facebook page than a user profile. With user profiles you can add only up to 5000 users, with Facebook pages there is no limit as to how many users can "like" it. In case you post adoption documents, make sure to erase all identifying information (name of adoptive family etc.). For your search, only a few clues are really relevant.
2. For those who register online in databases or Facebook pages:
do not disclose your personal information in fields that are publicly accessible (same reason as above, unless you would like to get scammed by Korean nationals posing as biological family members) usually it is the role of the association that is providing search services to protect the private information of adoptees. The association is acting as a kind of a firewall so that scams can not happen. Sometimes Korean nationals just contact for example the TV station because they find the adoptee pretty and would like to date. does the organization offer free translation of your entry? does the organization offer counseling in regards to search?
3. For those who appear on TV or in newspapers:
Do not give your Western name or contact information. give the contact information of an organization you trust (e.g. G.O.A.'L or others) who will act as an intermediare. do not leave the contact information of a volunteer (phone number can change or the volunteer is not interested in adoptee issues any longer, whereas an association will be around)
Knowing that adoptees are sometimes very eager to locate their birth family it is also important to follow this rule: prior to any contact or meeting, get a DNA test with a positive result. DO NOT MEET a prospective family before you have the test result. If it's negative you won't have to mourn yet another relationship where you thought that you found your birth family.