Minister announces total ban on adoptions from abroad

Photo: depositphotos

Cartetaker legal protection minister Franc Weerwind has banned all adoptions from abroad following a motion by the Socialist party (SP) supported by a majority of MPs.

Adoption had already been limited to eight countries  – the Philipines, Hungary, Lesotho, Taiwan, Thailand, South Africa, Bulgaria and Portugal. The new restrictions were introduced in 2022 following the publication of a report that slammed the lack of care in transnational adoption processes, including corruption, forgery and child snatching. 

Depending on how the abolition of the adoption process is carried out, prospective parents who have already started adoption procedures may also be affected, a ministry spokesman told broadcaster NOS.

Weerwind was initially reluctant to impose the ban. At the time of the motion he said the adoption procedure from the eight countries selected was “child-centred” and had “inbuilt guarantees”. Why the minister changed his mind is unclear.

In a briefing to MPs, Weerwind said there were children ‘who had been traumatised by the adoption process and children who have positive experiences”, and that the ban would “come as a shock to those involved”. He pledged the winding down of the adoption procedure would be done “with the utmost care”.

Sanne Buursink from adoptive parents group A New Way told Dutch News their organisation has been shocked by the decision.

“We very well understand the pain of adult adoptees who have become victim of child trafficking or abuses in the past century. Their voices have long been silenced and still they are not supported by the responsible government as they ask to be supported,” she said.

The Dutch adoption procedure is very diligent, with well prepared, realistic adoptive parents, she said.

“Yes of course it is in the best interest of children to grow up with their biological family. But not all families are willing, allowed or able to do this. And not all children are able to be placed with relatives or a suitable forever family in their country of birth. The Netherlands pulling out of international adoption will not help these children.”

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