The adoption policy in past years was embarrassing to many Koreans. In the 1970s and 80s, Korea was the number one exporter of orphans. On the opinion page of the Catholic Times, a seminary priest- professor reveals that in 2007 Korea had more internal adoptions than foreign adoptions, which helped remove the stigma of their adoption policy of past years.
Korea still has, the priest says, many children who are being adopted by foreigners, especially handicapped children; a fact he would like to see changed. Furthermore, many who adopt in Korea are childless couples that want to continue their family line and often do not want this known. In order to assure that the adoption remains hidden from public notice, some even drop all contact with the organization that enabled the adoption. The adoption agency considers this a serious problem. There can be occasions when the adopted child is not in a loving home and not treated well but being used. Oversight by the adoption agency then becomes impossible.
The writer explains that the adoption is not welfare work that gives foster parents a child. Adoption is giving a child who doesn't have its natural parents a substitute home that will take care of the child's subsistence, be protective of the child, take care of emotional and material needs; the child becomes what is important. It is not to fill the needs of the adopting parents but the needs of the child.
The priest goes on to thank those who have adopted Koreans who have a different skin color, and all the more thankful to those who have adopted the disadvantaged in body or mind. However, he feels that, all else being equal, they would have an advantage being adopted by Koreans and especially by loving congenial families with growing children, which would help the adopted child to adapt more easily to the new environment.
There are many conditions that are required before considering adoption, such as the economic condition of the adopting family. But even more important would be their mental and spiritual preparation--those who know the value of life and want nothing in return for their love, regarding it as a mission and sacrifice. Adopting is not an easy task and the priest mentions with pride that Christians who have adopted both Protestants and Catholics number about 40 percent.
He finishes the article by proposing to those who are sorry for having an abortion that it might be a good thing to adopt a child. Society as it gets more tied up with the material, and as sexual mores become more permissive, will probably lead to more unmarried mothers giving birth, more abortions, more children discarded because of money problems. The need for more adoptions will surely follow.