An increasing number of Korean parents have their children adopted by Americans working for the U.S. military to enroll them at American schools on army bases, according to parents and school staff. They say the number of adopted Korean students has recently risen at the Seoul American High School (SAHS), a Department of Defense (DoD) Dependent School at Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul. "Recently, I saw a sharp rise in the number of adopted Korean students coming to this school. Korean people are very clever, so they do whatever is necessary for the education of their children,'' said a 40-year-old mother of two children in the 9th and 10th grades at the school. "If you visit immigration agencies in Itaewon, you can find many Koreans trying to have their children adopted by foreigners for education,'' added the woman, who declined to be named. The school's students and teachers also admitted to the rise in the number of adopted students.
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Some immigration agents in Itaewon work as brokers between Korean parents and Americans.An immigration agent who has worked in the business since 1974 said many Koreans who have foreign relatives usually have their children adopted by uncles and aunts who hold foreign passports.``More than 90 percent of my customers wish to send their children to English-speaking schools. I handle three to nine cases per month,'' the agent said. He says he charges some two million won per case as commission.
He said fees parents pay to guardians differ widely. ``When not related to the guardian, the fee depends on how much the guardian requests. Usually, you need to pay step by step when you obtain either U.S. residency or citizenship.'' He said it could easily exceed 200 million won ($150,000).
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