Korea, US to discuss int'l adoption rules
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- A senior U.S. envoy on children's issues will travel to Korea later this week for consultations on Seoul's long-overdue entry into an international treaty on adoption, officials here said Monday.
Amb. Susan Jacobs, the special advisor for children's issues at the State Department, is scheduled to visit Seoul from Wednesday to Friday.
"She will review Korea's plans to accede to the Hague Adoption Convention," an official at the department said.
Formally named the "Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption," it is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering and child trafficking.
It establishes protections for children, birth parents and adoptive parents while endorsing the concept of international adoption as a means for homeless children to receive permanent families.
The convention went into effect in 1995 and it has been ratified by 89 countries.
South Korea is not a signatory, making it one of the only two nations outside of the convention among the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, along with Japan.
"The issue of South Korea's possible entry into the convention is an issue of concern for the United States government," an informed diplomatic source said. "The South Korean government agrees to the need for it."
Indeed, South Korea has been pushing to join the convention, but the process has been slow as domestic law on adoption has to be modified to meet standards required by the convention.
"The upcoming trip to Korea by Amb. Jacobs is unlikely to lead to Korea's decision" on acceding to the convention, the source said.
Korea began sending children aboard for adoption in 1955, two years after the end of the Korean War.
Roughly 200,000 South Korean children have been adopted by families in foreign nations mainly through private institutions, according to data.