[Writer's Choice] South Korea's Adoption Taboo

Priscilla Tov, Jan. 26, 2018, 12:42 p.m.


Actress Shin Ae-ra and actor Cha In-pyo made headlines not for a scandal, but because they adopted two baby girls, one in 2005 and one in 2008 despite already having a biological child in 1998. 

Domestic adoption isn't common in South Korea as the culture pressures people to have their own children in order to continue bloodlines and maintain racial purity. South Korea's birth rate is already extremely low and yet, more and more babies are being abandoned every year. 

Ever since the Special Adoption Act passed in 2012 (meant to lower the number of international adoptions, something that South Korea used to be known for) which required the consent of both parties, a seven-day waiting period after birth, and an obligation to register their babies in the family registry, more unwanted babies were being abandoned as parents didn't want it to be known that they had given up a child. 

There's already a heavy stigma attached to single mothers and if Koreans do adopt, it's done in secret. 

Experts argue that erasing the current negative image attached to orphans and adoptees will greatly help. 

But is that enough?

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