Changes coming in Korean adoption. A step forward, I think, toward decreasing intercountry adoption from Korea, but nothing on whether there will be increased support for mothers and their children, too. However, the fact that singles will be allowed to adopt might signal more openness to single parenting, which would be wonderful news for Korean mothers.
Read the Korea Times article here or below.
Singles Can Adopt Children
By Park Chung-a
Single households will be able to adopt a child from next year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Tuesday.
To activate domestic adoption, the government has decided to allow single households to adopt a child from next year. The number of single households has been on a steady increase, accounting for 15.9 percent of the total households in Korea last year
"Instead, we will require more strict process and conditions for single households regarding their family background, motivation as well as education," said Jang Ok-ju, a ministry official. "We have secured 87.8 billion won in budgets for adoption-related proects next year."
Also, the government will grant monthly allowance of 100,000 won to a household who adopts a child until he or she turns 18. It will also grant 2 million won in administrative fee, which is needed for adopting a child.
The age difference between adoptive parents and child will be expanded from less than 50 at present to under 60. Limit on the number of adopted children per one family, now standing at five, will also be lifted.
To raise people's awareness that adoption is another form of birth, the government will also allow two weeks of ``adoption leave'' from next year. Public officials will be allowed to benefit from the system first.
In addition, to reduce the number of overseas adoption through increase of domestic adoption, the government will pursue ``domestic adoption-first'' system, aimed at trying to match children eligible for adoption to Korean parents first for five months. Only after the five months, children can be subject to overseas adoption. However, children who need urgent medical care due to inherited disability will be exempted from it.
The government is also planning to grant house at discounted prices to those who adopt a handicapped child.
According to the ministry, cases of domestic adoption is as much as 20 percent lower than overseas adoption. As for domestic adoption of handicapped children, there were only 27 cases last year, which account for one-thirtieth of overseas adoption of the handicapped children.
"While adoption is considered as a way to carry out spirit of noblesse oblige or giving help to society abroad, Koreans tend to choose adoption for getting pure joy of rearing children," said Cho Min-hye, an official at the Mission to Promote Adoption in Korea.
For overseas adoptees, the government will expand granting scholarships for Korean language education in universities as well as organizations and providing various services for them including housing and tourism when they visit Korea.
To enhance people's positive view on domestic adoption, the government will also mention good aspects of adoption in school curriculum.
"We find it urgent to reduce Koreans' prejudice against adoption. Other than incentive policies, we will launch various publicity activities to establish adoption-friendly atmosphere," said Jang.