Korea Adoption Background

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Situated on the Asian mainland, west of the islands of Japan, ancient Korea was a huge unified country that governed territories in Manchuria and Siberia and was renowned for having both the world's best silk and the world's best goldsmiths. The art of movable metal type was invented in Korea before 1232, long before Gutenberg printed his first bible in Europe. Koreans poetically refer to their homeland as “Choson” – “Land of the Morning Calm” – in homage to the beautifully peaceful scenery found in the mountains in the eastern part of the country.

Since the 1950s, when the Korean War occurred, the Korean peninsula has been divided into the communist country of North Korea and the capitalist country of South Korea. International adoption of children from South Korea began in 1955 when an Oregon farmer named Harry Holt was so moved by the plight of Korean War orphans that he and his wife, Bertha, adopted eight children from South Korea. The arrival of these children in Oregon received an enormous amount of attention from the press and prompted other people to adopt Korean children. Since then, about 200,000 South Korean children have been adopted internationally by families in America, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, and Luxembourg.


Today, South Korea remains a favorite choice for Americans pursuing international adoption. In 2004, 1,716 children from South Korea were adopted by American families. No dossier is required for international adoptions from South Korea, and travel is optional. The children available for adoption from South Korea are housed in foster homes, where they receive lots of warm, loving, one-on-one attention. Furthermore, South Korea’s medical system is world class and on a par with the medical standards of the U.S.

Credits: The International Adoption Guidebook, Mary M. Strickert

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