[EDITORIALS]A Good Lesson on Adoption

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[EDITORIALS]A Good Lesson on Adoption

Charles King is not wealthy. He is an ordinary middle-class American citizen, working for Raytheon Aircraft Company and drawing an annual salary of $80,000. He works from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., and when he returns home, he pitches in for household chores.

In his 12-member family, six are disabled children with varying degrees of physical challenges. His wife cannot cope with them all, even if she makes do with only four hours of sleep a day.

Charles King resurrected Oh In-ho, deserted by Korean society, as Adam King. Charles King, despite the veneer of ordinariness, is different in that he has an endless love for humanity, rather than the typical Koreans' strong attachment to their blood family members.

Charles King's goodwill has put Korean society's ugly landscape under a glaring spotlight. Forty-seven years have passed since the end of the Korean War, and Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world. But Korea is still an orphan-exporting nation. Seventy-one percent of Korean adoptees since 1958 went to foreign families.

Long after war orphans disappeared, Korean society still abandons its children in droves. This is a country where child welfare homes accepted more than 8,800 children in 1998 alone. These children were abandoned after their parents divorced, deserted or given up by their unwed mothers.

To date, Korean society has merely frowned upon those who abandon their children for being a stumbling block in their lives. What Charles King has done reminds us that we should be ashamed of ourselves for simply criticizing such parents and yet not willing to take the common responsibility for taking care of these innocent children.

In other nations, orphanages are dwindling with the awareness that allowing children to grow up in welfare facilities amounts to child abuse. In Korean society, however, 18,000 children were in institutions in 1998. In the same year, only 1,426 children found homes in Korea and 2,251 in foreign countries.

These meager figures are a shame in the face of Charles King's good deed. Let us break away from blood-based family selfishness and participate in providing a home for these institutionalized children.
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