In a world where killing pre-born babies is legal in many places around the world, it’s no surprise hearing a story where a baby was found dead in a dumpster. It’s a sad fact that the world has been dealing with: a mother feeling like she’s in such a bad position that she has to abandon her baby on the streets. Fortunately there are some people that have taken some initiative to change the headlines from: “Baby found dead” to “Man saves baby.”
The Drop Box was released on March 3, 2015 and was directed by Brian Ivie. It tells the story of Pastor Lee Jong-rak, his wife, and the drop box. The drop box, by definition is, “a warm bin, lodged in a wall, that allows mothers to deposit their children without being seen". Pastor Lee and his wife became aware of the number of children being left on the streets of South Korea after they found a baby on their doorstep one evening. After this experience and the realization of all the children dying from being abandoned, he decided to install the drop box on the side of his church.
The documentary follows the lives of Pastor Lee, his children, his adopted children, the children that came to him in the drop box, and everyone connected. When the Pastor first installed the box he prayed that “the children would only come as a last resort. Only when the mother felt like she had no other choice”. The Pastor didn’t want the children to be abandoned at all, but at the same time, he knew that them being left in his box was better than them being left on the streets.
Pastor Lee and his wife have two children, as well as thirteen other adopted children. His son Eun-man was born with cerebral palsy and a disfigured face. Eun-man was given only months to live, so Pastor Lee sold his house and moved his family into the hospital to be able to afford the medical bills. Many of Eun-man’s adopted siblings are mentally disabled, but Pastor Lee loves them all because he realizes, “They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world. God sent them here for a purpose.”
Most of the time when Pastor Lee receives a child in the box, a letter is found next to the baby. The letters explain why the mother can’t look after her child, the biggest reasons being they are too young, they have no money, or the child is mentally disabled. Some of the children are found in the box as though they were birthed only a few hours before they were found. After the babies are taken out of the box the police are informed and a long process takes place where the baby is taken to the hospital, tested, and brought to a care facility.
While I watched the movie, I was surprised and saddened at the number of children left on the streets, in dumpsters, and in the drop box. But at the same time I was given hope. The mothers decided to give their children the chance at life instead of getting an abortion and completely rob that child of their chance.
The documentary cuts to news reports and interviews on the drop box a few times throughout. They show people from each side giving their opinions on whether the box is a good or bad idea. Some think it’s inhumane to just drop a child off in a box. Others think the children’s lives are being saved by it and that it’s better than a dumpster. Either way it’s a very controversial topic.
My opinion on the box and on the whole documentary is a good one. I think the box is a great idea and I wish we had a bigger presence of them in Canada. Yes, it is sad that a mother is leaving her child behind, but she’s giving her child a chance. As for Pastor Lee and what he’s doing, I think he’s a hero. Since he built the box, he has received over 650 children. Not many people are brave enough to take on the task of taking in that many children, but he still did. He knew it was going to be a hard job, but if it meant saving lives, he was willing to do it.
The Drop Box has a very pro-life message that is a present theme throughout. Pastor Lee’s love for all the children can be seen very clearly, along with his realization that each one of them has a purpose. It is mostly in Korean, but it is subtitled in English. Overall I’d say it’s fine for the whole family and would be a great conversation starter, although younger kids might not understand it. If you’re interested in watching it, you can find it on Netflix.
Photo by Matthew Henry