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Following the Olympics, the government set up a long-term mandate to cease international adoption by 1996. However, finding limited success with in-country adoptions, the government began to reconsider its policy and decided in 1994 to continue international adoptions for biracial and disabled children. With the recent economic collapse in 1997, policies have changed once again and foreign adoptions of healthy Korean children are again on the rise.

While international adoptions have long been associated with wars and destruction, in the case of South Korea, the largest number of children were sent overseas after the country had long recovered from war - the 1980s. The peak was in 1985 when South Korea sent 8,837 children overseas in a single year. Critics of the South Korean adoption program point out that because of the government's reliance on international adoptions, South Korea's social welfare programs for families and orphaned or abandoned children remained under-developed. Lack of support for poor and single-parent families, lack of access to programs like free or affordable childcare, a growing preoccupation with population control, and the continuing dependence on international aid organizations that supported orphanages in South Korea, all contributed to the growth of international adoptions well beyond the crisis of the Korean War period. In addition, cultural attitudes and a pervasive stigma toward orphans, adoption, widows, and single and unwed mothers had a deep impact on relinquishing decisions by birth parents.

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