It’s a beginning…
Adoption to require approval of court
A 43-year-old father surnamed Hong gave up his three children for 5 million won ($4,300) per child last year. Each child was adopted to individual families who hoped to have additional points in bidding for a new apartment. After the draw, regardless of whether they won the ownership or not, the children were sent back to their father.
In 2006, a six-year-old Korean girl who spoke English, Chinese and Dutch but not Korean, was found in foster care in Hong Kong. Seven years after adopting her during their stay in Korea, a Dutch diplomat couple abandoned her and explained belatedly she suffered from “a severe form of fear of emotional attachment.” The girl found a new Korean family residing in Hong Kong in 2008.
Under the nation’s current law on adoption, children can be adopted when there is agreement between “two parties” involved. When they are orphans, such basic consent is not needed.
Aimed at settling a new adoption policy is good not just for parents but for children, the government has decided to revise the related law, which will include the introduction of a “legal permit system.”
According to the Ministry of Justice on Monday, adoption of underage children would be allowed by the family court after examining potential parents’ intention of adoption, financial reliability and criminal records. The new measure will be implemented regardless of the parents’ or children’s nationality, officials said.
The ministry plans to finalize the revision within the first half of next year for a parliamentary approval, they said.
Along with the revision, the government is also considering joining the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, an international resolution aimed at ensuring the best interests of adopted children and prioritizing encouraging birth mothers to raise their children over domestic and international adoption.
While some 70 nations in the world have already signed the treaty, Korea is one of few countries yet to join.
The government’s move came after the repeated demand from civic groups, especially those of adopted people in recent years.
Korea, sometimes mocked as a “baby exporting country,” has sent more than 200,000 children abroad since the 1950-53 Korean War. Still, some 1,200 children find a new home in other countries every year.
Due to the current lax law, some brokers force young single mothers to give up their child for adoption. The welfare of children is sometimes less considered, with abuse cases reported frequently.
And such covert dealings make it difficult for adopted people, especially those taken into foreign families, to seek their birth parents when they are adults.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com)