Erased Roots

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Dozens of South Korean adoptees who were sent to Danish parents in the 1970s and 1980s demanded the South Korean government investigate their adoptions, saying their adoptions were part of shady practices that falsified or obscured their origins, the Associated Press reported.

The case is related to 53 adoptees among some 9,000 received by Denmark from the 1960s to the late 1980s when South Korea was ruled by consecutive military governments.

The adoptees are demanding an official investigation on how scores of children were taken from their South Korean families amid loose government oversight.

Specifically, the probe would also target predatory profit-driven adoption agencies: These agencies registered many abandoned South Korean children as legal orphans, although they frequently had relatives who could have been easily identified and found.

The agencies aggressively sought infants and young children from hospitals and orphanages, frequently in exchange for monetary compensation. They also ran maternity homes where unmarried mothers were forced to give up their children.

South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has four months to decide whether to accept the request. If the commission accepts, it could trigger the most far-reaching inquiry into foreign adoptions in South Korea and be used by adoptees in possible lawsuits against the agencies or the government.

About 200,000 South Koreans were adopted abroad during the past 60 years, mainly to White parents in the US and Europe.

Many board members of the adoption agencies were close to South Korea’s military leaders, who saw adoption as a tool to lower the number of mouths to feed and remove socially undesirable individuals, including children from unmarried mothers.

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