Wow! Dawn Davenport has posted an in-depth look at the state of adoptions from South Korea on her blog, Creating a Family. The piece, titled "South Korean Adoptions: Canary in the International Adoption Mine," discusses the Asian country's efforts to halt its international adoption program because of the "shame" it brings the nation. She writes:
South Korea has struggled over the years with the label koasuch´ulguk or “orphan exporter”. A general feeling exists inside South Korea, and many other countries as well, that international adoption is “a shameful admission to the world of the government’s inability to care for its own, the loss of a vital national asset, and … the ultimate example of exploitation by rich nations of the poor nations of the world.” South Korea’s position has been made all the harder when starting in the 1970s, North Korea used international adoption in its public rhetoric against South Korea. Here is a taste of what was reported in the North Korean newspaper, the Pyongyang Times: 'The traitors of South Korea, old hands at treacheries, are selling thousands, tens of thousands of children going ragged and hungry to foreign marauders under the name of ‘adopted children...''
Increasing domestic adoptions has been at the heart of every plan to reduce foreign adoptions, but the Korean culture, with its Confucian emphasis on familial blood lines, has historically been resistant. The Korean government has been attempting to change this attitude in the last 30 years. In 2007 they stepped up their efforts by providing financial incentives to adoptive parents; lessening Korean adoptive parent qualifications; easing restrictions on parental age, marital status, and family size; requiring children to wait 5 months for a domestic adoption before being placed for international adoption; advertising; and publicizing celebrity adoptions. Despite optimistic governmental pronouncements, the hard reality is that domestic adoptions have been a hard sell. Since the domestic adoption incentives were instituted in 2007, domestic adoption rates have remained roughly the same.
Davenport goes on to discuss institutionalization rates for Korean children, the challenges of domestic adoption, and much more. It's worth your time to go read the whole thing.