“I should have put my family ahead of the Army"

A South Korean adoptee is to be deported because her uncle adopted her one year too late.

According to USA Today, a South Korean girl will be deported because her army veteran uncle adopted  her one year too late whilst serving Afghanistan.

Former Army Lt Col Patrick Schreiber of Lansing, Kansas, and his wife Soo Jin brought Hyebin Schreiber to the United States in 2012. She was aged 15 at the time.

Schreiber was informed by his lawyer that the family could wait to finalise the adoption until Hyebin was 17. As he was stationed in Afghanistan between 2013 and 2014 as an intelligence officer, Schreiber decided to delay the process for one year.

However, upon returning, Schreiber then discovered the law only applies to the adoption of native-born Americans.

Federal immigration law instead requires foreign-born children to be adopted before they turn 16 to derive citizenship from an American. Hyebin’s birth certificate issued by Kansas was void according to the federal government.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ruled in support of the federal law, which he described as “not ambiguous”. Cabtree added that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “interpreted the statue in accordance with its plain meaning.”

Consequently, Hyebin will be deported to South Korea after she graduates from Kansas University, where she is currently a senior studying biochemistry.

Hyebin’s family are now planning to move to South Korea if Hyebin is deported. “I’m going to go back to Korea too. I can’t leave her,” Soo-Jinn Schreiber said.

Her father now regrets delaying the adoption process for the army. “I should have put my family ahead of the Army,” he said.

In other news, a DNA test recently reunited long lost Korean America adoptees as siblings.