Increase of kids in the babybox, same number as always in the garbage | Tales of Wonderlost

by Luanne

Recently, both Kasey and I have posted here about the Korean babybox. A Korean-American adoptee living in Seoul writes the blog Tales of Wonderlost. Thanks to Kasey sharing this post, here’s what this blogger has to say about the subject:

Despite claims that the babybox saves lives, infanticides in Korea are continuing…

Abandonments had been going steadily down for three years before the babybox was created. After the babybox was created, abandonments have gone steadily up. In other words, the babybox encourages abandonment as a legitimate form of child welfare. Women may be pressured into abandoning their child this way by boyfriends or parents…

Despite the fact that there was a small, yet diminishing, child abandonment problem for years and the babybox was made in 2009, we heard nothing from the adoption agencies about this until 2012, when their business became more regulated by the Special Adoption Law.

We did hear about abandonment from the adoption agencies, however, less than two months after the law was implemented. It means that they and their supporters did not wait to see the effect of the law enforcement. Usually in public policy, you have to wait a year in order to evaluate an intervention. Instead, the adoption agencies and their supporters artificially announced that there was a crisis and then proceeded to create one. They have actually created the problem that they say they are trying to prevent. [by creating a media circus which has brought more and more attention to the babybox, making mothers think this is a viable option]

Abandonments have risen. This is true. However, abandonments did not rise in a statistically significant way directly following the implementation of the Special Adoption Law. They shot up after legislation was introduced to re-revise the Special Adoption Law and there was high media attention on the box. This began in January 2013.


Increase of kids in the babybox, same number as always in the garbage | Tales of Wonderlost.


Česky: Venkovní strana babyboxu

Česky: Venkovní strana babyboxu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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  1. I felt that the issue in your last post was more about the law than the box. Did you know that we have a similar concept in Virginia (and I’m sure elsewhere in the USA)? In my state, certain areas such as hospitals and fire stations are considered “safe havens” where mothers can leave their children without being accused of child abandonment. Similarly these children have no familial background available to them, but they can still be placed. I don’t hear the outcry about the baby boxes on our soul.

    Interesting as always. Thank you.

    • Polly, yes, there are lots of Safe Haven laws in many states. In fact, I just looked it up and happened to read something interesting on Wikipedia, of all places. I guess in some states they are called “Baby Moses laws.” Well, one of the important parts of the Moses story is the connection he felt to his birth family once he was in reunion. Ironically, that wasn’t taken away from him forever. However, I will say that knowing your roots certain does not trump being allowed to live in safety and health.

  2. I have such mixed feelings about baby boxes, as I’ve mentioned before. However, Safe Haven is controversial as well, polwygle. There have been several reports that Safe Haven doesn’t actually make babies safer, and that it’s unfair (to put it mildly) to adoptees. A few years ago, there was a famous case in one state when a mom “Safe Havened” her teenager. The state didn’t have an age limit on its law.
    It’s all a lot more difficult than it seems.

    • Robyn, that’s crazy about using “Safe Haven” for anything but new babies. But then why? Why is it ok for babies and not for kids? Ugh, it gets murkier and murkier. Probably because this is a problem with no good solution.

  3. Hmm I see what you mean, it becomes a legitimate option somehow. That’s sad!

  4. That’s crazy – I can’t believe that’s a real thing.

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