Friday, November 13, 2009

Korean Adoptees Fighting to Reform Adoption Laws in their Homeland

An amazing story out of South Korea the other day: Six Korean adoptees--adopted in other countries--filed an appeal with the Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission in South Korea last year to request a probe into irregularities in their adoption documents and possible illegal procedures at local adoption agencies, according to the JoongAngDaily in South Korea.  

These adult adoptees have returned to their homeland searching for their roots and in the process discovered that the agencies lied to their parents--birth and adoptive--about their adoptions, how they ended up at an agency and why, and what records are available. They are involved in a full-fledged battle to reform adoption laws and procedures, and amazingly enough, they’re getting help from some government heavyweights. If they succeed this would be the first case in the world we know of where adoptees returned to their original country and changed adoption practices through legislation.

The National Assembly in South Korea is taking up the issue, and the sense is that the country is embarrassed by the huge number of children that left the country during the great Korean baby scoop era: According to the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, 161,588 Korean children were sent overseas for adoption from 1958 through 2008. Korea is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of children behind China, Guatemala, Russia and Ethiopia as of 2007, according to World Partners Adoption Inc.

Again, if successful, the group of six will drastically change the landscape of domestic and international adoption in Korea. A lawmaker added that Korea “still has a stigma attached to it as one of the major exporters of children.”

There's more to the story, at the Korean newspaper website, and as a follow up to our report the other day about Korean adoption, we thought you might be interested. Hell, we thought this was amazingly interesting to anyone with any sort of adoption connection.

Can China be next? But we already know that six government officials are on trial there for offering for adoption to wealthy Westerners healthy girl children who should not have been available at all, who had parents who wanted to keep them. And then there is adoption corruption in Nepal, and Guatemala and India...where money is involved, child trafficking exists. And then there is the rush to have your children raised by "Christians" in Ethopia....does this give me a headache? Yes. Does this make me angry? Yes. Can this be stopped? Not so sure. Money talks. Money always talks. --lorraine


  1. The problem of approaching China is addressed in depth in Brian Stuy's most recent blog post in which a Dutch official talks about how superficial and predictable the information-gathering process is.

    Top post.

  2. Most Koreans will not adopt these children because they are not blood. There is hardly such a concept as adoption there.

  3. Mark, under redoes there would be far fewer babies given up for adoption. The government would help single pregnant women instead of pushing adoption. Single motherhood would. Become acceptable as it has in the US.


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