She is a tireless advocate for women and single moms
The interview was much more interesting than expected. A wave of laughter filled the air in the room while The Women’s News met Eva Yoori Brussard (Korean name: Lee Yoori), aged 35, who was adopted by Dutch parents when she was 13 months old and her biological mother. Like daughter, like mother: They had similar smiles and they were both single moms.
On May 8, Lee visited The Women’s News at 4:30pm. She introduced herself and said she wants to be called Lee Yoori which is her Korean name. Having raised her son alone for 10 years, she completely understands the difficulties of being a single mom. To help herself as well as other single moms, Lee founded Single Supermom Foundation.
After her parents got divorced, Lee and her 4-year old sister were sent to a family in the Netherlands. She was a 13-month old baby back then. The decision was made by her father alone. Without knowing that her children were sent abroad, Lee’s mother sent knitted sweaters and mufflers to her husband’s home before winter for several years.
Lee’s sister was always in need of help because she had poor vision. Thinking that her mom would keep her promise to return after she makes a living, Lee’s sister carried a baby doll on her back with a blanket and always waited for her mom even after she was adopted. The foster family ended up dissolving her adoption.
Lee said “My sister failed to adjust to new surroundings. Adoption is a trauma that lasts a life time. Just my sister did, most adopted children develop psychological issues. The trauma stays in adoptees’ subconscious.”
Her foster parents separated when she was 14. Since then, she has lived by herself. “I never had a normal, personal relationship with my parents. In Korea, some people think that adoptees would have a better life. But they overlook the fact that children need to stay connected and bonded to their parents. Money or education can’t build such relationship. Only love can.”
Lee’s voice changed from shouting herself hoarse when she stayed in an orphanage before she was adopted, crying and screaming because she missed her mom so much. She said that too loud voices are unbearable and that she hated her mom as much as she longed for her.
However, when her son was born, she began to understand her mom that it could not have been easy to abandon a baby. Since then, her topics of interest have been adoption and parenting. When she became pregnant at an age of 20, her boyfriend said he wanted to give up their baby. Though there was no one around her to help her, she decided to raise the child all by herself and stayed strong. This time, her focus was parenting her son on her own.
In the Netherlands, the government provides full support for single moms because it is a widely held belief that the best child care is for a biological mom to raise her child. When Lee gave birth to her child, she was only a 20-year old student. Thus, she did not have any money. However, she was able to raise her son thanks to the government’s support which included health care benefits. Every month, she received $1500 with which she paid living expenses and house rent.
Lee added that it would be terrible to live as a single mother in Korea, a home country she has visited annually since she found her biological mother. She commented “The responsibility of making life better for single mothers lies with not just the government, but also the public. The society as a whole needs to reflect on whether single moms are viewed and treated as invisible.”
In the Netherlands, she created Single Supermom Foundation in 2008 and implemented projects to provide help for single mothers in cooperation with the government. The foundation created a venue via which single mothers can easily share their know hows as well as challenges.
Her book “Single Supermom” captured people’s attention. The book portrays personal stories of single mothers and provides 20 most important guidelines for them. She went on to say “This book is nearly perfect for single moms out there. But it seems that there are no such books in Korea although there are many single moms. It is okay to be a single mom because we are contributing to society in our own way.”
Decades after being adopted, she came back to her home country to comfort its people and society.