It is official. The expatriates (those living out of the country for a prolonged period) can now adopt in Korea. But there is a condition. The primary being that one of the expatriate couple has to be of Korean heritage and able to receive a dual citizenship status, thus qualifying as a Korean citizen living in Korea.
Under this new regulation, the expat couples adopting in Korea would be considered a part of the domestic adoption process since a Korean-heritage expat with a dual citizenship is considered a Korean national living in Korea. However, this is not easy, as other conditions state that the expats must have lived in Korea for two or more years before attempting to adopt, and they need to stay a year to finish up the post-adoption process and also to go through a process of obtaining the immigration approval from their home country.
Perhaps the best news of all in the expat adoption is that since an expat with a dual citizenship would be considered a Korean national, the adoption fee is completely free as it is paid by the Korean government. The expats are not limited to those that have the US citizenship, but also applies to the Korean-heritage immigrants living in other countries such as Europe.
This notice has already gone out to all the adoption agencies in Korea (Holt, Eastern, and SWS), and there will be no US adoption agency involvement whatsoever since the expat adoption will be handled as domestic adoptions. Also the expat adoption will have no bearing on the quota limitation as they don't factor into it. In other words, the expat adoption will not be a part of the quota system.
Details of this new regulation is still being worked out between the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the adoption agencies. This new law is a very welcome thing as I had to turn away many expats in the past as they could not adopt while living in Korea. So this is a real welcome news.
This effort would not have been possible without the hard efforts by the Rev. Eddie Byun of the Onnuri Church in Seoul, who ministers a large English speaking congregation with many expats attending his church. Many expats were wanting to adopt children while living in Korea. The credit also goes to Mrs. Hannah Kook of the Hope for Orphans minstry. I introduced to both an appropriate person to meet at the MOHW, and they started to meet together and got the ball rolling, with a big orientation meeting held at the Onnuri Church. Congratulations to all for making this possible!