Home Editorial Activities Stories Links
  Saving Lives Feature Stories Having Fun  
  Kiddy Car Airlift Orphanages Adopting Children Help from Home    

powered by FreeFind

Adopting the Children

From the very beginning of the war the service men and women fell in love with the lost, homeless, hungry, ill and traumatized children and, in many cases, tried to adopt them and take them home with them to America. Here are stories of "informal adoption" and attempts at "formal adoption". Our stories are for the period up until the end of 1954.

It has been reported in official reports that by mid-1954 somewhere between 200 and, at most, 1000 children of the more than 50,000 in "official" orphanages, were "mixed blood". This means that 98 or 99 percent of all children in orphanages or still on the streets were children of two Korean parents. Consequently most of these early adoptions were children of two Korean parents.

Mascots. Service men in military units throughout Korea were picking up lost children along the roadsides and giving them shelter. When possible these children would then be placed in an orphanage or the unit would give a “mamasan” some money to take care of the child. Many of them stayed with the unit, though, and became a “mascot”, a type of informal adoption. The Air Force, especially, frowned on this practice and ordered the units to place their mascots in orphanages. On the other hand many young children grew up in these military units with the servicemen serving as surrogate parents for the child. Often such children could no longer speak Korean, only English, and later would be a misfit in their own country.

Mascot - Photos and stories.


Adoption through 1954. The bond between many GIs and their “mascots” or “houseboys” became so strong that they sought to formally adopt the child. In the beginning this necessitated an act of congress for the child to be admitted to the US but many servicemen persevered and were able to bring the child home to the United States. Often, since the serviceman was a bachelor, his mother and father would do the legal adoption with the understanding that the child would live with the serviceman when he returned home. Very few of these early adoptions were of “mixed blood” children as less than 2% of all orphans by the end of the war were children of Korean women and UN forces.

Adoption through 1954 photos and stories.


Adoption after 1954. Adoption after 1954 is beyond the parameters of this research on the relations of the GIs and the children of Korea during the war years. Yet, at the same time, the research undertaken for this project turned up a lot of material on later adoption practices. We felt it was important to include that material here as an addendum so those interested in adoptions during that period of time can have access to this information.

Adoption after 1954 photos and stories.






Home  |  Editorial  |  Activities  |  Stories  |  Links