Director Dae Cheon Seo delivers a speech at the New York State Assembly on the 70th anniversary of the Korea-U.S. Alliance, earnestly requesting the passage of the “Adoptee Citizenship Act.”
Jun 27, 2023, 06:14 pm
<Source from Edward Gibbs, a member of the New York State Assembly>
Director Dae Cheon Seo, the Asian Representative of the World Hug Foundation, stated in his speech, "I earnestly request your attention and support for the enactment of the 'Adoptee Citizenship Act,' which aims to improve the rights of adoptees who were adopted into the United States but have not obtained citizenship."
During his speech at the New York State Assembly on the 21st (local time), Director Dae Cheon Seo expressed his honor in being invited to deliver the speech on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Korea-U.S. Alliance. He said, "I stand here today with you, honorable legislators, to discuss the future of the 'Adoptee Citizenship Act' based on America’s freedom and trust."
It is known that Director Seo supports the values of freedom, dignity, respect, honor, and truth, which President Joe Biden has emphasized as the common goals that define the United States.
The diplomatic relationship and cooperation between Korea and the United States began with the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1882, marking 140 years of exchange and collaboration between the two countries. The signing of the Korea-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty in 1953 ushered in a new era of alliance, and this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korea-U.S. Alliance and the 120th anniversary of immigration history.
Director Dae Cheon Seo, the Asian Representative of the World Hug Foundation (center), delivered a speech at the New York State Assembly on the 21st (local time), stating, "I earnestly request your attention and support for the enactment of the 'Adoptee Citizenship Act' aimed at improving the rights of adoptees who were adopted into the United States but have not obtained citizenship." From left to right: Edward Gibbs, Assembly Member of the New York State Assembly, Director Dae Cheon Seo, John Yechan Park (Interpreter). / Photo: New York State Assembly
Director Dae Cheon Seo stated, "As the Asian Representative of the World Hug Foundation, I enthusiastically welcomed the passage of the 'Adoptee Citizenship Act' in the United States House of Representatives and widely spread the need for significant attention and support from Korean society. I also made extensive efforts for its passage in the United States Senate, but it was disheartening that it did not pass. An adoptee (‘Adoptee A’), who was adopted in the United States, said in a media interview that adoptees without citizenship are essentially sentenced to life imprisonment from the moment of adoption."
On February 4, 2022, the "Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021," aimed at providing relief to over 35,000 adoptees who suffered from lack of citizenship even after being adopted into the United States, passed the House of Representatives through the introduction of Representative Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, but it did not pass the Senate.
Born in 1982, ‘Adoptee A’ became stateless as her adoptive parents did not apply for citizenship on her behalf. There was hope that the Child Citizenship Act (CCA) enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2001, granting citizenship to internationally adopted children, would apply to him/her as well. However, the law only applied to those under 18 years old at the time (born after the end of February 1983), and ‘Adoptee A’ was excluded from the relief by a two-month difference.
Director Seo expressed, "For adoptees who were deported from the United States and returned to their birth countries, their home country becomes another prison. The establishment of the World Hug Foundation was driven by the case of “Adoptee B’, who was deported from the United States to Korea in 2012 and took his/her own life within five years of resettling in Korea. This is not only ‘Adoptee B’s’ problem but a call to improve the status of Korean adoptees as a whole."
On the left, Dae Cheon Seo, the Asian Representative of the World Hug Foundation, is seen taking a commemorative photo with Carl Heastie, the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, after concluding his speech at the New York State Assembly on the 21st of the month (local time). / Photo: New York State Assembly
According to recent reports submitted to the Korean National Assembly, the number of children adopted from Korea to the United States since 1970 is 106,332. However, among them, only 62,502 individuals have obtained citizenship.
Eirik Hagenes, the Secretary-General of Global Overseas Adoptees' Link (G.O.A'.L), an organization involved in supporting deported adoptees, has mentioned that the issue of adoptees is a significant gray area where neither the government nor adoption agencies are willing to take responsibility.
Dae Cheon Seo, the representative, stated that adoptees who suffer from the lack of citizenship after being adopted into the United States are "Americans who were adopted by the United States, learning American culture and eating American food, but are now in a pitiful situation, abandoned by both their birth parents and the United States." He passionately appealed, "I earnestly implore you not to abandon them, as they are your fellow members and part of one family."
He continued, "The enactment of the Adoptee Citizenship Act, something that only you can accomplish in such a harsh environment, is a ray of hope. I humbly request that all members of the House and Senate join in prayer and take action for the reintroduction and passage of the adoptee citizenship bill into law."
Furthermore, he pleaded, "Together with God, who is always with us, we will move forward into the future. We must pass on to the next generation a society that is equal, dignified, and honest. From that perspective, I ask all of you to once again step forward in proposing and passing the adoptee citizenship bill. The introduction and passage of the adoptee citizenship bill is not a choice but a decision."
Dae Cheon Seo, Asia Representative of the World Hug Foundation. / Photo: New York State Assembly
Pastor Seo emphasized in his speech, "I pray that God's abundant blessings and love be with our motherland, the Republic of Korea, the great spiritual ally, the United States, and all the honorable members of the House of Representatives and the American people who are present here."
