At the end of the seven day period, most birthmothers give up their children for adoption with assurance that even though their babies have been registered into their family record, these records will be erased once the adoption happens.
However, the records stay permanently for those children that don’t get adopted. This is the reason why so many birthmothers have abandoned their babies on the streets, trash bins, restrooms, and in some cases killed, and many abandoned through the Baby Box, because there is no guarantee of their anonymity under the Special Adoption Law (SAL).
Despite the fact that the birthmothers are given the seven days waiting period, they are given far more extra chances to make up their minds throughout the adoption process until the time of the final ruling of adoption by the family court. This may mean a birthmother may be able to reclaim her child when the child is over two years old.Imagine a birthmother that relinquished her child after seven days, and claims back her child over two years later when finding out that her child is about to be adopted. As difficult as this is for the child and for the birthmother, who has brought upon herself a dramatic change by her decision, it isn’t easy for anyone. It certainly wouldn’t be easy for the adoptive parents that have waited over two years to bring the child home, and them feeling like the child has been snatched from their hands is not an overstatement. But nobody, not even the adoptive parents can refute the fact that the birthmother has the right to her child. Birthmothers may not always be the best person to raise their children in terms of financially, socially, or emotionally, but they have the rights that no one can take away. That’s the right we all have on our children as well.
For the EPs that were approved in 2012, and now should have all been or going through the family court, these cases were not under the new law where birthmothers were given the seven days reconsideration period. Because the birthmothers were not given this reconsideration period, the birthmothers have been contacted prior to submission of the EPs to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) to give them the extra chance. The birthmothers are asked if they still wish to place their children for adoption. While the MOHW does not do this, the agencies are preparing for the family court appearances by contacting the birthmothers ahead of time. The agencies confirm the birthmothers’ addresses, and in some cases not able to contact or find them. But their efforts are recorded in the documents submitted to the family court.Once in the court, the judges review the cases, and the adoptive parents are summoned to the Court. At which time the parents travel to Korea to stand before the judges (a collection of questions asked by the judges in another blog). After this initial interview the families are at their liberty to go back to their home country or remain in Korea for the duration, which takes around 4-6 weeks.
The family court sends the certified letters to the birthmothers. The letters notify the birthmothers that there are court hearings on their children being adopted. They are not given any information on the adoptive families. The letters also notify the birthmothers that there is a 14-day appeal period, during which time they have the freedom to change their minds. The birthmothers need to sign the receipt of the letters. If they don’t respond, another letters are sent.If a birthmother still does not respond, the court sets aside two weeks to locate her, and if she can’t be found (or does not wish to be found), the original relinquishment signed by her will stand. At this time the court informs the agencies of their intent to proceed with the finalization of adoption, the adoptive family is notified of their travel to go back to Korea to pick up the child, or if they are already in Korea they are notified of this by the agencies.