ADOPTION OR SALE: The influence of the adoption industry in the EU
German Radio Translation
ADOPTION OR SALE The influence of the adoption industry in the EU
By Katrin Matthaei
The welfare of the child concerned is in the subject of international adoption not always at the center of the decision. And: Behind it an industry operates with tangible economic interests. Which is also very active in the EU.
An Internet video of the Italian adoption agency Amici dei Bambini. Several African children stand in front a few huts and look confused at the camera. In the background, CEO Marco Griffini warns: These Congolese children desperately need our help, their own parents have failed them. Here at latest Roelie post hears all the alarm bells. This Dutch woman worked until recently for the EU Commission in the area of child protection.
"They go into the poor areas and villages, and look where there are poor families or single mothers, or families in crisis, and then say we have a better solution: Your child can get into a home and get a good education. And in the end the child then goes abroad. "
Roelie Post knows many of these cases and fights for a global ban on international adoptions - also here in Europe. In the late 90s, they had discovered in Romania a systematic trade in children in care. At that time she was responsible for the allocation of EU funds to the Romanian child protection and unveiled a sophisticated system.
"Foreign adoption agencies give money for child protection in Romania and got points for it. And the adoption agencies which had the most points got also most children."
The more money a foreign adoption agency donated to a home, the more children it received for foreign adoptions. Hence the interest of the agencies to get the highest possible amount of EU aid and money children’s homes. In this way, more than 30,000 Romanian children have been taught in other countries - often without the knowledge of parents. Roelie Post turned to her highest boss: Günter Verheugen, Enlargement Commissioner at that time. He demanded an immediate stop of Romanian adoptions. Verheugen recently confirmed for the first time publicly that the case of the imminent adoption ban in Romania reached at that time, the political level:
"The political pressure came again and agaain from the same countries: From France, from Italy, Spain, Israel and the United States. I remember a conversation with the Romanian Prime Minister, to whom I said: My patience is at an end, now you allow no more adoptions or I can not help as far as the accession to the European Union. So sharp it has been. "
As a result, Romania decided in 2004 generally againstinternational adoption and now supports families in need directly, so they are no longer dependent on homes. For the adoption industry that was a shock, as will be seen. Romania has since been under enormous pressure from lobbyists.
"It is the first large country, which has really stopped: no more adoptions abroad. The lobby is afraid that other countries would follow suit, and that's what happened: That means there are currently much less children than before. So the pressure is huge. "
So also in the EU Parliament.
Marco Griffini, the head of the Italian adoption agency used the recent Petition Committee of the Parliament to nail Romania. Griffini claims Romania of violating human rights:
"I do not understand why Romania, this country that we have always loved, has banned international adoption, and denied poor children the right to a family. Finally, tens of thousands of Romanian children wait for adoptive families."
The Romanian authorities relativate Griffini’ss statistics and talk of around eight hundred children waiting for adoption.
In the EU Parliament, the Head of the Italian adoption agency gets support of the Italian Member of Parliament Patricia Toia: Romania could have a bilateral adoption agreement with Italy, she suggests. Also the relevant EU official, the Italian Patrizia de Luca finds: the request could perhaps move Romania to "rethink". Although it is her duty to be neutral. Indignation at the Romanian MEPs. Victor Bostinaru, whose country had imposed an adoption stop indeed at the insistence of the EU:
"In my country, senior politicians were implicated in child trafficking, including the judiciary and the adoption authorities. To demand now here in the EU Parliament that my country is to allow international adoption again - is not only dangerous but also morally and politically unacceptable! "
At the end the request falls through, the parliament votes against the request, that Romania might loosen its adoption ban. In the backrooms the lobbying of adoption agencies, however, continues.