The Senate voted today ( 28th of November 2018) unanimously for the bill amending the adoption process that was proposed by the Government. It aims at facilitating the adoption process, having the purpose of offering families a chance to have as many children as possible who are currently in the protection system.
Among the most important changes included in the Victoria Palace project we mention: the elimination of duplication search for relatives up to the fourth degree (both when setting up the protection measure and when the child is declared adopted), the introduction of sanctions for failing to comply with the adoption procedure’s legal deadlines for opening and introducing financial incentives for families adopting siblings and children with disabilities.
This form suffered changes before being debated and voted by the Senate plenum. Some of the amendments were tabled by independent MP Oana Bîzgan, along with PSD MP Roxana Mînzatu. They proposed, among other things, changes in giving consent to adoption by natural parents, which would reduce the time an abandoned child could be declared adoptable.
“Our wish is for every child to grow up in a family that loves them and can provide them with the appropriate conditions for normal physical and emotional development. That is why we have proposed a series of amendments in which the child’s superior interest prevails. Following consultations with specialists in the field, I will table a new amendment to the Chamber of Deputies to introduce international adoptions for hard-to-adopt children, starting January 1, 2020. Romania must give the children within the system a chance to have a family and a dignified life.” stated independent MP Oana Bîzgan.
International adoptions will target only hard-to-adopt children and will be managed by the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption (ANPDCA) and not by the General Directorates for Social Assistance and Child Protection. “Legislative change could give hard-to-adopt children a real chance to a family life where they are cared for and loved, as they deserve. Unfortunately, there are many cases where children with Down Syndrome, Tetra-Amelia syndrome (lack of limbs) or other types of disability do not have the chance to be locally adopted. Consequently, they are condemned to a childhood spent in centers for severely disabled children, most of the time, until their last day. ” explains Oana Bîzgan.
Currently, in Romania, international adoptions are only possible in cases where the adopter or one of the spouses of the adoptive family is a relative up to the fourth degree inclusive, if he or she has Romanian citizenship, or if the adopter is the husband of the natural parent and only after trying the national adoption for a year, with no result.
Regarding national adoption, there are various bureaucratic procedures such as attempting to integrate the minor into the extended family who, in many cases, does not know the existence of the child, did not keep in touch with the child’s natural parents or relatives are at an age when they can not take care of raising and caring for a child. Moreover, this procedure is applied twice, initially at the introduction of the orphan into the state protection system, and then in obtaining consent for adoption, which only makes it difficult to declare the child as adoptable. “During this time, the child is stuck in the system and is deprived of the benefits of a balanced and happy life in a family who wants to adopt them and who has at least as much need for that child as the child needs the family. ” explains MP Bîzgan.
Also, in the form adopted by the Senate, changes have been introduced to help parents who have already adopted a child and want to adopt a second one. They will no longer go through the whole process of regaining the adopter’s attestation if the decision to adopt a second child comes in the three-year period that the first child’s attestation will be valid. In addition, the attestation obtained by one of the spouses can be extended without resuming the entire attestation process if marriage occurs during the period of validity or if the family wishes to change the criteria or the number of children they wish to adopt.
However, one of the amendments filed by the two deputies and adopted by the Senate gives all children equal opportunities, regardless of their age. Until now, children over the age of 14 could only be adopted by extended family members or adopters with whom the minor has a constant relationship. According to the changes in the new project, they can be adopted by any family that has an adopter certificate and wishes to do so. At the same time, people who have developed an emotional bond with a particular adopted child will be included in the priority family of adoptive families for that child, even without having to live with him for at least 6 months, as required by the current form of the law.
The Senate was the first chamber informed about this project, and in the coming days it would enter into debates at the Standing Committees of the General Assembly and then in the debate and vote in the Plenum of the same Chamber.