Monday, October 05, 2015
"The Drop Box": a pastor in South Korea takes in abandoned babies and provides a way for mothers to leave them, no questions asked
“The Drop Box” (2014), directed by Brian Ivie, chronicles the life calling of pastor Lee Jong-rak, who, with his wife, has adopted up to 350 abandoned babies in South Korea over the decades, as part of his church’s ministry, the Jusarang Community.
When a particular baby in nearly vegetative state, called Eun-man, is left, the couple set up a “baby box” or “drop box” in Seoul, where parents could leave babies, no questions asked. About one baby a day would get left, and cause a ding-dong bell ring in his home.
The film tells some of its story through simple animation, including his courtship with his bride, which was non-critical in nature; and later the story of one particular kid who was rejected in dodge ball by other kids because of club fingers, but then was rewarded by being elected student president of his class.
The film says that desperate parents would sometimes leave babies in front of strangers’ homes in Korea. That wouldn’t happen in the US (although at least one state, Nebraska, has allowed parents to leave babies at a hospital with no questions). However, if it could happen, it could pose a moral dilemma for the homeowner. What if it was a never-parent, maybe someone who had inherited the property? In some worlds, this could be considered his moral obligation.
The film was sponsored by Focus on the Family, in part. The film also mentioned abandoning children who would otherwise become late term abortions. From the conflicting worlds of personal responsibility and compassion, the idea of the drop box is morally controversial in South Korea.
The official site is here (“drap baks/n”) and apparently now there are multiple boxes in South Korea.
The film (77 minutes) can be rented on Netflix. It would have fit into Nicholas Kristof’s “A Path Appears” (TV Blog, Sept.
Wikipedia attribution link for picture from Seoul by Kimmo Raisanen under Creative Commons 2.0 Shared Alike License.