From abandonment, to the chance of growing up with a family
What does the hard-to-adopt profile represent?
No adoptive family from Romania has been identified;
A suitable family has been identified, but has given up on adoption;
The child has inseparable siblings; they can only be adopted together in groups of 2-3;
The child has certain health problems, some with visible features;
The child has certain ethnic features;
The child has a high need of stimulation;
These are children for whom national adoption has already been attempted, but, unfortunately, no suitable family has been found. What will happen to them? They remain in the system until the age of 18 or even longer, if there are no other solutions.
Sadly, the statistical profile of adoptive families is not consistent with the reality of residential centers:
What is the current legislation regarding adoption of children from Romania by families from other countries?
At the moment of speaking, these children can also be adopted by people living outside the Romanian border, as long as they fulfill the following conditions:
the adopter or one of the spouses of the adoptive family is a relative (up to the fourth degree) of the child for whom the internal adoption procedure has been started;
the adopter or one of the spouses of the adoptive family is also a Romanian citizen;
the adopter is the spouse of the biological parent of the child for whom adoption has been solicited.
Proposal: opening international adoption for hard-to-adopt children
Opening international adoption for hard-to-adopt children on the 1st of January 2020, only for citizens from states which have ratified the Hague Convention.
Why do we need such a proposal?
We can offer children who are currently in the protection system, who have been declared hard-to-adopt and for whom national adoption has been unsuccessful, a chance to life, a family and protection. Unfortunately, there are numerous cases in which children with Down syndrome, Tetra-Amelia syndrome (missing limbs) or other forms of disability do not have the possibility to be adopted at a national level. Consequently, these children are condemned to a childhood spent in centers for children with severe handicap until, in most cases they pass away.
The proposed amendment offers these children an extra chance to grow up and develop in a harmonious manner, within a family, be it outside the border. Romanian citizens will continue to have priority when it comes to adoption, international adoption simply being a secondary solution in order to identify a family for hard-to-adopt children.
Article 2, Law 272/2004 on the Protection and Promotion of Children’s Rights, “The superior interest of the children is incorporated in children’s right to a normal physical and moral development, socio-affective balance and life with a family.”
How could this system operate?
The Hague Convention and Bulgaria’s example
Through the Hague Convention, all signatory states follow the same procedure, keeping in mind the superior interests of the child. I invited you so read this comparative study on all the signatory countries and the provisions of this Convention, How does the adoption system operate in Bulgaria?
- Children between the ages of 1 and 18 are eligible for international adoption, as follows: children without known parentage; children who are in the protection system for whom parents or guardians have consented to adoption; children who have been institutionalized following a court decision and who have not been sought by their parents within 6 months; older children or children with special needs have priority when it comes to international adoption. Siblings in the system cannot be separated, the exception being when it is not possible for them to be adopted together. Bulgarian citizens have priority for adoption. If no Bulgarian citizen has been identified for the child within 6 months of enrollment of the child in the National Enrollment Registry, or if that child has been denied by three Bulgarian families, they will become visible to foreign adopters. The child is still visible to Bulgarian citizens, so a national or international adoption can take place at any time.
- If one of the adoptive family members is 45 or over, the adoption application is considered only for children of at least 7 years old.
- The application files for international adoption are transmitted to the Bulgarian Central Authority by an authorized body.
- The adoption decision creates strong ties between the child and the adoptive family and definitively and irrevocably breaks the bondage relationship with the biological family.
- Application files are analyzed in chronological order of submission. The choosing of a family is done by vote, based on the child’s profile. The International Adoption Council meets once a week to evaluate 10-20 applications. If the opinion is favorable, the candidate is informed about the proposal made by the Council and is invited to travel to Bulgaria and meet the child => 5-day matching period. The Sofia Court sets the date of the trial, where the presence of the adopters is not mandatory, they can be represented by a lawyer. The ruling becomes final within 14 days of pronouncement.
- Post-adoption monitoring lasts 2 years, with a report being made every 6 months. Parents will send 4 reports with photographs, on the integration of the child within the family to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice.
International Adoption 2010-2017, Bulgaria
I believe with all my heart that we have a real chance to change the lives of these children. By opening international adoptions, equipped with the effective control mechanisms, all we do is provide a possibility for hard-to-adopt children. This is a sensitive subject for Romania, but we have the duty to develop a coherent system that will offer these children the chance to live within a family, in a favorable environment.