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South Korean Court Orders Officials to Compensate Adopters Over Misadoptions to the U.S.

Seoul – A South Korean court on Tuesday ordered the country’s largest adoption agency to pay 100 million won ($74,700) in damages to a 48-year-old man for mishandling an adoption to the United States. . The man faced legal trouble in the United States after surviving. He was abused as a child until he was deported in 2016.

But the Seoul Central District Court has held South Korea responsible for creating an aggressive, profit-driven adoption industry that inadvertently separated thousands of children from their families during the child export frenzy of the 1970s. dismissed Adam Klapser’s accusations against the government. in her 80’s.

The civil lawsuit, which has been on trial for more than four years, is the first time a South Korean adoptee has sued the South Korean government and a domestic adoption agency over fraudulent documentation and failure to pass the examination.

Holt Children’s Services, which adopted Kupser to his American parents in 1979, and South Korea’s Ministry of Justice, which is representing the government in the lawsuit, did not immediately comment.

When Judge Park Jung-min read out the ruling, he did not elaborate on why the court refused to hold the government accountable. Clapser’s attorneys said they would review the full verdict, which the court did not immediately release, before deciding whether to appeal.

“We would like to express our deepest regrets,” said Kim Soo-jung, one of Clapser’s lawyers.

“[The government]knew that children taken for adoption were not[adequately]protected and that their human rights were being violated. Something should have been done about it. And they didn’t … The courts appear to have viewed the government merely as a watchdog and not as the entity directly committing the offense.”

Clapser, who left South Korea last year and now lives in Mexico, did not attend the sentencing.

It remains to be seen whether Clapser’s case will spur further lawsuits by adoptees. Adopters are increasingly vocal in criticizing past corruption in South Korea’s adoption practices. Adopters have caused an unknown number of illegitimate family separations and adoptions. Thousands of people have been prevented from reconnecting with their roots.

Tuesday’s ruling comes months after hundreds of South Korean adoptees from Europe and North America asked South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the adoption situation. They claim their status and identity were washed to facilitate illegitimate adoptions.

The Commission has launched an investigation into dozens of these applications More cases are likely to emerge in the coming months, as it conducts the most extensive investigation yet into foreign adoptions in South Korea.

Although the commission’s potential findings may enable more adopted children to sue government agencies and governments, South Korean civil courts place the full burden of proof on plaintiffs. Otherwise, litigation would be difficult, as plaintiffs often lack information and resources.

Clapser, who was named Shin Sung-hyuk by his Korean mother, had sought 200,000 won ($149,000) in damages from the South Korean government and Holt. In his lawsuit, filed in 2019, the defendants manipulated his paperwork and employed inadequate background checks that failed to weed out an abusive adoptee to determine whether he obtained U.S. citizenship. I’m accusing you of not keeping track of what.

The government and Holt have described Mr. Clapser’s plight as unfortunate, but have denied any legal wrongdoing and confirmed that his adoption was procedural, ensuring that he obtains U.S. citizenship. He said it was the U.S. adoptee’s responsibility, not theirs, to do so.

Mr. Clapser’s lawyers say his lawsuit is a testament to how South Korea drained its most vulnerable citizens from an adoption industry that, at its height, sent thousands of children abroad each year to meet Western demands. failing to do so, and revealing how often those adoptions amounted to “child trafficking.”

Mr. Clapser has revealed plans for a lawsuit. Interview with Associated Press in 2019In it, after being abused and abandoned by two different sets of American parents, he was deported as a result of breaking the law when none of his guardians filed a citizenship application on his behalf. Stated.

Forcibly separated from his wife, children and friends at the time in the United States, Clapther, 40 years after being sent to his first adoptees in Michigan at the age of three, is suffering from severe anxiety in South Korea. He said he suffered from depression. .

“We definitely didn’t win the lottery,” Clapser said of the two American families. After flying out of South Korea, he and his sister were first sent to an abusive couple in 1979. Seven years later, the couple abandoned their brothers and were later separated into foster care.

Clapser was placed in several foster homes and group homes until he was 12 years old when he found himself with Thomas and Dolly Clapser. The Oregon couple reportedly banged their children’s heads against walls, hit them with kitchen utensils, and burned them with hot objects.

In 1991, the couple were arrested on child physical abuse, sexual abuse, and rape charges. They were reportedly convicted in 1992 of multiple criminal abuse and assault charges. Clapser, who was kicked out of his parents’ home after an argument, later pleaded guilty to burglary, saying he broke into his home to retrieve a Korean Bible and a stuffed dog he had brought with him from a Korean orphanage. He was later convicted of illegal possession of a firearm and assault.

Mr. Klapser thought he had opened a barber shop and upholstery shop and started a family around the corner until his green card application led to a background check and deportation papers in 2015.

About 200,000 South Koreans have been adopted abroad in the past 60 years, most of them by white families in the West, making them the world’s largest diaspora today. In 1979, when Clapser arrived in the United States, more than 4,000 Korean children were sent abroad.

Korea’s foreign adoption boom from the late 1970s to the 1980s military dictatorship in Seoul at the time, It focused on economic growth and reducing the number of feeding mouths.

Adoption agencies are governed by board members who are close to military leaders, and in a race to send more adopted children out of the country, they have been involved in aggressive child-collection campaigns and falsifying documents to manipulate children’s origins. was notorious for

South Korea only required foreign adoptions to be reviewed by family courts in 2013, ending the decades-old practice of allowing private agencies to transfer custody across borders. rice field.

Klapser was easily identified and located despite having Korean relatives, and was abandoned on paper even though he could have been easily adopted under U.S. law. He was one of thousands of Korean adopted children listed as orphans.

Clapser’s biological mother, Kwon Pil-ju, told the Associated Press that she was single, disabled, destitute and feared of starving, which ultimately led to the decision to let Clapser and her sister go.

Crapser’s lawsuit alleges that he allowed a for-profit agency to manage adoptions that operate on fees collected from foreign parents, and that he allowed foreigners to conduct adoptions without actually coming to South Korea. It said the government was responsible for what it did and blamed it for failing to meet the criteria. He has abusive parents.

His lawsuit also highlights the precarious legal status of many Korean adopted children in the United States, whose parents may have failed to obtain citizenship. If you have a criminal record, you could be at risk of deportation.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2023/05/16/court-orders-south-korean-agency-to-compensate-adoptee-over-his-mishandled-adoption-to-us/ South Korean Court Orders Officials to Compensate Adopters Over Misadoptions to the U.S.

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