‘Adoption freeze’ remains in effect despite criticism from agencies and parent organizations

It is not possible to adopt children from abroad for the time being. Outgoing Minister Dekker for Legal Protection maintains the ‘adoption stop’ which he instituted in February, he informed the House of Representatives. This measure was criticized a lot from adoption agencies and parent associations, who believe that Dekker has insufficiently substantiated his decision.

The reason for the adoption stop was a research report by the Joustra Committee on the role of the Dutch government in adoptions in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Joustra concluded, among other things, that the government had not intervened in abuses such as child trafficking and child theft.

Moreover, according to the committee, abuses are still an issue, although an international treaty was signed in 1998 with stricter rules for adoption. The adoption system remains vulnerable, according to Joustra, which is why Dekker decided to stop immediately.

Research report

The criticism of the adoption agencies and parent associations focuses on Joustra’s report on which Dekker relies. According to them, Joustra has not sufficiently proven that abuses still exist. For example, the committee of inquiry would not have seen any adoption file, but only based itself on, for example, reports in the media and parliamentary questions.

The committee itself says that the conclusion that adoption abuses still occur has been drawn on the basis of “very many different sources”, which they published in March in a report. table has published. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Security says that the report is “simply thorough”.

Chance of wrongdoing

Minister Dekker says in his letter to parliament that there is always a chance of abuses if children are adopted from abroad, even if the current system is overhauled. Adoption is now arranged by so-called permit holders, private organizations that link prospective adoptive parents to a child.

If an alternative system is introduced, the chance of abuse will be smaller, but never zero, says Dekker. “I want to protect children who are adopted from abroad against abuses. If it turns out to be impossible to offer that protection, then I think serious consideration should be given to stopping intercountry adoption.” But Dekker leaves a final decision on this to a new cabinet.

‘Moral dilemma’

Sanne Buursink, chairman of the four cooperating licensees in the Netherlands, still wonders what abuses Dekker is referring to. “Every system has vulnerabilities, so does this system. But you have such a system to manage those vulnerabilities.” At the moment they are not manifesting themselves, she says.

Buursink speaks of a moral dilemma. “Will we soon be the first country to say: we no longer adopt children, just leave them in orphanages?”

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