The Other Mother of My Child: Transnational Solidarity among Transnational Korean Adoptees, Adoptive Mothers, and Birth Mothers


ACLS Fellowship Program


Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies


Since the end of the Korean War in 1953, more than 220,000 Korean children have been placed for adoption in Western countries, with the largest number adopted to the United States. Since the early 1990s, Korean adoptees have been returning to South Korea. This study explores the journey of establishing relationships among the adoption triad, adoptees, adoptive and birth mothers, after adoptees reunite with their birth mothers. By examining their entangled relationship, this project critiques political, economic, and cultural forces that enable transnational movement of children for adoption and demonstrate how gender, race, class, and nation influence the process of relationship formation of the adoption triad. This project reclaims transnational adoption as a gendered and racialized issue and challenge monolithic and patriarchal models of motherhood discourse by shedding light on the non-normative lived experiences and marginalized narratives of adoptees, Korean birth mothers, and American adoptive mother. This study applies transnational feminist epistemologies and methodologies to recover the forgotten stories of adoptees and their two mothers in existing master narratives to document their lost histories. "The Other Mother of My Child" aims to examine the possibility of transnational solidarity among the adoption triad to dismantle the master discourse related to motherhood, gender, and race.