It just goes to show that the baby abanonment is not unique to Seoul nor the Baby Box. I have seen many other news articles on how several orphanages have seen a sharp increase in the number of children being admitted to their facilities (they say they were in downward trend until August 2012). What's amazing is that despite the abandunce of data, there are many that still deny that the abandonment is caused by the Special Adoption Law. Not all parts of the law is bad, but a portion of it needs to be revised. Here is an article regarding the abandonment in Daejon and Chung Nam Provice areas.
Recently there has been a sharp increase in the baby abandonment in Daejon City and the Chung Nam Province areas. In the past these babies would be put up for adoption, but since the enactment of the Special Adoption Law in August 2012, there have been many cases of baby abandonments.
One of the key aspects of the Special Adoption Law is the requirement that birthmothers register their babies in their family registries.
The purpose of the law was to enhance birthmothers the chance to raise their own children and also to provide a way for adoptees to search for their roots, but the birthmothers are afraid their privacy will be violated because of the registration requirement.
In essence the Special Adoption Law has backfired.
On April 6 a baby boy who was barely a day old, was discovered in a restroom after he was born in a hospital in Daejon. Fortunately the baby was discovered early and was saved, but the baby who lost his mother cried continuously. The police examined the video images from the CCTV security cameras but could not find the birthmother.
On February 6, there was an incident at a Chung Nam hospital where a teen birthmother deserted her baby in the hospital and left without notice. The mother of the birthmother was contacted by the hospital, but the baby’s grandmother did not want the baby. However, she was requested by the police to locate the birthmother.
On February 22, a birthmother in her 20’s was captured by the police and questioned after killing and discarding her newborn baby.
Incidents like these are adding to the ever increasing number of babies being abandoned.
On April 8, according to the Central Child Protection Agency, in 2011 there were a total of 53 cases of child abandonment recorded in Korea. But by the third quarter of 2012, the abandonment has shot up to 118 cases.
At the same time the adoption in Korea has dropped sharply as well.
Before the Special Adoption Law was enacted, there were 6 to 7 adoptions among 10 abandoned babies, but now it is only 1 to 2 that get adopted in the areas of Daejon and Chung Nam, clearly showing the sharp decrease in adoption.
Many experts in the child welfare areas are advocating that a revision is needed in the Special Adoption Law.
A representative in the Daejon branch of the Eastern Welfare Society states, “If we compare the number of adoptions taking place before and after the law, the law has resulted in the significant decrease in adoption by 2/3 (67%), if the birthmothers cannot come to the agencies, the babies will most likely be placed through illegal, black market types of adoption or abandon the babies, or choose other harmful methods to rid of their problems.”
She also stated that, “To stop the increased abandonment of children and to discourage other unfavorable outcomes with the children, the Special Adoption Law must be revised to allow the birthmothers 24 and under to allow their children to be adopted through the adoption agencies.”
Additional comments from Steve:
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) announced yesterday (April 8, 2013) that they will provide up to 700,000 Won (approximately to $615 as of this writing) to all the unwed birthmothers to keep their babies for seven days after the birth. The amount will depend on the types of care facilities the birthmothers stay.
This is definitely a step in the right direction, and hope that this will help the birthmothers. I encourage MOHW not to stop there. They should support the birthmothers even after the seven days, if the birthmothers so choose to keep their babies, by providing similar amount or more to help take care of their babies.
However, I have always maintained that for the majority of birthmothers, the issue is not the cost. The real issue for them is the pressure and shame they feel from the society that looks down on them. This is exacerbated by the lack of support or unwillingness to accept the children born out of wedlock by the immediate families. For these birthmothers no amount of financial aid would help them as they wish to hide from being disgraced.
More efforts should be made by the Korean government to work on to remove negative stigma against the unwedded birthmothers. Rather than bashing on adoption, the people opposed to adoption or against the revision of the law should focus more on changing this aspect of the Korean culture and they will go much farther and quicker for the cause of birthmothers. They should not waste time by speaking against adoption. Why is it that one has to be killed to make the other survive? Adoption and the rights of birthmothers need to go hand-in-hand, not against one another.