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Break down adoption culture barrier

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  • Sunny Jo
    Break down adoption culture barrier By Lee Min-jeong Korea is often called the nation of orphan exports. Currently, the overseas adoption rate of Korea is
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2013
      Break down adoption culture barrier
      By Lee Min-jeong

      Korea is often called the "nation of orphan exports."

      Currently, the overseas adoption rate of Korea is the highest in the
      world, according to the Prime Minister's Office. Nearly 1,000 Korean
      orphans are sent to foreign countries annually, according to the
      Ministry of Health and Welfare.

      That means Korea continues to be a significant source of international
      Too many Korean orphans have to live in other countries. Many of the
      children are sent to Switzerland or America, where adoptive parents
      accept the Asian race of their sons or daughters easily.

      But many Koreans adopted overseas suffer from identity issues and
      racial discrimination. Many of them come back to Korea to find their
      biological parents; the children want to live with their "real"
      parents and dwell in the country in which they were born.

      Many Korean couples close their mind to domestic adoption because they
      haven't accepted adoption culture yet. Most Koreans only want to raise
      their biological children who have real blood relationships. Due to
      this custom, the rate of domestic adoption is extremely low in Korea.

      That's why so many Korean orphans are sent to foreign countries. This
      excessively high rate of overseas adoption in Korea is bad for our
      country's international image.

      There are many advantages of increasing domestic adoption here in
      Korea. Currently, the Korean government is troubled with a low birth
      rate and a shortage in the labor force. So domestic adoption could
      help to reduce the loss of Korea's greatest resource -- its people, its

      We need a mental switchover to encourage domestic adoption. First, we
      have to campaign by showing good examples of Korean orphans who were
      adopted by Korean parents.

      Second, we have to educate the next generation about the importance of
      adoption and change our definition of the word "family." Yes, family
      constitutes blood relationships, but it also constitutes chosen
      relationships. If we educate Koreans now, the next generation will be
      more open-minded to adoption culture.

      Third, there are plenty of sterile married couples in Korea these
      days. About 15 percent of married couples suffer from infertility
      here, according to Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs. As
      an alternative, childless Korean couples should consider adopting
      Korean orphans.

      The preference would be that Korean orphans are adopted by Koreans
      domestically. If that's impossible to find Korean adoptive parents,
      then it would be ideal to find good parents abroad who can provide a
      happy home.

      In 2007, the Korean government established the Law of Overseas
      Adoption Quota, according to Newsis Co. That was a system for reducing
      the number of overseas adoption annually. But it didn't work for the
      increasing numbers of domestic adoptions.

      We have to take it a step further. The Korean government has to take
      responsibility to solve this issue. The government should expand
      support for adoption facilities and orphanages. The growth of adoption
      facilities will require more adoption support systems and networks. In
      addition, the Korean government should economically support parents
      who adopt Korean orphans. Some parents who want to adopt Korean
      orphans hesitate because of economic problems like educational
      expenses and fostering expenses. If the Korean government helped
      interested adoptive parents economically, they could decide to adopt
      more easily.

      Korea is becoming an advanced nation like other super powers and
      advanced nations don't discard their children. We must keep our
      children home where they belong. Children are absolutely our greatest
      resources and the hope for future generations of Korea.

      The writer is a student at Hansung University in Seoul. She can be
      reached at mjlove0315@....

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