I heart KWDI and KUMSN


Click on the link below for the papers (in Korean).


Interesting stuff from Page 20.

This shows that domestic adoption in Korea is really quite high and has outpaced overseas adoption for quite some time. (This is important to know for people who say that Koreans don’t adopt their own!) The reason why you haven’t seen that information before is because it has not been reported to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which is where the overseas adoption agencies are reporting and which is the ministry that people involved with overseas adoption rely on for stats. Here Dr. Lee Mi-jeong has added the private law stats along with the ministry stats. Check this out! (This is my unskillful translation again, so corrections are welcome.  To keep it straight who wrote what (me or Lee Mi-jeong from KWDI, I will set my own comments apart in purple. )

<Chart  Ⅰ-8> Private law almanac and health ministry’s yearly numbers on domestic and overseas adoptees

YEAR Number of Adoptees YEAR Number of Adoptees
private law / ministry private law / ministry
1981 5,388 3,267 1995 2,450 1,025
1982 5,722 3,298 1996 2,417 1,229
1983 4,012 3,004 1997 2,738 1,412
1984 4,350 3,000 1998 2,967 1,426
1985 3,713 2,855 1999 3,190 1,726
1986 3,897 2,854 2000 3,177 1,686
1987 3,580 2,382 2001 3,188 1,770
1988 3,678 2,324 2002 2,591 1,694
1989 3,723 1,872 2003 2,337 1,564
1990 2,866 1,647 2004 2,640 1,641
1991 3,051 1,241 2005 3,247 1,461
1992 3,601 1,190 2006 3,961 1,332
1993 4,909 1,154 2007 3,906 1,388
1994 3,324 1,207

Data: Office of Court Administration “Private Law Almanac” 1976-2009, ministry of health and welfare, Present total of adoption 2008.

Note: According to the 2005 revision of the civil law, the existing adoption system became separate from the 친 (real child) adoption system. This system was enforced according to the additional rule Jan. 1 2008. The 2008 private law almanac divides adoptees into 부통 (regular) adoption 입양특례 (special) adoption, and 친 real child adoption.

So there appear to be three kinds of domestic adoption that are recognized in Korea: Regular, special, and for lack of a better word, real. I need to figure out exactly what are the distinctions between the three.

Dr. Lee made a chart of her estimate of where kids born out of wedlock go every year.  You can look at the original on page 22. As you can see,  there is a certain number of kids born every year that we don’t know where they go!

category 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Ⓐ babies born outside marriage 10,017 11,021 11,779 12,185 11,447 9,112
Ⓑ birth statistic 7,259 8,304 8,799 9,272 8,748 6,290
Ⓒ unwed mothers’ baby who was adopted 2,758 2,717 2,980 2,913 2,699 2,822
Ⓓ  being raised by mom 651 727 789 829 790 638
Ⓔ UNCONFIRMED 6,608 7,577 8,010 8,443 7,958 5,652
category 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Ⓐbabies born outside marriage 7,278 7,766 8,338 9,246 9,192 8,892
Ⓑbirth statistic 4,196 4,428 4,716 5,540 5,330 5,184
Ⓒ unwed mothers’ baby who was adopted 3,082 3,338 3,622 3,706 3,862 3,708
Ⓓ being raised by mom 517 559 692 795 1,011 1,438
Ⓔ UNCONFIRMED CHILD 3,679 3,869 4,024 4,745 4,319 3,746
category 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Ⓐ babies born outside marriage 9,546 9,623 9,623 9,706 10,070 10,533
Ⓑ birth statistic 6,082 6,116 6,459 6,805 7,774 8,363
Ⓒ unwed mothers’ baby who was adopted 3,464 3,507 3,164 2,901 2,296 2,170
Ⓓ being raised by mom 2,038 2,553 3,050 3,077 3,192 3,339
Ⓔ UNCONFIRMED CHILD 4,044 3,563 3,409 3,728 4,582 5,024

Some people think that those kids must be “secretly” adopted.  It appears that secret adoption is not going through any kind of legal process, but simply written on the birth registration record that you can see on Dr. Lee’s page 12.The secret adoption would be the Korean horror story of “pregnant unwed mother walks in one door, gives birth; married couple walks in other door, takes baby home; unwed mother goes home alone; adoptee finds out in adulthood and commits suicide.”

Page 23:

Estimate by Year of  the Whereabouts of Unconfirmed Kids

Category 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Ⓔ unconfirmed kids 6,608 7,577 8,010 8,443 7,958 5,652
domestically adopted through court 2,568 3,061 4,227 2,791 2,043 2,010
foster care protection 999 1,212 943 927 505 727
facility protection 3,414 3,122 2,940 2,953 2,819 3,161
Category 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Ⓔ unconfirmed kids 3,679 3,869 4,024 4,745 4,319 3,746
domestically adopted through court 2,248 2,572 2,713 2,777 2,864 2,423
foster care protection 1,209 2,353 1,249 1,406 3,090 2,177
facility protection 3,917 5,112 4,683 4,453 6,274 4,663
Category 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Ⓔ unconfirmed kids 4,044 3,563 3,409 3,728 4,582 5,024
domestically adopted through court 2,198 2,562 3,154 3,890 3,853 4,034
foster care protection 2,392 2,212 2,322 3,101 3,378
facility protection 4,824 4,782 4,818 4,366 3,245

Data: The office of the court domestic adoption – private law almanac. Each year and foster care protection and facility protection – Ministry of Health Welfare and Family, Present adoption statistics, report on present child protection 2008.

Note: Out of the the ministry’s domestic adoption  numbers, 2.5%-3.8% can be estimated as registered as having gone through court administration to be registered as a domestic adoption. Outside of that, secret adoptions are not estimated.

