Romania gets ready to ban international adoptions.

By May 19, 2004

Romania (MNN)–Romania is expected to approve a new law in the next two weeks, which effectively bans foreign nationals from adopting Romanian children.

This would be the obvious extension of a three-year moratorium on international adoptions, much to the dismay of the adoptive community.

Bethany Christian Services’ Romania adoption coordinator, Toni Carter explains, “They’re getting a lot of political pressure. They’re hoping to be admitted into the European Union, and there has been negative publicity surrounding international adoption–and this became a political issue, unfortunately, because as they debate the issue, there’s still 83, 811 children still in temporary care.”

Romanian diplomats say they’re simply trying to come into compliance with what the EU wants, but promise they will pass the law next week without changes.

What that means is children can be adopted abroad only after every attempt has been made to see if they can stay with their natural family or be placed with a Romanian family. It says foreigners can adopt a child only if they are its grandparents, which will effectively mean no Romanian children being adopted abroad.

The United States and many couples in Western countries have called on Romania to alter the law. Continued lobbying by the U.S. ambassador to Romania delayed it, while many agencies tried to encourage lawmakers to temper the bill, to no avail.

Massive letter campaigns cited the proposed laws as not addressing permanency planning. Twenty-three U.S. Congressmen signed a letter to the Romanian officials stating that the bill on adoptions draft law contravenes the Hague Convention regarding the rights of the child and requests its modification.

Still, the Romanian government hopes these instituted changes to their adoptive procedures will clear one hurdle on the way to EU admittance in 2007.

Carter says while this would be a setback, it won’t stop their Christian staff from sharing the love of Christ. “Bethany still has several social service projects and about 80 employees in Romania doing wonderful programs, like recruiting and training foster homes, promoting domestic adoption, life-skills programs for children who are aging out of the institutions.”

The Bethany teams also continue social work education, volunteer services, and programs for children with special needs. New grants will allow Bethany to continue these vital services.

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