Wednesday, October 30, 2013

MPAK National Conference to Promote Domestic Adoption

Attached is the MPAK's national conference poster.

 MPAK's annual conference in Korea typically draws 600-800 people, where adoptive families from every corners of Korea will converge to celebrate domestic adoption.

It began in 2000 with a motto "Adoption - Shouldn't We Also Do It?"
Since then it has mushroomed in Korea with MPAK adoptive family support networks springing up everywhere.  Today we have 28 groups in Korea, and six in the US.

The conference event will be on Saturday, Nov. 9th at the Geumchon City Hall at 12PM. We welcome all those who are visiting in Korea to come and celebrate with us.

There will be many grown up adoptees, and happy to report that Hollee McGinnis will be one of the speakers sharing her adoption story.  We also have a congressional representative Lee Mok Hee, and the Hon. Paull Shin that will take a part in the event.

There will be performances by the Korean Adoptee Children's Choir, a band, and a special performance by Ms. Shim Soo Bong (심수봉), who was once the most acclaimed singer in Korea.  Her music is still loved by all in Korea.

Although the event started 14 years ago, this is the 13th event, as we had to cancel one year due to an influenza (SARS?) outbreak in Korea that discouraged people from assembling together.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baby Box Statistics

The Baby Box first opened towards the end of the year 2009 after the Rev. Lee Jong Nak saw a few babies being abandoned nearby his church.  Early 2010 he received the first baby through the Baby Box.  In 2010 he received four children, where two of them were special needs.  In 2011 he received 37 children where 11 of them were special needs.

The Special Adoption Law was enacted on August 5, 2012.  As soon as the law was enacted, there was a sharp jump in the abandonment through the Baby Box.  Before the law, the average number of children being abandoned through the Baby Box was four.  Right after the law, the average jumped four times to 16 per month.  In that year, there were 79 children abandoned, of which only eight were special needs.  More and more healthy babies were being abandoned. 43% of the birthmothers left memos describing how they could not raise them as the law made it difficult for them to relinquish their babies at the adoption agencies without first registering their babies under mothers' names.

As for this year, as of October 15, 2013, there have been 202 babies abandoned, of which 18 of them were special needs. There are people who continue to deny the relationship between the Special Adoption Law and the number of children being abandoned.  But it is clear, as the birthmothers have testified and blamed the law for making it difficult for them to relinquish them legally.

Graphic Source:  Yonhap News, 10/29/13

Monday, October 28, 2013

Here Comes MPAK-Georgia!

I am very happy to announce the formation of the new MPAK-Georgia.
MPAK-Georgia will be led by Karen Pierce Lim.  The Gathering is on Saturday, November 23, 2013 at the Bethany Presbyterian Church in Marietta, GA.  If you are in the Atlanta or other areas of Georgia, you are more than welcome.
What began as a movement to bring about positive changes to the Korean adoption culture, where domestic adoption in Korea was promoted and by the Korean-Americans, we see the needs of all adoptive families that have adopted children from Korea are common regardless of race.  Children's curiosity with their beginnings, their interest in their birthmothers and search for them, their interest in identities,  and the need to network among themselves are common denominator that unites all the adopted children and families.  So it is with this in mind that MPAK is answering the call to establish itself in Georgia to better serve the families that have adopted children from Korea.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

EP Process Status

Recently there has been some slow down in the EP approvals.  This was based on many feedbacks I have received from people wanting to know the reason for the slow down.

I checked into this, and I am told that because of the personnel changes in the ministry (almost entire department members changed), this has created some slow down, but just recently some of the backlogged EPs have been getting approvals by the new staff, and it is expected that the new staff will pick up the speed as time goes.

I am told that currently there are approximately 600 cases of domestic adoptions that have been submitted to family court to date.  So we can predict a total of 400 EPs submitted for intercountry adoption, with many of them have already been approved.  While this is a far cry from the quota level for 2013, it is a significant accomplishment despite all the difficulties faced this year.

The agencies are working hard to increase the domestic adoption numbers.  But despite the accomplishments in both domestic and intercountry, they fear that the illegal adoption(adoption without proper documentation nor the process) has seen a significant rise, and they don't know how to go about controling this.

As for the family court, there is a rumor that an additional judge may be assigned, and if this happens there will be five judges.  I recommended eight judges, but we will see how this plays out in the future.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

EP is Moving Along Better Than Expected

Despite the personnel changes at the Ministry, the new director has taken the new assignment well and she hardly has slowed down the EP approvals.  I have heard some good things about her, and hope that she will continue to give hope.  The approvals are continuing, and the family court dates are continuing to be assigned, and families are making travel arrangements.

While it is still highly doubtful the Ministry can meet the quota set for the year 2013, it appears that the Ministry is trying to do what it can despite the big roadblock ahead that will certain to slow them down when they move to Sejong City.

On another note, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea has ruled that the Baby Box in Korea does not violate human rights and the facility is legal.  Apparently a complaint was filed by an activist adoptee to the National Human Rights Commission, hoping they would rule against the Baby Box.  But to her dismay the Commission ruled against her and stated that it does not violate human rights, but instead the actions taken by the Baby Box is in upholding human rights by protecting the children.