Grim Facts


Easier to add in a list than to amend the Hankyeoreh article, which I hope to eventually get around to, but until then…

  • 161,558 Korean children have been sent abroad between 1958 and 2008.  108,222 were sent to the USA (67%, followed by 11, 165 to France, 9,297 to Sweden and 8, 702 to Denmark.  (MHWF – Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs report)  These figures do not include the adoptions that occurred between 1954 when Holt began international adoption and 1958.  Nor does it include private non-agency adoptions.
  • The Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption was created in 1993.  15 years later, Korea has yet to sign or create a central governmental agency to oversee adoption, even though 78 other countries have such agencies.
  • The Hague Convention states that the right of the adopted child to know about their natural parents should be protected even when it contradicts the rights of natural parents or those of adoptive parents.
  • Between 1995-2005, 76,646 adoptees have returned to Korea to search for their natural parents.  Only 2,113 (2.7%) have succeeded. (MHWF)
  • The central agency proposed under the new draft of revisions to Korea’s Special Adoption Law will not be a governmental agency and will not oversee original recods, but rely on adoption agency cooperation for duplication of records.
  • Holt Korea alone has 4 stories of records on their adoptees (MHWF)
  • Somalia and the USA are the only two UN states which have not signed the UN Convention on the rights of the child.
  • Korea has yet to enforce three articles of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, despite the National Human Rights Commission of Korea making recommendations to do so in 2005.
  • The proposed moratorium on international adoption for 2012 has been struck from the new draft of revisions to Korea’s Special Adoption Law.
  • As of 2004, Holt Children’s Services had 142 employees and 11 regional offices in Korea.
  • There are 25 unwed mother’s shelters in Korea, 17 of which are run by international adoption agencies.
  • There have been 4,896 cases of cancelation of adoption by civil law in Korea in six years. (Supreme Court Records)
  • 1,250 Korean children were sent abroad for adoption last year (MHWF)
  • Last year 1,506 children were born of unwed mothers, 920 who were adopted before they were three months old.  Most were never registered on birth certificates to their natural parents.  Therefore, there will be no record that exists should those children or their parents ever wish to search for each other in the future.
  • According to the new draft of revisions to Korea’s Special Adoption Law, obtaining identifying information about natural parents will take a court order.
  • Korean citizens receive a subsidy for adopting, but women who chose to raise their own babies receive much less than the adopting parents do, even though as single moms they need the money more.
  • The proposed 100,000 won a month subsidy an unwed mother who keeps her child gets amounts to just over $80 US.  A one room apartment without utilities here typically costs at minimum $250. And deposits can run well over a thousand dollars.
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