"When my father and my mother forsake me,
[Verse inscribed above "drop box" outside Pastor Lee's home]
Caring for babies and children with special needs, or who come from economically difficult circumstances, is a task pro-lifers often face. Across the globe, we accept this reality and move forward to do good. For cultural reasons, these challenges are especially acute in Korea.
The Drop Box tells the story of Lee Jong-rak, a Seoul pastor who runs a ministry for abandoned children. In Korea, when they aren't aborted, babies born to teenage mothers or with special needs are often abandoned to die. Pastor Lee founded the Jursurang (God's Love) community to give young mothers another option.
Pastor Lee's story begins with his biological son, Eun-Man (God's Grace). Born with crippling cerebral palsy, Eun-Man spent most of his first 14 years in hospitals. At one point, the financial strains were so severe that the Lee's had to sell their home and move into the hospital. During this time, caring for Eun-Man metamorphosed from being a burden to a blessing as his parents learned first hand the value of life. As they spent many long days in hospitals, other disabled children would come up and befriend them. Over 14 years, Pastor Lee and his wife adopted an additional four special needs children.
Last decade, Pastor Lee took Hanna into his home. The brain damaged daughter of a 14 year old who had abused drugs during her pregnancy, Hanna wasn't expected to survive more than a few months. She ended up living another six years. During this time, Pastor Lee vowed to do everything he could to help disabled children. He installed the Drop Box in 2009.
In the film, we meet several of the children under Pastor Lee's care. There's On-Ew, who recently learned to walk even with down syndrome. Gi-Ri, a precocious boy, has survived multiple heart surgeries since being abandoned. Ru-ri, ten years old, has a special talent for Tae Kwan Do and was recently elected class President. As the film says, "God sent every one of them to Earth with a purpose."
Our biggest unresolved question following the film was "how does he pay for it"?!? Obviously, children are expensive. Children with special needs are even more so. In addition, the film alludes to conflicts with the existing adoption bureaucracy. For example, we learn about Pastor Lee losing certain government benefits after taking in children. Unfortunately, the film does not go into detail on either subject. It's a shame, doing so would have painted a more complete picture of God's grace and provision.
While drop boxes, and ministries like Pastor Lee's, are helpful, they are not the ultimate solution. As Pastor Lee says "I always pray that there will be no more abandoned babies in this country and no more in our baby box. That’s all I want.” Ultimately, this is a matter of the heart, and we need to restore a culture of life across the globe. As the film explains, "it's not only Korea that has this problem." That being said, until Christ returns and redeems fallen humanity, ministries like Pastor Lee's are crucial to show Christ's love to a lost and dying world. The Drop Box is a life-affirming story that celebrates adoption and provides a model for pro-Lifers globally.