In Korea, Domestic and International Adoption Live Side by Side


By Mary Moo, WACAP Vice President of Adoptions

Several years ago the Korean government made a difficult decision and upended the adoption procedure that had been in place for roughly half a century.  It was a bold change and one that caused ripples in the adoption community since in addition to solving some problems, it created new ones and added delays.

With a negative population growth the Korean government would love to discontinue intercountry adoption. During the past years many agencies have been upfront with potential adoptive families about the Korean government’s desire to stop intercountry adoption.  This narrative and the significant delays caused by the overhaul to the adoption process has been taken to heart by potential adoptive parents in the U.S. After all, the news about countries closing their doors to foreign adoptive parents is a good reason for potential adoptive parents to be cautious. The reality however is that the Korean government continues to approve American and European citizens to adopt Korean children who aren’t being adopted domestically. There were only three other countries that adopted more children to the US in 2016 (China, DRC and Ukraine). Yet many agencies have very few families, if any, waiting to be matched with a baby from Korea.

The Korean government and adoption agencies in Korea continue to promote and encourage domestic Korean families to consider adoption. Unfortunately, old customs are hard to change and domestic adoption remains very limited within Korea. While progress is slow in breaking down old cultural stigmas of adoption within Korea there are still children (largely babies) that can be adopted by U.S. Citizens. Agencies also see hope in the fact that the Korean government is in the process of implementing the Hague Treaty. We hope that in doing so the Korean government, while continuing to promote domestic adoption, has come to a tacit acceptance of international adoption in small numbers.

With this in mind if you are considering adoption and you qualify to adopt from Korea please consider adopting through this amazing country.  You and your future child will benefit from decades of thoughtful consideration of how to serve members of the adoption triad (adoptee, birth parents, adoptive parents).  The three agencies accredited by the Korean government to coordinate intercountry adoption (as well as their work with domestic families) all have developed foster care programs to provide the best care possible for babies and toddlers waiting to be adopted.  If you live in Washington, North Carolina, Alaska or Utah WACAP can assist you in adopting from Korea. If you live in the other states WACAP can assist you in adopting one of the Korean waiting children we are advocating for.


WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents) is one of the largest and most experienced international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agencies in the United States. Since 1976, we’ve placed over 10,000 children with loving adoptive parents and provided food, medical care and education to more than 200,000 children around the world.
This entry was posted in Adoption, Call to Action, International Adoption, Travel, WACAP, Waiting Children and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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