Celeb couple on board for adopting babies
|Cha In-pyo, left, and Shin Ae-ra with their adopted babies in a composite. [JoongAng Ilbo]|
Whoever says celebrity couples are only good for drama has never met Cha In-pyo or Shin Ae-ra.
The well-known actor duo, married since 1995, told the JoongAng Ilbo they adopted a three-month old baby as their third child last month through the Social Welfare Society, a government-funded organization. The couple was inspired to adopt the baby girl, their second adopted child, while volunteering at the organization. Their new daughter’s name is Cha Ye-jin.
“We thought it would be easier this time as we have adopted before,” Cha said. “But we were still nervous the day before we picked up Ye-jin.”
Shin, 39, had been interested in adoption even before she married Cha, 41. After she and Cha had their first biological child, a boy named Jung-min, now age 11, the couple adopted their first daughter, Ye-eun, now age 4, in 2005.
The couple named their children Ye-eun and Ye-jin, which mean “blessing” and “truth of Jesus,” respectively.
“I always envied families with sisters,” Shin said. “I think children won’t be lonely if they are raised together. Therefore, I decided to give Ye-eun a sister. When I imagine how Ye-jin will give us more pleasure and happiness, I feel so good.”
The couple’s initiative to adopt is surprising to some Korean people. In Korean culture, blood ties are seen as very important, so few Koreans choose to adopt. Thus, Korea has been nicknamed a “baby exporter” for sending so many orphans abroad. According to a recent report released by the Social Welfare Society, there were only 1,332 domestic adoptions in 2006, while 2,101 Korean children were adopted overseas.
“I once read in a book that it is better to adopt than to give birth,” Shin said. “We are so pleased to have adopted two children. This is all we want for now.”
The couple has promoted adoption in Korea and even won a presidential commendation for their charity work. Along with working with the Social Welfare Society, Cha and Shin currently support 27 children living in developing countries as Ambassadors for Compassion, a group that promotes children’s rights around the world.
The couple also contributes in philanthropy; they donate a part of their proceeds from appearing in television commercials to various charities.
By Hong Hye-jin JoongAng Ilbo [firstname.lastname@example.org]