Madonna’s failed adoption attempt shows Bulgaria has a lot to learn from Malawi about upholding children’s rights
In 2009 - two years after having become a member of the European Union and thus fullfilling the EU human rights criteria - Bulgaria has decided to go back to their old practice: intercountry adoption as child protection.
Here a quote from the article about an intercountry adoption conference recently held in Bulgaria:
Five years later things seem to be going back to where they were before the ratification of the Hague convention and before the European Commission’s criticisms. On 19 March an international conference on intercountry adoptions took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. The conference was co-organised by the Ministry of Justice and the Association of accredited intercountry adoption agencies. There was very little information about the event, but apparently, children’s rights organisations were not present (and I am not even sure if the State Agency for Child Protection had any representatives - there was nothing about this conference on its website, which definitely means that none of its senior representatives has taken part in it). This must have left the field clear for the right type of discussion - unburdened by paraphernalia like children’s rights, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, or Bulgaria’s own Child Protection Act.
‘Brilliant’ results were reported at the conference - the number of intercountry adoptions is going up again. The information about the conference published by the English language weekly Sofia Echo shows a steep upward trend: “Compared to 2007 when there were 81 approvals from the Justice Minister for children’s adoptions, in 2008 there were 169.”** (By the way, the author of the article explains the official legislative position in Bulgaria that intercountry adoption should be a measure of last resort as a ‘patriotic concept’! If he ever bothers to read a relevant document on the rights of the child, he will be surprised to find out that international law in this area is premised on the same ‘patriotic concept’).
I also had been looking for information about that conference, and indeed it could not be found on the Bulgarian State Agency for Child Protection's website:
However, information on the conference was only available on the website of VESTA, where it is said that Bulgaria is 'Defrosting after ice age' (Bulgarian adoptions were as good as closed the last four years).
VESTA is the partner of one the biggest US agencies: HOLT International Children Services. They also facilitate All God's Children International, Three of Life and Gladney.
On Holt's Blog, in October 2008, the following can be read:
Wharfield and Smith also met with Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Justice. The attorney and CEO of Holt’s Bulgarian partner agency, Vesta, is currently working with the Ministry of Justice to draft a new family code that will amend the law favorably for adoption practices, including children with special needs.
So, here we have a US Adoption Agency working on the new family code in Bulgaria!
BULGARIA's CHILDREN: FOR EXPORT ONLY
Country Fee HOLT:
Depending on the country, fees for adopting healthy or minor special needs children are as follows: