Modernization means stricter International Adoption Laws in South Korea

For years, South Korea has been a central contributor of adopted children for families seeking to grow and provide a loving home them. But as a result of strong domestic criticism, South Korea’s current adoption regime is going to be subject to a massive overhaul, as reported to the world by Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, a writer for Foreign Policy in Focus in this recent article .

Kim Dong-won, the overseer of adoption for South Korea’s Ministry of Health, told the world in a New York Times interview in 2008 that South Korea has become a fully modernized country, and that its own adoption policies lagged behind its economic development. It was his belief that “South Korea is the world’s 12th largest economy and is now almost an advanced country, so we would like to rid ourselves of the international stigma or disgrace of being a baby-exporting country…It’s embarrassing.”

The proposed South Korean law will place much stricter requirements on both ends of the adoption. Adoptive parents will have to pass a more stringent screening process such as criminal background checks, and the birth parents of the child to be placed for adoption (mostly unwed single mothers) will be further deterred from signing illegal consent papers for children still in the womb. The law would also add court participation in the adoption proceedings, and more formal documentation of the process as a whole. It should also be noted that this bill is the direct result of lobbying by groups such as Adoptee Solidarity Korea, and Korean Unwed Mothers and Families Association.… <Read More>

What Is the Best Interest of Adopted Chinese Children?

The implementation of China’s One-Child Policy led to a rise in children being put up for adoption – particularly girls – and also served as an attraction for Westerners looking to adopt what they believed to be unfortunate, abandoned children.  And this became a pretty lucrative market for China, as John Leland, author of the New York Times article, For Adoptive Parents, Questions Without Answers, points out.  So much so that certain provinces began trafficking children into their orphanages in order to receive a $5,000 donation per child from Western foreigners looking to adopt.

With the One-Child Policy in place, it might not make sense why trafficking children would even be necessary, especially since Leland’s first article focused on Chinese mothers whose second child was taken away.  However, the policy does not mean that extra children are automatically taken away by the Chinese government, but that the families might be ineligible for certain government benefits if they opt to keep the child.  That is not what happened, according to the birth mothers in this article.  One of these women claims the Official who came to her door gave her two options: Give up her second child.  Or undergo tubal ligation.

The companion piece to Leland’s first article called, One Answer to Adoption’s Difficult Questions, is even more chilling.  The article chronicled one American adoptive mother’s experience in attempting to find out where her daughter’s birth mother was, and whether or not they had been separated forcibly.

It’s a frightening thought that you might wake up in the middle of the night to your adopted daughter – who was supposedly abandoned at 2 weeks old – crying, “I miss my birth mom.”… <Read More>

Safe Haven Laws are not Just for Teens

A story about the abandonment an unwanted baby is one of the saddest and heartbreaking stories one can read in the news. While most people think of that the women who leave their children on the side of a road, in a toilet bowl, or even a public restroom are teenage mothers who cannot handle the responsibility of motherhood, a New York Times article has published that the most common factor is the simple desire to hide a pregnancy. The article examines and praises an organization, Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, in Illinois which worked to enact legislation in 2001 regarding abandoned infants which has successfully brought sixty-nine babies to safe places.  The 2001 legislation is a Safe Haven Law: it allows mothers to bring unwanted newborns to firehouses, police stations, and hospitals without fear of prosecution so long as the baby is unharmed and the drop off is within thirty days of the child’s birth.  The Foundation then finds adoptive families to care for the children rather than them being placed in the state foster care system.  Many states have Safe Haven Laws like the one adopted in Illinois.  It is a tragedy that children are still being abandoned and left to die when there are so many places where the child can be taken without repercussion.  In New York, the Abandoned Infant Protection Act serves to provide mothers a safe place to bring the child, give up parental rights without questions asked.  It is a win-win situation; the fearful mother is relieved of the responsibility and the child is given to a loving family who is ready and able to care for the child.… <Read More>

Gay Adoptions in U.S. Triple, but Inequality Still Exists

Recent studies show that gay and lesbian couples are adopting more than ever. According to UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, the number of children granted to gay and lesbian couples nearly tripled over the last decade. This is definitely positive news for the gay rights movement as well as beneficial to children placed in foster care and adoption agencies.… <Read More>

Too Old For This?

Lisa Miller wrote an interesting article for New York Magazine’s October 3, 2011 issue entitled: “Is She Just Too Old For This?” This article dives into the lives of women that bore children at the not-so-tender ages of 50 and above–a trend that is on the rise. The article states that in 2008, about 8,000 babies were born to women 45 or older in the U.S., which is more than double the numbers calculated in 1997 (according to the Centers for Disease Control). In adoption the story rings true as well: “nearly a quarter of adopted children in the U.S. have parents more than 45 years older than they are.” It is believed that the advances in reproductive technology is to blame for this rise. In fact, one of the women featured in the article, Ann Maloney, was able to be brought out of menopause with hormones in order to get pregnant with her second child at the age of 52. Women of this age who wish to carry their own baby often use donor eggs; however, egg freezing, a “cutting-edge” method, allows women to freeze their eggs to be used at a later time.

Looming behind all this activity are critics saying: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

“After 35, the risk of preterm labor increase 20 percent, and preemies can have lung problems, digestive problems, brain bleeds, and neurological complications, including developmental delays, learning issues, depending largely on their gestational age at birth. After 40, a pregnant woman is likelier to become afflicted with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and hypertension–the worst outcomes of which can result in the death of the fetus and occasionally the mother as well.… <Read More>