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Korean-Born Skier Cancels Korea Visit

Posted February. 23, 2006 03:07,   


Toby Dawson (28), the Korean-born adoptee who won the bronze medal for America in the moguls ski event at the 2006 Torino Olympic Games has canceled his visit to Korea.

He cited stress from the appearance of so many of his "biological parents” at once. And criticism is mounting over the trend of reckless celebrity paternity claims.

Dawson has visited Korea several times in the past to try to find his biological parents, and he volunteered to work as a counselor at a Korean Heritage Camp. But every time he tried, he failed because people were not interested in helping him to find them. He is said to be very disappointed.

“I have received many calls from people claiming to be his biological parents or relatives. But so far, nobody has provided a paternity DNA test which can prove it,” his coach said yesterday. He said that Dawson wants to find his biological parents in a quiet and scientific way.

“A Korean reporter who didn’t reveal his real name and position gave fake information, saying, ‘I found Dawson’s parents’ to NBC and ABC,’” Dawson said bitterly. “I don’t have any plans to visit Korea for a while.” Dawson was scheduled to come to Korea on February 26.

According to reports, Dawson has received about 200 e-mails from people to be his parents and relatives, or from people who say they know his parents..

Overseas adoption centers point out that there are many cases of adoptees who go through a confusing time when people turn up and insisting that they are his or her parents after the adoptee gains celebrity status.

“Adopted children want to find the families that abandoned them after going through a lot of trouble,” Lee Hyun-joo, a counselor of Holt Children`s Services Inc. in Seoul said, adding, “Dawson, who failed several times to find his family, may be shocked due to all of the parental claims that have abruptly appeared. Even though adopted children in general display their photos and try to find their parents, there are only one or two calls from parents at the most. If they become a celebrity, many make phone calls to them, but claims which can be proven truth are very rare, and this causes adoptees to have emotional scars,” a manager of the Eastern Social Welfare Society said.

One reason for this situation is that adopted children are not supported systemically after being adopted.

From the middle of 1950 until late 2003, the total number of adopted children abroad was 152,786. Among them, hundreds visit Korea every year, but only a small number find their biological parents.

The reason why many fail is that personal information of overseas adopted children has not been managed. Even though there are some records, adoption institutes can not show the related records to adopted children if their parents do not want to be revealed. So, in this regard, it is not easy for them to find their parents.

Swindlers abuse this weak point and deceive adopted children. One woman (34), who was adopted in the United Kingdom, was cheated by a 38-year-old swindler who deceived her out of three million won as compensation for finding her father. He was arrested on February 21.