Adopting a Child from Korea FAQs

Things to know about Korean adoption

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Notice of Recent Developments, August 17, 2021

In mid-June, the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) announced that starting July 1, local government entities will counsel birth mothers and take relinquishments of children. After the relinquishment, the local government assigns the child to be cared for by one of the Korean adoption agencies.

Although this is a developing situation, children are entering ESWS’s care under the new process, and ESWS will make an adoption plan when needed. We anticipate that there could be delays in matching new families. We advise applicants to consider these risks and check with us about their situation before applying.

As the implementation of the new rules continues, we will keep you posted on any developments in the program. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Why Korean Adoption?

Adoptions from Korea have a well-deserved reputation for excellence. New Beginnings places children with the cooperation of Eastern Social Welfare Society in Korea. We have successfully operated our Korean program since our founding in 1985. Children receive excellent medical care, comparable to the United States, and their medical information is complete. Foster parents care for the children available for Korean adoption, where they receive the benefits of a nuclear family.  We are presently accepting applications for this program.  If you want to know more about the Korean Program, e-mail us or call us at 516-747-2204.

Children in Need of Adoption

Most of the children in need of adoption are boys, 16 months to two years old at placement. Korea does not allow gender preference. The information presented with the referral is detailed and complete, with growth charts and developmental progress. The referral packet also includes non-identifying background information on the birth parents. The children receive excellent medical attention with monthly well-checks.  Updated information and pictures are routinely available. We encourage adopting families to send letters and packages to the child during the process. We see occasional referrals of children with medical concerns, and it is common to see some degree of alcohol or tobacco exposure in the background. Families should be open to a child with minor correctable needs on a case-by-case basis.

Length of Time

Korean Heritage AdoptionsAdoptions from the Korean Program are taking around 17 – 24 months from start to finish. In measuring the length of time for adoption, the clock starts ticking when the home study is approved. Once you have completed your home study, New Beginnings will send the report to Korea. MOHW will match a child and send a referral, which could take eight or more months. From the acceptance, it takes six to ten months before you can bring your child home. During this time, you will receive regular updates, photos, and progress reports. For returning families and families that have previously adopted from Korea, we can often expedite the process. For the Steps in the Process, click here.

Travel is Required

Travel is required. Parents will take two trips, each lasting about 5 to 7 days. The first trip is to meet your child and appear before the Seoul Family Court for the adoption. The second trip is about four weeks later. This time you will bring your child home. Due to the pandemic, most families have opted to take one long trip lasting around 6-7 weeks due to mandatory quarantine requirements.  This is expected to normalize in the coming months.  You will finalize the adoption in Korea, and your child becomes a US citizen when he arrives in the United States. Korea is a modern, industrial nation. Western and American restaurants and amenities are readily available. While there, we strongly encourage our families to experience the wonderful cuisine and culture of Korea.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requirements are specific in Korea. Visit our Programs at a Glance page to quickly see all requirements and compare between programs.

  • Marital Status — Must be married a minimum of three years — no more than one divorce per spouse.
  • Age — Both spouses must be under the age of 45 at home study approval.
  • Age Waiver — Special permission will be given up to age 49, at home study approval, if one of the following conditions are met:
    • At least one parent is of Korean Heritage, or
    • One parent is a Korean adoptee, or
    • Parents already have adopted from Korea.
  • Weight — Both spouses must have a body mass index (BMI) under 30%.
  • Health — Both spouses must be in excellent health without major medical concerns. Medication or Counseling for a mental health condition would be a concern in Korea. Please contact us or submit a pre-application if you have specific questions about this.
  • Family Composition — There can be no more than four children in the family before the adopted child’s arrival.
  • Gender Preference — There is no gender preference, and more boys are placed each year than girls.
  • Arrest — If either parent has an arrest, please contact us or submit a pre-application. Most minor arrests would not be disqualifying.

Services in all States

We can provide adoption placement services in all states. New Beginnings will do the home study and adoption services for families that live in the states that we are licensed: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida. For families in other states, we will help you find a licensed home study agency in your state. If another ESWS agency is in your state of residence, we suggest you consider using them for the home study and placement services.

Is it Right for You?

Adopting from ChinaIf there is a preference to adopt a healthy toddler child, Korea is excellent. The children are in good health. At referral, you will receive a thorough medical report on the child and a social history of the birth parents. Photos and updates on your child come every month after that. There are also progress reports every three months until arrival. There are many more boys placed than girls, and gender preference is not permitted. The adoption process routinely goes smoothly. Korean adoption costs are higher than average, partially due to the two required trips. Regardless, Korea is an excellent program and one you should seriously consider.

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