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Par : Bernard P
Publié : 19 mai 2014

11.05.2014 - presse - the Korea Herald

Adoption policy should focus on unwed moms

May 11 is Adoption Day in Korea. Since 2006, the Korean government has marked this day as part of its efforts to create a sound culture of adoption and encourage domestic adoptions.

This year, however, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has canceled the annual ceremony, which was slated for today, in consideration of the mournful atmosphere pervading the nation since the sinking of the Sewol ferry on April 16.

May 11 is also Single Moms’ Day in Korea. The event was launched in 2011 by a group of private adoption-related organizations to challenge the government’s Adoption Day.

On Thursday, these organizations held an international conference on unwed mothers to mark the day. The conference, held at the National Assembly, offered an occasion to think about the government’s adoption policy.

In recent years, the government has made the focus of its adoption policy clearing the nation of the long-standing dishonor of being a major “orphan exporter.” This focus is justifiable in light of Korea’s growing profile in the international community.

A quick way to shake off the national shame is to reduce the number of overseas adoptions by encouraging domestic adoptions. So the government has pushed hard toward that end. The adoption data shows a steady reduction in international adoptions amid a gradual increase in domestic adoptions until 2011.

Yet in 2012, the pattern began to change : Both overseas and domestic adoptions started to drop sharply. International adoptions fell from 916 in 2011 to 755 in 2012, while domestic adoptions dropped from 1,548 to 1,125.

In 2013, the trend accelerated. Overseas adoptions plummeted to 236 while domestic adoptions plunged to 686.

The sharp decline in adoptions ― domestic as well as overseas ― since 2012 has been attributed largely to the revised adoption law that went into effect in August of that year.