South Korea has the distinction of the largest and now oldest group of international adoptees, sent mostly to the U.S., Western Europe, and Australia. Is it a bellwether of sorts that South Korea is now examining the records of those adoptees for falsehoods and inaccuracies?
According to an AP article today, “South Korean inquiry to look into 237 more foreign adoptions suspected to have laundered origins.” the South Korea Truth and Reconciliation Committee has agreed to investigate nearly 300 cases of “South Korean adoptees who suspect their family origins were manipulated to facilitate their adoptions in Europe and the United States.
More than 370 adoptees from Europe, North America and Australia filed applications last year demanding their cases be investigated.
When the commission said it would investigate the first 34 cases in December 2022, it said the records of many adoptees sent to the West had clearly been manipulated and falsely described them as orphans or faked their identities by borrowing the details of a third person.”
The article goes on to say that “Most (Korean adoptees) were placed with white parents in the United States and Europe during the 1970s and ’80s. South Korea was then ruled by a succession of military dictatorships, which were focused on economic growth and saw adoptions as a tool to reduce the number of mouths to feed, erase the “social problem” of unwed mothers and deepen ties with the democratic West.”
The description of South Korea could apply to the sending countries as well, of course. It will be interesting to see if, as is possible, South Korean adoptees bring legal action against their agencies or against the government as a result of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.