SWS is in need of adoptive families! Families who have recently submitted program packets have had reduced waits for a referral, so the overall timeline has gone down significantly in recent months. There have been many travel dates and new referrals recently for families in our South Korea program!  Read our family blog post about adopting from South Korea (twice!)

South Korea Adoption Overview

South Korea Program Sheet

Program Coordinator: Tania Griasnow

Children Available: Boys up to 12 months old at the time of referral.  Families returning for a second adoption through this program are eligible to be matched with a girl.

Parent Requirements: Married couples 25-44 years old, living in NC, SC, or VA.  See additional eligibility requirements below.

Travel Requirements: 2 trips lasting 1 week each.

Adoption Timeline:
2-3 months from submitting program packet to being matched with a child
Up to 11 months from being matched with a child to travel

More Details: South Korea Adoption with Carolina Adoption Services

About our South Korea Adoption Partner

Carolina Adoption Services networks with Family and Children’s Agency (FCA). Since 1982, Family and Children’s Agency has worked with the Korean Social Welfare Society (SWS) to place South Korean children with families.

About the Children

In most cases, adoption plans have been made by unmarried birth mothers who have relinquished their parental rights. The Korean Social Welfare Society (SWS) gives exceptional care to the birth mothers and children.

South Korean adoption law requires that children be available for domestic placement for up to 5 months before becoming available for international adoption. Koreans tend to request girls for adoption, leaving more boys available for adoption outside of Korea. Therefore, families adopting for the first time through this program will be matched with a boy.  Returning families may choose preference for a girl.

The children available for adoption are nurtured in private foster homes and receive regular medical attention of the highest quality. The adjustment of these children to their adoptive families has been outstanding.

About the Program and Process

Family and Children’s Agency and Carolina Adoption Services network together to make South Korean adoption available to families living in one of the three states where Carolina Adoption Services is licensed to provide home study services: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Families must reside in one of these three states for this adoption program.

Applicants must provide evidence of adequate educational preparation and complete a home study. Currently, the Social Welfare Society does not require a dossier. The home study and several other documents are submitted to SWS to assist them in matching a child to you. The wait to be matched is currently 2-3 months from the time the home study packet is sent to SWS but we estimate families may typically wait up to 12 months.

Once the Social Welfare Society matches you to a child, you’ll receive photos, a medical history and social history of the child selected for you.  Approximately 9-11 months after receiving a referral, families will travel to meet their child and attend court.  After a short waiting period, a ruling will be issued and the child will be eligible for a visa.  Families will travel to pick up their child about 4-10 weeks after returning from the first trip.

Parental Eligibility Requirements

The South Korean government and Social Welfare Society have established requirements of eligibility for prospective parents.  Requirements include:

  • Couples must be married for at least 3 years and there can be no more than one divorce per person.
  • Families can have no more than 4 children already in the home.
  • Both members of the couple must be between the ages of 25 and 44 years upon travel. SWS requires the visa for the child to be issued prior to either person in the couple turning 45 years old.
  • SWS requires a husband to be no more than 8 years older than his wife. A wife must be no more than 2 years older than her husband.
  • Specific health and/or emotional conditions, for applicants or children in the home, may exclude applicants.
  • Applicants must have no criminal record or other criminal history.
  • Parents cannot exceed a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 29.9. Please click here for the SWS BMI chart.
  • Residence Requirement: Applicants must be residents of North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia.
  • FCA does not allow gender preference (first adoption).

Please contact Tania Griasnow, Program Coordinator, for additional requirements or information.

South Korea Adoption Travel: What to Expect

Families will make 2 one-week-long trips 4-10 weeks apart.  Social Welfare Society is in Seoul, a very modern city much like New York City. Families are welcome to stay at the Social Welfare Society’s guest apartments, which were built specifically for adoptive parents.

Finalizing the Adoption

Adoptions are finalized in South Korea.  Children travel home on an IR-3 visa, allowing them to receive automatic Citizenship upon entering the United States.  Families are required to complete 6 post-placement visits with Carolina Adoption Services.  These reports and a copy of the Certificate of Citizenship must be sent to Korea to fulfill your post-placement obligations for your adoption.

South Korea Adoption: The Country

South Korea, or the Republic of Korea, is a democracy and has a population of over 45 million people. Its capital city is Seoul. Located on the Korean peninsula in Northeast Asia, South Korea is known for its natural and rugged beauty, including mountains, and beautiful islands along the coastline.

The beauty is reflected in Korean art and Korean people are proud of both their country and their rich culture. Buddhism, Shamanism, and Confucianism are the primary religions.

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jennifer testimonial

“We have been so happy with our experience with Carolina Adoption Services.  Given that international adoption is such a long process, CAS helped alleviate so much anxiety and nervousness by always keeping us updated on any new information and being prompt in their responses to questions that arose.  That’s a gift that we will always be thankful for and will look back on our “paperwork” side of our adoption as a positive experience.  Thank you, CAS!”
-Jennifer