Evanston couple must give up Korean baby

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An Evanston couple has lost their bid to keep a 9-month old Korean girl whom they’ve raised since shortly after she was born.

Baby Sehwa will be sent back to her native South Korea on Wednesday, to be placed with a family there.

Jinshil and Christopher Duquet’s adoption of little Sehwa was declared unlawful  after South Korea challenged their case.

The Duquets say they relied on bad legal advice and thought they were participating in a lawful private adoption of the baby.

The South Korean government challenged their legal claims and won in the courts.

The baby’s biological mother and grandparents relinquished all rights to the Duquets, and do not want the child back. The girls’ mother, who lives in a homeless shelter for unwed mothers, has reportedly given birth to another child.

The Duquets have said if they must say goodbye to Sehwa, they intend to do it privately.

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    • Ngoc

      Are you kidding me? This is more likely to happen when you adopt in that states. Biological parents change their minds and sets off another custody battle. What the parents want is above and beyond the child's needs. You see it all the time.

    • Adoptive Mom

      I adopted two international and two thru the local JFS at age 2 and 4 years old. The two "home grown kids have mega problems! Until you live through it, you won't understand it!

  • Joymar

    I feel for the Duquets as it is always hard to give up something you love. However, I am curious as to why they adopted a child from Korea rather than within the US.

      • nat

        It does not take long to adopt a child in US and it is not hard … if all you are looking for is a child without putting them in context of gender or race.

      • jess

        Its easier to adopt children who are not infants in the US but no one seems to want them. Everyone wants a small baby vs. a child 2+. Its sad.

      • Amy

        Wrong Nat. I have been on the list for over 6 years. I have a steady income, a home, and meet every other requirement. My only request was a child between ages of newborn and 6 years of age. I didn't care about race or gender.

      • Rick d

        foster to adopt. We were placed with a 9 month baby boy a within a year after recieving our license from the state, he has been in our home for 1 year and we adopted him in Nov.12

      • Natespapa

        This doesn't always work out. Many children do not simply stay with their foster parents. For many reasons they may be reunited or moved to a different family. In addition, adopting in the US is not easy in many cases. And if a person does not feel that they can or does not want to adopt a child with disabilities, it's even harder. Many of those "easy" cases are of children with some sort of special need which not everyone can manage. Many people, right or wrong, want a healthy child, and usually one very young. So in many cases adopting out of the country is much easier than adopting in the States.

  • confused

    So the bio mother and grandparents relinquished their rights and don't want the child back… what's going to happen to her?

  • djohn

    Some of your comments are just ridiculous…Both my children are adopted from Korea…"Buy American"…Probably the stupidest comment I have ever read…
    Trying to adopt a child in this country is much harer and a much longer process sometimes than in Korea…This country should have half the foster system they do…It's amazing.

  • PunchYFatpants

    people who adopt outside of the US are only doing so to get attention… adopting babies that look just like other babies is too boring for most people. disgusting.

    • mkshouse

      Another person who is not too bright. Adopting in the US is extremely difficult and very expensive. Adopting overseas is much easier, though even more expensive. I see a lot of people commenting here who know doodly squat about adoption anywhere.

  • Claire

    Whilst I applaud anyone that adopts a child, any child in fact, I do find it frustrating that people go abroad to adopt rather than take on a child from their own country. I'm not being racist, but there will be plenty of people that will automatically assume that I am, so let me clarify my statement. I appreciate that adopting within the US is a long and drawn out process, full of red tape, but surely that's a testament to just how seriously American Adoption agencies take the welfare of the child?

    Adopting a child from another country might seem like a noble thing, but is it really? Just because there's less tape to cut through, does that really mean the child is less well off than an American born child in a foster home or in a State facility? I dont think so. There are so many children within the US, crying out for loving homes but are being denied because they aren't foreign.

    Call me backwards, call me what you like, but surely its worth fixing what you have at home before venturing out across the globe to help out other people?

    • Marley

      I work in adoption. The kids aged 0-7 years old in the US are in foster care and you have to agree to do foster care if you want a chance to adopt that age group. the kids who are legally free in the US are mostly over age 7, part of a sib group. The younger ones are adopted by the foster parents. Parents adopt abroad as they want to adopt younger kids. Until all of you are willing to adopt an older child you shouldn't pass judgement on those that adopt abroad.

    • susieq

      After already having adopted 2 children in the U.S., we could not find an agency in the US who would allow us to adopt – either because we already had 2 children OR they didn't like our religion OR they didn't like our age OR there was a 5-7 year wait for a healthy infant of our race OR the cost to adopt was far too exorbitant ($45,000 + for a healthy caucasian baby,) etc. etc. So, we were forced to go out of the country to adopt our other two infant children. We didn't adopt from another country because it was noble or whatever. It simply was the only way we could expand our love and family. I do agree that if possible, folks should try to adopt in their own country first, but, if like us, they keep running into closed doors, then by all means go wherever it works for you.

  • Les

    I completely agree with Claire. We have so many children of all ages and races within the US looking for a loving home and needing stability to their lives. We should help the children of America first.

  • Lee

    We are talking about adopting a child, not buying a car. This is a tragic story that should highlight an unscrupulous atty and an act of fraud. We went through a state run U.S. adoption program, shut down by budget cuts. Went through a church-sponsored U.S. adoption program, never got a referral. Went through international program, took 3 years, welcomed MY SON from S. Korea. He got a university education and is a successful, productive, naturalized American citizen. We wanted a child to love and care for, not a gimmick to promote our open-mindedness. Race and gender had nothing to do with it. How dare you question my "motives"?

