[OUTLOOK]A day to adopt a new approach

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[OUTLOOK]A day to adopt a new approach

Adoption Day was observed on May 11. May is a month of families and the date of the 11th signifies one adoptee for one family.
This is the result of efforts made by people who have been working to promote adoptions.
The key factor in adoption is love. People usually say adopted children are born from the parents’ hearts.
According to a biological study, plants grow better when they are cared for with love than when they are simply given water and nutrition.
This shows that, for the development of living creatures, psychological stability and love are much more important than basic needs.
There are many different types of love, but the most precious and beautiful one is the love of parents. Experts say that parents’ love is the biggest influence on the development of an individual’s personality.
Sadly, however, 10,000 children per year separate from their parents for a variety of reasons, and need new families. Adoption is the best social welfare service for these children.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on Protection of Children declare that all children have the right to have family ties.
These two conventions recommend that parents create a warm family environment in which children can grow while being loved.
Let’s look at our society’s reality. Only 15 percent of the children who need new homes are adopted inside the country.
Korean parents want only pretty and healthy girls when they adopt. More than 80 percent of the parents who wish to adopt a baby want girls.
It is nearly impossible to find new families inside the country for the babies who are disabled or in a slightly bad health condition.
Many people are expecting that our country will soon become an advanced nation. They believe this on the basis of the development of our economy, culture and democracy. But one thing is missing: an open-mindedness for adoption that matches our social and economic status.
In this regard, Adoption Day, which was commemorated first this year, is very meaningful.
This day can make people more interested in adoption and help them understand it better. Adoption Day can help parents when they are making decisions on adoption.
However, the establishment of Adoption Day does not necessarily mean our country will become a leading country right away in terms of adoption.
We can be a leading country on this matter when we promote children-oriented adoption programs and make efforts to remove legal, financial, social, and psychological barriers that have blocked the development of adoptions.
New education and social movements are required. The adoption reference in the current patriarchal family registry system needs to be abolished.
Sufficient financial support should be provided to families who adopt children. More incentives should be devised for the adoption of disabled children.
And adoptive parents should be allowed to leave work when new children arrive.
Our country can become an advanced one in the truest sense only when we adopt not only all the Korean children in need of a new family but also children of neighboring countries such as China, Mongolia and Vietnam.
We are standing at the starting point for this tough journey. We hope that through the first Adoption Day we can take the first step to becoming an advanced country.
This can be achieved through enhancing people’s awareness of adoption, removing the many barriers that have blocked adoptions and embracing even foreign children.

* The writer is the head of the Holt Children’s Services.

by Lee Jong-yoon
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