Adoption Stories from Adopted the Movie - A Feature Film by Barb Lee

May 6, 2008

Domestic Adoption in Korea Exceeds Overseas for the First Time

Filed under: Adoptee Articles,Articles,Korean Adoption — Tags: , — Catherine @ 10:37 am

From The Korea Times:

The number of orphans adopted last year declined from a year ago, falling for the sixth consecutive year. But a greater number of orphans found a new family here than overseas for the first time.

Also, about 77 percent of elementary, middle and high school students studied at cram schools and other privately run learning institutes, spending a monthly average of 220,000 won. It took 11 months for high school and university graduates to land a job.

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) Sunday, the number of Korean orphans adopted both at home and abroad stood at 2,652 in 2007, down from 3,231 a year earlier. It has decreased for the sixth straight year since 2001.

But more orphans were adopted by local families than by foreign ones last year for the first time. Local households adopted 1,388 orphans, accounting for 52.3 percent of the total, while 1,264 orphans, or 47.7 percent, found a new home in foreign countries.

Read the full article here: Domestic Adoption Exceeds Overseas for 1st Time


January 1, 2008

Adoptee finds the missing piece of her puzzle – her twin sister

Filed under: Adoptee Articles,Adoptees,Korean Adoption — Tags: , , — Catherine @ 11:16 pm

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune:

For five minutes, Emily Saunders was alone.

Then her twin sister was born.

Their mother, a poor South Korean woman who was not expecting twins
and gave birth out of wedlock, made a fateful decision. She would give
one girl up. That was Emily, who was adopted when she was 4 months old
by Jackie and Eric Saunders of Wyoming, Minn.

For 21 years, neither Emily nor her twin, Eunjin, had a clue the other
one existed. Their families did not tell them until this year. On
Thursday, Emily will fly to South Korea to meet her mirror image and
try to stitch her past with her present. She hopes meeting her sister
can fill a void that has contributed to turmoil in her life.

The days leading up to the trip are a mixture of excitement and
nervousness. She’s packing a lifetime of photos to share with her
sister. She also has a long list of questions for her birth mother,
who has colon cancer and told Emily she wanted to meet her before she
dies. At the top of Emily’s list, not surprisingly, is “Why?”
When the Saunderses chose to adopt Emily, they knew she was a twin.
But Jackie Saunders says the adoption agency told them the other
sister “must have died” because as a matter of policy, they did not
separate twins.

Those words, “must have,” gnawed at Jackie Saunders, who kept after
the agency. Soon they learned the truth: Eunjin was alive and living
with her mother. The Saunderses asked the agency to contact them
immediately if the twins’ birth mother ever released Eunjin so they
could adopt her, too.

Years passed, and the Saunderses did not tell Emily that she had a twin sister.

“Don’t tell her. Not now, not ever,” advised a woman who worked at the
Korean orphanage where she had cared for Emily when she was a baby.
The woman came to Minnesota for a visit. “Culturally, that’s not how
we do things,” she said.

Back in South Korea, Eunjin’s mother kept quiet, too.

Jackie Saunders, principal of North Lakes Academy, a charter school in
Forest Lake, says she and her husband wanted to tell Emily about her
sister, but all of the adoption experts suggested that they wait until
she got older. “She won’t understand, and it could mess up the bonding
process,” Jackie Saunders remembers being advised. “The books and
advisers all say that you should follow the child’s lead. If the child
asks questions about their birth information, of course, tell them.
But don’t push it on them.”

There were times when she wanted to blurt it out.

Like when Emily discovered Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and became
obsessed. She’d watch all the shows, talk about them constantly, and
want to play “Olsen Twins” with her friends. She even wrote to them.

Some nights, Jackie Saunders and her husband would sit up in bed and
ask each other: “Do you think it means something? Should we tell her?”

Ultimately, they’d shrug it off and say, “It is what it is.”

Meanwhile, Emily was growing up. Her teenage years were turbulent
ones. Her best friend died of cancer, as did a grandmother. Emily
developed an eating disorder and attempted suicide. She struggled in
school, but eventually graduated from Chisago Lakes High School. She
says her mother told her that during that dark period, her parents
feared that she was too fragile to handle anything else.

Jackie Saunders says they debated what the right thing to do was, but
ultimately, stuck with the advice to let Emily’s interest in learning
more about her birth family guide them.

