On March 3, 2015, the aspiring documentary, The Drop Box, was internationally released to reveal an underlying issue in certain parts of the world. The film surrounds the stigma of adoption in countries like South Korea.
In South Korea, the government requires mothers to register their newborn babies. However, for underage mothers or for those who had the baby out of wedlock, registering their babies is strongly viewed as shameful and dishonorable for their entire families. Therefore, the desperate parents believe that they have no choice but to either leave the baby in an adoption center or completely abandon it. Some parents also give up their unwanted babies because they have disabilities, such as down syndrome or neurological disorders, as the parents believe that they’re not mentally or financially stable enough to care for the baby’s needs.
For a tradition that originated in Finland, the baby box is a last resort, but it is also a safe alternative that allows the infants to receive proper medical and emotional attention in a welcoming environment.
In Seoul, South Korea, a pastor has taken on his mission by God to serve as someone who will take care of these abandoned children. Lee Jong-rak, the creator of the baby box in South Korea, stated that the box would “prevent women from killing their babies and stop children from dying on the streets after being abandoned.”
In 2009 alone, 383 children were placed in the baby box. They stay for a week in the pastor’s home and are moved to an orphanage that can meet their medical needs.
This issue is very important for parents because studies have shown that the baby box has decreased the infant mortality rates in other countries like Finland. South Korea should pass a law that prevents child abandonment, or establish changes in culture to get rid of the stigma surrounding the babies and adoption.