‘Unpresidential’ remarksPresident Moon Jae-in’s comment on the controversial abuse and death of a toddler by her adopted parents during his New Year’s press conference caused an uproar. While explaining the options the government could consider on preventing such a tragedy for families of adoption, the president suggested the idea of allowing cancelation of the adoption or the changing of adopted children. The community site on the Blue House home page where civilians can post petitions was bombarded with attacks and outrage against Moon’s “referring to adoption as some kind of child shopping.”
Former lawmaker Yoo Seong-min lambasted that a child is not an item to be exchanged or refunded. Ahn Cheol-soo, head of the minor opposition People’s Party, denounced President Moon for causing an “irreparable injury on adopted children and their families.” The progressive Justice Party said in a statement that his comment was very inappropriate as it could create social prejudice on adoption.
A Blue House official explained that the president had meant to suggest a five to six-month foster care arrangement to build and examine familiarity between the child and adopted parents. It sounds quite different from what Moon said about the option of allowing the parent to find another child if they cannot get along with their earlier choice.
Regardless of the Blue House explanation, it is evident that Moon is not aware of the essence of the problem behind the tragic death of a toddler. He found fault with the after care of adoption rather than the serious issue of child abuse and negligence of duty by the police. Even if it does not like the opposition, the Blue House must pay heed to its argument that the case is related to child abuse, not adoption itself.
The public outrage at the police’s repeated ignorance of child abuse reports could blow over if the public finds the government impotent in countermeasures. The government must seek wisdom from various experts and adopted families to come up with the best possible solution to solve the problem.