Seoul’s Family Court has decided to allow the birth parents’ opinion on adoption of their children through documents rather than for them to show up personally at the Family Court, which was required under the Special Adoption Law, thus potentially making the adoption process to flow with quicker speed.
The Family Court of Seoul met with the MOHW on May 29th to find a way to speed up the adoption process. This special meeting was to evaluate the progress in adoption under the Special Adoption Law that was enacted nine months ago.
Since the enactment of the law on August 5, 2012 and up to May 21, 2013t, there have been 103 cases of domestic adoptions, and only 4 cases of intercountry adoption. (Note that on May 31st, the court has started the hearings for intercountry adoptive families to grant additional adoptions).
Up to now, the court has used the social workers to contact the birth parents personally to notify and to get the opinions from them directly. But the birth parents have already been in communication with the adoption agencies, and because the birth parents do not wish to show up at the Family Court, it was decided the court will forego their personal appearance at the court and get their opinions through paper works instead.
Also, if the birth parents do not wish to be notified regarding adoption decisions by the judges, then the court will bypass this process or just notify them by phone or through mail, thus making it simpler. This also eliminates letting birth parents know the information about the adoptive families involved.
A judge expressed that this new procedure will simplify the adoption process, and the court dates can be assigned sooner, thus allowing faster services for all the adoption processes.
As much as the court considers an efficient process is needed, on one hand they will examine the adoptive parents’ 5-year medical history, and if necessary they may request comprehensive psychological health examinations as well.
The Family Court will also work with MOHW on how to resolve the issue of birth registry to keep the information on birth parents private. I think they are trying to come up with a way to protect the identity of birth parents without revising the Special Adoption Law. This may be a good sign that perhaps MOHW is now slowly beginning to admit that there is a problem regarding the privacy of the birth parents brought upon by the requirement of the birth registry.
My opinion is that the only sure way to solve this is to revise the law itself to remove any questions.