International adoption will be possible again if it is up to the government. On February 8, 2021, the adoption of children from abroad was stopped by the former Minister for Legal Protection, Minister Dekker. This as a result of a report by the Joustra Committee on abuses in foreign adoptions. In the letter of April 11, 2022 to the House of Representatives, the government indicated that during the past year all perspectives and interests have been weighed and two scenarios have been elaborated: stop adopting children from abroad or continue with an modified adoption system. The ministry has opted for a modified adoption system.
Since 2020 Fiom has had the legal task to inform and prepare people for the process of, among other things, foreign adoptions. Fiom has not performed this task since the suspension on February 8, 2021. The ministry has now asked Fiom to resume its information task. Ellen Giepmans, director at Fiom, indicates that there are still too many uncertainties to do this immediately. "The minister's decision raises many questions for us. Not only questions about how the minister came to this decision, but also questions about the elaboration. The solution is now sought in one strictly embedded mediation organization, but what does the set-up of such a mediation organization look like? Also, no conclusions have yet been drawn based on the country analysis. What are the consequences for countries that are currently being collaborated with? In order to properly prepare prospective adoptive parents, answers are needed to these kinds of questions."
Fiom calls on the government to be transparent about the considerations that were made to arrive at the decision to restart international adoptions. The Joustra Committee concludes that there were serious abuses during the period under investigation. And that the government and intermediaries did not act effectively against this. And that they have let the interests of adoptive parents prevail and have therefore failed to look after the interests of both adoptees and their birth parents. All the more important, we think, is now that it is explained very carefully how the fundamental discussion about the future of international adoption took place, indicates Ellen Giepmans. "What are the arguments for going ahead and how does this stand in relation to other policy areas, such as migration and development cooperation? More clarity on how the best interests of the child are actually more central is necessary."
Ellen Giepmans: "Although we see it as our responsibility to inform people properly, we do not consider it responsible at this moment to dust of our old playbook and start providing information. We will first have discussions with the Ministry in order to get clarity on the modified adoption system, the preconditions and how this relates to the assignment Fiom received from the Ministry in the field of the expertise enter. Help with searches and psychological and legal support are needed all the more because of abuses in the past. Taking up our information task without clarity on the concrete elaboration of the points mentioned by the government in its letter is therefore at odds with the assignment of a new expertise center. In the coming weeks, we will be working hard to get more clarity on this."
With questions about the news that adopting children from abroad will again be possible, people can contact the Ministry of Justice & Security.
More information can be found on the website of the Government and employees of the Central Authority can be called from 11 to 22 April 2022 from 10:00 to 16:00 via telephone number 070-3706252. From 22 April they can be reached from 10:00 to 12:30. As soon as there is more clarity about the information task performed by Fiom, a message about this will be published on Fiom's website.
Read the Q&A (in Dutch)