Thursday, May 21, 2020

Korean Adoption Travel Restrictions Due to COVID-19



(Note:  The topic below will be discussed in great details on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 9:00 PM EST (6:00 PM PST) at the MPAK Café via Zoom meeting, hosted by MPAK. You are welcome to join the meeting personally presented by Steve Morrison by requesting the Zoom meeting information by contacting the email at:  mpak.care@gmail.com – It’s being held Today).



The Intercountry adoption in Korea is virtually standstill due to COVID-19.
At the beginning of the year, most of the children being sent abroad were the remaining cases from last year’s quota.  Based on the three adoption agencies (Holt, SWS, and Eastern), the combined number of children that have gone home is fewer than 80 by the end of March 2020.

The Quota for 2020 was set at around 300 – the maximum allowable number of children the agencies are allowed to adopt abroad.  There is no way the agencies will meet this quota due to a significant slowdown in domestic adoption due to COVID-19 pandemic.  The quota is set by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) each year based on the number of domestic adoption in the prior year.  The typical rule-of-thumb used is the 2/3 Rule, meaning if the agencies place 300 adoptions domestically, MOHW will allow the agencies 200 children to be placed abroad.

All adoption process has been impacted by COVID-19. Starting from April 1, 2020, the Korean government has placed a 14-Day Quarantine Period on all foreigners visiting Korea, and on all the Korean nationals returning to Korea from foreign visits.

The Family Court’s adoption process has slowed down as well due to the limited number of judges and staff present at the court to keep the ‘social distancing’. All these and more have significantly slowed down the adoption processes, not only in intercountry, but in domestic adoptions as well.

Three Options available for adoptive parents:

1.    Delay the adoption process
        By choosing to wait out until the travel restriction is lifted or COVID-19 clears
        Expected delays of 5 – 6 months or more

2.    Go to Korea when notified and go through the Quarantine period by choosing extended stay in Korea
        The Option most families choose
        Go through Quarantine period of 14-days after arrival
        After the Quarantine period, visit the agencies and the Family Court
        Typically two months stay in Korea
        Pick up the child and return home
        Financial burden – a big challenge, $100 / day (meal & lodging)
        Cheaper option may be exercised after the 14-day period

3.    Go to Korean when notified and go through the Quarantine period, but not choosing the extended stay (Not recommended)
        The first visit of 14-day Quarantine
        Show up in Court
        Fly back to the US
        Travel back to Korea and undergo another 14-day Quarantine
        Pick up the child and return
        Not recommended.  28 days of quarantine. If you can afford it, choose extended stay


The Travel Requirements

        All visitors to Korea must download and install the 
“Self-Quarantine Safety Protection App”
        This is Mandatory action issued by the Ministry of the Interior Safety
        Must abide by the guidelines issued
        Must conduct self-diagnosis for 14 days

The Consequences of violating the Quarantine

Face immediate deportation for:
        Those who refuse to download the app
        Those leaving the designated quarantine area without permission
Also
        Those who detour or go out of the designated route from the airport to the quarantine facility will be fined up to $10,000 or One Year in Prison


At the Boarding Gate

        Thermal check to detect high body temperature measurement at or above 99.5⁰F (37.5 ⁰ C)
        Brief Interview
        Based on the thermal check and the interview, if a problem arises, the person may not be allowed to be boarded
        If high body temperature is detected, two more measurements will be made 10 minutes apart.
        If the temperature goes down, he/she may be allowed to board

The government designated Quarantine facilities

        14-Day stay is required
        $100 per day includes lodging and meals
        Paid by the visitors
       The travelers must sign the facility acceptance agreement before boarding
        Local regional cities may impose additional examination or restrictions

The information provided is valid and active as of this posting on May 21, 2020. Most of the travel information is from the LA Korean Consulate website at (http://overseas.mofa.go.kr/us-losangeles-ko/index.do).
If there is a change in the policy, I will update the information with another post.

Please don’t get discouraged. Please treat this experience as if this is happening to your birth child. Don’t let anything stop you from getting your child home.  Stay safe and stay healthy.


(For more information and discussion, contact mpak.care@gmail.com for the Zoom meeting information Today, May 21, 2020) 




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