Korean transnational adoption was the first sustained intercountry adoption program in history (all previous intercountry adoption programs were temporary, in response to national disasters or emergencies); the current permanent practice of transnational adoption, whereby prospective adoptive parents in the United States or another receiving country can expect to have a choice of countries from which to adopt children, can be traced to Korean adoption. Indeed, most countries that have sought to develop transnational adoption programs have used the South Korean model on some level, since South Korea has the longest-running, most predictable, and most stable overseas adoption program in the world.
Kim Park Nelson 2009, Mapping Multiple Histories of Korean American Transnational Adoption
***important to remember - before korea’s international adoption program, international adoption was seen ONLY as a temporary solution, not as the symbol of multiculturalism and pluralistic family structures that we laud it as today. the american (and european) demand for babies and the korean government’s willingness to meet that demand (in order to achieve their own domestic agendas of economic development) was what turned it into the sustained, well-oiled machine that it is today.