Europe wants more adoptions

Declining supply of children for want-to-be parents leads to a new European policy

On the 30th of November and the 1st of December, the European Commission organizes the Conference: Challenges in Adoption Procedures in Europe‘Ensuring the Best Interests of the Child’. This is a preparation for a new European Adoption Policy, which will have major implications for children in child protection, including foster children or children in children’s homes. These children could, with the new measure, easily qualify first for European and then international adoptions. 

The foundation United Adoptees International (UAI) hopes that Vice President Joan Hansink can be present to stand up for the rights of children and parents. The UAI believes that children have the right to be raised by their parents and if not possible the right to social protection or alternative forms of care provided by the governments. Adoption is not the solution to a failing care system. The European Union guarantees its citizens the right to social protection. Does this not count for these children and their parents?

In practice, the new policy would mean that children in foster in no time would be available for adoption. For example, a Dutch child in foster care would after 18 months become adoptable for a couple from the Netherlands. If there would be no possibility, then the child could be adopted by a couple from Naples. As a last solution, the child can be adopted worldwide. Another consequence will be that under the new European Adoption Convention and the new policy no longer only children under 8 years can be adopted, but also up to 18 years. Parents get like this little chance to get their children back and to keep them, and it relieves governments of their obligation to provide alternative care for children who cannot be raised by their parents (Article 20c of the UN CRC). With the declining supply of children for want-to-be parents, these adoptions are a solution. But this is not in the interest of children.

The European Union has asked Romania in 2000 no longer to export children, but apparently gets back to that decision. Also, the Council of Europe, with the European Adoption Convention, is working towards paving the way for adoptions by gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. The strong adoption lobby is working through the European Commission and searches to legalise new adoption opportunities. There is little to no publicity about the conference and invitations were carefully picked, especially to prevent nasty dissonant voices. The UAI and its partners intercepted at the last moment the announcement for the upcoming European Commission and Council of Europe Conference in Strasbourg via its Finnish contacts. Participation by the UAI was initially not accepted and remains until today still uncertain.

Interestingly, the Dutch government accepted the European Convention and the new adoption policy apparently uncritically, without realizing that it will have consequences for the Dutch policy regarding (inter-country) adoption and its existing care system for children. It is remarkable that the Convention on the Dutch website is shown as a hammer piece, while the majority of the Members of Parliament, except the Christian Democrats, does not seem to be aware of the European Adoption Convention. The Convention as now formulated, will according to the UAI lead to an infringement of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UAI has in recent years pointed out the consequences of the upcoming Convention and policy to several MPs charged children’s rights.

The UAI is not convinced of the good intentions of the current compilers and the democratic process of all this and hopes to have the opportunity to be present in Strasbourg to demand attention to children and parents who as a vulnerable group do not have a voice in the debate.

And for the Adoption Lobby watch: