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President Basescu at the European Commission, 22 April 2010

Monday, 26 October 2009

Adoption Agencies: GET US CHILDREN. NOW!

Surfing the Internet to look more into the background of the European Convention "Challenges in Adoption Procedures in Europe: Ensuring the Best Interests of the Child", this is what I found.

The Nordic Adoption Council was careless enough to give us a look behind the curtains. Leaving their Members only site open, they gave us a look into their desperation to GET CHILDREN.

Children from other countries. But now that these are more and more reluctant to give their children to foreign child greedy adoption agencies, now they are refocussing on getting children for national adoption too.

Denmark, for example, proudly announces that soon they will have new legislation which will give more Danish adoptions without consent of the parents.

What is going on? Were the Nordic countries not proud of their social system that was such that there were hardly adoptable children? What has changed?

The DEMAND has changed. Until now, the European Adoption Convention adoption was allowed by married heterosexual couples or single persons only.
When Sweden in 2002 allowed gay adoptions, they wanted to withdraw from the European Adoption Convention.
As a result, the Convention was changed: adoption of GLTB is allowed, married - non married. Everything will be allowed.

The revised European Adoption Convention in fact takes away most precautionary measures. For example, adoption may now be granted without that the child has been in the care of the adopters (no testing period):

See how this article got changed:


Article 17

An adoption shall not be granted until the child has been in the care of the adopters for a period long enough to enable a reasonable estimate to be made by the competent auth
ority as to their future relations if the adoption were granted.


Article 19 – Probationary period

States Parties are free to require that the child has been in the care of the adopter before adoption is granted for a period long enough to enable a reasonable estimate to be made by the competent authority as to their future relations if the adoption were granted. In this context the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

I will blog more about this revised Convention later.
Now back to the Nordic Adoption Council.

The adoption market is faced with their own 'FINANCIAL CRISIS' now that the supply side of the market is drying up. The traditionally succesful Nordic countries are the last 5-7 years faced with strong competition from the South (Italy and Spain have reinforced their position the last years - and France already was a strong competitor.

To find children for the new client group, is an extra challenge. For the moment only the United States of America allows their children to be adopted abroad by European same sex partners.

So, now the Nordic countries push to get access to European children. They are a specially invited guest at the European Adoption Conference in Strasbourg.


THE RISK? Instead of having a social system in place to help families, or to provide services and care for children who can for whatever reasons not be cared for by their parents, let's free the children for adoption.

There is a strong demand. Adopters are willing to pay a high price.
The government saves money.

A WIN WIN situation ?



Nordic Adoption Council

Panel Discussion
Debate in Reykjavík
Saturday 16 - 17, the 5th of September 2009.

Moderator: Inga Näslund, Adoptionscentrum, Sweden.
Summary: Gunn Kvalsvik, NAC Board Member

A panel consisting of: Jennifer Degeling (Permanent Bureau, The Hague), Mia Dambach (ISS/IRC, Geneva), Michael Paaske (Adoption & Samfund, Denmark), Erika Bernacchi (ChildONEurope, Firenze), Bente Hoseth (Central Authorities, Norway), Neel Pryds (Central Authority, Denmark), Meit Camving (Central Authority, Sweden), Hanna Rantala (Central Authority Finland).

Issue 1.
The new situation: Fewer children and desperate waiting parents. How to deal with it?

Erika Bernacchi (ChildONEurope):
They asked this question in a survey to all European countries. Trying to find out how countries are dealing with this issue. Some parliamentarians are lobbying to get more children, which is not good.

I do not have answers – I do agree that it is a new situation creating new challenges.

Jennifer Degeling (Permanent Bureau):
I feel that some politicians are using a lot of energy on this issue. Receiving countries making pressure on giving countries is not a good situation. Romania is newest example where politics (EU membership) and adoption were mixed.

Meit Camving (Central Authority, Sweden):
We need to educate and inform parents about the new situation. Which include the information that adoptable children mostly are older than before and with special needs.

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
In Norway I think it is the organisations that strongly feel the situation of today. We are not working so close up to applicants and therefore do not have the first hand information on how it materialises.

Neel Pryds (Central Authority, Denmark):
In the waiting period – we have noticed that some people are quite creative in trying to solve the new situation. Because we have this rule in Denmark giving a possibility to adopt a child outside the normal track, if you have a special connection to the child some are trying to use this to what is it worth. The Good Practice Guide tells us to be even stricter with this practice.

Michael Paaske (Adoption & Samfund):
I am a representative of the parents. I think we have to stress the issue we discussed earlier. We need to tell the Southern European countries about ethics in adoption. Because if their practice continues – they end up taking the whole market.

Hanna Rantala (Central Authority, Finland):
More and more information is the way to deal with this issue.

