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Adoption becomes open topic on TV

More celebrities are opening up about their adoption stories on the small screen.

Actor couple Jin Tae-hyun and Park Si-eun will appear on the SBS reality show “You Are My Destiny,” starting Jan. 20. The show will deal with their family life with their adopted daughter, Sae-yeon. 

Park Si-eun (left) and Jin Tae-hyun (SBS)
Park Si-eun (left) and Jin Tae-hyun (SBS)

In October the couple revealed that they had adopted Sae-yeon, now in her early 20s, after meeting her at an orphanage on Jeju Island while on their honeymoon in 2015. They stayed in close touch and Sae-yeon now lives with the couple and attends university in Seoul.

“Children and teenagers need parents too, but Sae-yeon never had the chance to live with her parents except for the great teachers at the orphanage,” Jin wrote on social media in October.

“We will now be a mom and dad who can accompany her on her journey from her 20s onwards. Family is something people in their teens, 20s and 30s all need until they die,” he said.

Celebrity makeup artist Jung Saem-mool opened up about her adoption story on TV too, starring on MBC’s talk show “Radio Star” on Jan. 1. Jung has two adopted daughters, now 7 and 3. 

Makeup artist Jung Saem-mool speaks on MBC talk show “Radio Star” aired on Jan. 1 (MBC)
Makeup artist Jung Saem-mool speaks on MBC talk show “Radio Star” aired on Jan. 1 (MBC)

“People usually say ‘Congratulations!’ when someone says they are pregnant or are getting married. I was never pregnant and I adopted my children. It’s not something to hide. But people tell me, ‘You are so incredible.’ (The reaction) is uncomfortable,” Jung said.

“A whole new world opened up for me and my husband through our children and we are happy. We are like other families, but we receive such different feedback. If people don’t have the right words to say in front of me, it would be better if they just stayed silent,” she said.

Jung first revealed the adoptions on a TV talk show in 2014. Since then, she has spoken out about adoption and her family life on various occasions.

“One day, my daughter asked me, ‘Why didn’t you give birth to me?’ and I told her ‘I am curious about that, too.’ We talk about (adoption and related issues) freely. When traveling overseas, I gather books about diverse forms of families and recommend the books to the kindergarten teachers,” she said.

Actor couple Cha In-pyo and Shin Ae-ra are also advocates of changing attitudes toward adoption. The couple adopted two daughters, one in 2005 and one in 2007.

Shin has appeared on various TV shows, revealing her life in Los Angeles with her family.

“Adopted children are not children who were given up on. They are children who were protected till the end. Their parents protected them by giving birth. It is a matter of perspective,” Shin said in 2018 on the SBS variety show “Master in the House.” 

Shin Ae-ra was recognized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2011 for her efforts to improve social awareness of adoption. She is also an honorary ambassador for Korean Adoption Services. (Ministry of Health and Welfare)
Shin Ae-ra was recognized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2011 for her efforts to improve social awareness of adoption. She is also an honorary ambassador for Korean Adoption Services. (Ministry of Health and Welfare)

The couple recently published a book about adoption and their family. Shin was recognized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2011 for her efforts to improve social awareness of adoption. She is also an honorary ambassador for Korean Adoption Services.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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