  • Amy

    Doing it to get attention? Really? The ignorance of some people is breathtaking. American processes take a very long time in most cases and the costs are prohibitive for some people. There are children all over the world that need and deserve a family to love them and care for them. Having been on the list in Arizona for more than 6 years with no stipulation over race or gender I can tell you that its very frustrating. I spent all of my youth in the army and sustained injuries that make it nearly impossible to have children of my own. I myself am considering international adoption not for attention but to have a child and raised them with love and morals and values. And anyone who says adopting babies that look like other babies is boring is an asshat. Babies are babies. Period.

  • NationalMommy

    For me, this has nothing to do with the country of origin for the adoptive parents or the child. What is happening here could happen regardless of the country from which they chose to adopt. What I don't understand is why the child has to be returned to Korea if the biological mother and grandparents relinquished parental rights to this family. What is the benefit to the child to have them retured to Korea? This article doesn't give any information on that. I don't understand what this family did that was "unlawful", and couldn't it be corrected in order to leave this child with the only family they know?

  • In Support of Terie

    Having placed a child for adoption in the US many years ago I can tell you it is a very long and difficult proccess. I agree there are too many children in this country needing good homes but people are afraid because when the biological mother "changes her mind" and "loves her baby" the courts find in her favor and return the child. From perspective (and having given up a child I have the right to speak) anyone, biological mom/dad, courts, countries etc.. who cared about the best interest of the child would leave them with the only parents they have ever known. Can you imagine the trauma they experience being ripped away from the only home and family they know. Love is supposed to be selfless. If you weren't in a postion to provide for them when they were born you do not get a do over, weeks, months or years down the road.

    • Neece

      Please correct if I am wrong…if you and the father (if known) give up a child for adoption, you only have a certain amount of time to change your mind. Herein lies the problem, most people want babies. I'm guess because they are brand new. A lot of kids in our system, whether they are foster children and/or children that can be adopted, may have issues. I believe that love can overcome a whole lot, not everything but a lot. I think the "red tape" is just an excuse. Also, from everything that I've read, especially as of late, a child can be taken away no matter what country you adopt from. Case and point…its happening now with this couple.

  • wannabelieve

    If people were more careful about their behavior, there wouldn't be a huge supply of unwanted children to choose from in the first place.

  • Jon Anthony

    I feel for these adoptive parents – this has to be the heartbreak of a lifetime. It’s a shame this innocent baby now ends up back in a Third World country.

  • Happy Mom

    Red tape in the U.S. isn't just about extra work. It's about years of delays, years of expense, different laws in each state and a system that is very much stacked against the adoptive parents. I went through a perfectly legal effort to adopt in the U.S. I supported the birthmother's family for several months including paying their health insurance. I paid my lawyer. I went through all the red tape and paid the fees–happily. Then, when the baby was born and the teen birthmom changed her mind on the day she was supposed to sign the papers, I left empty handed and heartbroken. I could only afford one more attempt at adoption after that, so I made sure it was a foreign adoption sanctioned by that country, where the birthparents were unknown. I have a beautiful child and I'm grateful. And those of you who think we should all take care of our own first–well, let me just say that I promise you'll be "taking care" of that teen mother, the baby I thought I would adopt, and the three others she's born since for a long time.

  • Neece

    While I applaud anyone that has a heart big enough to welcome someone else's child into your home and treat them as your own, I find it very distrubing that because of red tape people would go outside the country when there are thousands upon thousands of children of all ethnicities that need and want a loving home. Here's a thought that I guess no one else ever thought of…why not try foster care. There are so many kids that want homes in foster care. I understand that we would all love to have babies because babies are just soooo cute, but really, if you are willing to open your heart and your home it should start here first.

  • Happy Mom

    Neece I applaud anyone who fosters children. But fostering and adopting are two different things. When you foster a child, the assumption (sometimes untrue) is that the child will be going back to his/her biological family. In fact, you are told that the placement is temporary. I wanted to add a child to my family, not keep a child for a couple of months or years and then have to say goodbye.

    • Neece

      Fostering and adopting are two very different things and I am well aware that foster children come with a disclaimer that it is temporary. If you go on any foster care state website, you will see how many foster children are available for adoption.

      Wednesday’s Child, sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, is a weekly television feature about adoption that helps find permanent, loving, adoptive families for children in foster care.

      This is only one such site there many many more throughout the country!

  • wilsonarden


    and i checked with the better business bureau and was told that it is all legit. how they can sell

    gift cards, laptops, cameras, and all kinds of goodies that we all want for 50-90% off, i don't

    know. i do know that i bought my son an ipad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250

    loews gift cards for $48. why would i even think about shopping anyplace else?

  • Neece

    Wednesday’s Child, sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, is a weekly television feature about adoption that helps find permanent, loving, adoptive families for children in foster care.

    This is only one such site there many many more throughout the country!

  • RENE

    I Agree with neece, fostering first is a good ideal, but if you dont want to wait or go thru the process of the state then you deserve what you got (nothing). im a foster parent and i have the option of adopting the child i foster , if that child is not up for adoption then you can still adopt another child.. being a parent is a wonderful thing . everything that's bought is not alway the best, sometime free is better..

  • johnny boy

    So many judgments, so many opinions, so many assumptions mostly with the motive of trying to bring other people down. Such is the case with the culture of comments sections. I'd been away from it for so long now I remember why.