Friday, May 15, 2015

Family Court Update - From Korea

I have been in Korea for a week now, and each day has been filled with events and meetings.  Right now I'm down at the Kimcheon City (about three hours south of Seoul) at the Emmanuel Orphanage for the orphanage sponsored National Adoption Day event, which began last night and continues on today (Saturday) at the orphanage.

This trip has allowed me to visit all three agencies, and again I am impressed with their dedication to serve the homeless children, even through this unfavorable climate of dwindling adoption.

I have also met a few visiting adoptive families from the US that have court appearances.  To them their dates in the court was a culmination of long awaited home stretch to the conclusion of adoption. I was so impressed with the love and care that the parents have displayed.

In visiting with all three agencies, each agencies had different court schedules with two different judges.  The most often raised questions I have received from many adoptive parents waiting for the court date was why the new judge is not processing the cases fast enough, and the uncertainty of indefinite wait has tormented many waiting parents.

I have found out that the new judge has already held a court date (a few days ago) for the cases submitted to the court in January, and for those submitted in February she has the court dates scheduled in June.  The agencies thought the delays may have been due to her time period of trying to learn the new adoption process that she was not familiar with. 

At the same time, the judge that used to take long to process (at one time up to six months) has cut down his process down to three months.  So in essence the slow judge has now become a fast judge.

When I first posted the blog that these two judges will be more dedicated to the adoption process, it turns out that they still handle other civil matters, except they devote more time on the adoption cases.  However they are not solely dedicated to the adoption cases, which would have been nice.

I am hoping that the new judge (a woman) will learn the ropes soon and speed up her process from four months down to a shorter time.

I have also made a recommendation to the agencies to get all the entities (agencies, the ministry, the family court) involved in a conference to search for ways to shorten the prolonged adoption process that has not been good for the children and the waiting families, as the children go home as older children.  This has been very hard for the children and the families.  The more I see the challenges faced by the children and the parents, the more I am convinced that the children need to be home as soon as possible.