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On top of that, rules were tightened so the unwanted children of unwed Korean mothers had to be registered before adoption.

Adopted children might want to trace their birth parents so registering full details seemed like a helpful measure.

And why should Korea depend on American parenting, particularly as South Korea became prosperous?

But the good intentions have led to unintended results: South Korean orphanages are now brimming with children who might previously have found a new life in a foreign family.

The problem is that adoption in Korea is taboo, so the gap left by the fall in foreign adoptions has not been filled by adoptive Korean parents.

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