Dae Cheon Seo, Asia Representative of the World Hug Foundation (Senior Pastor of Holyseeds Church and Chairman of SDC International School Academy), has actively raised awareness of the issues faced by overseas adoptees and discussed strategies for improving their rights through engagements such as meetings with members of the Health and Welfare Committee in the National Assembly. He has been a leading advocate for the protection of the human rights of adopted individuals in the United States.
Dae Cheon Seo was honored last year with the "U.S. Senate Majority Leader's Achievement Award" presented by Chuck E. Schumer, the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, representing the majority party in the United States.
Speaker Carl Heastie of the New York State Assembly introduced Dae Cheon Seo, the Asia Representative of the World Hug Foundation, and his delegation during their visit to the New York State Assembly on the 21st (local time). The assembly members of New York State welcomed them with a standing ovation. / Photo: New York State Assembly
Over the past 30 years, Pastor Dae Cheon Seo has made significant contributions by educating and guiding youth who were struggling outside the school system, helping hundreds of students find meaning in life and even sending them to study abroad in the United States, enabling them to become global leaders. He has also played a crucial role in strengthening the bond between Korean and American societies, contributing to the enhancement of friendship between the two countries.
As a director of the National Prayer Breakfast of Korea, Pastor Seo led the first part of the event in 2021, organizing a combined prayer meeting focused on repentance, supplication, and thanksgiving for the nation, its people, and its leaders. He also delivered a sermon at the 9th Miss Baha Prayer Meeting hosted by Far East Broadcasting (FEBC) and led a combined prayer meeting ahead of the upcoming "Billy Graham Evangelistic Association 50th Anniversary Convention" in 2023.
Pastor Seo holds an educational philosophy that presents purpose and vision in life to disillusioned youth. Through the concept of "5-Star Education," he aims to awaken the purpose of studying and nurture outstanding education professionals who can become global leaders transcending South Korea and making an impact worldwide. His educational columns, published 22 times in the Kookmin Ilbo newspaper in 2020, received great acclaim. He continues to publish education columns in Kookmin Ilbo in 2023, with a total of 26 articles planned for the year.
In the photo, Dae Cheon Seo, the Asia Representative of the World Hug Foundation, can be seen on the right side, third from the right. He is pictured after concluding his speech at the New York State Assembly on the 21st (local time), engaging in a commemorative photograph with other participants. Among those present are New York State Assembly Member Edward Gibbs (third from the right), New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Dae CHeon Seo, Joanna Gill, Director of the World Hug Foundation, and Antonio Rivera, President of the World Hug Foundation (sixth from the right). / Photo: New York State Assembly
Pastor Dae Cheon Seo, who serves as the Chairman of SDC International School Academy, annually leads the youth of SDC International School, the next generation of South Korea, to participate in the "National Seoul National Cemetery Visit." This event embodies the spirit of patriotism and pays tribute to the patriotic martyrs and fallen heroes, aiming to educate them to grow into global leaders who will play a leading role in leading South Korea.
Furthermore, the students of SDC International School actively participate in various patriotic events and performances. They have been involved in events such as the "Great Flame! Commemorative Concert for Yu Gwan-sun, a Korean independence activist," the 100th-anniversary commemorative concert for the March 1st Movement, the "Arirang Concert" for the love of the country, the musical performance of "An Jung-geun, the Hero of the Nation," and the commemorative concert for the Liberation Day of August 15th. Through these direct performances, they strive to instill a sense of patriotism in their hearts.
Pastor Dae Cheon Seo's patriotism and educational philosophy are exceptional. It is known that he has been influenced by his deceased father/mentor, Pastor Hyo-geun Seo. Pastor Hyo-geun Seo served as the secretary to Vice President Ham Tae-young, who worked alongside President Lee Seung-man. He played a leading role in establishing the Canaan Farmers School. When the Canaan Farmers School achieved self-sufficiency, Pastor Hyo-geun Seo relocated to the challenging rural areas and pioneered churches while actively participating in the rural enlightenment movement. He established seven churches in poor and difficult rural areas and answered God's calling while preaching the Gospel to the souls entrusted to him by Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, the World Hug Foundation is a nonprofit civic organization that assists internationally adopted individuals who were adopted to the United States but became undocumented immigrants as they couldn't obtain citizenship until adulthood. Their mission is to help these individuals obtain U.S. citizenship. The foundation was established in April 2017 following the incident involving Philip Clay (Korean name: Kim Sang-pil), who was adopted overseas as a child but faced abuse from his adoptive parents and was deported to Korea in 2012. He struggled to settle in terms of language and culture and tragically took his own life five years later, prompting the foundation's establishment.
Dae Cheon Seo, the Asian representative of the World Hug Foundation (on the left), is seen taking a commemorative photo with Edward Gibbs, a member of the New York State Assembly, after completing a speech at the New York State Assembly on the 21st (local time). / Photo: New York State Assembly.
#Director Dae Cheon Seo#New York State Assembly#adoptee citizenship