Community Introductions: Teri

Community Introductions: Teri

Today we are happy to introduce you to an adoptee living in Korea.
Teri was nice enough to sit down with us and tell us a little bit about her story and life in Korea:

My name is Teresa Thomas and I was adopted in 1976. This is my second time returning to Korea and I have been here since April 5, 2017. I returned with the intention of doing further research on my birth family, to live and work here on a permanent basis, and also increase awareness about Korean adoptees with disabilities with hopes of also involving native Koreans as well.

I was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that impairs motor skills. For me, it has affected my walking and my speech. During my first visit to Korea in 1994, I don’t specifically remember if I had any struggles getting around Seoul. However, since coming back to Korea this past April, I have encountered so much difficulty getting to and from places.

I have fallen many times due to uneven pavement. However, I have also seen several “normal” people trip or fall due to uneven street surfaces. The only difference is that they have better balance than myself which prevents them from completely falling.

Another difficulty is riding the public buses. While walking to the bus stop or station I often get shoved, or pushed. This can be attributed to Korea’s 빨리 빨리 culture where everyone is seemingly in a rush to get where they need to go.

Additionally, most stores and restaurants do not have railings on their staircases. Many also do not have elevators. Some people with disabilities have difficulties climbing up stairs without a railing and some have difficulties climbing stairs regardless if there are railings or not.

In general, people with disabilities should be aware of these types of challenges and conditions before visiting any country. They should be prepared to face these challenges at any given moment.

It is helpful to know your limitations - know what you can and cannot do as there is not as widespread ease of access in Korea as there is in a country like the United States. From my experience, you can expect some delays getting around. I recommend taking your time and protecting yourself to make sure you can safely navigate Korea. I also have found that many times, Korean people are very willing to help.

Having discussed my experience with accessibility here in Korea, here are my general recommendations to improve it:

#1 Provide paratransit to supplement the public transportation routes of buses and subway routes.

#2 Create regulations for taxi drivers that would require them to take people with disabilities anywhere within the city, regardless of distance or location.

#3 Improve walking surfaces.

#4 Enforce current regulations or create regulations for buildings regarding the installation of railings and elevators.

#5 Create a better educational system for people with disabilities.

In closing, besides the physical challenges there have been emotional and mental challenges as well. Culturally, age can be a factor as well, affecting employment opportunities. Despite these challenges, everyone, including people with disabilities have great potential. Set your mind to your goals and you can do it!

*Views expressed here are of the adoptee and do not necessarily reflect G.O.A.'L.

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Services will be limited during August 2017

Services will be limited during August 2017

Services will be limited during August 2017 due to First Trip Home.

This especially applies to new birth family search requests and volunteer requests.

New requests for birth family search will not be processed until September 5th, 2017.

Volunteer requests will be processed given the request has been received no later than August 8th. Requests for volunteers for the period of August 24th to the 31st cannot be accommodated.

Urgent F4 visa assistance will be processed until August 17th given the request has been received no later than August 10th.

We will respond to inquiries and requests about scholarships for schools both inside and outside of Seoul for the Fall and Winter term.

The office will be closed from August 21st to September 4th inclusive. Emails received during this period will be answered as soon as possible.

We thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.

Have a great summer,

The G.O.A.’L Staff

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Outreach Trip: Daegu & Busan

Outreach Trip: Daegu & Busan

On July 15, 2017 Nathan (Community Mentor) and AK (Secretary-General) visited Daegu and Busan for an outreach trip to adoptees living in and around those cities. The objective was to meet the adoptees living in those areas and also learn what services are needed or wanted for those adoptees.

 

After arriving in Daegu around lunch time, the G.O.A.’L staff met with two adoptees living in the area for a meal at 새마을식당 (New Village Restaurant) near East Daegu station (동대구역). We enjoyed barbecue, kimchi jjigae, and other dishes! We followed lunch with a discussion down the street at Dunkin Donuts. It was a pleasure meeting the local adoptees and spending time together!


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The next stop was Busan where we met at Busan station and had our discussion at a local Angel-in-us coffee shop. For dinner, in addition to the adoptees, we met a former employee of G.O.A.’L and a staff member from the office of our auditor. We ate at a local Chinese restaurant (홍성방) and enjoyed dumplings, japchae, and other dishes. Thank you very much for meeting us and learning more about G.O.A.’L!

 

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Special thanks to our auditor, Kihyun Park, for the dinner in Busan and Korea Adoption Services for funding the trip!

 

G.O.A.’L as an organization has the objective of expanding services beyond Seoul as we are aware there are many adoptees that live in other towns and cities throughout Korea.
We currently offer 100% discount scholarships for tuition to many schools throughout Korea, outside of Seoul. You can find more information here:
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