South Korea and Open Adoption

Last week, a production company that produces educational documentaries for a well-known South Korean cable company, YUGA TV, contacted me to discuss open adoption. This was particularly surprising given the history of adoption in South Korea.

South Korea on the world mapThe producer explained that historically, domestic adoption has not been a common practice in South Korea. Additionally, stigmas related to placing a child for adoption or being an adoptee have kept adoptions that do transpire under wraps.

Last August, the Korean government passed legislation promoting transparency in adoptions by asking birthparents to register their identifying information when placing a child for adoption. On a broader scale, there is a movement to educate South Koreans on domestic adoption practice, and May 11, 2013 will mark the nation’s first Adoption Awareness Day.

The production company interviewed me about the benefits of open adoption practice and the reasons adoptive parents and birthparents choose openness. They also joined us for the Saturday portion of the Adoption Workshop to film Ali Desmond, one of IAC’s birthparents, and Matt and Christiana Simpson, an alumni adoptive family, share their stories with our new clients.

It was a great experience to watch the producers from South Korea engage in learning about open adoption practice, and to see their wonderment and surprise in learning how birthfamilies and adoptive families create strong bonds that last a lifetime. I know that social stigmas are still very real in South Korea, and that it will take time to break down misconceptions and fears, but I am proud that IAC was able to participate in such an important project, and look forward to seeing adoption practice in South Korea continue to shift towards transparency in years to come.

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