The Members of KCARE in Korea reviewed with me (2nd from right sitting) the new adoption laws that will take effect in August 2012
Sorry it took so long to sit down and write this one on the changes in the Korean adoption laws.
When I was in Korea in mid-May, I was given a thorough presentation of the new Special Adoption Law Revision by the members of the Korean Central Adoption Resources (KCARE), in which I am a board member.
I won’t bore you with all the details, but only highlight some of the new features of the laws that will impact both the domestic and the intercountry adoption. Some of the laws have remained the same. Throughout the blog, Article is referred as “A”, Section is referred as “S”, and Subsection is referred as “SS”. For example A1 S2 SS3 means Article 1, Section 2, Subsection 3. Although this is not important to you, but I put it down just in case to track to the original reference.
Article 1: General Provisions
A1 S1 SS1: A “Child” is defined as a person under the age of 18.
S3 SS4: The Government and the regional government/organizations must establish a sound adoption culture by promoting domestic adoption for the needy children, that they must do all they can to provide post-adoption services to help them to adjust to the new families.
S5 SS1: May 11th of each year is designated as the National Adoption Day, and the subsequent one week starting this day would be called the National Adoption Week.
S7 SS1: The Government and the regional government/organizations must place the highest priority in placing children domestically.
S7 SS4: If the adoption agencies cannot place children domestically despite their efforts, then they are allowed to look for families overseas after the five months waiting period have passed. For those children that require special medical attention, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) may grant them exemption from this waiting requirement.
S8: To carry out the welfare and responsibilities for the children, the Government must make efforts to reduce the intercountry adoption. (Steve’s comment: This is a rather contradictory statement. I would think that the best welfare and responsible thing to do would be to find families abroad if they can’t be found in Korea).
Article 2: Adoption Requirements
S10 SS1: Adoptive parents must meet all the requirements noted in this section:
1. Adoptive parents must have adequate assets
2. Must have freedom of religion, and must be able to educate children to function in the society
3. Must not have history of abuses related to children, spouse, sexual, drug, alcohol, and criminal in nature
4. Domestic and Intercountry Adoption
For domestic adoption - An adoptive parent must be at least 25 years old and the age difference between the child and a parent must be less than 60 years.
Intercountry adoption - Foreigners must meet the qualifications of being adoptive parents expressed through the laws of their respective countries. For foreigners, an adoptive parent must be at least 25 years old but less than 45 years old. However, if an agency determines that a family has a favorable and healthy environment to raise a child, there can be an exception.
5. An adoptive parent must possess the requirements established by the MOHW to provide and care for a child.
S10 SS2: A parent must not be involved in any profession that is detrimental to the welfare of a child or any profession that abuses the rights of a child in any way.
S10 SS3: An adoptive parent must complete the educational requirements set forth by adoption agencies as directed by the MOHW.
S11 SS1: Agencies must receive approval from the Family Court to adopt and the following documents must be submitted.
1. Child’s certificate of birth
2. All the documents related to Section 9 (S9) and Section 10 (S10)
3. All the documents related to Section 12 (S12) and Section 13 (S13) on relinquishment or consent of adoption
4. Other documents required by the MOHW
S11 SS4: The approval process involving reviews and determinations will be made according to the procedures determined by the Supreme Court.
S12 SS1: An approval of a birthparent is required for adoption except for the following situations:
1. Birth parents looses the parental rights
2. Parental consent could not be obtained due to inability to locate the parents
S12 SS2: If birth parents cannot be identified, the consent must be received from an authority that has the child’s custody rights
S12 SS4: If the child is over 13 years old, the adoptive parents must first receive the consent from the child.
S13 SS1: The consent to adoption by birthparents can be made 7 days after the birth of a child.
S13 SS3: The agencies must provide consultation to birthparents should they choose to keep their children. The consultation must include on how to receive benefits to raise the children, legal ramifications and rights, in accordance to the guidelines established by the MOHW.
S16 SS1: Birth parents who are not responsible for the generation of consent of adoption on their children, may file a petition to repeal (cancel) the adoption. Birth parents have six months to file this petition after being aware of the adoption.
S17 SS1: Parents, child, or a judge may petition for adoption disruption to the Family Court under the following circumstances:
1. If an adoptive parent abuses the adopted child and is negligent in providing the needed care
2. Immoral act of an adoptee against the adopted parents
S19 SS1: For intercountry adoption, the agencies must submit the Exit Permit (EP) received from the MOHW to the Family Court to get approved for adoption.
S19 SS2: Intercountry adoption while residing in Korea – Must work with the agencies to start the adoption process
S19 SS3: Once a child receives an EP and immigrates to an overseas country, and then subsequently receives a citizenship of that country, the responsible agency must report this fact to MOHW, which then will report to the Justice Department of Korea to revoke the child’s Korean citizenship.
Still being worked
The exact roles played by the MOHW, Family Court, the Agencies, and how the information gets flowed and who decides on what is not clearly understood. As for the impact of this new laws related to the EP process is not clearly understood, and I intend to find this out soon.
More to come later.