Mia Dambach (ISS/IRC):
Also at ISS we are aware of the Nordic model. And we are interested in telling the rest of Europe about good moral and ethics.

Sanna Mäkipää (University of Oulu):
It is so important that we come together and discuss this matter. There are tensions also between Nordic countries – we have people asking why Sweden gets more children than us and so on.

I do look forward to the article we will make as a group and hope we also can publish it in our internal magazines.

Hanna Rantala (Central Authority, Finland):
The attitude in the media has changed towards more aggressively asking why we are not willing to help these poor children on orphanages in the world.

Sten Juul Peterson (NAC):
Yes I do think we could publish an article on the Nordic Approach also in the internal magazines of member organizations.

Issue 2.
We need to teach the countries of origin about their rights to make limitations on how many organisations should work in their country. Is there anybody who can tell us how to do that?

Erika Bernacchi (ISS/IRC):
We do not deal with this.

Jennifer Degeling (Permanent Bureau):
One of our most important talks when we travel around is to tell countries about their rights to say no and to limit the number of organisations. This it not specifically mentioned in the convention.

We also try to inform them that they should preferable work with Nordic countries because of your ethics.

Meit Camving (Central Authoritiy, Sweden):
We always discuss these matters when we travel around.

Neel Pryds (Central Authority, Denmark):
Agree with the Swedish answer.

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
I also agree with the Swedes.

Hanna Rantala (Central Authority, Finland):
We do not deal with countries in that way, because we do not travel around.

Mia Dambach (ISS/IRC):
We like the Swedish system (SIDA) very much. Because their contributions are not directly connected with the institutions where the children are staying, there is no way they can mix their roles.

Øystein Gudim (Adopsjonsforum):
We should never forget to be ethical in how we do our jobs. Because there are some organizations out there who are not working in the right way, we have to keep our standards.

A Swedish woman:
I have a dream that we see more assistants from our central authorities when it comes to working together with new countries.

Marianne Wung-Sung (DanAdopt):
I do agree with Denmark and Sweden. We are under heavy pressure – and we do have a competition with other countries. We need more assistance from our central authorities.

Issue 3.
What about recourse centres for adoptees? Do we need it?

Michael Paaske (Adoption & Samfund):
We are finishing a pilot project in Denmark. The evaluation tells us that there is a need and we hope that the project will continue.

Sanna Mäkipää (University of Oulu):
Our project is also about teaching people working with adoptive families about post adoption issues. We find that tit an important issue. We would like to recommend our government to make a centre for adoptive families.

Meit Camving (Central Authority, Sweden):
I always stress this issue when I meet with politicians. I do think it is even more important now when the children are getting older and older when they arrive.

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
The organisations are stressing this issue.

Hanna Rantala (Central Authority Finland):
It is a political question and it takes a lot of money. We can hope.

Issue 4
The issue of national adoption and the right also Nordic children have to get a family, what is the situation?

Neel Pryds (Central Authorities, Denmark):
We do the matching between family and child in our office. Between 10 and 20 adoptions a year are national adoptions. From 1st of October we will have the new legislation which will give more adoptions without consent of the parent.

Tina Tammi (Save the Children, Finland):
We do work with domestic adoptions in Finland. All together we have about 50 domestic adoptions a year. We also look into the possibility for open adoptions.

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
The matching is done by us. The number is only between five and ten children every year. We also have had this discussion in Norway, and especially about the open adoption systems.

Issue 5.
How will/and can our central authorities use the good practice guide?

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
Our plan is to use the guide and discuss it in a common meeting in October. Then the Nordic authorities will meet again.

Issue 6.
There’s a special challenge when special need children are offered to more than one county. Often we see that the Nordic countries loose the competition with for instant USA, because of our system of slow bureaucracy.

Øystein Gudim (Adopsjonsforum):
This problem we do face often.

Marianne Wung-Sung (DanAdopt):
It is also up to us as organisation to not be part of this carrousel. It is up to us to question this kind of practice. We have to tell them that we don’t like it.

Inga Näslund (Sweden):
We also have this situation in Sweden, and uses to work with it.

Other issues addressed:

Erika Bernacchi (ISS/IRC):
We will put something on our web-pages about how you work with post-adoption. The purpose is to tell other countries and organisations about different ways of dealing with post adoption matters.

End of discussion.

Gunn Kvalsvik, 10th of September 2009.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Romanian Government opposes resumption of international adoptions

Yesterday the Romanian Secretary of State for Adoptions, Bogdan Panait, handed in a proposal to re-open intercountry adoption.

Bad news for the Adoption Lobby, because today the Romanian Prime Minister announced NOT to change the adoption law.

Full article HERE


Thursday, 15 October 2009

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