Romanian Senate votes a new adoption law. International adoption – a real chance for #HardToPlaceNotHardToLove Romanian children
The Senate voted today 28th of November 2018, with unanimity of votes, the bill initiated by the Romanian Government, that improves the adoption process. The purpose of this bill is to ease the adoption process, in order to give to all children, the chance to live in a loving family.
The bill that came from Victoria Palace brings in significant changes: elimination of the double searching for the relatives (to the fourth degree) of the children (when the child is included in the protection system and when she/he is declared available for adoption), enforcing sanctions for the situations when the legal periods of time to declare a child available for adoption are not respected and the introduction of financial support for families who adopt brothers or children with disabilities.
The bill was modified before it was discussed and voted in the plenary meeting of the Senate. Some of the amendments were made by Romanian MPs Oana Bîzgan and Roxana Mînzatu. Their most important proposals have effect on the consent of natural parents, regarding the adoption approval, a measure that will reduce the time an abandoned child will wait to be declared available for adoption.
New amendment in the General Assembly: international adoption
”Our wish is for every child to grow in a family who loves her/him and who is able to provide the environment of love and support. The amendments we made put the interest of the child in the first place. After previous discussions with experts from this field, I decided to submit a new amendment to introduce international adoption for children who were not adopted by Romanian families, starting January 1st, 2020. Romania has to give the right to a family and a life lived in dignity to all children in the protection system.”, said Oana Bîzgan.
International adoption will target only #HardToPlaceNotHardToLove children in the Romanian care system and will be managed by the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of the Child and Adoption (ANPDCA), not by the General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection (DGASPC). ”This change will give the #HardToPlaceNotHardToLove children the chance to a real family life. Unfortunately, there are many cases when children with Down Syndrome, Tetra-Amelia Syndrome or other disabilities are not adopted by Romanian families. Therefore, they spend their childhood in centers for children with severe disabilities, where they lack the care and the love they need, most of the times until they die.”, explains Oana Bîzgan.
International adoption is possible now just in those cases when one of the adopters is a member of the extended family of the child, when the adopter also has Romanian citizenship or when the adopter is spouse of one of the birth parents and only after national adoption was not finalized for a year.
”By opening the international adoption, with efficient checking measures, we only make sure that #HardToPlaceNotHardToLove children have one more chance to be adopted. Is a sensitive topic for Romania, but we have the duty to create a coherent system that provides the chance for these children to live in a favorable environment. We can’t hide forever behind the problems we had in the past. Any delay means a drop or even losing the chance for adoption for a child who waits for a family. In the second half of December, I will organize a public debate on the topic, to be sure we consider all the opinions of people involved.”, said Bîzgan.
New changes for national adoption
Talking about the national adoption, there are some bureaucratic procedures, like placing the child in the extended family, who doesn´t know about the child, has no connection with the birth parents or doesn’t have the possibility to take care of the child in discussion. Moreover, this procedure is applied twice, once when the child is included in the social care system and then when the authorities try to obtain consent for adoption, what makes the process of declaring the child available for adoption more difficult. ”All this time, the child is stuck in the system and is deprived of the benefits of living in a family that needs him or her as much as the child needs them.”, explains Oana Bîzgan.
More than that, in the bill adopted by the Senate were introduced changes that help the parents who already adopted a child and want a second adoption. They will be able to do it without repeating the process of gaining the certificate for adoption, if the will for the second adoption comes in the availability period for the first certificate. Also, the certificate obtained by one of the spouses could be extended without repeating the process of certification if in the availability period, the partners decide to marry or decide to change the criteria or the number of children they want to adopt.
”The Romanian Government takes responsibility over an extremely important and necessary bill that will ease the procedure of adoption. Behind every amendment and every article is the interest of the child who grows without parents, as well as the interest of those parents who want to adopt and to give all their love and affection to a child. The way the law looks like now, after the vote of the Senate, is a consequence of the direct involvement of ANPDCA and my colleagues in the Parliament, united by the wish to give the best chance to the children in the system. I will continue to work for this cause in the General Assembly, the bill will be voted in its best form and we will act together and with responsibility and courage in the way our children need us to!” said Roxana Mînzatu, Romanian MP.
On the other hand, one of the amendments submitted by the two MPs (Oana Bîzgan and Roxana Mînzatu) and agreed by the Senate provide equal opportunities for all children, regardless their age. Until now, children over 14 years could be adopted only by members of the extended family or adopters with whom the child had a steady relationship. According to this bill, these children will be available for adoption to any family that is certified and wants to adopt them. In the same time, those people who have a certificate for adoption and have developed an emotional connection with a child in the social protection system will be included on a priority list of adoption for that child and could adopt her/him without the need of living together for at least 6 months before, as it is now.
The Senate was the first Chamber addressed for this bill. In the following days, it will go for discussions in the permanent committees in the General Assembly, and then will be discussed and voted in the plenary meeting of the same Chamber.