Posted : 2011-06-30 17:54
Updated : 2011-06-30 17:54

New law to restrict adoption by foreigners

By Lee Tae-hoon

From July next year, foreigners will be restricted from adopting a Korean child, unless the government fails to find his or her foster family here.

Under the Special Law on Adoption and its Procedures passed the National Assembly Wednesday, the government will be responsible for reducing the number of babies and children adopted by parents abroad.

It will also be required to draw up measures necessary to make them remain in the care of a Korean family.

The law will take effect one year after promulgation, which is expected to take place within two weeks.

“It puts the top priority on the welfare of adopted children,” said Rep. Choi Young-hee, a lawmaker of the main opposition Democratic Party who proposed the bill.

She argued that those adopted abroad are more vulnerable to identity crisis and abuses by foster parents.

Critics, however, say that more children will be sent to orphanages or temporary shelters as a result of the measure.

Government statistics show that of 8,590 abandoned babies and children in need of care last year, only 1,462 were adopted domestically while 1,013 were taken home by foreigners.

The number of adopted children by foreigners has seen a decrease in the past few years since the government reduced the quota for overseas adoptions since 2007.

The number of children adopted abroad was 1,888 in 2006, but it nose dived to 1,264 in 2007, 1,250 in 2008 and 1,125 in 2009, according to the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.

The new legislation will also mandate parents get court approval before adopting abandoned children and adoption agencies to declassify information of their birth parents.

If the birth parents refuse to be identified, all information except for their personal details will be offered to those seeking to find out more about their origin and birthparents.

Government data show that 56.7 percent of birth parents gave permission to disclose their information when their children grow up, while the remainder demanded complete or partial confidentiality in 2009.

Thus far, those who have been adopted overseas have been restricted from accessing such information if their birth parents asked to remain anonymous.

The increase in the number of children adopted by parents in Korea has yet to offset the reduction, marking 1,332 in 2006, 1,388 in 2007, 1,306 in 2008 and 1,314 in 2009.

A recent ministry survey shows that of the 1,314 adoptive families in 2009, 40 percent of them had incomes below the national average.

The new legislation was enacted as part of government’s efforts to shed its notorious reputation as an “orphan exporter” and give more rights to adoptive children.
관련 한글 기사

내년 하반기부터 해외입양 사실상 금지

2012년 7월 중순부터는 외국인들이 한국인 아이들을 입양하기가 무척 힘들어질 전망이다.

해외 입양을 제한하는 ‘입양촉진 및 절차에 관한 특례법 전부개정법률안’이 지난 29일 국회 본회의를 통과했기 때문이다.

이 특별법은 국회통과 후 15일 이내에 공포되며, 공포 후 1년 이후부터 법적 효력을 발휘하게 된다.

개정안에 따르면 국가 및 지방자치단체는 입양의뢰 된 아동의 양친될 자를 국내에서 찾기 위한 시책을 최우선적으로 시행해야 한다. 또한 입양기관의 장은 보건복지부령으로 정하는 바에 따라 입양의뢰 된 아동의 양친을 국내에서 찾기 위한 조치를 하고 이를 관계기관의 장에게 보고하게 된다.

해외 입양은 이러한 모든 조취가 실패 했을 때만 가능하다 규정하고 있기 때문에 외국인의 한국인 아동 해외입양은 그 만큼 절차가 복잡하고 엄격해질 전망이다.

개정안은 또한 부모가 자녀 출생일로부터 일주일 이전에는 입양 동의 또는 결정을 못하도록 하는 ‘입양숙려제’와 함께 입양을 하려는 자는 소정의 요건을 갖추어 가정법원에 입양허가를 청구하도록 하는 ‘가정법원 허가제’를 도입했다.

이외에도 친부모가 정보공개에 동의하지 않더라도 인적사항을 제외한 모든 정보를 입양아에게 알려줄 의무조항을 추가했고 친생부모가 사망하거나 의료상의 목적 등 특별한 사유가 있는 경우 동의 없이 친부모님 인적사항을 포함한 입양정보를 공개하도록 조항을 포함하고 있다.

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