Time to rethink adoptionA Korean baby girl was abandoned by her parents and then by her adoptive parents, too, making people feel deeply sorry for her, especially at this time of year when families gather to enjoy the holiday season. The baby Jade was adopted by a diplomat from The Netherlands and then abandoned last year. The story makes us think about the meaning of family and the responsibilities of parents.
When the husband was posted in Korea, the couple adopted the baby when she was four months old. The wife, who had been unable to become pregnant previously, later became pregnant and gave birth. Then the couple abandoned the Korean baby and handed her to a social welfare institution in Hong Kong.
Some people wanted to adopt the baby, but the procedure was difficult, so it was hard for the girl to find a new home. The poor child did nothing wrong. She just happened to have been born to the wrong parents.
The child grew up without knowing why she was left for adoption and soon she was abandoned again by the adoptive parents. As a foreign institute for adoption pointed out, an adopted child is not a returnable good, but a lifetime promise.
But the adoptive parents treated the child like a doll that people can hug when they feel lonely and discard when they get tired of it. That is a truly irresponsible act that deserves harsh condemnation.
International society, including The Netherlands, severely criticized the couple. But we Koreans cannot blame the couple because Korea has a shameful side ― it is the fourth largest “infant exporter” in the world. Recently, an increasing number of Korean people are adopting Korean children without families. Still, 60 percent of children without homes are adopted by foreign families.
This is mainly because of social prejudice against unmarried women who give birth and families who adopt. There is a lack of social welfare and counseling as well. The government has crafted measures to encourage Korean families to adopt Korean children, including sponsorship fees for adoption and subsidies for raising children. But the Korean obsession with bloodlines is too strong to change the prejudice against adoption.
Now is the time for us to think seriously about sending our children abroad to foreign homes.
It is shameful that we boast the world’s 11th-largest economy while countless Jades lose their Korean names, forget the Korean language and wander about in foreign lands.