Thank you to the Ministry of Health and Welfare!

건배! ! Cheers! ¡Salud! Santé! Skål!



There’s still a mountain of work to do, but maybe tonight’s a good night to celebrate just a little. Wonderful news was released today by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare.

In a nutshell, we get this:

  • All of Korea now knows that there are 18,000 KADs sent to the U.S. and 5,000 KADs sent everywhere else whose adoptive country citizenship paperwork was not sent back to Korea. The Koreans have requested cooperation from the U.S. State Department on this issue, and this has also been reported in the press release.
  • Records will no longer be regarded as simply the private property of the agencies and will be moved to a facility for storage and microfilmed.
  • There will be an expansion of post-adoption services with a budget nearly doubled in 2013 for programs including a “social house” for adoptees in Korea who have been deported and others who find themselves in emergency situations. There will be counseling and psychological services.
  • They are moving towards ratifying the Hague Convention.
  • As the Hague Convention dictates, they are regarding the preservation of the original family as the most important, followed by domestic adoption, then international, then institution.
  • They are advocating support for unwed mothers.
  • Expansion of cultural, language and mother country visitation programs. Support for reunion, translation, legal help, etc.

You can download the press release here: MHW announcement in Korean. Click on for my quick and dirty summary/translation.

November 16, 2012

Press release from the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare

Propelling towards ratifying the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption

Summary of Main Points

There is a report announced called (roughly) “A Synthesized Policy for Post-adoption Services for Overseas Adoptees.”

In this report they are saying that the services that are most needed are

  • Strengthening search for family of origin
  • Offering services that match what adoptees need when they are in Korea
  • Expanding opportunities for using cultural programs

Especially there is the social issue now that of the 110,000 adoptees who went to the U.S., 18,000 of those adoptees’ new adoptive citizenships were not reported back to their adoption agencies. So we cannot know whether or not they got adoptive citizenship or not. The ministry has asked for U.S. cooperation on this and wants to continue to consult with them on this issue.

The human rights of adoptees have to be upheld to ratify the Hague.  They also have to improve the protection of families and unwed mothers so they can raise their own children.

They have to decide whose job it is to be the central authority that monitors the agencies. It could go under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Justice, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They are now having a task force that is in charge of ratifying the Hague Convention. The TF is made of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other related parties.

Attached to the press release is

1) Data to give explanation about the Hague Convention

2) Policy about post adoption services (PAS)

Policy on PAS

I. Background

–        scope of adoptees – 2.3% of overseas Koreans are adoptees

–        65,000 adoptees have visited Korea or requested family of origin search or other PAS

–        Even though there are “successful” adoptees there are also other adoptees who have experienced hardship in Korea and overseas

–        Points out Korean media about deported and homeless adoptees, and also French media from June 29, 2012 Gathering that says, “Adoption isn’t the problem, the problem is being thrown away.”

II. Assessing the present situation

1. shows numbers of adoption

2. How PAS services are running

3. Results and limitations

III. The direction of propulsion and strategy the ministry is laying down = establishing identity of overseas adoptees and giving support for adoptees who return to Korea

Finding happiness in Korea (Strengthen PAS in Korea)

Strengthen search for family of origin

Support for settlement and life in Korea

Support for adoptees in danger and emergency situations

In the adoptive country (minimizing confusion about identity)

Support for establishing identity by knowing mother country

Government offering PAS and strengthening PR

Getting citizenship and support

Establishing an advanced adoption system that includes the children’s human rights

Establishing a system to protect the family of the child who needs to be protected

Strengthening the support for unwed mothers who raise their children

Propelling towards ratifying the Hague

Bases from which they can build

For the adoptees’ organizations, expanding their personnel and material

Strengthening the function of the central authority PAS

Building cooperation with government and civil society

IV. Propelling Assignments (what they are going to do)

Finding happiness in Korea (Strengthen PAS in Korea)

1. Family of origin search

Expand the duty of adoption agencies to give adoptees their information

Establish a manual about the process of application for information and getting the permission from parents of origin

Putting the public sector in charge of handling adoptees’ information [as opposed to the private agencies] (long-term plan)

Transfer of the adoptees’ information from the adoption agencies to a public institution

Installation of a place in a public institution (not private agency) for adoptees’ records to be kept and microfilming them.

2. Support for legal needs and translation

Interpretation service for finding and meeting families of origin

Support for job training and finding jobs in Korea

Support for mentoring

Support for getting second citizenship

3. Relief for adoptees in danger and psychological treatment

Develop a program and designate and run a center for support for mental health of overseas adoptees

Support for a “social house” for deported adoptees, etc.

2. In the adoptive country (minimizing confusion about identity)

1. Support for families with young adoptees to connect with Korean culture, spreading out various programs for mother country visit, education in mother tongue, cultural experience, etc.

2. Spreading the word in through adoptive family and adoptee networks about services the government offers

3. Support for getting citizenship in adoptive country

– the work to locate citizenships has been conducted from Dec. 2011- Dec. 2012.

In September 2012 the MHW asked Ministry of Foreign Affairs for cooperation and measures for understanding the situation. The situation is the adoptees whose citizenships cannot be verified.

In October 2012 the MHW asked a State Department official who is a special secretary for the international children’s affairs from the U.S. visiting Korea for cooperation on determining the actual situation of adoptees whose citizenships could not be verified in Korea (page 10, last line).

3. Establishing an advanced adoption system that includes the children’s human rights

1. In keeping with the Hague convention, prioritizing family preservation first, then domestic adoption, then international adoption, then facilities.

Increasing subsidies for family foster care and foster care centers

Actively vitalize domestic adoption – increasing subsidies for domestic adoptive families

2. Strengthening the support for unwed mothers (falls under the Women and Family Ministry)

Expanding services to try to prevent the dissolution of unwed mother families and to help them raise their kids

Support for stability and helping unwed mothers to overcome childbirth, raising kids, psychological burden. Offering them psychological / emotional counseling with expert. Have to develop this program.

Decrease discrimination through PR on internet, radio, various PR

4. Bases from which they can build

1. International adoptees organizations and network

Propelling research on what adoptees want

2. Strengthening function of central authority to do PAS

Adoptees should be part of the composition and running of the related institutions

There may be a committee to resolve disputes with adoption agencies.

Have to drastically strengthen search for families of origin.

Have to recruit an overseas adoptee who can speak Korean, English, and a second foreign language.

To prepare for ratification of the Hague, strengthen the role of the public institutions.

Have to research and information on domestic and overseas adoption, draw up statistics, accumulation, to strengthen the function of policy research

Professor Seok Gwang-hyun at SNU is finishing his research on Hague ratification in December 2012.

3. Constructing a system for cooperation between government bodies and government-civil society

Inter agency TF to draw up recommendations

Central authority to consult with adoption agencies, adoptees, adoptive parents to make policy and decisions

Regular meetings to be held with MHW and overseas adoptees

V. The schedule henceforth – lists name of the program, the important content of the program, which ministry it is under and the month it will start

Addend 1

Budget for PAS up in 2013 to 1,305,000,000 won from 726,000,000 won in 2012.

Addend 2

Shows where adoptees are going over past 10 years

Addend 3

Budgets given to 19 enterprises for PAS

Translation and summarization done by Jane Jeong Trenka for TRACK in a hurry on November 16, 2012 – Please kindly address any corrections over mistranslation to


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1 Response to Thank you to the Ministry of Health and Welfare!

  1. Pingback: Good News, With Thanks, Still Skeptical | adoptionechoes

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