While the rate at which South Korean babies are adopted abroad in the last 50-odd years has steeply declined, it’s still a relatively common practice. I’ve often heard from Koreans that most people simply don’t want to adopt and thus international adoptions are still needed. But scholar E.J. Graff and others are now calling the international adoption industry one driven primarily by money rather than genuine need — and says many of the kids are not orphans at all. This article touches only briefly on Korea but still makes for a pretty interesting read.
There are simply not enough healthy, adoptable infants to meet Western demand—and there’s too much Western money in search of children. As a result, many international adoption agencies work not to find homes for needy children but to find children for Western homes.
Many adoption agencies and adoptive parents passionately insist that crooked practices are not systemic, but tragic, isolated cases. Arrest the bad guys, they say, but let the “good” adoptions continue. However, remove cash from the adoption chain, and, outside of China, the number of healthy babies needing Western homes all but disappears.
As I recall there were suggestions that Olympic skiier Toby Dawson’s adoption agency behaved improperly.