A growing number of South Korean parents are paying retired couples in the United States to adopt their children. The Korean parents say teaching their children English is a priority, as are other factors, including avoiding compulsory military service for young men and gaining the prestige of an American education.
One out of three South Korean parents are willing to send their children abroad for the sake of a better education, according to a study by the Center for Korean Education Development in Seoul, published in the Korea Times of Los Angeles. In the past, parents would ask relatives living in the United States to adopt their children, but more parents are now seeking out Caucasian families who are strangers to them.
The Korea Times told the story of a Korean woman in Los Angeles on a work visa and employed as a nurse. She wished to bring her two teenage children to the United States from South Korea and paid a retired American couple to adopt them.
In a report in the Chosun Daily in Seoul, a cosmetic surgeon wanted to send her second-grade daughter to America because she says the U.S. school system is better than the one in South Korea. She says her daughter often comes home late after studying extra hours at a hakwon, or private school, in Seoul.
South Korean children typically begin preparation for strict college entrance exams as early as grammar school. "When I see my daughter who is always tired from school, I really want her to get an American education," the surgeon said. "The only thing that works for the situation is to find someone who can adopt my daughter, and I'll pay all expenses for her for the future."