His hard-won adoption by an American professor transformed Han Sang-man’s destiny from that of a North Korean street boy to a successful U.S. businessman with the means to help other refugees.I wish the U.S. would do more to help North Korean refugee families, not just unparented children.
His adoptive father, Arthur Schneider, took the orphaned Han under his wing while serving here in the aftermath of the Korean War. Schneider then lobbied the U.S. government to pass a special law that in 1961 legally allowed Han to live with him in America.
Now Sam Han ― as he became known on arriving in Minnesota aged 16 ― is fighting to give many more North Korean children the chance to find loving homes in the U.S.
The terminally ill charity founder is campaigning to have the North Korean Refugee Adoption Act of 2011 passed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
If passed, the bill would allow U.S. citizens to adopt North Korean children who have successfully fled Pyongyang’s oppressive regime, but are now living in poverty in third countries such as China.
Han said there were many willing families waiting to take them in, but the U.S. government must first help them overcome hurdles from the legality of the adoptions and mediating with third countries to transporting the children to the U.S.
“The Hague Treaty has a clause about Human Trafficking that does not allow U.S. citizens to adopt North Koreans because of North Korean Law,” he told The Korea Herald.
"What this law does is it forces several departments within the U.S. government to figure out a way for the legal adoption of North Korean orphans.”
Still hoping for change
1 day ago