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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Hot dog eating contestant hopes to find truth on rights abuse during her adoption

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A Korean-born adoptee who competed in a hot dog eating contest has garnered attention for claiming her human rights were unfairly violated during her adoption.

Mary Bowers, who competed in the “Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest” on July 4, told local media that she participated in the event because she thought her family in South Korea might see her. Bowers, who has no documentation of her birth, first visited Korea in 2020 to search for her roots and tried to find traces of her family through an adoption agency, but she had no luck.

Bowers then traveled to Korea again in 2023, where she discovered a series of serious human rights abuses during the adoption process, she said. “I traced places, times, and people involved in the days leading up to my adoption,” Bowers told the publications, “and I found out that I was labeled as an orphan by someone’s intention, even though I still had my biological parents, and that I was then put up for adoption.”

Mary Bowers participated in the hot dog eating contest held on July 4 in hopes to find her biological family. [Image captured from Instagram]

Emboldened by previous hot dog eating contests, Bowers took a DNA sample and found her brother not far away in the U.S. Her brother, Chase, had seen Bowers at a hot dog eating contest last year, although he had not immediately recognized his sister, whom he had lost 20 years ago.

Bowers hopes that investigative efforts involving the U.S. and South Korean governments will lead to finding out the truth. She found nearly 400 other adoptees around the world who are in similar cases. “We are waiting on the U.S. government to take action, but other governments around the world have also launched independent investigations,” Bowers said.

Bowers earned 10th place in this year’s hot dog eating contest. She said she will participate in the competition again next year and hopes to represent Korea in the future.

BY BRIAN CHOI, HOONSIK WOO [ichoi@koreadaily.com]