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DNA testing is providing Korean adoptees a way to learn about their birth relatives, the New York Times reports.

Since the 1950s, some 200,000 children from South Korea were adopted abroad and as adults, many are now trying learn about their pasts. However South Korea law prevents adoptees from accessing their medical records without their birth parents' consent, and it can be difficult to track down birth parents due to missing, inaccurate, or incomplete adoption records, the Times says.

Because of this, Thomas Park Clement, a Korean adoptee and founder of a medical manufacturing company, has financed DNA testing for his fellow adoptees. "I have throughout the years experienced so many of my fellow Korean adoptees' frustrations with birth relative searches," he tells the Times. "DNA is shortcutting the search process and bringing all parties in direct communication with each other." Clement has donated 2,550 DNA testing kits to Korean adoptees and US Korean War veterans and 450 kits to volunteer organization 325Kamra.

While this has connected some adoptees to their birth families, the Times notes that the process is hampered by the different databases available to Korean parents and overseas adoptees. To work around that, GEDMatch scans Family Tree, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA for 325Kamra matches. That's how 325Kamra made its first match between a birth mother in Korea who used 325Kamra and an adoptee who used 23andMe, the Times adds.