The missing piece

Last May, in a therapist’s office, the truth finally came out.

Emily, now 21, asked her mother to tell her everything. Jackie
Saunders didn’t hesitate. “You were born a twin and your birth mother
kept your sister,” she said, finally speaking the lines she had
rehearsed for years.

Emily crumbled. Through her tears, she asked: “What was wrong with me?
Why didn’t she keep me?”

Jackie Saunders replied: “The choices she made were about her, not you.”

Feeling rejected and numb, Emily went home to her apartment she shares
with her two cats in St. Paul, accompanied by her mother. Two weeks
later, she was starting to come to terms with the news.

As a little girl, she loved to work on jigsaw puzzles with her father.

“She said, ‘Mom, it’s like I’m doing a jigsaw and there’s this one
missing piece and I’ve been shoving all kinds of crud into that
missing hole and it never fit. Now, my sister is like the missing
piece that does fit,’” Jackie Saunders said.

They started searching for Eunjin and her mother.

In South Korea, Eunjin was getting the same stunning news — that she
had a twin sister somewhere. Her mother had become seriously ill and,
based on what Jackie Saunders has learned so far, that prompted her to
reveal the secret.

Eunjin and her mother contacted the adoption agency in September and
gave the workers their contact information in the hope of finding
Emily.

Soon, Emily had two phone numbers in hand — one for Eunjin’s college
dorm, the other for her birth mother’s home.

Emily sat on the edge of her bed inside her apartment, banging the
phone on her knee a few times before dialing the long string of
numbers for Eunjin.

“It rang about three times,” Emily recalled. Then a voice, deeper than
her own, answered. “She said, ‘yobo sayo,’” which Koreans greet each
other with on the phone.

“Then, I said something like: ‘Hi, I’m your twin sister. I wanted to
meet you, talk to you, see what you sounded like. I can’t believe it’s
you.’ Then I just started to bawl!”

Eunjin, who speaks only a few English words, gasped loudly. “Are you
OK? Are you OK?” she asked Emily over and over again.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Emily told her.

They hung up and she called her birth mom. The conversation was
equally brief because they couldn’t understand one another.

But later, they found a translator to help. “She told me she’s never
stopped thinking of me for 22 years,” Emily said, noting that in South
Korean custom, newborns are considered 1 year old. The twins’ birth
mom also told Emily: “Sarang hamnida.” It means, “I love you.”

Exchanging photos

Since Emily and Eunjin found each other, they’ve been e-mailing each
other and calling. They’ve also exchanged photos, current and baby
ones.

A look at the pictures reveals strikingly different personalities.
Emily says they don’t know, without doing a blood test, whether
they’re fraternal or identical twins.

“The first thing I wanted to do when I saw her picture was give her
contacts and put makeup on her,” she said. And when Emily, who swears
a lot, told Eunjin she was learning Korean swear words, her sister
gasped and told her those weren’t nice words.

While Eunjin is in college studying to be a dental hygienist, Emily
said she was laid off from a job and is considering applying to
Metropolitan State University or St. Paul College to study law
enforcement.

Despite their differences, the language barrier and thousands of
miles, they share a bond.

“No person can get closer to a person than someone they were in the
womb with for nine months,” Emily explained. In her wallet, she
carries a copy of the only page of her birth papers that mentions
Eunjin.

On Thursday, she and her mother will fly to South Korea. They haven’t
planned everything they will do, but the main thing both sisters want
is to be together again.

Jackie Saunders says she is excited, too, but also cautious about
building up expectations.

“I’ve tried to develop a future version of ‘it is what it is,’” she
said. “I get up in the morning and I almost chant it: “It will be what
it will be.”

Both mother and daughter are hoping that the missing piece will help
Emily put her past struggles behind her. “It won’t fix her life but it
will lay a foundation to close out the hardest chapters,” Jackie
Saunders said.

Added Emily: “I believe it will fill some of the emptiness that I’ve
felt. Always like something was missing. We didn’t get the chance to
grow up together. There were 21 years we missed out on. I am looking
forward to having contact with her. She said maybe someday she might
want to live here.”

Read the full article here: http://www.startribune.com/local/12916351.html


December 19, 2007

Woman Arrested for Killing Infant

Filed under: Adjustment Issues,Adoption,Articles,For Parents,Korean Adoption — Tags: , — Catherine @ 10:53 am

From the Korea Times:

An American woman has been arrested in the United States on charges
of killing a baby she adopted.

