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Since the 1970s, intercountry adoption has been exceedingly well managed by the South Korean government. Four government-run and licensed Korean child welfare agencies (Eastern Social Welfare Society, Social Welfare Society, Hold Children Services, and Korea Social Services) handle all international adoptions. American adoption agencies are required to work with these societies. Many professionals consider Korean adoptions a model for ethical practice.

South Korea is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for South Korea did not change.3

South Korea's law requires the use of an adoption agency for overseas adoption of Korean orphans, and it requires that such agencies must be authorized by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs authorizes the adoption agencies. They also establish the criteria for selecting adoptive parents. The criteria are administrative policy guidelines and not legal requirements. Local adoption agencies generally follow these guidelines. Prospective adoptive parents are required to work with an adoption agency approved by the South Korean Government.3


Unless otherwise noted content is from THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. Copyright 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.

3 US Department of State, South Korea Country Information, adoption.state.gov/country/south%20korea.html


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