South Korean adoption agency owes Adam Crapser damages, court says


An earlier model of this text gave the inaccurate title for the adoption agency ordered by a Korean court to pay damages to an adoptee. It was Holt Children’s Services, not Holt International Children’s Services. The story additionally misspelled the title of certainly one of Adam Crapser’s adoptive dad and mom. Her title is Dolly Crapser, not Dollar Crapser. The article has been corrected.

SEOUL — When Shin Song-hyuk was 3 years outdated, he was despatched from South Korea to adoptive dad and mom within the United States, the place he would in the end develop into Adam Crapser.

That first couple relinquished him, and, after a journey via varied foster houses, a second couple, Thomas and Dolly Crapser, adopted him. But they abused him and their different adopted kids and had been later convicted of legal mistreatment and assault.

Despite all this, Crapser constructed a life for himself, opening a barbershop earlier than deciding to develop into a stay-at-home father. But that life was turned the other way up when he was deported to South Korea in 2016, after it was found that none of his adoptive dad and mom had obtained U.S. citizenship for him. Run-ins with the regulation — together with a housebreaking conviction after he broke into his dad and mom’ home to retrieve a Bible and rubber sneakers introduced from South Korea, and a conviction for illegal possession of a firearm — made him eligible for deportation.

The lapse could possibly be laid on the toes of many: both set of adoptive dad and mom, U.S. legal guidelines, or, in line with a South Korean court ruling this week, the adoption agency.

The Seoul Central District Court ordered Holt Children’s Services to pay Crapser about $75,000 in damages after he sued the agency and the South Korean authorities, alleging they had been accountable for his botched adoption.

The ruling is the primary such judicial reprimand of a South Korean adoption agency, and was seen by many within the adoptee rights neighborhood as a robust rebuke of the nation’s adoption business, which critics allege has lengthy been tainted by negligence and falsified information.

Specifics from the judgment weren’t instantly clear, though the court didn’t rule towards the South Korean authorities, which Crapser alleged created the circumstances that made a poorly regulated adoption business potential. The Justice Ministry didn’t return a request for remark.

Holt, the South Korean adoption agency, mentioned in an announcement that it was “difficult to comment on the position of the agency at this time” as a result of the total particulars of the ruling had not but been made obtainable. The agency was based in 1956 by an evangelical couple, Harry and Bertha Holt, who adopted eight Korean kids within the Nineteen Fifties and are largely credited — by teachers, proponents and critics — for beginning the wave of worldwide adoptions from South Korea and elsewhere.

Americans adopted this South Korean man when he was 3. Now 41, he’s being deported.

Kim Sujung, certainly one of Crapser’s legal professionals, mentioned in a information convention after the ruling that it was “extremely regrettable that the courts found no liability in a government that has managed, led, planned and approved illegal overseas adoptions.”

Hwang Joon-hyup, one other lawyer representing Crapser, mentioned that South Korea had “led the practice of foreign adoptions” by allowing adoption businesses to ship kids — students estimate the determine is almost 200,000 — away from the nation.

Speaking on an area radio program, he added that the federal government “was aware of the dangers overseas adoptees face when they fail to receive citizenship,” and may have adopted as much as affirm the youngsters had been correctly naturalized of their adoptive nations.

Hwang and Kim didn’t reply to requests for remark in time for publication. Crapser, who has spoken publicly in regards to the challenges of residing in South Korea after deportation — he didn’t communicate Korean when he arrived in his 40s — is reportedly residing in Mexico to be nearer to his household. He couldn’t be reached for remark.

Other adoptees have lately challenged the South Korean authorities and adoption businesses for alleged negligence in varied worldwide adoptions, starting from sloppy record-keeping to the intentional swapping of infants and their identities.

“The ruling is very encouraging and significant for adoptees because it proves that an agency like Holt can be held responsible,” mentioned a consultant for the Australia and United States Korean Rights Group, which is pushing for a probe of adoptions made via one other South Korean adoption agency, in an emailed assertion.

“An alarming pattern has emerged, leading us to believe that the issues we have uncovered were neither accidental nor individual incidents but rather part of a systemic process,” the assertion mentioned.

Peter Moller, a Danish lawyer who was adopted via Holt and has found discrepancies in his information, mentioned the ruling in Crapser’s case “can be used for other adoption cases,” probably paving the way in which for added lawsuits. He leads the Danish Korean Rights Group, which has submitted adoption circumstances to South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission for evaluate. The fee is investigating 372 adoptions to find out whether or not human rights violations had been made; Crapser’s just isn’t amongst these circumstances.

“In the last six months, adoptees have learned more about the adoption methods from Holt and the other adoption agencies,” Moller mentioned in an e mail.

If it’s discovered that elements of the ruling may be utilized to different adoption circumstances, “Holt should prepare themselves for a cascade of lawsuits,” he mentioned.

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