Rebecca Kyrie, 28, was indicted with physical detention on Friday for
murdering Chung Hei-min, a 13-month-old girl adopted from Korea about
six months ago by the accused and her spouse David, according to The
Indianapolis Star, a local daily published in Indianapolis in the
U.S. on Sunday.

The arrest came after a three-month-long investigation by the
Hamilton County Sheriff Department.

Chung was adopted by the Kyries in June through Bethany Christian
Services and was called Chaeli by her adoptive parents.

Bethany Christian Services is a not-for-profit adoption service
provider with offices in 30 states in the U.S.

Police said that Kyrie shook the baby girl so violently on Sept. 3
that it resulted in head trauma, resulting in her death the next day.
Her husband, David, was at work at the time, and her two biological
sons were with her.

Kyrie still denies the charges. Reportedly, however, her six-year-old
son has told an investigator that his mother told him not to say what
happened to the girl.

Kyrie was known among her neighbors for being a regular churchgoer
who even performed dance interpretations of Bible stories at the
church.

“Kyrie offered no explanation for her baby condition when she called
911 on Sept. 3 and reported the child was frothing at the mouth,”
the daily quoted Maj. Mark Bowen, spokesman for the Sheriff
Department as saying. Later, however, she referred to personal
problems, according to evidence filed in court.

After the baby was taken to a hospital in Indianapolis, she was
diagnosed with a severe brain injury and placed on life support. But
Chung died after she was removed from life support equipment the next
day. The recently obtained results of an autopsy show that she died
from the so-called “shaken baby syndrome.”

The daily reported that she had not admitted to shaking the baby, and
her husband also claimed no knowledge of any prior abuse.

In an interview with Indianapolis-based TV news, 6News, her brother,
George Cooper said Kyrie, an extremely loving and caring mother,
would not have abused the child.
“There’s every possibility in my mind that this was a pre-existing
condition and that just took time to bear itself out,” he said.

The original article is here: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2007/12/117_15633.html


December 13, 2007

Follow Up on Jade’s Story

Filed under: Adoption,Korean Adoption,Site News — Tags: , — Catherine @ 6:44 pm

We have posted a follow up to our previous post about Jade, the 7-year-old Korean adoptee who was given up by her adoptive Dutch parents.

Read the post and the follow up articles here: Couple gives up girl, 7, adopted in Korea as a baby.


December 11, 2007

Couple gives up girl, 7, adopted in Korea as a baby

Filed under: Adoption,Korean Adoption — Tags: , , , — Catherine @ 12:23 pm

From JoongAng Daily:

HONG KONG ― A high-ranking Dutch diplomat and his wife, who adopted a 4-month-old Korean girl in 2000 when he was posted in Korea, gave up the child last year, officials here said.

Now, officials here are looking for someone to take care of the school-age child.

The girl, Jade, is still a Korean citizen because the adoptive parents, whose names were not released, never applied to give her Dutch citizenship, according to an official at the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department.

She doesn’t speak any Korean. She speaks only English and Cantonese, according to people close to her.
And she doesn’t have Hong Kong residency status, either.

The Hong Kong Social Welfare Department, where the Dutch diplomat left Jade in September last year, has had responsibility for her ever since, the official said.

Full article is here: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2883720

FOLLOW-UP on Dec 13, 2007 at 6:30 PM:

From South China Morning Post:

Netherlands backs diplomat in adoption row

A Dutch diplomat who gave up to Hong Kong welfare staff the daughter
he and his wife adopted seven years ago in South Korea has received
the support of the Dutch consulate-general and the country’s
department of foreign affairs amid outrage in the city and the
Netherlands.

The Sunday Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) this week
revealed that the diplomat, Raymond Poeteray, and his wife, Meta, had
given up to the Social Welfare Department the child they adopted when
she was four months old.

Yesterday a source at the Dutch consulate said they were standing
behind him. “Our ministry of foreign affairs says nothing illegal
happened. It is a private matter but as a good employer we will assist
in this matter in the interests in the child.”

Mr Poeteray “feels he should not go into the open”, the source said.

Social commentators and adoption experts have demanded Mr Poeteray
explain his actions.

Yesterday he declined to explain why the couple gave up the child.

