It appears that my latest blog regarding the Korean Government's preference over Korean-American (KA) couples by giving priority in the EP process has stirred a lot of negative emotions by non-Korean heritage families. Namely, they feel they are being punished by the Korean government by further delaying the adoption process to already delayed process because KAs will be given priority in the EP process.
I think this is perfectly understandable and justifiable reaction by those that have expressed discontent with the latest decision by the Korean Government (Ministry of Health and Welfare - MOHW). And I fully sympathize with their feelings and reactions. I know I would feel the same if I were in their shoes.
I wish I had a simple and easy solution. While I have always been pro-adoption, whether the couples be Caucasian or Koreans, there is really nothing I can do about the choice that the Korean Government makes.
However, there seem to be some misconception that there are lots of Korean-Americans adopting, but that is not the case. To my understanding, of the approximately 100 remaining EPs left for this year, there are only five Korean-American families in the EP list. So it isn't like giving priority to the Korean-Americans in the EP process would make that much difference.
The group photos of MPAK families in my blog seems to have many KAs mainly because these families have been gathering since 1999 and more and more have joined over the span of 12 years. They didn't all adopt past two or three years, but started from long ago. You will see that some of the children are in their teens.
I want you to know that I am with all of you who are frustrated by the delays due to quota and wish I could do something about it. I have complained a number of times to MOHW that what they are doing through quota is really delaying the union of children with parents, and that delay will affect children negatively in their growth.
But unfortunately the powers that be in the government do not view their children like we do. For instance, there are some in MOHW that those children that won't be placed to be put into various institutions and that would be OK for them. But then there are some very caring individuals in MOHW that try to advocate for children but unfortunately their voices do not go far up the chain of command.
Korea sees the intercountry adoption (ICA) program as something of an eye sore in the international community and they deeply desire to close down the the ICA. ICA also projects image of Korea to the world that despite the economic miracle, it is still a country that cannot take care of its own children, thus not having the character of a strong nation. Korea's effort to shut down or gradually reduce the ICA is nothing more than face saving effort.
I think if Korea is to be a great nation in the international community, it should adopt the Hague Convention and practice the priorities outlined in the convention to give children the chance to be placed with their biological families, then domestic adoption, and when neither option is available to place them with willing and loving families abroad. While the Hague Convention does not specifically state the priority should be given to the same race/heritage people residing overseas, it is nonetheless understandable that a nation like Korea would prefer to place a higher priority in placing its children with people of same race or culture.
I have asked the Korean Government numerous times in the past to exclude the KA adoption from their annual quotas, but this request went unheeded so far. I will continue to try to communicate with MOHW on this and will not stop. But perhaps one of the biggest force in impacting the reduction of ICA in Korea is largely due to anti-adoption organizations that have mobilized together to voice opposition to ICA, or even domestic adoption by claiming that adoption promotes separation of children from their biological parents, which is a total nonsense. We all know that adoption is a response to already separated children that need homes, not the cause.
Korea is going through a lot of transition in the policies related to ICA, and will continue to evolve as they get closer to ratifying the Hague Convention. But they are also struggling to save face in the international community, especially as they get ready to host the 2018 Winter Olympic. Let's hope and pray that Korea will come to recognize that beyond the glitters of their economic success, to be a leading nation in the next decade, they can't just sweep the voiceless children under the mat and hope the problem will go away. This is essentially what they are doing by ignoring children that need homes by taking away their rights to grow in homes, even abroad. Let us pray that Korea will truly make the decisions and set the policies that best serves the interests of children. And I promise that I will continue to be a voice for homeless children.