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Evanston Couple Jinshil and Christopher Duquet Must Send Adopted Daughter Back to South Korea

An Evanston couple has to say a devastating goodbye to their South Korean adopted daughter after finding out that there were some missteps in her adoption process.

The South Korean government accused the couple of circumventing the country’s adoption laws, and so the 9-month-old Sehwa, who has been with the couple since right after her birth, has to return to South Korea on Wednesday. The couple, Jinshil and Christopher Duquet, said that they relied on bad legal advice when they adopted the baby in June, and that they did not mean to violate any adoption laws.

The Duquets found out that there were problems with the adoption when Jinshil returned to the U.S. with Sehwa and officials at the O’Hare International Airport told her she lacked proper adoption paperwork. Since then, the U.S. and South Korean authorities have found in local and federal courts over the custody of the child.

"The case didn't work out, basically," said one of Duquets’ lawyers, Jamie Teich. "Our whole team of people here are saddened and devastated by it."

Sehwa’s birth mother and grandparents gave up custody of the baby to the Duquets, and according to officials do not want her back. Naturally, the Duquets argued that despite their unintentional mistakes in the adoption, it is in Sehwa’s best interests to stay in the U.S. with the couple.

Yet, South Korea would not budge on the issue, arguing that their stringent adoption laws are in place to protect children from trafficking and abuse.

“While people were sympathetic to everyone, within the adult adoptee community, it was reinforced that you just can’t willy-nilly get a child,” said Susan Soonkeum Cox, a spokeswoman for Holt International Children’s Services in Eugene, Ore. "Children deserve to have the protection of authorities and government."

Source: Chicago Tribune


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