Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Korean Adoption

2nd seminar series.

The seminar series Adoption Research in Korea will run on Zoom in the spring of 2021 with four presentations by Korean scholars working on adoption. Each speaker will discuss one of their ongoing projects, collectively shedding light on the current state of adoption research in Korea. 

April 14, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Pilsik Shin, Ph.D. in Gender Studies (Seoul National University)

History of 5 Generations of Overseas Korean Adoptees and Adoption Policy from 1953 to 2021

Pilsik Shin recently received his Ph.D. in Gender Studies from Seoul National University (2020). He is the first ever male to do so. Dr. Shin

has written on unwed mothers and adoption history and continues to support and advocate for the rights of those impacted by adoption.

Zoom registration link.

April 28, 2021 - 7pm (KST):

Helen Noh, Department of Social Welfare, Soongsil University

Korean Adoption Practice: Current Status and Issues

Helen Noh is a professor at School of Social Welfare, Soongsil University and is currently serving Dean of the College of Social Science. She

received her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Noh specializes in child welfare and has authored

and translated several textbooks on child welfare and solution focused practice. 

Zoom registration link.

May 12th, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Rami So, School of Law, Seoul National University

Legal History of Korean Adoption

Rami So is a clinical professor at Seoul National University School of Law.  She received her LL.M. from Pennsylvania State University and

focuses on human rights cases, including adoption and child abuse. 

Zoom registration link.

KAARN Summer Workshop

Inaugural workshop

Roundtable discussions featuring speakers from the first two seminar series. 

KAARN Work-in-Progress Seminar

Forum for graduate students to present their work-in-progress. 

The Right to Origin

Inaugural seminar series. 


The seminar series The Right to Origin will run on Zoom in January and February 2021 with three presentations by adoption scholars. Each speaker will discuss the concept of the right to origin and examine the broader social, legal and political implications in South Korea as a sending country along with experiences from North America and Europe as receiving countries. 

Registration required for participation (links below). 

Download poster.

January 27, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Dr. Alice Diver, Liverpool John Moores University: 

The right to identify one’s ancestors: why the notion of ‘limping parentage’ is increasingly relevant to origin deprivation

Dr. Alice Diver is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Liverpool John Moores University, England, U.K. She is a closed records, adoptee from Quebec (of indigenous descent) and the author of A Law of Blood-ties: The Right to Access Genetic Ancestry (Springer, 2013). Formerly a Solicitor in private practice (Northern Ireland), she has been lecturing in law since 1993, focusing mainly upon Family Law and Human Rights. She has published extensively on the subject of origin deprivation and the loss of genetic connection, in journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers.

Read Diver's abstract here.

Zoom registration link

A recording of the seminar is available here.

February 10, 2021 - 9am (KST)

Prof. David M. Smolin, Cumberland School of Law: 

The Case for Moratoria on Intercountry Adoption

David Smolin is the Harwell G. Davis Professor of Constitutional Law, and Director, Center for Children, Law, and Ethics, at Cumberland

Law School, Samford University. He has served as an independent expert for the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)

on intercountry adoption issues, and has served as an external expert for the International Reference Centre for the rights of children

deprived of their family, of the International Social Service (ISS/IRC), on issues related to children’s rights, adoption, and surrogacy.   

He is a member of the core expert group that developed the Verona Principles on international standards for surrogacy.   He also serves

on the Ethics Committee at Children’s (Hospital) of Alabama. He teaches in the areas of constitutional law, bioethics and law, family

and juvenile law, children’s rights, and criminal law and procedure. Many of his publications are available for free download, with over 80,000 downloads.  He received the Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award from the St. John’s University Adoption Initiative in 2014.   

He has presented internationally at the Second International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies in Seoul, South Korea; the 2010

and 2015 Hague Special Commissions on the Practical Operation of the Hague Adoption Convention; the 2014 International Forum

on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy at the International Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, Netherlands; the State

Supreme Court of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and the NALSAR University of Law, in Andhra Pradesh, India. He has worked together with his

wife, Desiree Smolin, on analysis and reform of adoption systems and practices, and sometimes contributes to the adoption blog she co-founded. 

Zoom registration link.

A recording of the seminar is available here.

February 24, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Pill Kyu Hwang, GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation:

History of Monitoring the Adoption Process in Korea: From Hyun So to Jeong In

Pill Kyu Hwang is a lawyer with the GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation and Adjunct Professor at the School of Law, Seoul National University where he is in charge of the International Human Rights Clinic. He has actively supported the rights of adoptees and natural

families for decades and was part of the official investigation team into the death of Korean American adoptee Hyun So. More recently he

has worked on cases including the bereaved families from the Sewol ferry disaster, survivors of the deadly humidifier sterilizer

scandal and refugees in Chejo-do Island.

Zoom registration link.