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Publication Date : 28-01-2013
South Korea sent the fourth largest number of adoptees to the United States in 2012 for the second consecutive year, even though the number has been on the decline since 2005.
US parents adopted 627 Korean babies or children, taking up 7.2 per cent among the total of 8,668 international adoptees to the US, according to 2012 US Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption released by the Department of State last Thursday.
China sent 2,589 children, the largest number, to the US, followed by Ethiopia with 1,568, and Russia with 748.
The overall intercountry adoption by American families, in the meantime, declined last year, with the number reaching the lowest since 1994, when 23,000 adoptions took place.
The number of Korean babies being adopted by American parents also continued to decline from 1,628 cases in 2005 to 1,064 in 2008, 865 in 2010, and 736 in 2011.
Calls for stricter adoption policies escalated in Korea recently following a case involving an American couple in Chicago who allegedly brought a 10-day old baby last June without the proper legal process. The couple is currently standing trial.
As part of the strengthened regulations, a law went into effect in Korea last August obligating biological mothers to register their newborn babies on their family registries, but reactions have been mixed.
Those campaigning against reckless adoptions hailed the law saying it can help biological parents feel a better sense of responsibility and that the babies who are sent for adoption can find their parents more easily when they are grown up.
Some others, however, expressed concern that the law may prompt more mothers from unwanted pregnancies to abandon their babies due to the prolonged legal process required by the law.
South Korea is preparing to join the Hague Convention on international adoption, a treaty that sets ethical standards for adopting children from overseas.