Jintae + GoFundMe

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

I'm gonna provide a link to this GoFundMe page for an AK/KAD/KA - feel free to help out if you can.

I met Jintae when I went to Korea last year. We were both guests at KoRoot, a guesthouse for Korean adoptees. I was there on a trip to visit my biological family. He had just moved there to start a new life for himself.

I quickly learned that Jintae is a remarkable person who has overcome so much. His story exemplifies everything that can go wrong with international adoption.

I share his story now with permission.

cw: abuse, depression

His white mother wanted a Korean baby boy because she thought he would grow up to be scientist or doctor and make lots of money. His white father didn't care-- he wasn't around. He was constantly teased for being the only non-white kid around. Additionally, his parents made him switch schools every single year, so it was impossible for him to make friends. The ones he managed to make, he wasn't able to keep because he'd always have to go to a new school.

As he got older, it became even harder to make friends because people had been friends for years at school together already, and he was always just the new Asian kid.

His most prominent memories of his father from when he was a child were drunken arguments with his mother in the middle of the night. When he was 7 or 8 they started having problems. When he was 10, they got a divorce and didn't tell him about it. He found out accientally when he overheard a conversation his adoptive mother was having.

For the next two years, he was pretty much ignored because they were finalizing the separation/divorce.

He was sent to military school when he was 12. At the beginning of his second semester, after he turned 13, he was molested by an older cadet. This happened on multiple different occasions. Several other cadets around his age were also victims. They were also physically abused constantly by senior ranking cadets.

This is when his decline picked up momentum. Eventually he left military school to finish his freshman year of high school in California with his adoptive father.

In 2015, he decided he wanted to get in touch with Korean culture and move there.

In response, his adoptive family issued an ultimatum: It was either them, or Korea.

He chose Korea, and they disowned him.

When I met Jintae in August 2015, he was hard at work learning the Korean language (seriously, I was so amazed that he had only been there for a couple months) -- and starting up his personal training business.

I was amazed by his courage in coming to the country of his birth, leaving everything he knew behind to seek something better than what he knew.

It is extremely difficult to move to a foreign country, especially if you don't have financial support in some way.

It is even more difficult if you are a survivor of trauma, and struggle with the resulting depression.

Jintae couldn't afford rent, because he didn't leave the U.S. with enough money to secure the "key money" / deposit, which is extremely high in Korea. So he was paying rent that was double what it could have been. If he had come with enough for the key money/deposit, he would still be in Korea today.

As it was, it was too expensive for him to continue to stay.

Jintae recently had to move back to California, where he's struggling to get mental health care and to make enough money to return to Korea.

I offered to make him a GoFundMe to help him get back, because I know the obstacles he faces are too difficult to surmount alone.

Jintae will have a job lined up before he returns to Korea, but would need help with all those upfront costs of moving.

The donations would be for the following things:

Flight: $700
"Key money"/deposit: $3,000
Three months' rent: $1,800
Shipping belongings: $300
Korean language class: $1,500

Total: $7,300

Thank you so much for considering this. Jintae is one of the most hardworking, perseverent people I know, and has so much integrity.

I know, as a community, we can give him at least a portion of the support -- financial, but also emotional -- that his adoptive family so cruelly denied him.