“I have nothing to add from what I said on Saturday,” he said.

Mr Poeteray told the Sunday Morning Post the decision to give up the
child had caused a “terrible trauma” in his family, and added: “I
don’t have anything to say to the public. It is something we have to
live with.”

The department has told members of the Korean community in Hong Kong
that the Poeteray family – who have two biological children – have not
been in touch with the child they abandoned.

Margaret Chang, president of the Korean Women’s Association, said news
of the case had triggered a flood of inquiries from families
interested in adopting the child.

“Our concern now is for the welfare of the little girl. She is not a
Hong Kong resident and she only speaks Cantonese and English,” she
said.

Mr Poeteray will return to the Netherlands today, where, the source
said, he would be required to explain his actions to the government.

Hilbrand Westra, chairman of Adoption United International and one of
4,200 Korean adoptees in the Netherlands, said the ministry and consul
could not continue to defend Mr Poeteray.”The ministry has said this
has nothing do with his function. But that cannot be,” Mr Westra said.

He said there was considerable concern the couple had not naturalised
the girl as a Dutch citizen, which was against the law.

The Sunday Morning Post made an editorial decision not to publish the
names or pictures of the family to protect the child, who is in foster
care. But the story has since received extensive coverage by other
media outlets, which named the couple.

From The Guardian:

After seven years, Dutch diplomat puts adopted daughter back up for adoption

A Dutch couple living in Hong Kong yesterday found themselves at the
centre of an international controversy after they gave up their
daughter for adoption seven years after they adopted her themselves.

Raymond Poeteray, 55, who has worked as a Dutch diplomat for more than
20 years, and his wife, Meta, adopted Jade, an ethnic Korean girl,
when she was four months old.

Poeteray told the South China Morning Post that the adoption had gone
wrong. He said that his family was “trying hard to deal with it”.

He added that his wife was receiving counselling following the
decision to give up Jade. “It’s just a very terrible trauma that
everyone’s experiencing,” he told the newspaper.

Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/korea/article/0,,2226521,00.html

From De Telegraaf:

Former baby sittter: Jade got less attention

By Bart Olmer

AMSTERDAM – “There was my sweet Jade for whom I baby sitted two years long
and with whom I played -… My heart broke when I read yesterday’s
Telegraaf”

These are the words of the Dutch former babysitter of Jade. ‘I’d love to
adopt this child myself and give her a good home!”

She stutters, overtaken by emotions and is looking for the right words. Her
use of language makes clear she lived for many years in Asia and Latin
America, as daughter of a Dutch couple that for their work travelled the
world. That’s how she got to know Raymond Poeteray, the Dutch consul in
Hong Kong, of whom the whole of Asia speaks in shame these days.

Less attention.

Yearlong the babysitter, in the meantime settled in The Hague and studying,
lived in Jakarta, nearby Raymond and Meta Poeteray, who were then attached
to the Dutch Embassy in Indonesia. She was a regular guest of the house and
saw from close how the diplomate couple, who already had a 7 year old son,
adopted the four-year old Korean girl. “But since the beginning I felt
something was wrong: they gave her much less attention as their own son. It
got wrong since the beginning.”

The former babysitter knew Jade until her second year. ‘IN the evening I
looked after her. During the day there was an Indonesian woman who looked
after Jade constantly. But Meta treated Jade directly as not her own
daughter. Their son, by the way, was very fond of Jade.”

The Dutch babysitter, who yesterday cried dire tears about Jade’s fate,
remembers her as ‘very sweet, but also very quiet’. There is absolutely no
abuse in the family, she says.

‘I am very angry at the adoptive parents Poeteray. I could hate them for
what they did. I am amazed by their action. You don’t do such thing. When
you adopt a child, you are fully responsible. It is not a dirty sock, which
you throw in a corner. The girls is not a piece of dirth? I would like to
adopt her myself. Make sure she gets a good home. But whom should I call for
that in The Hague?”

The babysitter denies that Jade would have behavioural problems, as is being
said by the Dutch ex-parents. “She was very quiet. But I can of course only
speak for the first two years, not what she became later on. That her
adoptive parents say there are problems with eating is incredible. You
should just work on that. Patience, take your time. Give her a chance. But
the strange thing is, Jade at anything at home, she ate anything. We have
not noticed an eating disorder. The parents Poeteray speak about a
difference in culture, but that’s a lie: the girl was already in their
family at the age of four months. She was shaped by their education!’

