A single mother in Korea shares her story about choosing to parent her child while staying in one of Holt’s donor-supported single mother shelters. This story was originally published on the Holt Stories blog in April 2016.
In Korea, unwed motherhood is one of the leading reasons women choose adoption for their children. When a single woman becomes pregnant, she could lose everything — her family, friends, career, education, housing and the hope of these things in the future. This stigma is so strong and enduring that often, women feel like they don’t have a choice except to relinquish their child for adoption.
Through our partner agency in Korea — and with the support of Holt donors — we work to empower women and show them that they do have a choice. Holt Korea operates several shelters for mothers and their children where they can receive free housing, nutritious food, counseling and educational support in a safe and positive environment. The overall mission of the shelters is to help each mother gain the skills she needs to successfully parent, provide for her child and care for herself.
The following story is written by a woman who lives with her son at the Holt Morning Garden unwed mother and child shelter. Because of the support she and her son, Ji-ho, receive, this young woman decided not only to parent her son — but also to pursue higher education despite the discrimination she would likely face in the admissions process.
Defying all odds, she was accepted to college and is now studying to become a social worker so she can help other single mothers like herself as they work to overcome the stigma that is so firmly entrenched in Korean culture.