KICA Survey: Open Now Survey on Human Rights in Korean Intercountry Adoption (KICA)

15 December 2022

Calling all overseas adopted Koreans: Take part in the 1st Survey on Human Rights in Korean Intercountry Adoption (KICA)

A note from the researchers:

You are invited to participate in a survey which is part of a study led by a team of researchers in collaboration with the Korean National Human Rights Commission on the status of human rights with respect to South Korea's intercountry adoption (ICA) program. The purpose of this survey is to:

Assess the status of human rights in ICA involving South Korean children

Identify types of human rights issues in such ICA

Examine adult adoptees' attitude towards ICA involving South Korean children

Examine a potential correlation between human rights issues and the respondents' life satisfaction, social support, and mental health.

Although you will receive no direct benefits, this study may help the investigators understand to what extent human rights were protected in the field of international adoption from South Korea and develop ways to better safeguard these rights. We would appreciate your taking the time to complete the following survey which should take no more than 30 minutes.

Principal Investigator

Helen Noh. Ph.D.

Dept. of Social Welfare

College of Social Sciences

Soongsil University

The Advisors

Dr. Nigel Cantwell, Professor, University De Geneve, Centre for Children's Rights Studies

Dr. Tobias Hübinette, Associate Professor, Intercultural Education, Karlstad University

Jeong Eun Kang, Lawyer, Duroo

Dr. Eleana Kim, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, C Irvine

Do Hyun Kim, President, KoRoot

Lynelle Long, Founding Executive Director, InterCountry Adoptee Voices

Peter Moller, lawyer, Representative, Danish Korean Rights Group

David Smolin, Professor, Cumberland School of Law. Samford University

Kim Stoker, writer and adoptee rights activist, US representative, IbyangIN International

Dr. Gonda van Steen, Korean Chair Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature, Centre for Hellenic Studies and Department of Classics, King's College, London

Dr. Jessica Walton, Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts and Education, Daekin University

Dr. Hanna Sofia Jung Johansson, coordinator of Swedish Korean Adoptees' Network

KIBAN, Koreans Impacted by Adoption

The Adoptees for Justice, an intercountry adoptee-led social justice organization

Tommy Gentzel, IKAA president

A note from the Community Roundtable Participants:

In the almost 70 years since Korean adoption began, this survey is the first to focus on human rights and the level in which we, as overseas adopted Koreans, were protected. Your experience is an important part of understanding the many ways in which that system impacted our lives before, during and after adoption. In Seoul this past September at KoRoot, there was a community roundtable discussion with some of the study’s investigators, researchers and advocates, and most importantly, with intercountry Korean adoptees.

Our voices matter. Will you share yours?

The anonymous survey takes no more than 30 minutes, and provides valuable information for this research conducted in collaboration with the Korean National Human Rights Commission.

Take the survey in one of 8 languages in the links below. The survey closes Nov. 10, 11:59 pm KST. Please share the survey widely, and especially with adopted Koreans you know. Thank you!

-Community Roundtable Participants









If the survey content brings up difficulty for you, we’d recommend seeking support with a counselor and an organization serving adopted people. For questions about the survey, contact

Please note this is not an official page for the survey, the research team, or any of the organizations or groups mentioned above. KICA stands for Korean Intercountry Adoption and is not an entity.

Final note from Nikki Often:

While I was in Seoul this past September (2022), I was invited pretty much by chance to participate in a community roundtable discussion at KOROOT regarding an investigation into human rights violations that may have taken place during the international adoption process, specifically in Korea and the host countries where Korean adoptees were sent. A survey is currently available online for Korean adoptees around the world so that more substantial data can be gathered about this issue. Thank you so much to the team of researchers, attorneys, and community organizers, and Pastor Kim who are advocating for Korean adoptees worldwide.

My true thought is that both the US and Korea will be very slow to act once the results are in, I’m not sure about the other countries. It’s very questionable that my human rights were violated in my own case, but there are others who didn’t get reunited, and don’t have the truth about where they came from, and theirs may have been. The survey is also about if human rights may have been violated in our host countries; I think there are a lot of people who suffered real abuse and fall into this category.

I don’t agree with everything that all adoptee activists are doing at one time. Obviously, in this community, it’s extremely hard to get a consensus on anything. I do not believe that intercountry adoption should be outlawed, but I do believe that the system failed many of us, and I ended up unhappy because of adoption. I think I am somewhere on the periphery of the core issues that this survey is trying to get to the bottom of, but not that my own human rights had been violated. You don’t need to believe what I believe for me to show support. If I have a voice, I’d like to use it for good.