The Jusarang Community Church is also planning to build another facility to accommodate abandoned babies in Goyang, Gyeonggi, because it currently receives about 20 babies per month.
The new facility in Gunpo, however, has not been as warmly received by residents living nearby.
“Construction is being delayed because local residents are protesting,” said Jeong Yeong-ran, a missionary at the church. “They’re saying they don’t want unwed mothers to come here to give up their babies.”
Yet despite this growing trend, authorities have yet to take measures and say that leaving infants in the baby box may not actually be a crime.
“If babies are left in remote areas or life-threatening environments, then it is an illegal form of abandonment,” a police officer from Gwanak District said.
“But we aren’t actively cracking down on unwed mothers who abandon their babies in a baby box, because the law doesn’t clearly stipulate that leaving babies in open protection facilities, like the Jusarang Community Church, is illegal.”
Song Jun-heon, an official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, added that it would be difficult to mandate the shutdown of those services.
“It would be hard to make them shut down all baby boxes right away given that there are so many unwed mothers who can’t afford to raise their babies,” he said.
“When prejudice against single mothers diminishes and the social support system for them is strengthened, the number of people who turn to the baby box will naturally decrease.”
Adoption organizations, on the other hand, have taken a more hardline stance on the issue.
"The baby box neglects the rights of adoptees in knowing who their parents are,” said Shannon Heit, a 33-year-old Korean woman who was adopted in 1986 by an American family. “Babies may be abandoned in the baby box without the consent of their birth parents.”
Baby boxes need to be removed. Instead, single moms need to be supported. Help end the stigma!
The next ‘Single Mom’s Day’ in South Korea will be coming up soon. See here:
Please see the end of that link for groups that are helping to reform adoption and support unwed Korean mothers.Source: peaceshannon