1970s

Demand for children grows

1970s – Continuation of factors driving availability of children in Korea and increased demand for children in the west

  • The trends from the 1960s continued with a focus on economic development, with industry fueled by low wage workers.  Inequality within the workplace with men making more money than women and men in higher level positions meant that conditions for women working in factories remained exploitative.  Also, women were seen only as working until marriage. So, there are lots of poor, exploited single women working who end up getting pregnant.
  • By the 1970s, children available were beginning to be primarily offspring of single parents due to divorce (2nd families often did not accept children from a former relationship) and never married single mothers.  The number of children being adopted continued to rise.
  • In the West, while there was an increase in the demand for children to adopt, due to a decrease in birth/fertility rates, the legalization of abortion, more contraceptive options, and more single moms were raising children, there were fewer children available to adopt.
  • Some of these same factors were driving demand for children in Europe. 
  • Also, as the number of healthy white babies decreased there was increased resistance by black and Native American communities to adopting their children to white families (concern about depriving children of guidance in dealing with racism, lack of shared identity, lack of development of racial consciousness).  Even with this, the acceptance and even celebration of “rainbow families” grew and the demand for babies from Asia grew given the controversy surrounding the adoption of black and Native children.