The decision is a landmark ruling as it is the first time a court in Korea recognized the damage claims against an adoption agency for overseas adoption.
The court on Tuesday ruled partially in favor of Adam Crapser in a civil damage suit filed against the Seoul-based Holt Children’s Services and the Korean government. The court did not hold the government liable.
Crapser, also known as Shin Song-hyuk, filed a 200-million-won damage suit against Holt and the government in 2019 for what he claimed as “gross negligence” by the agencies that had him sent to his adoptive parents in Michigan at age 3. He accused Holt of fabricating his documents as an orphan despite the existence of his birth parents.
Korea then was engulfed in a so-called “child export” craze that had adoption agencies allegedly competing to send more children overseas in return for adoption fees.
He was sent to his abusive adoptive parents in Michigan in 1979 and was abandoned at age 10, only to be adopted by yet another set of abusive parents two years later — who would sometimes slam his head against walls and burn him with heated objects. He was again abandoned at age 16.
The 48-year-old lived off of a green card because none of his ex-guardians filed for his citizenship and was expelled in 2016 when he failed to renew his residency due to multiple criminal records.
Crasper himself did not attend the ruling because he has been living with his family in Mexico since last year.
“It is very regretful that the government was not held liable for planning and overlooking illegal overseas adoptions,” Kim Soo-jung, one of Crapser’s attorneys, told reporters after Tuesday’s ruling, adding that she will consult with Crasper to decide on whether to file for an appeal.
BY SOHN DONG-JOO [email@example.com]