At last: South Korea signs the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption went into effect in 1993. Since that time, approximately 90 countries have ratified the convention, which provides guidelines for the protection of children, including intercountry adoption.

On May 24, 2013, South Korea signed the Convention - certainly something to celebrate, but not to presume solves the ethical challenges that South Korea faces with its current intercountry adoption policies and practices.

On the plus side: The Convention requires its participants to respect the principle of subsidiarity. A recent Korea Times article by Jane Jeong Trenka and David Smolin for the Korea Times clarifies this principle and the challenges it presents South Korea:
First, the convention’s principle of subsidiarity dictates that the best choice for a child is to stay within his/her own family; the second choice is domestic adoption; and the last choice should be inter-country adoption. The government should prepare for ratification by expanding support for Korean single mothers through public transfer and also by enforcing child support by fathers. If the government does not do so, proponents of children’s rights and human rights will have an additional tool for seeking governmental accountability.
Stepping up to these requirements means that South Korea must now put its money where its mouth actually has barely been: into social services that will allow women to parent the children to whom they give birth. The ROK has put plenty of money into glitzy ad campaigns on behalf of intercountry adoption, but single parenting has been largely ignored in its efforts to reduce intercoungry adoptions. Hague Convention ratification will force South Korea to change this dynamic.

Read the Trenka-Smolin article, which clearly summarizes the positive impacts ratification of the Hague Convention will have in intercountry adoption from South Korea, as well as the challenges it will present. More here:

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