There have been many travel dates and new referrals recently for families in our Korea program!  Several families have now completed their adoptions under a new court and finalization process established recently in Korea.  Families report an enjoyable court experience, and children are now issued automatic citizenship when coming to the United States.

South Korea Adoption Overview

Program Sheet

Program Coordinator: Tania Griasnow

Children Available: Boys up to 2 years old at the time of arrival in the United States.  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:
Up to 15 months from submitting program packet to being matched with a child
Up to 9 months from being matched with a child to travel

More Details: Korea Adoption with Carolina Adoption Services

About our 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 Korean children in American homes.

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 Korean birth mothers and children.

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 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 Korea 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 up to 15 months from the time the home study packet is sent to SWS.

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.  About 9 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 3-4 weeks after returning from the first trip.

Parental Eligibility Requirements

The 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. SWS does not work with single applicants.
  • 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 to Korea. 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.
  • SWS requires parents to have at least a High School Diploma or a GED.
  • A history of any bankruptcies will exclude applicants.
  • Residence Requirement: Applicants must be residents of North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia.
  • FCA does not allow gender preference.
  • Korea does not allow concurrent adoptions.

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

Korea Adoption Travel: What to Expect

Parents will be invited to travel about 9-10 months after acceptance of a referral. Families will make 2 week-long trips 3-4 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 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 3 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.

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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