Brian Ivie’s documentary The Drop Box is an emotional balancing act: on one side is the heartbreaking fact that millions of children are abandoned at birth around the world every year. On the other side is the triumphant story of The Drop Box’s Pastor Lee Jong-rak, pastor of Jusarang (God’s Love) Community Church in Seoul, South Korea.
Pastor Lee’s family and a handful of volunteers work to provide a home for over a dozen mildly to severely disabled children (including Pastor Lee’s son), and since December 2009, they have saved the lives of hundreds of abandoned newborns through their “baby box.”
The concept and apparatus are simple: mothers who are unable to care for their children, as often for social reasons as economic ones in Seoul, can leave their babies in the box for Pastor Lee to care for. The box itself is like a cupboard: the baby is placed inside a padded, heated compartment, and when the door shuts a bell rings to alert the house.
Pastor Lee stays up most nights to listen for the bell, and the first thing he does after carefully lifting a baby from the box is kneel to pray. He’ll then get the baby to a hospital and pass him or her on to an orphanage or adoption agency.
The process is remarkably seamless. The mothers remain anonymous, the child is immediately given care, and the box is open to any who need it. But the work has complications. Many of the children are disabled, and the lack of records makes hospital visits challenging. Pastor Lee’s own health has suffered from his tireless work ethic. And there are all the children who live with the Lees permanently, most of whom need constant care. From the film’s perspective, though, none ...1