The former baby-sit is very worried about the current emotional well being
of the child. ‘I am doing everything to find out where she is now. Jade must
be very confused. She can impossibly understand what is going on. She sleeps
in another bed, with unknown people, at a unknown address. She is being
damaged in a terrible way. My baby-sit child is somewhere all alone, that
hearts me terribly.

Apart from the avelange of furious reaction from the Netherlands and the
whole of Asia, the revenged diplomatic couple gets support of Huub van ‘t
Hek, chief editor of the magazine Perspectief, a magazine about parents and
children in youth care. He has understanding for the diplomatic couple:

“It may sound paradox, but breaking up with your adoptive child can in
exceptional cases be in the interest of the child. If you adopt a child of
four months, you don’t know what you get into your house. I do not know what
happened at the time with this child, or if there is possibly a genetic
problem. .

Most foster cares do more than the average parents. They work very hard for
the well being of their children. Bu ta child can by psychologically so
damaged, so unadapted, so unreachable, that it is not able of any bonding.
Such children remain ‘bodemloos’. In such cases it is not ‘dumping of
children’, but parents are simply broken by the slow poison that is
destroying their family life. In such cases ‘dismantling’ is in everyone’s
interest.

Original article (in dutch): http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/2762360/_Jade_het_wegwerpkind__.html


Journey 2008: A Trip to Korea for Overseas Adopted Koreans

Filed under: Adoptees,Adoption,Korean Adoption — Tags: , , , — Catherine @ 11:48 am

This was recently sent out through ICASN:

“Hello,

I am writing to you on behalf of Journey 2008: A Trip to Korea for Overseas Adopted Koreans. Each year JinHeung Moonhwa sponsors this wonderful experience for adult adoptees around the world. For two weeks adoptees are able to visit Korea to learn more about the culture, heritage and people of their birth country. The company covers all expenses for the trip including food, lodging, and transportation with the only expense to the participant being airfare. I would appreciate your efforts in forwarding this to all of your members. I was a participant of this trip in 2001 and it remains one of my most life changing moments. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Applications and information ocan be obtained on the following website.

http://1004calendar.com/event/2008adoptees/index.php

If you are interested in receiving updates from ICASN, visit their site to sign up: http://www.icasn.org


November 8, 2007

In Their Own Words

Filed under: Adoption,Articles,Korean Adoption,Links — Catherine @ 11:00 am

There is a great article in a recent issue of Mother Jones magazine that gives voice to several Korean adoptees. "In Their Own Words" features Korean adoptees recounting their experiences reuniting with their birth families in Korea. The adoptees address such issues as culture shock, birth names, and the emotional toll of a reunion. Two of the Korean adoptees featured in the article, Susan Soon Keum Cox and Hollee McGinnis, have also shared their personal and professional views on adoption in "Adopted: The New American Family."

Everyone at "Adopted" would love to hear your stories about the search for your birth parents. Feel free to share your experiences in the space below.


July 9, 2007

Changes in Korea

Filed under: Adoption,adoption news,Korean Adoption — Catherine @ 2:53 pm

There has recently been a huge development in Korean family law, with the potential to change some of the social aspects of Korean society. Read this article from The Korea Herald and tell us what you think:

The Korea Herald

June 6, 2007

Since monarchical rule centuries ago, Koreans have lived under the patriarchal "hoju" or family head system. Family registers have been compiled on the basis of the father-to-first son lineage and daughters and younger sons are separated from the family line upon marriage.

These documents, called "hojeok," which record marriages, births, deaths, adoptions and divorces taking place in the family have defined every citizen’s origin and status in this homogenous, male-dominated society. Beginning on Jan.1, 2008, hojeok will no longer be in public use, replaced by "individual family records."

By the end of the year, government computers will rearrange hojeok data under individual entries so each item will contain the names of the nuclear family plus those of the couple’s parents only. A more important change will be that a new couple can decide to give their future offspring the mother’s family name and specify so upon their marriage registration. A woman can change the name of her children from her previous marriage to that of her present husband. Adopted children are to be given exactly the same rights as children from the marriage.

