The 2022 South Korean drama film, Broker (브로커) was screened at numerous national cinemas across Canada in January 2023.
The film was written and directed by the Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kor-eda and explores the complex issues around baby boxes and the ‘adoption black market’.
The film touches on numerous social problems facing South Koreans, not least the baby box concept, wider society’s sensitivities to single-parent Mothers and children born out of wedlock, and child raising outside of so-called traditional marriage and same-sex relationships.
The film starts with the anonymous dropping off a baby at a church in South Korea. The story continues to reflect on the complex reasons people give up a child, and the reasons people attempt to sell a child on the black market. and the reasons people buy a child on the black market.
In the case of South Korea, May 11th marks National Adoption Day in South Korea. South Korea recently tried to reduce the number of international adoptions (Article 8 Reducation of Overseas adoptions), ironically causing Korea more problems after it was passed in 2011 and has seen a sad increase in abandoned children.
The film will take the viewer on a heartbreaking journey that will tune you into the very complex situation in Korea. Having lived in Korea, Seoulthejourney is familiar with the social problems faced by women and sexual minorities in Korea.
The characters reflected on how adoption was problematic for people who weren’t married, single ‘want-to-be- parents and sexual minorities.
For those curious, take a brief look into the issue of adopting a South Korean from outside of South Korea, interestingly there is a clear religious agenda which doesn’t match up with the legislation but syncs well with the history of adoption in Korea.
The film reminds us that South Korea has a long way to go to protect children.
Korea should ensure single parents get more support.
Equally, the Korean government needs to review the adoption system to make it more human and responsible. The film reminds us that people looking to adopt domestically and internationally face many problems. The reality is that regardless of their marital status, religious perspective, or simply being part of the LGBTQ community – people can make that difference and provide a happy home to an adopted child.
Read the amazing interview with Director Hirokazu Koreeda.Take time to check out a fascinating interview with the director
Adoption regulations are very interesting when adopting a South Korean child:
To be eligible for the South Korea adoption program, parents must be between 25 and 45 years old* at the time of home study approval. Couples must be married a minimum 3 years. No single parents can adopt from South Korea, and they do not knowingly place children with homosexual parents.For more information visit here
Overview of the Korean adoption system
South Korea and human rights (2023)