New rules for domestic adoptions

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New rules for domestic adoptions

The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced yesterday new adoption procedures, which include a seven-day consideration period to prevent babies from being given away hastily and new background checks on people applying to adopt them.

According to ministry, a revision was made to a law on adoption procedures last August to strengthen management and oversight of the procedures.

The new rules will take effect from this August. The seven-day consideration period will force biological parents to wait a week before signing over a baby for adoption. Most parents who give away their children for adoption, especially single mothers, tend to make the decision right after giving birth. But the ministry said those parents aren’t fully informed of what aid or benefits they can receive for raising their own babies. The seven days will prevent a hasty decision and give time for the parents to learn the benefits available, the ministry said.

And under the new rules, adoption agencies will have to check adoptive parents’ police records for child abuse or sexual violence. Currently, only home inspections of adoptive parents are required. Background checks of adoptive parents for criminal offenses are not allowed.

In an attempt to encourage more adoption within Korea, adoption agencies will have to look for an adoptive family for a baby within Korea for five months before allowing a foreign couple to adopt the child, the ministry said.

Agencies will also have to keep track of the adoptee and check how he or she is adapting to the new family for a year and provide counseling if necessary. Under the new rules, adopting parents will have to take courses on adoption from the agencies.


By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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