All these changes mean a departure from the tradition of the rigid family head system and also reflect a significant rise in the legal status of women under a new family law enacted in accordance with a Constitutional Court decision in 2005. The top court nullified the Civil Code provision that children should take their father’s family name in response to a petition from a coalition of some 130 feminist organizations.

For decades, women’s rights advocates had fought for the abolition of the "hoju" system which they determined as the fundamental device being used to keep women under male dominance. First, they attaned the goal of equal rights between male and female children in property inheritance, and then they campaigned against the male family head system. Protests from traditionalists, including Confucian scholars, were strong, but they could not resist the changes in social concepts for too long.

A full 50 years have passed since the Legal Aid Center for Women started the campaign for family law revision, and the women’s movement in Korea has arrived at a milestone with the establishment of the new family registration system, including flexibility in naming children. Feminist endeavors to remove discriminatory legal provisions and public systems can be encouraged in the days ahead with the voices of women rising in various walks of life, particularly in the legal professions and political arena.

Yet, now is also time for the leaders of women’s groups to take a fresh look at the goals of their movements. The peculiar situation in Korea requires women to exert their social improvement efforts in two directions: they need to continue to fight against disadvantages in the workplace, in pay, promotions, and assignments on one hand, while, on the other, they should play a more active role in protecting family values in our homes, which are being threatened by steep changes in social trends as seen in a low birthrate, a high divorce rate and even the rising incidence of suicide, all registering record numbers by global standards.

Women still are definitely the weaker side in society, but mothers are also the strongest members of families. As changes in laws and systems reduce impediments to their activities, they are entrusted with better care for their families through the right education of children and good management of homes.

 


June 19, 2007

Father’s Campaign to Help Unwed Mothers in South Korea

Filed under: Korean Adoption — Catherine @ 12:13 pm

A recent article by South Korea’s official news agency discusses an adoptive father’s campaign to help unwed mothers in South Korea. Dr. Richard Boas, who adopted his daughter from South Korea almost twenty years ago, was one of the co-founders of a program in Connecticut that helped others adopt internationally. However, after traveling to South Korea and seeing perfectly capable single mothers giving their kids up for adoption, Boas has a change of heart.

When I met the moms, I started asking myself questions that the other Americans weren’t asking." Boas said. "Why would these moms give up their babies? Isn’t it the right of any birth mom anywhere in the world to bring up her child if she’s capable and loving? Why are these kids not being absorbed into Korean society, either by their birthparents or by domestic adoption?" The rate at which unwed mothers relinquish their children in South Korea, estimated at 70 percent, comes as a shock to Americans, where fewer than 2 percent of unwed mothers relinquish their children for adoption.

After meeting healthy and seemingly capable Korean unmarried mothers, who were nonetheless sending their children overseas for adoption, Boas wondered, "Why am I favoring so much international adoption when it doesn’t need to be necessary? This is like the tail wagging the dog."

Upon his return, Boas decided to fund Give 2 Asia, an organization that supports single and unwed mothers’ homes in South Korea. He believes that "Koreans have a golden opportunity to really evolve and do so well by these kids and their mothers. I think when you really come down to it, the economic price and the social price is relatively small. I think it’s much smaller than the price that everybody is paying now."

 

 


May 16, 2007

Suicide Second-Leading Cause of Death Among Asian American Women 15-24

CNN reported today on a study finding that Asian-American women ages 15-24 have the highest suicide rate of women in any race or ethnic group in the same age group and that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Asian-American women in that age range.

Eliza Noh, an assistant professor of Asian-American studies at California State University at Fullerton who worked on the study (and whose sister committed suicide) spoke with CNN about family pressure and stereotypes of Asians that can lead to increased rates of depression.

"Depression starts even younger than age 15. Noh says one study has shown that as young as the fifth grade, Asian-American girls have the highest rate of depression so severe they’ve contemplated suicide.

As Noh and others have searched for the reasons, a complex answer has emerged.

First and foremost, they say "model minority" pressure — the pressure some Asian-American families put on children to be high achievers at school and professionally — helps explain the problem … But Noh says pressure from within the family doesn’t completely explain the shocking suicide statistics for young women like her sister.

She says American culture has adopted the myth that Asians are smarter and harder-working than other minorities.

‘It’s become a U.S.-based ideology, popular from the 1960s onward, that Asian-Americans are smarter, and should be doing well whether at school or work.’

Noh added that simply being a minority can also lead to depression."