The government’s efforts to facilitate domestic adoption are not paying off as the number of cases has failedto increase strongly.
The number of adoptions was 1,462 in 2010, compared to 1,314 in 2009, 1,306 in 2008 and 1,388 in 2007, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The ministry has offered several perks to adoptive families including special days off for civil servant-parents, exemption of the 2 million won adoption commission, subsidization of childcare fees and more.
The authorities have reduced the quota for overseas adoptions, hoping more children could settle with domestic families. As a result, the number of overseas adoptions dropped 10 percent every year since 2007, with only about 900 children sent abroad last year.
A preference for females over males remains a problem.
The number of male adoptees marked around 400 but that of females doubled.
While the adoption of boys is taken more seriously in the conventional Korean family because of inheritance and continuation of the family line, girls, relatively free from these expectations, are perceived to fit easily into the family, insiders say. The perception that girls are less troublesome also contributes to the imbalance of sex in adoption, a ministry official said.
“It seems that people aren’t buying the adoption policies yet. But we understand: Having a new member in their families is not an easy decision,” a ministry official said.
“It is better for any children to be raised in a family than social facilities,” Hong Mi-kyung, PR manager of Holt Children’s Service, said.
“It’s time more people open their hearts to children in need of a better environment and life,” she added.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org)