Baby Box is for the young parents who, unfortunately, are not able to raise their kids. It was introduced in December of 2009 in Korea. It is also called spirit box that places high value on new life. They can put their kid in this box. Most of the people that visit a Baby Box are young parents whom don’t have the ability to raise their kids. Instead, they choose to put their child up for adoption. A challenge for these young parents is that they must search for a Baby Box due to complicated laws and administrative procedures related to adoption. Most of the abandoned kids are moved around many child welfare institutions because the government has not figured out a desirable solution. In the end, they come out from this institution when they are 18-years-old. These people usually struggle after getting out from their facility and the government doesn’t try to solve this problem. In fact, they don’t even know how many kids are abandoned.
|▲ Baby Box installed by Community Church and placed in Gwanak-gu, Seoul|
The government provides 2,000,000 won to children welfare institutions per 1 baby. But most of the facilities for infants don’t want kids to be adopted since they can get more money if they raise them. According to Kim, who lately adopted a baby from this box, said, “There’s not many parents that recognize Baby Box.” Babies adopted from Seoul in this box only equated to about 22 in 2016 and 23 in 2017. Adopting newborn babies from the box is even easier than adopting a 1-year-old child from an orphanage. As for the ones who are not adopted, they are moved around multiple facilities and then come out to the cold society when they are 18-years-old.
According to Community Church, which has run this Baby Box from 2009 up to now, 1363 babies have been abandoned from 2009 to 2017.
|▲Graph for the number of abandoned children from 2010 to 2017|
What’s happening to these abandoned babies after they are found? Firstly, Community Church calls the police to let them know about the situation. Then, they are checked by a doctor. From there, the babies are sent to disability facilities or children welfare facilities, depending on whether they have any health issues. They register a birth date after going from region to region either through the Seoul or Gwanak-gu Office. There are limitations if only private enterprises can handle abandoned babies. Because of this problem, many countries such as Germany, the United States of America, and the Czech Republic, have been implementing a secret maternity system. This is a system where a pregnant woman is allowed to give birth to a baby anonymously due to social and economic reasons. There’re lots of voices requiring imposition of a secret maternity system in Korea, although it has been a problem as well. This is because of the Act on Special Cases Concerning Adoption. It is a law that requires all new babies being given birth records when they are born. In other words, babies who didn’t receive a birth record don’t have a chance to be adopted. There’re no type of punishments for both no birth registrations and late birth registrations. Therefore, the number of babies from the box is not calculated properly because dead babies are not included in the infant mortality rate since they didn’t receive a birth registration.
Moreover, Baby Box can create huge societal problems as well. Responding to this situation, Oh-shin whan, who is a member of the National Assembly, Bareun political party, said that he wants to expand support for pregnant woman. He already proposed a special bill for a secret maternity system. According to the proposed law, courts would manage all the information about biological parents if they give birth to a baby through this system. It is quite positive regarding becoming more of an accepting requirement from society. But there’re lots of problems left like, support for abandoned babies, managing child welfare facilities, and proposing a constitutional amendment for the complex process of adopting babies. Citizens must keep talking with the government in order to reach a collective solution.
by Park jun-ho, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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