In the first half of 2013, more than 152 infants were abandoned in South Korea. Many of these babies were left to die on the streets.
While the country’s Special Adoption Law, which was put into effect in 2012, was introduced to reduce unregistered adoptions of children overseas, it also forced many desperate mothers to anonymously abandon their newborns.
In South Korea, domestic adoption is still extremely uncommon, as Confucian values prevent families from raising children outside the bloodline or out of wedlock.
Rather than face the social discrimination of being an unmarried mother, women choose to do the unthinkable.
Fortunately, Joosarang church, run by pastor Lee Jong-rak and his wife in southwest Seoul, offers a safe haven for unwanted babies.
When Jong-rak noticed the increase of abandoned children, he decided to make a positive change. Instead of allowing them to perish on the streets alone, he began taking them in.
Located on a side alley, Jong-rak’s baby box gives women, presumably the mother, the option to leave their babies in his care by placing them into a letterbox slot onto a clean towel, close the door and ring a bell to alert the staff to the presence of a baby. No questions asked.
Then, she walks away, most likely never setting eyes on the child again.
What is often a disheartening scene for the most heart-wrenching of dramas, has become a story of faith and hope.
Before the adoption law was put into effect, the baby box only received an average of two newborns per month. Today, that number has risen to around 20.
Watch this incredible story in the video above.