This week, I’m blogging from Seoul.
And I have a question for you: What does family preservation work have to do with adoption?
To answer, let me tell you about my trip.
Why I’m in Seoul …
WACAP’s Vice President of Adoptions, Mary Moo, and I have traveled here at the invitation of Holt Korea in celebration of its 60th anniversary of work in this great country. (Holt is an organization that supports children’s welfare in Korea, coordinating foster care and many international adoptions as part of its work.)
As you may know, WACAP’s origins are closely tied with Korea, as our founding group of adoptive parents had all adopted Korean children.
Mary and I are here with other U.S. adoption agencies as well as new friends from agencies in Luxembourg, France and Norway. Our shared meals have brought such a great variety of culture and perspective.
Before International Adoption
Today, we visited an office of Holt Korea outside of the city, in Suwon. It’s an interesting thing, this international adoption work. So much of what we do happens after other avenues for permanency have been exhausted.
Before international adoption is pursued, the following should always be ruled out as possibilities:
- Keeping children with their families of origin, whenever possible
- Placement with relatives, and
- Adoption within the child’s birth country.
Holt is a leader in this work, and among the Holt programs that we saw today was a child care facility for working parents in the community – vital for any family to remain strong.
Standing With Families
If you’ve visited orphanages before, you know it’s painful. When you leave after your visit, you typically bring sorrow along with you, knowing that the children you’ve just met must continue their wait. Today, though, we met children who will go home to their parent(s), feeling secure and loved.
We also met single moms who are working to parent their children, and Holt is standing with them to make that possible. Though some choose to make an adoption plan for their babies (many of whom are then adopted by Korean families!), some are parenting.
These brave moms now have Holt helping them as they do so, and their children are reaping the benefits. I’m so proud that we work alongside an organization like Holt that that sees the value of standing with these families.
Before the Day Is Over, Reflections
Some takeaways from the day, for me:
- Adoption by strangers, especially those living in another country, should always be a last resort for children.
- With that said, adoption remains a vital, urgent need for children across the globe. This is a wonderful, life-changing option for many, many children who desperately need a permanent family. Adoption is not a second rate solution.
- This country, this culture, these children are beautiful. They are creative and proud. They are charming, and so kind. To all WACAP families who have adopted or who are currently adopting from Korea, I get it.
If you would like to learn more about adopting a child from Korea, visit www.wacap.org or call 800-732-1887. We’d love to tell you about them!
About WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.