주:보건복지가족부의 국내입양 건수 중 약 2.5%~3.8% 정도는 입양신고하여 법원행정처 국내입양 건수로 추계되나 그 외에는 비밀입양으로 추계되고 있지 않음. <– I couldn’t understand this sentence well. Help!

The numbers don’t add up so I suppose this reflects the fact that some children may be counted twice because they are in foster care or a facility and are later adopted. That’s my guess.  Well, this whole thing is an estimate anyway because the government doesn’t keep track of people well enough.

I think the only thing I can say here with 100% surety is that there needs to be better record-keeping in hospitals for birth registration and a more rigorous and honest way of tracking where children go so they don’t “disappear.”


5 responses to “I heart KWDI and KUMSN

  1. koreanwarbaby

    Thank you Jane, these are the charts that I came up with the same conclusions but did NOT have the complete translation. I have asked professors at KWDI to send me translation.

    It was the Unknown and Undetermined numbers that made me think something is up. One chart I think has the number of children in courts that were added to family hojeok (registry) and I noticed that it seemed three times the number of so Called Domestic adoptions (those through the Four adoption agencies).

    I think this is SMOKING GUN evidence. Do you remember how almost every expert on the panel said a version of “no one knows the number of CIVIL adoptions.”?

  2. koreanwarbaby

    Jane, this is from the Executive Summary of that MAY 2009 that was in English. This has some of the same charts but Feb. 21, 2010 did not have an English translation this time. It updated though couple of years data.

    THESE numbers are also what caught my eye:

    Domestic Adoption Reported in Court (2007)


    “KWB Notes: Domestic Adoptions reported in Court (2007) were 3853 – 1388 ( 1388 in 2007 were considered Domestic-processed through 4 Adoption Agencies) = 2465 What does this number represent, where did they come from? Is this related to the 3014 UNKNOWN?

    **Are these CIVIL Adoptions reported in Hojeok as natural births by Korean Adoptive Parents keeping the adoption SECRET?”


  3. What I want to know is if “친” 입양 = “비밀” 입양. In Dr. Lee’s paper she is talking in terms of three categories: 친 (real kid), 부통 (regular), 특례법 (special law), and 비밀 (secret). So “civil” adoptions I guess would cover three of those four categories. To really understand what is going on (and to understand their estimates on what nobody knows), I think we need to start using Korean terms. Otherwise it is just going to get translated to us in the easiest and most general way possible (“civil” = 민법) — and that’s why we’re always confused!! I think that “civil” covers the categories of real kid and regular, but it is unclear to me if “secret” falls under the law or is completely outside of it. I will ask the lawyer I teach English to.

    This is at least more interesting than reading a language school book! Thanks Don for keeping me on my toes, or I would never spend so much time doing this! (eyes falling out of head ….)

  4. Over 5,000 possible secret adoptions in 2008? Stunning.

    Now, how are these facilitated? I have a hard time believing 5,000 moms having babies born out of wedlock can find 5,000 couples so easily on their own, without some matching being done by someone. There would seem to be a black market connected with unwed mother’s homes or hospitals or both. I think this is called human trafficking…

    Also, that would mean 5,000 adoptive moms faking pregnancies. I wonder what the sales figures for prosthetic pregnancy wombs are?

    Not only is there the horror story you described, “The secret adoption would be the Korean horror story of “pregnant unwed mother walks in one door, gives birth; married couple walks in other door, takes baby home; unwed mother goes home alone; adoptee finds out in adulthood and commits suicide.”

    but there could also be the horror story of the unwed mother goes to deliver and thinks she is sending her baby to a well-monitored adoption program, but instead the baby gets handed to anybody who’s got the money and doesn’t want stretch marks, with no home study or any safeguards for the child. There is, of course, no way for her to be reassured about the fate of her child’s welfare because she doesn’t exist and the child she gave birth to doesn’t exist. She could be told any fabricated story. She could be told they are going to a rich family in America and then after the money is banked and the baby is taken away, it goes into a home with a history of domestic violence…the horror scenarios are endless.

    What gets me is – why bother to count the undocumented births at all? Oh yeah, somebody has to get paid to clean up the placenta and afterbirth mess…

    This is like some horror movie. It’s just sick.

  5. koreanwarbaby


    YES, YES, YES, to everything you say. The TRADE in babies is almost TWICE the recorded “domestic adoptions” done through the Four adoption agencies. I have been aware of these figures for a year and just couldn’t PROVE it.

    The Matchmaker or Jeong Mae is the one who does this but I believe that with internet it is easier to find the connection. Imagine being a woman who “THOUGHT her baby would go to a “rich white family” and she sees a young girl that looks exactly like her ex-boyfriend! I believe that most women DID not think that their babies would be given to KOREAN FAMILIES. In Seoul, there must be thousands of cases like this.

    This is what I have been trying to get some people to understand, the HORROR is worse than any of us thought.

    Can’t WE work together to stop THIS CRAP? And the KWDI clearly shows that in one ten year period it was 2% only TWO PERCENT that were not secretly done. Most of the older family members all know the dirty secret.

    Girl#4708 please send me a comment for my NewsWeek article for JUNE. I have deadline soon to expand, and invite your comments to be included. “What Korea should do?”

Thank you for visiting my blog. I no longer have time to update this blog regularly, but I appreciate your comments, even though I cannot respond to all of them. All comments (except spam) have been allowed to go through unmoderated since June 16, 2014. Any comments you see prior to that date have been read and approved by me. Thanks again, and wishing you peace and blessings.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s