A Korean-born adoptee was officially recognized as the daughter of her biological father after a local court ruled that her name be entered in the man’s family registry.
The landmark ruling, made by the Seoul Family Court on Friday, could set a legal precedent for many returning adoptees who want to access their birth parents’ records.
Following the decision, 38-year-old Kara Bos was in tears, calling the ruling in her favor “momentous,” reports Agence France-Presse.
Bos, whose birth name is Kang Mee-sook, was adopted by an American family after she was abandoned by her biological parents at the age of two in 1983.
Bos embarked to seek her parents but despite securing an online DNA match as proof, her relatives did not want anything to do with her. Her birth father nor any of her relatives did not attend the hearing.
The ruling will at least allow her to access official records on her father’s family and eventually find her birth mother.
“This day is momentous for all of us adoptees just to have a right finally,” Bos was quoted as saying. “The struggles we faced with not having any rights whatsoever to be able to contact our family…I hope this can change in Korea.”
Prior to this, local laws giving priority to birth parents’ privacy over adoptees’ rights have made it difficult for returning adoptees to access biological family records.
Bos, who grew up in Michigan, decided to look for her biological parents after her own daughter turned two years old. She thought about what being away from their daughter must have meant for her biological parents then.
She tried distributing leaflets and sought clues about her origins through adoption records but to no avail.
In 2016, Bos discovered she was related to a young Korean man studying abroad after submitting her DNA sample to an online genealogy platform. The young man’s mother and aunt turned out to be Bos’ half-sisters, but they reportedly distanced themselves from her and prevented her from meeting her father.
She was determined to find him. He was the only person who could tell her more details about her mother. At one time, she even begged on her knees at the door of her half-sisters, but one of them called the police on her.
Bos then filed a paternity suit in November which resulted in the court ordering the 85-year-old man to submit to a DNA test. Her lawyers say that she is the first Korean-born overseas adoptee to have filed such a suit. The test would eventually show that there was a 99.987% probability he was indeed her father.
While being included in the family registry provides a legal entitlement to an inheritance, Bos stated that she was only interested to find out more about her mother, reports Reuters.
“If secrecy… hadn’t shrouded my adoption story then maybe this could have all been resolved with my birth father’s family with a five-minute phone call,” said Bos.
Speaking to reporters outside the courts, she urged her mother to come forward and meet her.
“Omma, I want to meet you,” she said in Korean. “Really, don’t be sorry. Please just come.”
Bos, who currently lives in the Netherlands with her Dutch husband, said she is set to try to meet with her father this week.
Feature Image via Reuters