Sadly, the phenomenon of babies being abandoned and left to die occurs all around the world. This South Korean pastor and his wife “saw so many abandoned babies” on the streets of Seoul, and that’s what inspired them to create the concept of the “baby box.”
Pastor Lee Jong-rak has observed a dreadful phenomenon in the capital of South Korea—hundreds of babies are abandoned on the streets of Seoul every year and left to die.
It was on a winter’s day that the pastor found an abandoned baby on his doorstep some years ago. The pastor and his wife could not help but notice the plight of other such helpless young ones who may not have been as fortunate as the baby left at their doorstep.
So, they came up with an idea to at least attempt to partially fix the problem—they created the “baby box,” a little cubicle where parents can leave their unwanted babies and rest assured that they will be taken care of.
“We saw so many babies abandoned on the streets. That’s why we made the baby box,” said the pastor in the award-winning documentary The Drop Box.
“I didn’t really expect any babies would come in,” he shared. But soon, the first baby appeared in the box in 2010, followed by hundreds more ever since.
Between 2009 and 2016, over 1,000 babies were placed in the baby box, reported Time.
“One of the mothers told me that she had poison to kill both herself and her baby. So I told her, ‘Don’t do that. Come here with your baby,’” he added.
Pastor Lee Jong-rak believes in the value of human life. “They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world. God sent them here for a purpose,” he said. “Every life is precious.”
“People claim that I’m providing an atmosphere for parents with unwanted babies to easily discard them—they really don’t know what they’re talking about,” he added.
The orphanage is called “Jusarang,” which means “God’s love.”
As far as the South Korean authorities are concerned, the concept of the box is in a legal gray area. The welfare ministry is neither for nor against the campaign. According to official Kim Hye-Ji, “it saves the lives of newborn babies.”
On the other hand, according to official Min Seo-Young: “We see the baby box as an illegal facility that encourages baby abandonment,” reports News.com.au. In fact, the Gwanak district office believes that the “baby box” facility should be shut down.
Around the year 2012, adoption agencies in South Korea were obliged to accept only those babies who were documented, as per the guidelines of the Hague convention. Subsequently, 224 babies were abandoned in the baby box facility in 2013, which was a substantial drop from previous years. Still, an average of 200 babies are “dropped off” each year at the facility.
So, what are your thoughts on the matter? Do you believe this concept is of benefit to the society? Share your thoughts in the comments section.