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[Random thoughts] Forsaken kids

Posted March. 29, 2001 12:43,   


Last year, the Holt Children`s Welfare Foundation arranged the adoption of 1,592 Korean children -- 1,062 were adopted by families overseas and only 527 adopted to families here. In-country adoption is less than half the foreign adoption. Records of adopting premature babies and other handicapped infants put us to all the more shame. Foreigners adopted 423 such handicapped children while few of them found their way into local families. Social workers taking care of these poor kids say only some healthy children have the fortune to get adopted locally.

Handicapped infants have greater difficulty than the rest in finding adoptive parents even in other countries. Non-disable kids usually get adopted in five or six months but handicapped children are kept waiting in institutions for one or two years without the benefit of proper medical attention. Only timely care for these kids with congenital disorders will help them stand on their own when they grow up. Most of our mentally or physically challenged children have no opportunity to receive timely and proper treatment.

Adam King, 9, who was invited to throw out the first pitch at the opening game of the Korean baseball season at Chamshil Ballpark on Apr. 5, became the third adopted son of an American couple when he was four years old. This cute but seriously handicapped kid was abandoned by his Korean parents, who grew to be a bright and active boy thanks to the devoted and loving care of his American parents. Another of his brothers, 8-year-old Peter, was also a young Korean abandoned by his compatriots. He was born in December 1992 to mentally retarded parents who were in no position to raise him and had to turn him over to the Holt orphanage.

Since the middle of the 1990s, the government has pursued a policy to reduce the adoption of Korean children to foreign countries by 5 percent a year. Declining sexual morals produce more and more unwanted births and deserted children every year. But the number of foundlings adopted within the country is very limited and is unlikely to grow soon. Mr. King (parent of Adam and Peter King), who with his wife has as many as eight adopted children, including six handicapped kids, said in an interview with a vernacular daily last October: ``I followed God as he led me. Handicapped youngsters are in need of more loving care. I cannot understand Koreans who are ready to abandon them and loath to adopt them.``

Nam Chan-Soon, editorial writer