Overseas adoption in Korea

국외 입양아들의 특성과 변화

  • Kim, Jae Yoon (Department of Pediatrics, National Medical Center)
  • 김재윤 (국립의료원 소아청소년과)
  • Received : 2009.03.16
  • Accepted : 2009.03.23
  • Published : 2009.04.15


In Korea, overseas adoption has been practiced for more than 50 years. Initially, overseas adoption began with the objective to provide permanent homes for Korean war orphans, including mixed-blood children. From 1953 to 2007, about 160,000 Korean children were placed worldwide through overseas adoption and approximately 70,000 children were adopted in Korea. During that period, Korea developed into one of leading industrial countries in the world and the family norms changed dramatically. Since 1989, the Korean government has made diverse efforts to increase domestic adoptions and to support adopted families through the revisions to Korea's Child Welfare Law. However, it is not enough to reduce overseas adoptions rapidly because the Korean government's economic support for adopted families is not adequate and Korean sentiments regarding adoption have not changed. Being an international adoptee is a unique experience, involving dissimilarities of race, ethnicity, and culture. Clearly, it is very important for us to focus on placing Korean children in the best possible environment. Therefore, Korea must make diverse efforts to reduce overseas adoptions and to encourage domestic adoption. First, Korean society has to try to reduce the number of children who need out-of-home care. Second, the Korean government and people should make an effort to increase domestic adoptions, including adoptions of disabled and older children. Finally, the Korean government and adoption agencies have to provide professional pre-adoption and post-adoption services for international adoptees and adoptive parents.


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