Nov 21, 2011

Korea's Nationalistic Adoption Quota May be Increased

Korea has one of the highest populations of orphans in the OECD because of an unwillingness, in large numbers, of the local Korean population to adopt non-blood related children and a new policy that limits the number of overseas adoptions. The majority of local adoptions are the adoption of the children of family members.

The good news is the government may be changing its policy because of its plan to join the Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) and realization that its present policy is harming the psychological health of children.

In 2005 over 2100 overseas adoptions were granted in Korea, while in 2010 a little over 1000 adoptions were granted. The reason for the decrease was the decrease in the overseas adoption quota in favor of a policy of supporting domestic adoptions. The policy failed to the detriment of needy children.

The quota was pushed for by a nationalistic minority and politicians wishing to get Korea off lists that show that Korea has one of the highest rates of international adoption in the world. Both groups should be ashamed.

The adoptions agencies are beginning to fight back, but are reluctant because of the possibility that their agency quota may be reduced. The Korea Times reported that a local adoption agent noted that “Sometimes, parents have to wait for more than a year to meet their children though they have already decided which child to adopt. The government should consider what the best is for the children.” She said foreign parent-candidates have filled up the next year’s quota already.

55.9 percent of parent-less children are housed at orphanages and nursing homes. I have visited numerous orphanages. The orphanages, overwhelmingly, do a wonderful job of taking care of the children with very limited funds, but the facilities are less than adequate and are largely unable to place children in families. Only 16.2 percent of parent-less children are adopted. This dismally low number is a reflection on failed Korean government's nationalistic and face-saving adoption policy.

IPG has successfully concluded Korean, Chinese and Southeast Asian adoptions for American and European parents. We are proud that all families stay in touch with the IPG by way of sending holiday greeting cards and visiting our offices.

Come on Korea, overseas adoption is great for these children. The few stories you hear of are far less in percentage than the abuse inflicted on children by their own parents in Korea.

What do you think?
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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com