A U.S. congressman introduced a bill Friday calling on his government to help American citizens adopt stateless and orphaned North Korean children adrift in other countries, according to Yonhap News.Stateless North Korean children in South Korea or other countries, even when unaccompanied by parents, are not necessarily orphans. Unaccompanied children are just that -- unaccompanied, not lacking a family. And establishing whether they are orphans or not would be extremely difficult, given lack of access to North Korea, where the children might well have parents and/or extended family. Trying to make them subjects of international adoption seems highly problematic.
Rep. Edward Royce (R-California) filed the bill, urging the U.S. government to "establish pilot programs that identify and provide for the immediate care of, and assist in the international adoption of, orphaned North Korean children living within South Korea" and surrounding countries, according to Young Kim, an aide to Royce.
Most North Korean refugees, fleeing poverty in the reclusive communist state, head to South Korea via neighboring China.
South Korea has received about 18,000 North Korean defectors since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War. The U.S. has taken in nearly 100 North Korean refugees since the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004.
And this sudden compassionate interest in North Korean orphans might come across as more sincere if we had taken in more than "nearly 100" North Korean refugees in the past 6 years. I'd bet if we brought more North Korean FAMILIES to the U.S., there would be fewer orphaned North Korean children living within South Korea. And if we "established pilot programs" to assist stateless North Korean FAMILIES in South Korea, not just North Korean orphans, there would also be fewer North Korean orphans. This bill looks more like a way to provide more children for Americans to adopt than some kind of compassionate outreach to North Korean refugees.