The first trial on adoptive parents of a toddler named Jeong-in who died due to child abuse was held on Wednesday. As the old pictures of Jung-in where she smiled brightly were made public, the public’s rage has become bigger than ever. Under such circumstances, however, some are affected unexpectedly by the incident. As the fact that adoptive parents abused the toddler garnered attention, social prejudice against adoption itself is growing.
Some may not believe but adoptive families are already feeling the heavy impact. “I’ve never felt so small for being an adoptive family,” said adoptive parent surnamed Jeong.
The Korean Adoptive Families Alliance (KAFA) released a letter of plea asking to stop the poor treatment of adoptive families on January 7. “A growing number of future adoptive parents are holding off adoption due to societal criticism and other family members’ opposition,” said the head of the alliance Oh Chang-Hwa. “If such prejudice spreads, a serious gap in adoption will be created as more and more children require adoption.”
The reality of adoption should be seen separately from the rage against Jeong-in’s adoptive parents. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, there were only 94 cases by adoptive parents among 30,045 child abuse cases in 2019, which is about 0.3 percent of all child abuse cases. The ones committed by biological parents accounted for 72.3 percent.
In fact, it was adoptive parents who felt more emotional pain about the incident. “It didn’t feel like somebody else’s issue. Adoptive parents feel as if Jeong-in could’ve been their kid. It is very frustrating and upsetting,” said an adoptive parent of three surnamed Shin.
The incident, of course, should serve as a reminder to reinforce a meticulous verification and support during the process of adoption and afterward. However, this should be not be seen as a fundamental solution to stop child abuse. It should not be forgotten that adoption is a lofty decision to bring life to not only a kid but also a family as the head of the alliance said.