Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Impact on the EP Process by the New Adoption Laws

I made some calls to Korea the other day to sort out what is going on with the plans by the Korean Government as they get ready to implement the new adoption laws by August 2012, and what this means to the current EP process.  
I made this inquiry based on many comments and questions I have received from my readers.  It was obvious based on all the questions that the biggest concern was on the uncertainties surrounding the implementation of the new adoption laws and what it means to all the waiting families with EPs being submitted and whether there will be another delay like last year or the first three months of this year.
An agency I called informed me that there is definitely a preparation from the Family Court, where they have sent several lawyers to the agencies to familiarize themselves with the processes involved in adoption, and asking lots of questions.  It is a learning process for the Family Court to learn all about the complexities, regulations, and processes involving not only the intercountry adoption but also the domestic adoption as well.  They will now take a big part of the adoption equation.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) will continue to work with the agencies, which will continue to submit the EP applications to the MOHW.  The MOHW will review the EP applications and if they don’t find any objection they will approve the EPs, and these will be sent up to the Family Court for the final approval process. 
Because the Family Court is in the ‘learning process’, MOHW has decided to lighten the loads for the Family Court by accepting three times the normal volume of EPs, and these are in the process of being cleared.  It is hoped that these EPs will be approved by the end of July before the new laws take effect on August.  Once the laws take effect starting in August, all the subsequent EP applications submitted by the agencies to MOHW will go through the usual filtering process to get cleared, and then these will be submitted to the Family Court for the final approval.   
It is estimated that the time for the Family Court to approve the final adoption will take a month or so.  So what does this mean?  It may mean that the adoption process may be delayed by an additional month due to this one extra step, or that the agencies and MOHW may work out more efficient ways to cut down the waiting time, and nobody knows for sure what this will be, but if I had to guess the biggest portion would come from not referring a child so early.
There is another matter under the new laws that the Family Court needs to decide. That is whether to require all future intercountry adopting parents to travel to Korea and show up at the Family Court in Korea to stand before a judge for the final approval before taking their adopted children home.  Another agency I talked with will now require the parents to travel.  Their main reason is that this will provide opportunities for the parents to learn more about the Korean culture, people and customs to better equip them to raise their Korean-born children.  This makes sense and is a good idea, but another agency I talked with is against this as they believe this will cost additional burden on parents to take their time off to go to Korea, and may not be able to do this. I think the best way is to make this a voluntary travel rather than a requirement.
So the conclusion is, as of this writing, is that in looking at the whole matter of adoption transition in Korea, one gets a big picture as to where Korea is headed, but the details of who does what, how to do it, and when to do it, and what information is passed from where to whom, all are still being worked out, and this transition in Korea is still a work in progress.  I will continue to update when new information surfaces.
Knowing that most of you won’t be able to make it to the event, you are more than welcome to donate to MPAK.  Please make checks payable to MPAK and send it to:
13507 Droxford St.
Cerritos, CA  90703
MPAK is a registered nonprofit 501 c(3) organization where your donations are fully tax deductible.
Thanks for helping MPAK to serve you, and supporting us to be a stronger voice for homeless children in Korea.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Updated Poster for Concert of Love

A slight changes made to the poster design - "The Concert of Love for MPAK - The Melody of Hope", still performing Beethoven's music, with the Chorale performance in Beethoven's 9th. The event is on July 31, 2012 at the famed Disney Concert Hall. The Concert of Love hopes to raise funds for MPAK to be a voice for homeless children in Korea.

The Concert of Love for Homeless Children

The Beethoven Melody of Hope

July 31, 2012, 7:30 PM

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Night of Beethoven - A Concert of Love for MPAK


MPAK is happy to announce that the Los Angeles Korean Philharmonic Orchestra (LAKPO) has approached us with a big event to raise funds for MPAK and at the same time promote adoption in the Korean community.

This Concert of Love titled "A Night of Beethoven" will feature a full orchestra and a chorale group that will perform Beethoven's famed 9th Symphony "Chorale" under the direction of the Maestro Im Sang Yoon.  In addition, there will be performances by some renowned soloists that have joined the cause by only taking a fraction of their normal honorariums. The audience of around 1500 people is expected, where a video will be shown during the performance introducing the works of MPAK.

This fundraising event is a night to support the cause of homeless Korean children, and to support children's ambassador MPAK to:
  • Raise awareness of the homeless children in Korea
  • To promote children's fundamental rights to their own homes
  • To help find homes for needy children through adoption
Event: The Concert of Love "A Night of Beethoven"
Featuring: The LA Korean Philharmonic Orchestra
Date:  July 31, 2012 (Tue), 7:30 PM
Place:  Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California

If anyone wishes to donate to this event, you are more than welcome.

Payable to: MPAK, (Mention "Concert of Love" in the check)
Mail to:
13507 Droxford St.
Cerritos, CA  90703

MPAK is a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization where your donation is completely tax deductible.

If you feel that you have benefited much from this blog throughout the year, please feel free to join this fundraising event.

If you live locally in Southern California, you are more than welcome to come to the concert as the tickets purchased will help with the fundraising.  Tickets are in three groups:  Section S ($100), Section A ($40, and Section B ($20).

You may request your tickets by emailing me at:

Thank you for your support.

Steve Morrison

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Summary of New Adoption Laws in Korea

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.