From July next year, foreigners will be restricted from adopting a Korean child, unless the government fails to find his or her foster family here. Under the Special Law on Adoption and its Procedures passed the National Assembly Wednesday, the government will be responsible for reducing the number of babies and children adopted by parents abroad. It will also be required to draw up measures necessary to make them remain in the care of a Korean family. The law will take effect one year after promulgation, which is expected to take place within two weeks.
“It puts the top priority on the welfare of adopted children,” said Rep. Choi Young-hee, a lawmaker of the main opposition Democratic Party who proposed the bill. She argued that those adopted abroad are more vulnerable to identity crisis and abuses by foster parents.
Government statistics show that of 8,590 abandoned babies and children in need of care last year, only 1,462 were adopted domestically while 1,013 were taken home by foreigners. The number of adopted children by foreigners has seen a decrease in the past few years since the government reduced the quota for overseas adoptions since 2007. The number of children adopted abroad was 1,888 in 2006, but it nose dived to 1,264 in 2007, 1,250 in 2008 and 1,125 in 2009, according to the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.
For opponents of intercountry adoption, who view the system as profoundly broken and beyond fixing, this announcement will be heralded with satisfaction. My hope is that permanent loving homes will be found in Korea for the remaining 6,115 “abandoned babies and children in need of care last year” who were not adopted, and the children of the future who will likely join their ranks.